Articles

A brief history of fossil-fuelled climate denial

John Cook, The University of Queensland. Pic*: Bernard Staehli, Shutterstock
21.07.16 5:30 am

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The fossil fuel industry has spent many millions of dollars on confusing the public about climate change. But the role of vested interests in climate science denial is only half the picture.

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

Peter Gutwein urges councils to forgo more TasWater revenue, putting rates under pressure

Rosemary Bolger, ABC. Pic: Pic: of Peter Gutwein from his website
21.07.16 5:15 am

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Tasmanian councils have been urged to forgo more revenue from TasWater to fix failing water and sewerage infrastructure but they have warned the move could push up rates.

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Politics | National | State | Economy | Environment | Society

Huon Valley Mayor changes tune on council finances

Ben Lohberger*
21.07.16 5:07 am

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Huon Valley Mayor Peter Coad has admitted his council is in “excellent financial shape,” less than two years after claiming during his close 2014 election victory that the council was going broke.

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

Fox Hunting for that elusive “a” on the Moon

Kim Peart* Pic*
21.07.16 5:00 am

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Ask many people if they remember the Moon landing, and they will tell you, “I wasn’t born yet.” As each year goes by, fewer remain who remember that moment. It was my first year at work after high school, when we downed tools and went to the next business along the street to see the event on TV …

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Donor reveals Tasmanian Liberals host secret ‘policy forum’ for corporate contributors

Bob Burton. First published June 6
20.07.16 6:37 am

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AMP, one of Australia’s largest wealth management companies, has revealed it became one of the Tasmanian Liberal Party’s major donors because the party “began a public policy forum” which it considered “relevant to our business.”  However, AMP, Premier Will Hodgman, Senator Eric Abetz and the Tasmanian Liberal Party all remain tight-lipped about what the “policy forum” does, how often it meets and who attends.

• Kathryn Barnsley in Comments: Well researched Bob Burton. My preferred title for this behaviour is crony capitalism. Just as Quentin Beresford wrote about forestry and crony capitalism in his wonderful book the Rise and Fall of Gunns, I published a paper last month in an international journal (Evidence and Policy) about the tobacco industry and crony capitalism in Tasmania. Crony capitalism is endemic in this state. Until Tasmanians become aware and concerned about it,, and prepared to do something about it,  cronyism will roll on forever. Unfortunately the slash and burn to investigative journalism in all media means there is no public exposure of this behaviour. Thank heavens for the Tasmanian Times and Bob Burton.

• Jacqui Lambie media statement in comments: Independent JLN Senator for Tasmania Jacqui Lambie has demanded that all political parties adopt the JLN’s system of open and transparent real-time disclosure for political donations – and show the people of Australia exactly who has given them money, and how much - before election day. “ Everyone in Australia knows that our political funding system is broken. It’s not right, decent or fair that Australian voters will only find out in approximately 18 months who donated - and how much was donated to our political parties or candidates - for this historic and critical double dissolution election.

Cassy O’Connor: Democracy demands Transparency on Donations First the ACT and now Queensland have committed to the real time publication of political donations rather than making voters wait up to 18 months to find out who gave how much to which party in the lead up to an election. It is well past time Tasmania did the same. Under current Federal law and in Tasmania, voters went to the poll on 2 July having no idea who was seeking to buy influence with political parties or candidates.  Political donations at the State level are entirely unregulated …

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Writers | Bob Burton | Politics | National | State | Editor's Choice

Erich, you have passed your used-by date, you are off, you are on the nose mate ...

John Hawkins*, Chudleigh. Pic: of Eric Abetz from his website. First published July 18
19.07.16 6:30 am

Image for Erich, you have passed your used-by date, you are off, you are on the nose mate ...

... just ask the Three Amigos ... If below the line voting is how thinking people, rather than form fillers, indicate the relevance of those who represent them, then the following results as of yesterday morning are of great interest ...

… So Abetz by his patronage has gifted three no-hopers a six-year job at a $250,000 a year; deadbeats who could barely muster a thousand votes between them …

• John Hawkins in Comments: AEC today (July 18): Singh     8762. Colbeck   5872. Lambie     4770. W _ Wilson 3546. Abetz     2839. McKim     2328. Now Colbeck has lost his job in Cabinet. So it now looks as though the Liberals have lost all three of their Lower House MP’s and their only Cabinet Minister who may even have lost his seat. Now that is a result. Where to now Senator Erich Abetz? Or is this all Malcom’s fault?

• Ben Lohberger in Comments: Eric Abetz has claimed during an interview on ABC Radio National that Malcolm Turnbull should listen to Abetz’s post-election advice, because backbenchers such as Abetz doorknocked “hundreds, if not thousands” of homes during this year’s federal election campaign. Doorknocking takes significant time and effort, and to doorknock up to 2000 homes would have taken the Senator more than a month of full-time work. So where did Senator Abetz doorknock in Tasmania, when did he doorknock, and can he actually prove it? Surely someone in the state must have seen him at their door? …

Karl Satire: Eric Rocks On ...

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Writers | John Hawkins | Politics | National | State | Economy | Opinion | Society

NATION: Malcolm buys his Mandate ...

Urban Wronski* http://urbanwronski.com/ . Pic: of Eric Abetz, from his website. First pub July 18
19.07.16 6:00 am

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Tasmanian senator Eric Abetz fearlessly leads the charge of the Right brigade this week into a stoush between his beloved team Abbott and the Pollyanna faction led by tub-thumping, sub-stumping $50 billion dollar man Christopher Pyne. Eric is out to keep the bastards honest …

Pity us poor Liberals, Julie Bishop pleads on ABC’s Insiders, “we don’t have the rivers of gold that come from the union movement.” AEC ALP records do not match the Foreign Minister’s fantasy, showing instead a broad set of donors. In 2015, the CFMEU donated $50,000 yet WestPac gave $1.5 million. No-one challenges Bishop. Most likely, however, Turnbull’s party was just caught short as its uber-rich supporters; fearing penury if super rules were to change, withheld donations.

In the real world over 31,000 people have lost their disability support pension in the past year, the biggest annual drop on record as several years’ worth of government crackdowns begin to bite. 90,000 may expect to undergo a medical review in the next three years. More “savings” are promised as Mad-Dog Morrison has promised to find another $3.5 billion.

Richard Colbeck: Ministry Announcement I am extremely disappointed to have to relinquish my portfolio but I have to agree with the Prime Minister that the need to finalise a new team and the uncertainty relating to my Senate seat made it impossible to wait – the business of Government is much bigger than any individual …

• Ben Lohberger in Comments HERE: Eric Abetz has claimed during an interview on ABC Radio National that Malcolm Turnbull should listen to Abetz’s post-election advice, because backbenchers such as Abetz doorknocked “hundreds, if not thousands” of homes during this year’s federal election campaign. Doorknocking takes significant time and effort, and to doorknock up to 2000 homes would have taken the Senator more than a month of full-time work. So where did Senator Abetz doorknock in Tasmania, when did he doorknock, and can he actually prove it? Surely someone in the state must have seen him at their door? …

Karl Satire: Eric Rocks On ...

The Project: Listen to Waleed Aly’s perspective on Sonia Kruger et al

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

Victorian (and Tasmanian) Liberal Party ex-director jailed for stealing $1.5m from party coffers

ABC. Pic: of Damien Mantach
19.07.16 5:50 am

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Disgraced former Victorian Liberal Party director Damien Mantach has been sentenced to five years’ jail for stealing more than $1.5 million from state party coffers.

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If it looks too good to be true ...

David de Burgh*, Wattle Grove. First published July 16
19.07.16 5:30 am

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The Huon Valley Council has put the Huon D’Entrecasteau Boundary Adjustment out for public comment via an online survey.  The survey is accompanied by the Felmingham Report 2015 which the Council commissioned to provide an economic analysis of the proposal. The Huon D’Entrecasteau Boundary Adjustment involves merging that part of Kingborough south of and including Margate (MS in the report) with the Huon Valley Council and is termed M1.  It was compared against Huon Valley remaining as it is and against M2, a merger of Huon Valley with all of Kingborough except for Taroona …

• Bob Hawkins in Comments: Thanks David for your expertise in penetrating and exposing some of the smoke-and-mirrors crap that we have to live with in the Huon. That useless M1 “boundary adjustment” report — flimsy in the extreme and costing us taxpayers thousands — is another example of HVC bleeding funds by chasing shadows and fantasies. Council management told us recently that the better part of $60,000 had been spent on legal advice to counter the findings of the Gutwein inquiry that decided council was, indeed, dysfunctional. Yet no one in the general public is allowed to see what kind of tricky arguments council made that persuaded LG Minister Gutwein to reject his own BoI report (compiled over more than half a year of careful sifting of evidence and interviews) and place greater credence on scores of pages of legal argument that, as if by magic, were produced within a couple of days of being commissioned by HVC. It appears council (or, rather, Heart of the Huon councillors) had not at that stage formally approved the commissioning. (Must have been something to do with the enormous authority “delegated” to management to handle matters for which our elected representatives have abdicated responsibility.) What it adds up to is that HVC, having spent scores of thousands of dollars of our money, won’t show us what it was we paid for. Why aren’t tax/ratepayers demanding to see it? …

• Dr Bruce Felmingham is invited to respond to these observations ...

• David de Burgh in Comments: For those who have been seeking feedback from Dr Felmingham, I can confirm that the Huon Valley Council contacted Dr Felmingham prior to publication of this article and asked for his comment on my criticism.  He replied that he saw no reason to change his position and that he did not understand my claim.  Apparently his wife is quite ill and he said he would give it more thought when she was better. Thanks to those who have uncovered earlier criticism of other reports he has been involved in. It makes interesting reading. Please don’t forget to take the 30 seconds necessary to complete the Council’s online survey.  You owe it to Margate residents to vote NO but please yourself.

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

Women Challenging the Culture in Science: Inciting Inclusion

Professor of chemistry, Frances Separovic, University of Melbourne
19.07.16 5:25 am

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On 30 March 2016, the Faculty of Health and Menzies Institute for Medical Research at the University of Tasmania hosted a gender equity forum, “Inciting Inclusion: A Conference and Conversation Engendering Equity in Health, Science and Academia”. Professor of chemistry, Frances Separovic, from the University of Melbourne, was a speaker. This article is an edited version of her address.

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Politics | National | Economy | Health | Opinion | Society

Tasmanian fox collection flawed

Chris Clarke, Examiner
18.07.16 5:30 am

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FIVE scats featured in official fox evidence records were shown to belong to completely different animals in 2009, but the items remain listed as “physical evidence of fox activity in Tasmania” by the government to this day.

• Comments are not permitted on this thread ... The allowance for comments was on ... It is not now ... TT apologises to all who have made comments ...

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Writers | David Obendorf | Politics | National | State | Economy | Environment | History | Society

Lloyd’s ‘brewing storm’ is in his own teacup ...

Bob Brown, The Bob Brown Foundation
17.07.16 11:26 am

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The Australian’s ‘Environment editor’ Graham Lloyd, fresh from his recent tirades against Australian scientists’ claims that the Great Barrier Reef is being damaged by climate change, has ( Friday ) written about that fraction of Tasmania’s World Heritage value forests which has been protected. Here are a few notes on Lloyd’s article …

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Politics | International | Local | National | State | Forestry | Gunns | Economy | Environment | Opinion | History | Planning/Heritage | Society

‘It wasn’t a forced we need to go, rather a heartfelt other-worldly plea ... ’

Lindsay Tuffin*. First published July 15. All Pictures: Amanda Sully
17.07.16 5:29 am

Image for ‘It wasn’t a forced we need to go, rather a heartfelt other-worldly plea ... ’

Promenade des Anglais, Bastille Day 2016 ... From Amanda Sully’s Facebook page: ‘Long live Liberty, Equality & Fraternity’ … Hobart’s Amanda Sully was in Nice at the time of this appalling attack which has left so many dead. They were on the boulevard when son Elliott, 13, sensed they should leave. They did. Partner Geoff Law was climbing in the Alps ... Her mum was in Milan. • Amanda says ... (on Facebook) ...

SMH: Nice attack: Up to 80 dead as truck ploughs into crowd

Guardian: Bastille Day truck attack: French president denounces ‘monstrous’ killing of 80 people – live updates

MEANWHILE ... Perhaps (and life is complex and the perpetrator seems to have been an unhinged violent nutter) it all began with George W, Tony Blair and John Howard’s INVASION of Iraq ... Certainly Tassie’s Andrew Wilkie wants Australia to have its own Chilcot Inquiry ...

The Saturday Paper: Andrew Wilkie and the Chilcot inquiry … Late that year, Wilkie decided to betray his government. The more intelligence he saw, the more he realised that the strategic, legal and moral basis for invading Iraq was dubious. A pivotal moment was his preparation of a report on the possible humanitarian consequences of an invasion. This was positioned against humanitarian – and strategic – advantages. Hussein was, by any measure, a capricious and murderous thug who had committed genocide against the Kurds in northern Iraq. But to Wilkie, the calculus seemed clear: the consequences would grimly eclipse any benefit. The whole venture appeared doomed. And yet Wilkie felt none of this was slowing the path to war. 

For leaking against the government, Andrew Wilkie received death threats and lost friends. “I’d do it all again,” he tells me. “Even if I hadn’t won the argument, I’d do it again. The decision I made at the time was correct.”

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

A Cry from the Heart: Suffering under government / centrelink / service providers ...

Claire Gilmour. Pic: of Claire Gilmour
17.07.16 5:15 am

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I been down the road you talk about Terry James ( Comment 8, HERE ), many times.

Kym Goodes, Mercury: Turnbull’s second chance … If he has learned anything from the election result, he will have a focus on the most critical players of all, the Australian people. This should be the turning point, where the new Government sees the opportunity in a policy and reform agenda that truly listens to people and shapes a system that works for everyone. In Tasmania the election campaign started with the former Member for Braddon Brett Whiteley talking about jobless people on Newstart being “off their heads” on drugs. It ended with the Coalition’s proposal to take funds out of the welfare system. Tasmanians clearly rejected what was on offer from the Coalition. They didn’t buy the promise of tax cuts for those earning over $80,000 a year, or the cut in the corporate tax rate. This is because these proposals are a million miles from where most Tasmanians live. Fifteen per cent of Tasmanians live in poverty and that rate is higher in the electorates of Bass and Braddon. If you are fortunate enough to have a job in Bass, you can expect to earn an average salary of about $45,000 a year …

• lola moth in Comments: Around ten years ago I was visiting a friend north of Sydney. Although she worked full time she was struggling with the mortgage so rented a room to a friend who was on a disability pension. On day three of my visit at 6:15am there was a knock at the door and two policemen and three Centrelink workers pushed their way into the house with a search warrant stating they believed the pensioner was in a defacto relationship with the home-owner and would be searching the house for evidence. The police were there because the pensioner had a firearms licence and they did not search the premises but stayed for four hours while the three Centrelink staff turned the place upside-down. They went through every drawer, read every personal letter, touched every photograph, piece of jewellery and underwear in that house. Nothing was left without their fingerprints spoiling otherwise cherished possessions. They went through our wallets and photographed the contents. I was so distressed I ended up in the backyard being sick. The pensioner, a lovely gentle man in his forties, sat on the kitchen floor with tears streaming down his face crying” I’m sorry, I’m so sorry” to his landlady. My friend, who had never been on a Centrelink benefit in her life, ended up on stress leave for a week. She said it was the second worst day of her life, the worst being the day her mother died. In the end Centrelink dropped their investigation due to lack of evidence. I have never forgotten that day. I can no longer work now due to ill health so I sold my home and bought the cheapest house I could find. I live on $144.00 a week that I earn in interest until I can get my super in four years time. I will never go to Centrelink to be whipped and cowed by them just because I am unable to work. I would rather live in poverty on my own terms than allow them to go through my underwear again.

• Kim Peart in Comments: … The 1950s was a decade of hope, when there was a Fair Go in Australia, when we were working with the Dutch toward the freedom of the whole island of New Guinea. Then the US told us in 1962 to sacrifice the West Papuans, like so many slaves, to buy peace with Indonesia, which I suspect is the action that changed the moral heart of the nation. It was a cruel act and it made us mean. After 1962, the Fair Go was steadily replaced by competition for wealth, in part driven by automation, leading to the present …

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It’s not dirty dairy – it’s dirty people!

Bill Benfield* Pics*
17.07.16 5:00 am

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Another in our series about New Zealand ... and its parallels to Tasmania, whether industrial farming or 1080 ... It is easy from just a simple travel map to tell where “dirty dairy” is ( TT HERE ); easier still from Google Earth. Any river with few or any towns and a vast hinterland of dairy farms will be a candidate. All the major Canterbury rivers, such as the Rakaia or the Ashley, fit the bill. But not all our waterways problems can be laid solely at the door of dirty dairy. Looking at three other river systems where other factors are at play …

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Politics | International | Local | National | New Zealand | State | Economy | Environment | Opinion | History | Personal | Science | Society

Tarkine Embellished in Winter’s Charm ...

Ted Mead* All pictures: Ted Mead
15.07.16 6:30 pm

Image for Tarkine Embellished in Winter’s Charm ...

After a brutal year of fire and flood, the tide has gracefully turned for the Tarkine as this noble land becomes cloaked in the subtleness of winter. Snow in its pure brilliance, falls almost to sea level over the vibrant greenery of Tasmania’s grandest rainforest.

• Dr Nicole Anderson in Comments: What graceful scenes, utterly gorgeous dusted rainforest. Thank you Ted. It was lovely to witness the snowfall clad areas where they were burnt. Almost like nature now soothing the wounds.

• Kevin Kiernan in Comments: Thanks for the pics Ted. Re your comment #13,it is indeed a sad fact that there is a cohort of Tasmanians who never seem to be able to rise beyond their internalised misery to see anything without bitterness.  But don’t let it get to you Ted, though they are a bit sad.  I am reminded of an episode a couple of years ago when the Mercury published an article about a young Tasmanian …

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

Mayor Coad rejects Huon Council’s Mediation Tactics

Cr Peter Coad, Mayor of the Huon Valley Council Media Release Pic*
15.07.16 6:23 pm

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Cr Peter Coad, Mayor of the Huon Valley Council, said today that he would not be taking part in what he sees as the flawed mediation process adopted by the controlling councillor voting block. Mayor Coad said: “I entered these negotiations in good faith and was hoping that an outcome would be achieved for the benefit of the Huon Valley community in general. “However, in my view, council management and certain councilllors have failed to grasp the opportunity that the Minister for Local Government, Peter Gutwein, provided in the seven directives he announced on June 15. Mayor Coad said: “I have written to the Minister advising him that I believe that Council has failed to comply with his first Ministerial Direction directing me and the General Manager to mediate …

The mayor said: “At no stage was I invited to make any recommendations to Council about the person to be appointed as mediator. Instead, I was presented with a pre-prepared list of mediators commissioned by the General Manager. “A belated attempt to cure this flaw came in the form of a two-day EOI (expression of interest) process that was entirely unsatisfactory and represented extremely poor governance …

• Bob Hawkins in Comments: … By the way, the large-type headline on the Mercury’s HVC article on Saturday (July 16), which read ‘Mayor rejects mediation’, was completely incorrect. What the article below it said was that the mayor was rejecting the mediation process being imposed on him by the Heart councillors on the recommendation of the GM. For goodness’ sake, how can two people enter into mediation if they cannot agree on who should be the mediator? All of the mayor’s very reasonable olive branches relating to mediation have been spurned by the Heart councillors.

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

Boris ...

Martyn Turner, Irish Times, used with permission. First published Juy 15
15.07.16 5:00 am

Image for Boris ...

Boris ...

Guardian: ‘Monstrous’ and ‘a liar’ – Germany and France lead criticism of Boris Johnson Europe has reacted furiously to Boris Johnson’s appointment as the UK’s foreign secretary, with the French and German foreign ministers respectively calling him “a liar with his back to the wall” and someone whose behaviour has been “monstrous” …

Politics.co.uk: Everything you need to know about Theresa May’s Brexit nightmare in five minutes

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Politics | International | National | Economy | Opinion | Satire | Society

How technology disrupted the truth ...

Katharine Viner, Guardian. Pic*: myrealnameispete, Flickr
15.07.16 4:45 am

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Lindsay Tuffin: This is an incredibly important story ... with immense implications for a free and fair society. Please read it ... I’ve picked the most important bits ... but the whole dang thing is worth time digesting properly ... Social media has swallowed the news – threatening the funding of public-interest reporting and ushering in an era when everyone has their own facts. But the consequences go far beyond journalism

• Simon Warriner in Comments: You are right, Linz. This is an important story, and an important issue. Real journalism costs real money, and if it cannot be done in the commercial realm then it needs to be funded through the collective mechanisms of government. To get that to happen we need a representative government that is, first and foremost, concerned with serving the common good. Hands up those who can see one of those anywhere close?

• Prem Saraswati in Comments: It is now too late, the proverbial horse is down the road and in the next county. This article omits the major impact of the Neo-Conservative agenda world wide and led by Uncle Rupert to misguide and dumb down the first world in the pursuit of more and more wealth domination by the elite of societies everywhere. It is then no wonder that people are turning en masse away from mainstream traditional journalism.

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Writers | Lindsay Tuffin | Politics | International | Local | National | State | Economy | Environment | Editor's Choice | Opinion | History | Media | Personal | Society

Global map reveals ‘unsafe levels’ of biodiversity across 58pc of Earth’s surface

ABC Science. Pic: Bill Benfield ...
15.07.16 4:30 am

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… Professor David Bowman of the University of Tasmania said the research is significant because it provided a global estimate and it harmonised with what conservation biologists were seeing in ecosystems. …

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

Martial arts a win for Hobart woman in the battle for mental health ...

Carla Johnson. Pic*
15.07.16 4:15 am

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Twelve months ago 28 year-old Carla Johnson couldn’t get out of bed. In January 2015, the Hobart woman left her work and life in Africa, including her beloved fiancé and returned to a successful 9 to 5 job in an office in her home town of Hobart, Tasmania …

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Economy | Opinion | Personal | Society

Why does our outrage just fade away ... ?

Suzanne Cass*, Stop Tasmanian Animal Cruelty 'toon: Leunig, http://www.leunig.com.au/ used with permission. Pic*
14.07.16 6:00 am

Image for Why does our outrage just fade away ... ?

… So on what level can any of this be described as being in any way acceptable in a decent, civilised country? Why does our outrage just fade away - until the next time? Why do we tolerate our government (and that includes the Opposition) having an unashamed agenda of exporting more animals to more destinations - just to kill the long-suffering survivors at the other end? …

There has never been a better time - to hold your parliamentary representatives to account …

Barnaby Joyce Satire, HERE: ‘I haven’t read the report ...’SMH: Barnaby Joyce links NSW greyhound racing ban to Labor’s live animal exports controversy ...

• Andrew in Comments: Thanks for a very thoughtful article, Suzanne. All your points are, sadly, spot on. How can any humane Australian really accept the fact that millions of sheep and cattle are taken out of their relatively normal environments, shipped in disgusting conditions (as you have shown) to the other side of the world and then subjected to slow barbarous deaths after having their throats cut. There is absolutely no justification and the farmers who supply these animals for the live export trade and the politicians who support it should be bloody well ashamed of themselves. I keep a few sheep to keep the grass down and they are friendly, amusing animals with their own personalities and I have no doubt that they suffer just as much as we would if we were subjected to the same disgusting treatment. We are a rich and prosperous country, despite the current rhetoric and can easily live without inflicting this sort of cruelty on animals. It’s a pity that the major parties do not take proactive steps to close down the live export industry and it takes graphic TV documentaries to stir up the public enough to demand action. The good news is that if enough of this media is shown, it might put enough pressure on the politicians to force them to do the right thing.

Lisa Singh on track for the Senate, says Dr Kevin Bonham, HERE … Labor’s Catryna Bilyk and Lisa Singh are likely to be re-elected to the Senate while Liberals David Bushby and Richard Colbeck and the Greens’ Nick McKim may be fighting for the final two seats.  We probably won’t know who will win for sure until all the votes are entered and “the button” is pressed … Comment, if you wish, on Dr Bonham’s website HERE. Or below (personal observations other than general comments, won’t be published ...

Tess Lawrence, Independent Australia: Sexist Michael Kroger’s put down of Cathy McGowan and Independents In a repugnant and patronising radio interview Liberal boss Michael Kroger showed why his Party has squandered what little goodwill they have left in the electorate, writes contributing IA editor-at-large Tess Lawrence.

SMH: Eric Abetz ditches young Liberal dinner as meeting descends into farce Court action could be on the cards after “disgusting” and “unconstitutional” tactics were used to derail the annual meeting of a shadowy organisation for young Liberals. About 100 delegates met in Hobart last week for a conference of the Australian Liberal Students’ Federation, a peak body for dozens of campus Liberal clubs from around the country. But the love-in turned sour on the final day when some attendees attempted to enter the meeting, only to be told they had not registered in time and would be ineligible to vote for the new executive. Security guards, whom organisers claimed belonged to the University of Tasmania but were in a different uniform, blocked delegates from entering the venue. So toxic were the proceedings that Tasmanian Liberal Senator Eric Abetz refused to give the keynote speech at that evening’s gala dinner, with a source describing him as “thoroughly unimpressed”. Turnbull government ministers, senators and MPs hit the phones on Friday afternoon to find out what had happened …

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NATION: Someone else to blame ...

Urban Wronski* http://urbanwronski.com/ . Pic: of Eric Abetz from his website. First published July 12
14.07.16 5:45 am

Image for NATION: Someone else to blame ...

It was Getup; it was Labor’s lies about Medicare. It was the super changes. It was the electorate getting it wrong. It was a week of finding someone else to blame. Liberal Party power broker, Tasmanian senator Eric Abetz is almost quick enough off the blocks to lead of the Coalition’s nation-wide chorus of denial, its political feature of the week, with his bizarre defence of his party over its election rout. For Andrew Nikolic, the 10.6 % swing which lost him the marginal Bass to Labor’s Ross Hart resulted from a “dishonest, nasty, personal campaign.” That nicely clears up any confusion about the role of his refusal to talk with any but pro-Liberal voters …

• Steve Biddulph in Comments: Brilliant, Urban, thankyou!

• Greg James in Comments: … Abetz led those Liberals into this hole and should pay for it by resigning in favor of Colbeck a more certain vote winner and leader, who has the ear of the Prime Minister.

ABC: Former SAS commander breaks silence on Tampa Former Defence Force personnel have spoken out about the Tampa and children overboard affair, accusing the Howard government of manipulating events for political purposes …

Lisa Singh on track for the Senate, says Dr Kevin Bonham, HERE … Labor’s Catryna Bilyk and Lisa Singh are likely to be re-elected to the Senate while Liberals David Bushby and Richard Colbeck and the Greens’ Nick McKim may be fighting for the final two seats.  We probably won’t know who will win for sure until all the votes are entered and “the button” is pressed … Comment, if you wish, on Dr Bonham’s website HERE. Or below (personal observations other than general comments, won’t be published ...

Tess Lawrence, Independent Australia: Sexist Michael Kroger’s put down of Cathy McGowan and Independents In a repugnant and patronising radio interview Liberal boss Michael Kroger showed why his Party has squandered what little goodwill they have left in the electorate, writes contributing IA editor-at-large Tess Lawrence.

SMH: Eric Abetz ditches young Liberal dinner as meeting descends into farce Court action could be on the cards after “disgusting” and “unconstitutional” tactics were used to derail the annual meeting of a shadowy organisation for young Liberals. About 100 delegates met in Hobart last week for a conference of the Australian Liberal Students’ Federation, a peak body for dozens of campus Liberal clubs from around the country. But the love-in turned sour on the final day when some attendees attempted to enter the meeting, only to be told they had not registered in time and would be ineligible to vote for the new executive. Security guards, whom organisers claimed belonged to the University of Tasmania but were in a different uniform, blocked delegates from entering the venue. So toxic were the proceedings that Tasmanian Liberal Senator Eric Abetz refused to give the keynote speech at that evening’s gala dinner, with a source describing him as “thoroughly unimpressed”. Turnbull government ministers, senators and MPs hit the phones on Friday afternoon to find out what had happened …

• Luigi in Comments: We are starting to see the new Liberal government step away from its pre-election commitment to increase taxation on superannuation earnings held by the very rich.  HERE . That was a promise that has served its purpose and is no longer needed.  It swayed many non-wealthy middle-class voters that a Liberal government would be fair. Bill Shorten cannot complain if the Libs ditch the promise.  After all, he insists that Malcolm does not have a mandate for any pre-election policies.  The Libs can start with a clean slate and look after the folk who really support them.

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

CHILCOT REPORT: Crushing Iraq War verdict ...

Lindsay Tuffin*. Pic: DonkeyHotey, Flickr, First published July 7
14.07.16 5:35 am

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This time it didn’t work, despite millions worldwide marching in protest ... Forty five (or was it six) years ago I reported the marches which - by sheer people power - led eventually to the end of the Vietnam War. They were huge, even in Hobart. And I was a fringe dweller, deeply sympathetic to the cause of ending the war, but ‘objectively’ reporting from the sidelines of the march. Not so in 2002. I, along with thousands in Hobart, marched against the invasion of Iraq

Andrew Wilkie in Media HERE: … Then Prime Minister John Howard took Australia to war on the basis of a lie and stands accused of war crimes. That he has never been held to account, and that his Foreign Minister Alexander Downer is now Australian High Commissioner to London, is quite simply outrageous …

• Hans Willink in Comments: … At the time I was still a member of the Liberal Party and a member of the Army Reserve. With options to protest limited without “leaving the tent”, I chose to piss from within it. As a Branch President attending the annual Tasmanian Liberal State conference, I tabled a constitutional amendment limiting the declaration of war powers of Australian Prime Ministers. Needless to say, I was out gamed by “he who must not be named”, who placed the motion last on the agenda, thereby ensuring insufficient time for it to be debated or voted on …

Read for yourself ... The Iraq inquiry

Guardian Opinion: A country ruined, trust shattered, a reputation trashed

• Tim Thorne in Comments: Wars are great for business.  The Iraq War 2003—? has been the most profitable yet.  Such wars will continue as long as ripping children’s limbs off continues to fund Armani suits and luxury holidays. It is dangerously subversive to protest against one of the chief props of our capitalist way of life.  Without war we would be much poorer.  Of course, as we are a democratic society, those of us who choose to do so will be allowed to protest for as long as we are ineffective. But it might be worth pondering that phrase “will be allowed”.  Are you comforted or scared by the fact that there is permission being given, a situation which implies that such permission could be withdrawn at any time, and which assumes that there is a permission giver?

Independent: Iraq and the Rupert Murdoch connection: The media mogul’s network of pro-war campaigners Back in 2003, the Murdoch-owned press beat the drum for the Iraq War, but few of the key players got a mention in the Chilcot report

Bazza’s view: ‘The Iraq conflict is going swimmingly. I expect oil ...’

Tim Dunlop: Journalism, power and taking sides

• Lynne Newington in Comments: An article worthy of mention, written by Professor of International Politics Mark Beeson on The Conversation, HERE

Katharine Viner, Guardian: How technology disrupted the truth Social media has swallowed the news – threatening the funding of public-interest reporting and ushering in an era when everyone has their own facts. But the consequences go far beyond journalism

• Geoff Mosley in Comments: Re the inquiry (56) concerning the closing off of the Antarctic to all military action and mineral activities the details can be found in my book ‘Saving the Antarctic Wilderness’. The Antarctic Treaty was signed in 1959 and came into force in 1961. In 1991 the Madrid Protocol banned all mineral activity indefinitely and designated Antarctic as a ‘Natural Reserve for Peace and Science’. It entered into force in 1998. The obvious next step is for all nations to share the finest example of international cooperation for peace and conservation by having the continent included on the World Heritage List. Unfortunately, we are going through a long phase where vision is in very short supply.

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Writers | Lindsay Tuffin | Politics | International | National | State | Economy | Environment | Opinion | History | Media | Society

Huon Valley Guessing Games: A council with no shame

Bob Hawkins* Pic* First published July 11
14.07.16 5:30 am

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ON a field of battle, and with all’s-fair-in-war the rules, such a struggle would go down in the annals as a memorable rearguard action that defiantly resisted the inevitable: defeat. Glory words — implacable, defiant, legend, freedom, true grit, justice — would flow, and the heroes would be well sung. In the battleground that was Huonville Council Chambers last Monday evening (July 4), there was no actual blood-letting — but it was the scene of a dogged rearguard action by council’s controlling Heart of the Huon (HotH) group.

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Writers | Bob Hawkins | Politics | Local | State | Forestry | Economy | Environment | Editor's Choice | Opinion | History | Planning/Heritage | Legal | Society

NZ: The horror of wild animal poisoning

John Veysey* CDA, Coromandel, NZ
13.07.16 5:01 am

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NZ shares with Tasmania so much ... including Gondwana and the use of the poison 1080 ... In New Zealand, where the people had become accustomed to their forests teeming with hikers, hunters and trappers, it came as a shock when their government decided to replace hunting and trapping with an animal control policy using poison. Not just poison - where once there were traps - but blanket poisoning from the air.

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Writers | David Obendorf | Politics | International | National | New Zealand | State | Economy | Environment | Editor's Choice | Health | Opinion | Planning/Heritage | Personal | Science | Society

SMH pulls Neill-Fraser article, apologises to Tim Ellis ...

Ben Lohberger* Pic*
12.07.16 5:33 am

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The Sydney Morning Herald has apologised to former DPP Tim Ellis SC for misrepresenting facts presented at Susan Neill-Fraser’s murder trial - nine weeks after Good Weekend magazine (GW) published the cover story ‘Waters of Doubt’ (Saturday 7 May), before pulling it several days later.

NOTE: Ben’s articles are open for general comment, but any personal comments relating to Ben must be directed to him personally (via his Twitter account @benglenhuon). Ben, of course, agrees not to post personal comments about other posters on his articles. Ben is always happy to debate the issues ... he just doesn’t want to have to debate him …

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Economy | Opinion | Legal | Society

Tasmania Police to look further into Fox Taskforce allegations

Chris Clarke, Examiner. Link first published April 23
12.07.16 5:25 am

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TASMANIA Police will conduct “further inquiries” into allegations of corruption in the former state government’s Fox Taskforce.

• Lyndall Rowley in Comments: Being fairly naive to all of the comings and goings of this fox incursion story, it seems obvious to the onlooker that something has gone terribly wrong with the processes within the system. With so much time and money spent without incontrovertible proof of foxes living (and presumably breeding and eating) in Tasmania, I’m very surprised that the feds did not seriously question the ongoing funding of this some years ago, simply on that basis alone. (I’m not entering into the actual hoax or not hoax, or any fraud or cover-up side of things). I’m going to stick my neck out and risk a flood of criticism. But if we were having a coffee and a chat, I’d like to have a conversation about these things and bounce a few ideas around. …

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Politics | National | State | Economy | Environment | History | Legal | Society

MEDIA: Perfect storm facing digital news. Latest circn figs? Guardian’s great article ...

Paul Barry, Media Watch, ABC. First published June 17
12.07.16 5:20 am

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From ad blockers, to Facebook and consumers who refuse to pay. It’s the challenge facing digital news and no one’s sure what the solution is.

• JDDN in Comments: It has nothing to do with the platform of revenue, rather the quality of content that is being produced. I think you’ll find a correlation between loss of revenue and terrible click bait, biased ‘SJW’ themed journalism …

• Mike in Comments: I know it might sound like an absurd idea, but perhaps they could try telling the truth for a change? …

Mumbrella: What appears to be the latest circulation figures …  Merc (M-F) down 4.6 per cent; Merc Sat down 6.5 per cent; Suntas down 5.7 per cent ...

Katharine Viner, Guardian: How technology disrupted the truth Social media has swallowed the news – threatening the funding of public-interest reporting and ushering in an era when everyone has their own facts. But the consequences go far beyond journalism …

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9 comments

Writers | Don Knowler | Politics | International | Local | National | New Zealand | State | Economy | Environment | Editor's Choice | Opinion | Media | Society

A Mobile-Friendly Upgrade Report ...

Lindsay Tuffin*.
12.07.16 5:15 am

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First of all a huge thanks to the monthly supporters including JB, PJB, AD, Anon, Anon, Anon, Anon, Anon, Monthly Subs, O’Dw, N&CG, WB, among others. Thankyou Guyzzzz …

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Writers | Lindsay Tuffin | Blogging | Media | Society