Media

In Their Own Words

Editor
01.03.11 12:00 am

MEDIA RELEASES:GovernmentGreens TasmaniaAustralian Greens, Bob BrownAustralian Greens, Christine MilneTasmanian LiberalsTasmanian Liberals, Will HodgmanTasmanian Labor, David BartlettFederal LaborFederal LiberalAustralian DemocratsTasmanian Socialist AllianceAustralian Socialist AllianceEthics & Sustainability PartySenator Online - Australia’s first and only internet based political partySustainable Population Party

0 comments

Politics | Media

Don Morris: Support for National Parks eco-tourism

Don Morris, Liberal for Rosevears
19.04.14 10:11 am

The promise by the Hodgman Liberal Government to grow visitor numbers in national parks is another example of ensuring Tasmania is open for business.

Liberal Candidate for Rosevears Don Morris said that sensitive and appropriate development in and around parks and reserves will unlock the potential of our iconic tourist destinations.

“There is a huge potential to tap into international eco-tourism, especially from Europe, and Tasmania is being left behind.

“Tasmania’s natural beauty is well known, so this way we can add to its visitor appeal through eco-tourism,” Don Morris said.

“I would hope that this is at least one issue my opponent at the 3 May election can agree on for the benefit of Tasmanian jobs and investment.

“The new government will encourage development in our national parks by calling for expression of interest from tourism investors and operators for low-impact eco-tourism experiences”.

The Tasmanian Liberals want to grow the number of visitors to the state to 1.5 million by 2020, which the industry says represents 8000 new jobs.

“Opening national parks to sensible development is one important way this can be achieved,” Don Morris said.

0 comments

Household Hazardous Waste and The Tasmanian Conservationist ...

Peter McGlone Director Tasmanian Conservation Trust Inc http://www.tct.org.au
18.04.14 2:16 pm

Over the last 12 months the public debate over the proposed Copping hazardous waste disposal landfill (or C-cell) has been the catalyst for a renewed debate about a range of waste management issues.

The proponent of the Copping C-cell, Southern Waste Solutions, has suggested a number of times that the community should refrain from criticizing the C-cell because most of us are probably sending household hazardous waste (HHW) to existing landfill sites, which are not designed to contain such wastes, and that this is probably causing significant environmental harm and risk to human health. The TCT will continue to criticise the proposal for a C-cell but we do agree that it is not acceptable to send HHW to landfill.

HHW includes a wide range of materials commonly used in households but which are toxic, corrosive, inflammable or have reactive ingredients.

If you have hazardous waste and attempt to find a safe means of disposing of it you will discover it is very difficult to find out what you should do and, in some critical areas, there seems to be no acceptable disposal option.

Tasmanian household hazardous waste pilot collection program

In response to the absence of appropriate means of disposing of HHW, the ‘Tasmanian household hazardous waste pilot collection program’ operated from March 2009 until December 2012, offering Tasmanians an opportunity to safely dispose of household chemicals.

A strategic review of the program was undertaken and findings are presented in a report which is available on the Local Government Association of Tasmania website at http://www.lgat.tas.gov.au/ page.aspx?u=512
The project proved very popular and collected a large amount of hazardous waste which would otherwise have gone to landfill, but was discontinued when the original funding ran out. As stated in the review, while an effective program it was also an expensive one.

The pilot collection program review report found that, over those three years the pilot collection program offered 34 drop-off days across 24 local council jurisdictions, with 2658 people surrendering 78,529kg of material at a total cost of $967,959.

The first of its kind in Tasmania, the jointly funded ($500,000 each) state- and local-government project demonstrated the benefits of statewide partnership projects. Interestingly 59.2% of all material collected was paint.

The pilot collection program review called for ongoing government funding but also recommended that more could be achieved using existing resources, such as collection points at waste transfer stations, more effectively, seeking private sponsorship for mobile Low Volume High Toxicity (LVHT) drop-off days and investigating schemes to make producers more responsible for disposal of their hazardous wastes.

These were the recommendations of the review:

• Design and provide funding for a statewide network of permanent drop-off sites for High Volume Low Toxicity (HVLT) items (82% of material by volume) such as paint, batteries, gas bottles, fluoro tubes and aerosols. Where such collections already exist, consider the option of expanding and/or creating a regional centre for collection and consolidation of material. This will allow for greater economies of scale, reduce the cost per kilo for transport and treatment, and allow greater opportunity for direct reuse (e.g. paint) via resource recovery operations.

• Provide regionally focused mobile drop-off locations targeting Low Volume High Toxicity (LVHT) materials. Mobile collection days are expensive to host and should aim to collect only highly toxic material.

• Develop a register system for participants using mobile drop-off days. This ensures greater effectiveness of offering mobile days, allows better planning and higher quality of service with reduced overheads.

• Marketing to utilise a variety of options such as letterbox drops, newspaper, radio, television, local government and state government promotional avenues. Support should also be provided for a freecall number and message bank service, and website.
• Actively pursue cost-saving measures by reuse, recycling and recovery of commodities, for example supporting and engaging reuse operations (e.g. tip shops).

• Engage Tasmanian organisations to assist financially with and/or in-kind sponsoring of mobile LVHT drop-off days and permanent HVLT sites.

• Train local/state government to operate components of the mobile drop-off days to help reduce operational costs.

• Partake in discussions regarding extended producer responsibility (EPR) schemes, and national or state product stewardship arrangements.

This is an extract from an article by Tasmanian Conservation Trust Director, Peter McGlone taken from the latest issue of the Tasmanian Conservtionist (#331). Read the full article on what the current state of play is with household hazardous waste (HHW) and how to improve it, what is wrong with HHW management and what to do or what you can’t do with car tyres, household batteries, TVs and e-waste, fluorescent tubes, pharmaceuticals.

Go to:

http://www.tct.org.au

for this, and more articles…

0 comments

Religious group calls to respect Australia’s natural heritage ...

Thea Ormerod, President, Australian Religious Response to Climate Change
18.04.14 7:53 am

... on the International Day of Monuments and sites

Faith-based environment organisation the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change has today called for Australians to reflect on the importance of protecting Australia’s World Heritage Sites. This includes ensuring large tracts of Tasmania’s forests are not opened for logging by the Federal Government.

April 18th is both Good Friday and the International Day for Monuments and Sites, which celebrates the values of World Heritage sites[1]. Australia has 18 such Sites, including the Great Barrier Reef, the Sydney Opera House and Kakadu.

“Today Christians pause to reflect on Jesus’ commitment to do what is right no matter what the cost. His example inspires us to do likewise. Today is also the International Day for Monuments and Sites, and in the Australia of 2014 this brings to mind a far less edifying picture,” said Thea Ormerod, President of the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change.

“Our Federal Government is prepared to turn their back on international commitments to protect World Heritage sites. Thus we have witnessed decisions to allow dredging in a section of Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and plans to remove 74,000 hectares of wild Tasmanian forest from the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area for logging.”

“Good Friday is a day we Christians contemplate God’s vision of power, seen on the cross. Power is used to serve others, especially the weak, even at great personal cost, rather than to protect one’s own interests and those of one’s allies. It is the kind of power known to 74-year-old American-born missionary Sister Dorothy Stang, who was assassinated on 12 February 2005 for defending the Amazon forest and rural workers in Brazil. She often wore a t-shirt that said ‘The death of the forest is the death of life’”.

“This is such a stark contrast to the way power is used by the Federal Government. Here power is being used to summarily dump an agreement between conservationists and the Tasmanian forestry industry which took years to build. On this important day, we ask the Australian Government to end its action to open World Heritage forests for logging.”

“The way of Jesus Christ is a way of taking care of the weak and vulnerable, and in today’s world this means our dwindling forests and the now precarious stability of the world’s climate systems. Old growth forests such as those in Tasmania are not only vital habitats for many unique but rapidly diminishing species, they are also important carbon sinks.”

“It is often asked, what would Jesus do? Would he stand by and do nothing when the capacity of earth’s eco-systems to sustain life is being so seriously compromised? Could it possibly be God’s will that Creation is mercilessly exploited for the short-term profits or political interests of the few?”

0 comments

Last days of the Wooden Boat Raffle ...

Wooden Boat News, Peregrine School
18.04.14 7:41 am

image

... and your last chance to win ‘Nina’!

... or a ten day cruise to New Zealand!

As you may know, the Wooden Boat Raffle is a major fundraiser for our school, and enables us to offer bursaries to families who might otherwise not be able to access our small community school.

This year, we have added a second major prize to our raffle with the aim of supporting more families. We hope you like it and continue to support us!

You can help us by buying tickets in our ...

All the details, here

0 comments

Royal Hobart Hospital redevelopment neglects mental health consumers’ voice

Miranda Ashby, Executive Officer
18.04.14 7:36 am

image

To date the redevelopment of the Royal Hobart Hospital has not adequately engaged with the people who will be most affected- people with mental illness.

“It appears that even setting out with the best intentions of designing a better hospital to meet the needs of patients and hospital staff into the future, mental health consumers have been largely overlooked in the process.  For example, they still don’t know the final design, and from a more immediate perspective,how theywill be affected once thebuilding works have commenced,” Miranda Ashby, Executive Officer of Flourish Mental Health Action In Our Hands Inc. stated.

“Flourish Mental Health Action In Our Hands Inc. has been requesting direct engagement of mental health consumers in the design of the temporary mental health facilities for some months now” said Miranda.

Flourish is urgently seeking a meeting with the new Health Minister, Michael Ferguson, MHA, to discuss consumer concerns and needs in the coming months.

Flourish Mental Health Action In Our Hands Inc. is an independent organisation which aims to further the interests and needs of mental health consumers in Tasmania.Flourish seeks to provide a strong voice for the views of mental health consumers in Tasmania, develop people’s capacity to participate meaningfully in society, and experience fair access to quality services which reflect their needs. Flourish is funded by the Department Of Health and Human Services.

http://flourishtas.org.au/

0 comments

High demand for financial counselling

Bronwen Hayes, Anglicare
18.04.14 7:27 am

Any cuts to the $20 million Federal funding for financial counselling services will have grim outcomes for
Tasmanians struggling to pay for essentials goods and services or to break free of debt.

Anglicare CEO Chris Jones said today that cuts to services would lead to an increase in bankruptcy levels
and debt recovery costs. “Every week, our counsellors meet with people who feel they’ve run out of
options. The support offered by a trained counsellor provides fresh hope – and that’s invaluable in terms
of the benefits for family relationships, mental health and well-being, and even suicide prevention,” he
said.

Financial counselling provides support that is free, independent and confidential. “People tell us that it’s
like a light at the end of the tunnel when they are feeling stressed and not sure what to do next,” said Dr
Jones. Financial counsellors explain consumer rights and responsibilities. They help people to organise
their budgets, manage debt or access useful services.

There is very high demand for this service. Anglicare provides face-to-face financial counselling in cities
and regional centres state-wide. “However, even at the current funding level, it is not uncommon for
someone in financial stress to have to wait weeks to meet with a financial counsellor,” said Dr Jones.

“The national phone helpline was introduced in response to the backlogs being experienced across the
country. That has helped, but even that is not entirely keeping up with the high demand”.

If funding cuts are announced in the Federal budget, Anglicare Tasmania will be forced to reduce services.
According to Financial Counselling Australia, a funding reduction would lead to the shutting down of the
national helpline 1800 007 007.

More than 5500 Tasmanians have been assisted by financial counsellors at Anglicare Tasmania so far this
financial year. The most common enquiries relate to electricity bills or credit/debt issues. Anglicare also
provides community education workshops.

Anglicare Tasmania has joined a national call for the Federal Government to end current funding
uncertainty and immediately make clear their plans for financial counselling funding.

0 comments

Brand Tasmania: April 2014

Robert Heazlewood Executive Director, Brand Tasmania
18.04.14 7:22 am

image

Read Tasmania’s stories, here

0 comments

First annivesary of NZ marriage equality law

Deputy Director of Australian Marriage Equality, Ivan Hinton-Teoh
18.04.14 6:57 am

-      FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF NEW ZEALAND’S MARRIAGE EQUALITY LAW PASSING THROUGH PARLIAMENT

-      ALMOST A THIRD OF SAME SEX MARRIAGES IN NEW ZEALAND ARE AUSTRALIAN CITIZENS

On the first anniversary of New Zealand passing marriage equality laws the need for marriage equality in Australia is highlighted by the large number of Australian citizens celebrating their vows across the ditch.

From 19 August 2013, when the law became operational, to 31 March 2014 there was a total of 385 female couples and 285 male couples.  It was reported in January that at the time about a third of these marriages were Australians.

Deputy Director of Australian Marriage Equality, Ivan Hinton-Teoh, said,
“While thousands of Australian families continue to hold hope that marriage equality will be achieved in Australia soon many others are not waiting.  With New Zealand willing to provide the dignity of equality many couples are taking their family and friends the short flight over the Tasman”.

Mandy and Katrina Crocker travelled from their home in Wagga Wagga, NSW to Canberra to celebrate their vows in December last year.

“After the High Court voided our marriage we decided that celebrating our relationship in a country that respects us as equals was essential.  We’re not waiting for Australia to catch up and we’ve already booked our flights to New Zealand,” Mandy said.

Hinton-Teoh said,
“While New Zealand provides for freedom and dignity for all people these marriages are still not recognised in Australia.  We encourage federal politicians to support Senator Sarah Hanson Young’s bill to recognise all overseas marriages.”

Several countries that have not achieved marriage equality nonetheless recognise international same sex marriages including Japan, Slovenia, Israel and, most recently, Italy.

1 comments

Cassy O’Connor: Serious concerns over new planning appointment

Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens Local Government and Planning spokesperson
17.04.14 3:20 pm

The appointment of Property Council CEO, Mary Massina, to head up the Hodgman Government’s planning taskforce raises concerns that developers will have priority over community rights, Tasmanian Greens Local Government and Planning spokesperson, Cassy O’Connor said today.

“Ms Massina has been the voice of property developers in Tasmania for many years.  The risk is that, as Executive Commissioner of the new Taskforce, she will follow through on her years of lobbying to tip the planning balance in favour of developers at the expense of the community.”

“Tasmanians have a right to have a say about development proposals that affect their lives and wellbeing, through our independent planning system.”

“Those public rights are under threat as the big end of town now holds enormous sway with the Liberal Government which has made it clear it will back the big dollars over the community having a say.”

“The Greens are very concerned that the Hodgman Government’s blindly pro-development planning agenda will lead to fast-tracking, failure to fully assess community, environmental and long-term economic impacts as well as deny public input.”

“The test for Ms Massina will be to act independently and weigh all the interests involved in planning - not just those of developers - in the advice she gives to the new government,” Ms O’Connor said.

0 comments

Advocates hope to persuade Baird on marriage equality/free votes

Australian Marriage Equality national director, Rodney Croome
17.04.14 3:17 pm

Marriage equality advocates will seek a meeting with new NSW Premier, Mike Baird, to urge him to support marriage equality and a federal Coalition free vote.

Mr Baird has previously stated his opposition to same-sex marriages and voted against same-sex adoption.

Australian Marriage Equality national director, Rodney Croome, said,

“There are many examples of social conservatives changing their minds on marriage equality and we hope Mike Baird can be persuaded too.”

“At the least, we hope Mr Baird will support a federal free vote on marriage equality, and become an advocate for it to Tony Abbott.”

“We will seek a meeting with Mr Baird and encourage other supporters of marriage equality to do the same.”

0 comments

World Heritage Mockery

SENATOR THE HON RICHARD COLBECK Senator for Tasmania Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture
17.04.14 3:14 pm

image

This photograph was taken inside the recently extended Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area – it is an example of an area that Labor, the Greens and ENGO’s say is pristine, untouched forest.

They claim this forest has “outstanding” wilderness values and is suitable for Wilderness World Heritage listing.

These areas have in fact been harvested over many years, yet forestry operations have caused such little long-term damage that the Greens now claim they are World Heritage quality.

The Australian forestry industry is undeniably sustainable and does not destroy our forests as the Greens continue to claim in their confused and contradictory statements.

Forestry can provide dividends for the environment, the community and industry.

The fact that areas like this are now included in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area makes a mockery of the Labor/Green nomination to extend the area in 2013.

More tomorrow.

0 comments

Tasmanian property industry’s confidence returns

Tim Johnstone, TAS President Property Council of Australia, Paul Braddick ANZ Head of Property Research
17.04.14 1:52 pm

On the back of the March 2014 State election results, Tasmania’s property industry has had a seven
point jump in confidence, according to the latest Property Council/ANZ Property Industry Confidence
Survey.

The eleventh survey, which is the largest of its kind in the country, shows Tasmania’s property industry
sentiment has jumped 32 points over the last 12 months to sit for the first time in the survey’s history at
128 points*.

Property Council Tasmanian President Tim Johnstone, said the results were promising and showed that
the industry had the spring back in its feet.

“Respondents to the survey have indicated their confidence through a number of measures such as the
expectation of increased staffing levels and work schedules over the next 12 months,” Mr Johnstone
said.

“It is clear that having a majority government, coupled with the quick action by the new government in
announcing the $10 million water and sewerage developer charges holiday and the announcement of
the implementation of the planning reform agenda, appear to be winning the industry’s confidence.

“Across a number of key indices, such as capital values across all asset classes, staffing level expectations
and forward work schedules are all looking positive.

“Combined with the respondents’ belief that the next 12 months will see positive state economic
growth, the index shows a positive jump of four points to 100.”

Mr Johnstone said the survey reflected that the industry was looking forward, which was in line with
other business confidence surveys recently released.

The survey polled approximately 2,500 professionals from the property industry in all states and
territories for their forward-looking views.

ANZ Head of Property Research, Paul Braddick said Tasmanian property sentiment increased to an alltime
high in the June quarter, reflecting an improving economic outlook following two years of very
weak conditions.

“Despite a subdued outlook for commercial property construction activity, likely reflecting a soft
business investment environment, the property sector expects capital growth across all commercial
property sectors in the coming year. In addition, housing market activity is expected to improve with
expectations of further gains in house prices and residential construction activity.” Mr Braddick said.

* A score of 100 is considered neutral.

Full results (including graph) are available at:
http://www.propertyoz.com.au/confidence

0 comments

The EDO Bulletin ...

Environmental Defenders' Office
17.04.14 1:49 pm

image

Read here

0 comments

‘Waging Peace on War’

Sam Castro, Greg Rolles, Kaz Cochrane
17.04.14 1:40 pm

image

Peace activists to stage mass protest actions in Canberra on ANZAC EVE 24th April 2014

Anti War campaigners and peace activists from across Australia will descend on the Nation’s Capital for the Canberra Peace Convergence (22-25th April 2014) and for a day of Mass Protest Action on ANZAC EVE, in attempt to break the world record for most protests in one day and to expose Australia’s complicity with the global corporate, military, surveillance State that is operating in Canberra.

WACA (Whistleblowers, Activists & Citizens Alliance) will be joined by leading peace and anti- war campaigners from around Australia, including, international guest, ex marine and US Iraq War Veteran Vincent Emanuele, who will be in Canberra for the IPAN National Peace Conference (22 APRIL 2014) and for the Peace Convergence being hosted at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy.

Activists will kick off the week with the IPAN Peace Conference (22nd April 2014) and build towards ANZAC Day with a ‘Waging Peace On War’ mass day of action in Canberra on Thursday. 24th April.

WACA Spokesperson Sam Castro stated
“US Iraq War Veteran Vincent Emanuele will speak at several protest locations including the US Embassy, about the illegal wars his country has waged as well as the consequences for civilian populations of those countries and the impact on the soldiers participating in Iraq and Afghanistan wars”

Ms Castro further explained
“The Waging Peace on War world record protest action is an attempt to draw the public’s awareness to the fact that the ANZAC myth ignores the realities of war. It is time we highlighted the countries, corporations, government departments and think tanks that are engaged in waging war in various forms across the globe for massive profits at the expense of humanity and the environment.”

Activists will also target TPP participants to highlight the dangers of multilateral trade agreement empowering the ‘rights’ of corporations while dismantling the protection that nation state sovereignty provides communities to make independent economic, social and environmental policy.

On ANZAC DAY those at the Peace Convergence will join the “Lest We Forget the Frontier Wars” Anzac Day March. NyoongarGhurradjongMurriGhillar (Michael Anderson) will lead the march, as an original founder of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy and now a leading voice on Aboriginal Sovereignty issues. Participants will be invited to carry flags, banners and massacre naming placards and join the March and its call for recognition by the Australian War Memorial of the dead of Australia’s Frontier Wars

Friday Afternoon on ANZAC DAY at the Sacred Fire of Peace and Justice at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy, interested individuals will have the opportunity to make peace with First Nation peoples of Australia by signing a Natural Law Treaty that recognizes Aboriginal Sovereignty. It’s a contract between willing individuals and the Tent Embassy.

Details, links, here

0 comments

Paying it forward with laughter

Mental Health Carers Tasmania (MCHTas) in conjunction with RACT
17.04.14 1:09 pm

Building wellness and resilience is a proven asset for individuals’ health and wellbeing, and
given depression is set to become the biggest health problem in the world by 2020, Pay it
Forward day is set to inject laughter and kindness into the lives of Tasmanians.

Mental Health Carers Tasmania (MCHTas) in conjunction with RACT, are holding three
interactive workshops with Award-winning Joyologist Bronwen Williams, to bring happiness and
joy to the Tasmanian community as part of International Pay it Forward day.

MCHTas Chief Executive Officer Wendy Groot said Pay it Forward day was all about giving,
and what better gift to give than the gift of laughter.

“Laughter therapy can help to burn calories, boost blood flow and overall help people have a
healthier headspace, and we saw no more fitting way to celebrate the day than celebrating it
with laughter,” Ms Groot said.

“Pay it Forward day is about making a positive difference, whether it be leaving encouraging
post-it notes in library books, or baking cookies and sharing them with a neighbour or
colleague.

“The idea is that the favour is then passed on by the recipient to another individual, resulting in
a domino-effect of kindness throughout the community.”

Ms Groot said the workshop facilitator, Bronwen Williams, had extensive experience in the
transformative power of laughter and was also an avid practitioner of paying it forward.

It is certain that Bronwyn will have attendees not only chuckling for an hour, but also leaving
the sessions feeling more joyful and positive about life,” she said.

“Each of the three workshops will focus on different areas, including a workshop for families,
one on community development and one that focuses specifically on the workplace
environment.

“The workplace session is a fantastic team building exercise as nothing cuts through barriers,
builds morale or reduces stress like a laughter session, whereas the family sessions allow for
joyful family bonding time – there really is a workshop that will appeal to everyone.”

The workshops will be held on International Pay it Forward day which falls on Thursday, 24
April 2014. Cost of participation is $10 per person, per session with children free for the
families’ workshop.

To RSVP please phone 6228 7448 or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). For more
information visit http://www.mentalhealthcarerstas.org.au.

0 comments

Enjoy Australian Seafood this Easter

SENATOR THE HON RICHARD COLBECK Senator for Tasmania Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture
17.04.14 12:36 pm

Easter is a busy time for Australia’s seafood industry which supports thousands of jobs nationally.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, Senator Richard Colbeck, said an Easter tradition for many Australian families involves eating a meal of fresh fish, prawns and other delicious seafood.

He encourages consumers to support the Australian seafood industry by asking their fishmonger or retailer for some locally caught or harvested produce.

“Australian seafood is unparalleled. Not only does it taste great, but our fisheries are widely recognised among the best managed in the world,” Senator Colbeck said.

“By choosing Australian seafood, consumers can be assured they are enjoying good quality produce and supporting local jobs.”

Senator Colbeck said Australia’s seafood industry is a valuable contributor to the economy, with a gross production value of $2.3 billion last year alone.

“Aussies have been eating seafood at Easter for decades. It’s ingrained in our culture and in many family traditions,” he said.

“When you buy Australian seafood, you’ll be serving up tasty, healthy food to your family and friends and can feel confident that you’re supporting local jobs.”

0 comments

Jan Davis: You have to draw a line in the sand somewhere

TFGA CEO Jan Davis' Tasmanian Country column today
17.04.14 12:32 pm

Nobody wants to remain in a constant state of hostilities; and I am sure we all want to put the so-called forestry wars behind us. Certainly, those of us on the industry side wish it were so.

Having said that, you have to draw a line in the sand somewhere.

We sought to do that last year when, ostracised from the so-called peace talks, we attempted to put private forestry’s point of view to state parliament over the legislation to enact the Tasmanian forestry agreement and to the then federal government when it flagged its nomination of additional Tasmanian land to the World Heritage Area.

On both counts, our pleas fell on deaf ears – with the negotiators, with Labor and the Greens and with a majority of members of the Legislative Council.

The fact that we were excluded from discussions, overlooked by the so-called peace brokers, was nothing short of insulting. The Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association represents farmers who manage 880,000 ha of private forests in the state, more than a quarter of the total forest cover, yet we were to have no say in the resolution of forest conflict. Nobody could argue seriously that we didn’t have skin in the game. We did and we were ignored.

There is only one thing better than an election to establish a mandate in the public interest: that is two elections. Twice in recent months, the people of Tasmania voted with their feet and voiced their disapproval about the process we had all endured. The Coalition in Canberra and the Liberals in Hobart both have mandates to revisit the forestry agreement and the World Heritage Area extension.

Our support for these reviews is not an act of bastardry or revenge. It is a matter of equity and fair play. Every dog has its day.

The forestry agreement was always a political compromise foisted on the state by minority governments in Canberra and Hobart. there is no doubt it was the product of a flawed process.

Our view is that the legislation enabling the agreement did not reflect any of the four original principles that were outlined to the public by the signatory group at the outset of their peace talks.
It did not guarantee an end to conflict, because it could never capture all those groups whose very existence depends on continuing conflict.

It was not going to lead to the reopening of the Triabunna woodchip mill, because we know that that was never the plan of the people who bought it from Gunns.

It was not going to provide a guaranteed resource for a pulp mill, because opponents of the industry remain implacably opposed to a pulp mill.

It could not quarantine the private forest estate from the adverse impacts of the lock-down, because private forests never got a look in.

As farmers, we want to move on from the forest wars. However, we will not accept peace at any price - and the price demanded by the forestry agreement was too high for anyone who had skin in the game.

The state and federal governments now have the chance to develop more effective outcomes for both industry and the environment.

Looking to the future and developing a clear understanding of the entire industry and the full range of potential markets would be a great start - rather than trying to drive future industry structure and markets by looking in the rear vision mirror. A science-based conservation strategy based on detailed studies and expert input would deliver more sustainable ecosystem outcomes, too. There are plenty of industry analysts, scientists, ecologists, population planners and foresters even within the government who would be only too willing to assist in providing expertise and support to a new and inclusive process.

That would be a win-win outcome - and one that is well within our grasp.

12 comments

Move brings style and technology together in Melbourne

Move
17.04.14 12:11 pm

image

Sydney, Australia – 16 April 2014 – Australia’s first Move store in Melbourne launches today Wednesday
16 April in the Emporium building in Lonsdale Street. The Melbourne store is the second of its kind in
Australia, since the brand’s launch in Sydney in October 2013.

Move sells fashion inspired accessories, computers and mobile devices to consumers who want their
technology with a twist of individuality and style. To celebrate its Melbourne launch, Move has
collaborated with leading Australian fashion designer Dion Lee.

Dion Lee will today unveil his limited edition smart phone and tablet covers, designed in soft lambs
leather, coated Zircon Linen and screen-printed neoprene.

The cases form part of Dion Lee’s latest collection, showcased at this month’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion
Week, and were co-developed with the Move store team to be sold exclusively at Move.

Australian fashion designer, Dion Lee, said, “Being able to combine technology and fashion in a way that
remains stylish and functional is something I’ve always wanted to achieve. My collaboration with Move has
enabled me to test out ways of doing this and has resulted in products that I’m really proud to include as part
of my latest collection”.

Melbourne-based Friend in Fashion blogger, Jasmin Howell, has also been brought on board to curate her
own range of stylish products for customers to choose from. Her range inspired the store’s first theme
‘Capture the City’ focused on celebrating all things Melbourne.

The Move concept is backed by Dick Smith, which brings a wealth of experience and knowledge in the
consumer tech area. However, Move targets a new audience who will be able to purchase style-inspired
technology in an environment that appeals to them.

Director of Customer Strategy & Move Stores, Michael Dykes, said, “There is no doubt that Move benefits from
Dick Smith’s years of experience in the retail space. However, Move is pioneering the growth of style inspired
technology in Australia, attracting customers who are interested in wearing technology rather than simply
using it’’.

Move will celebrate its opening with some incredible one-off opening deals and showcase curated products
and exclusive ranges that will not be available online.

In addition to its flagship Move Emporium and Move Bondi Junction store, the brand plans to open its
Move Highpoint store in April and Move Indooroopilly store in May.

To stay on top of range announcements, designer collaborations and more, consumers can check out the store
online, at: http://www.movestore.com.au. Customers can also sign up to receive exclusive offers and news about the
store via the store’s social platforms:

Instagram: http://instagram.com/movestoreAU
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MoveStore
Twitter: @MoveStoreAU
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/movestoreAU/

About Move:
Move is the first of its kind in the Australian retailer space, selling fashion inspired accessories, computers and
mobile devices to consumers who want their technology with a twist of individuality and style. Launching its
first store in Sydney in 2013, Dick Smith is continuing its expansion in Victoria and Queensland.

0 comments

Stripping workers’ average take-home pay

HACSU Assistant State Secretary Robbie Moore
17.04.14 9:18 am

CBS MANAGEMENT ADMITS ITS PROPOSAL TO ABANDON ENTERPRISE BARGAINING WILL STRIP WORKERS’ AVERAGE TAKE-HOME PAY BY A MASSIVE 12.5%

Following months of denials, management at Moonah-based Community Based Support (CBS) has finally admitted its proposal to abandon Enterprise Bargaining negotiations will effectively result in an average 12.5% reduction in take-home pay for its workers.

CBS workers, whose job is to support some of the community’s most vulnerable people, are already amongst the lowest paid members of Tasmania’s workforce.

“A 12.5% drop in take-home pay will devastate CBS workers’ ability to pay their bills and feed their families,” says HACSU Assistant State Secretary Robbie Moore.

“What a nasty Easter gift from CBS Management to its workers.

“If CBS Management gets its way, experienced, committed workers will be driven out of the community sector because they’ll earn similar – or more - money in jobs with considerably less responsibility.

“CBS Management is showing utter contempt for its clients and their families, by saying workers who care for vulnerable people are worth so little. It is hardly a vote of confidence in the value of its workforce and the important service they provide.

“CBS is on track to post a surplus this year but it wants to pay its workers less. It is unfathomably mean-spirited and is contrary to the values that CBS says it believes in.”

Mr Moore says CBS Management admitted to the pay impact during talks on Wednesday 16 April 2014, which HACSU had hoped might pave a positive way forward.

CBS workers have started taking industrial action in order to bring Management back to the bargaining table and Mr Moore says given CBS Management’s unwillingness to negotiate, it is likely that workers will decide to continue and escalate industrial action.

0 comments

Dear Michael Ferguson: Air Quality Health Protocol

Angelika Allen, Tasmanian Public and Environmental Health Network
17.04.14 7:22 am

Health Minister Hon Michael Ferguson    
Parliament House                                                                                
Hobart   7000  
                                               
Air Quality Health Protocol,

Morwell illustrates the disturbing fact that while there are no alert limits or mandatory prosecutions, there is no nationwide regulatory standard for air quality.

While Victorian Chief Health Officer, Dr Rosemary Lester, was searching around trying to get experts to agree on the safe level at which no long term damage is done to health, thousands of children were breathing toxic ash and were not encouraged to evacuate when pollution levels were even recorded at 1500ug/m3.

WHO has already stated that, ‘there is no safe level of particulate exposure’ and there was an increase in the reporting of heart attacks triggered by smoke. (Louis Nelson 27.2.14 and ABC 21.2.14) Even tiny increases in annual exposures of PM 2.5 increase heart attacks by 13% and weeks of poor air quality causes prolonged if not permanent difficulty. (ABC News 1.3.14)

It is to Dr Lester’s credit that from the 28.2.14, those with respiratory conditions could apply for temporary relocation assistance, but it is mercenary or ignorant that the Morwell town with a population of 14,000 was not evacuated or even encouraged to, from either the time of the breakout of the fire on 9.2.14 or the 21.2.14, when the coal fire broke containment lines and then proceeded to pollute northern Tasmania’s air on the 25.2.14 (ABC 21.2.14; EPA Tas. PM 10 and PM 2.5 levels almost 300)

Hon Michelle O’Byrne has had years of trial burn seasons and Hon Lara Giddings has had years of discussions, but we still have not progressed beyond air monitoring, an attitude which is reflected nationwide. Improved air quality standards are long overdue, particularly when Launceston had 14 exceedences of PM 2.5 in 2013. Meanwhile, Hon Premier Hodgman is adding $28.5 million to fuel reduction burns (3.14 Liberal Fuel Reduction Policy), burning 5% of public land/ year, and landowners are audaciously encouraged to protect their ‘properties’. Yet there is no ‘health’ protection or evacuation assistance, nor is the EMPCA ever given prosecution powers, and damaging pollution continues to cross boundaries every day.

As a minimum we support the recommendations outlined in Dr Hanson’s private medical report, for all health sufferers to have mandatory health notification and assisted evacuation prior to possible smoke pollution occurring, and for an integrated moratorium system to be adopted by Forestry, Parks, Tas. Fire Service, Council, farmers and landowners etc.

The recommendation is for a health registry for notification and access to pre-emptive burn information; for State smoke free regions; and that enforced protocols are developed for when evacuation is needed. If smoke pollution is widespread, a system needs to be in place to stop further burns until the level of pollution has sufficiently reduced.

When forestry used to offer evacuation assistance, most people opted to avoid disruption as relocation is only adopted in the extreme. Industrial pollution evacuation is not a luxury.
Yours sincerely,

Angelika Allen

Refs:

Louis Nelson 27.2.14 http://www.latrobevalleyexpress.com.au/story/2115399/hold-your-breath
ABC News 1.3.14 http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-02-28/speculation-napthine-to-announce-partial-evacuation-of-morwell/5289992
EPA Website http://epa.tas.gov.au/epa/real-time-air-quality-data-for-tasmania
ABC News 21.2.14 http://www.abc.net.au/news/topic/morwell-3840?page=3

0 comments

Health | Society

Civilian Wounded in Papua Border Shooting

via Jo Collins and Anne Noonan, Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)
17.04.14 2:15 am

1) Civilian Wounded in Papua Border Shooting
2) RI-PNG border open despite shootings
—————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/news/civilian-wounded-papua-border-shooting/
1) Civilian Wounded in Papua Border Shooting
By Banjir Ambarita on 05:40 pm Apr 16, 2014
Category Crime, News
Tags: Papua

Jayapura. An armed group in Papua fired on a border post between Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, injuring one civilian, Indonesian officials said on Wednesday.
Papua Police spokesman Sr.Cmr. Pujo Sulistyo said the incident took place at around 1 p.m local time.
“There was a disturbance from an armed civilian group at the Skouw Wutung Border,” Pujo said. ”A civilian who was passing was shot.”
Indonesian Military (TNI) spokesman Lt.Col. Rikas Hidayatullah said Indonesia and Papua New Guinea opened the border after it was closed for several weeks as a precautionary measure during Indonesia’s legislative elections.
He said Heri, 20, was shot in the arm while sitting in the passenger seat of a car driving past the border.
Pujo added that police and military officers as well as Papua New Guinea military personnel tried to catch the perpetrators but they escaped into the forest.
“Armed groups often conduct operations at the border,” Pujo said.

——————————————————————————————————————————————-
http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2014/04/16/ri-png-border-open-despite-shootings.html
2) RI-PNG border open despite shootings
Nethy Dharma Somba, The Jakarta Post, Jayapura | Archipelago | Wed, April 16 2014, 9:55 PM
The Indonesian authorities have decided to open the Skouw Wutung border area between Indonesia and Papua New Guinea (PNG) despite a recent shooting incident allegedly conducted by a group of insurgents, an official said.
“We will pursue the assailants while the border gate will be opened,” Cendrawasih Military Command spokesman Lt. Col. Rikas Hidayatulah said on Wednesday.
He said a civilian by the name of Hery had been shot on his way to a traditional market located near the border area. Hery is being treated at Bhayangkara Police Hospital.
“A team of soldiers has been deployed to pursue the assailants,” Rikas said.
The border area was closed on April 6 following a shooting incident involving insurgents reportedly led by Mathias Wenda a day before. The incident left Jayapura Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Albert Papare and a soldier by the name of chief Sgt. Tugino injured.
Papua Police chief Insp. Gen. Tito Karnavian said a joint team comprising police personnel and soldiers had been deployed to pursue the insurgents who had fled into PNG territory.(dic)

0 comments

Labor must reform ...

Australian Marriage Equality national director, Rodney Croome,
16.04.14 2:26 pm

LOUISE PRATT BOWS OUT OF WA SENATE RACE

- LABOR MUST REFORM TO RECONNECT WITH MAINSTREAM AUSTRALIA
- CALL TO NOMINATE NEW LABOR MP TO CROSS-PARTY GROUP
- ADVOCATES HOPE LOUISE PRATT WILL STAND AGAIN

Marriage equality advocates say the Labor Party must reform its pre-selection process if it is reconnect with mainstream Australians on issues like marriage equality following Louise Pratt’s concession today that she will not be re-elected to the Senate.

Ms Pratt, one of the strongest marriage equality advocates in federal parliament, was the lead Labor candidate in Western Australia until a factional deal saw her demoted to second place after anti-equality candidate, Joe Bullock.

Despite Mr Bullock polling fewer below-the-line votes than Ms Pratt, Mr Bullock’s pre-election comments attacking the Labor Party and marriage equality played a role in reducing Labor’s overall vote, costing Ms Pratt her seat.

Australian Marriage Equality national director, Rodney Croome, said,

“The 65% of Australians and 75% of Labor voters who support marriage equality expect the Labor Party to pre-select candidates to winnable positions who also support the reform.”

“Instead, Labor has failed its principles, it’s voters and the majority of Australians by allowing a prejudiced and out-of-touch candidate to poach the seat of a hard-working and much-admired marriage equality supporter.”

“Labor must reform its pre-selection processes if it is to reconnect with strong support among mainstream voters for marriage equality.”

Mr Croome called on Labor to nominate a replacement for Louise Pratt on the federal parliament’s cross-party working group on marriage equality, and urged Ms Pratt to stand again.

“Louise Pratt is one of the most hard working, intelligent, principled and compassionate politicians I have ever had the honour to work with.”

“I urge her to stand again for elected office and I urge the Labor Party to make good its mistake by giving her the best chance of election.”

In a media conference today Ms Pratt labelled Mr Bullock “deeply homophobic” and “disloyal to the very party he has been elected to represent”.

The Labor Party has a policy in favour of marriage equality but allows MPs a conscience vote on the issue.

Polls consistently show 75% or more of Labor voters are marriage equality supporters.

0 comments

World Heritage mockery

SENATOR THE HON RICHARD COLBECK Senator for Tasmania Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture
16.04.14 2:13 pm

image
(Inside TWWHA at Catamaran - Photograph by Senator Richard Colbeck)

This photograph was taken inside the recently extended Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area – it is an example of an area that Labor, the Greens and ENGO’s say is pristine, untouched forest.

They claim this forest has “outstanding” wilderness values and is suitable for Wilderness World Heritage listing.

These areas have in fact been harvested over many years, yet forestry operations have caused such little long-term damage that the Greens now claim they are World Heritage quality.

The Australian forestry industry is undeniably sustainable and does not destroy our forests as the Greens continue to claim in their confused and contradictory statements.

Forestry can provide dividends for the environment, the community and industry.

The fact that areas like this are now included in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area makes a mockery of the Labor/Green nomination to extend the area in 2013.

More tomorrow.

0 comments

Don Morris: Kerry Finch challenged to debate jobs

Don Morris, Liberal for Rosevears
16.04.14 11:40 am

The people of the Rosevears electorate deserve to hear why incumbent MLC Kerry Finch supports the Greens-Labor forestry deal over jobs.

“Mr Finch has consistently supported the job-destroying deal,” Don Morris said.

“The voters of Rosevears must be clear on his position.

“I would welcome the opportunity to publicly debate this matter in a Town Hall-style meeting with an independent chairperson, which is why I have today written to Mr Finch inviting him to participate in such a debate.”

Premier Will Hodgman has announced that the State Government will introduce legislation to repeal the deal as soon as Parliament resumes.

Don Morris said the outcome of the Legislative Council election in just under three weeks could determine whether the Liberal Government is able to implement legislation to tear up the forestry deal.

“I am sure that most people in Rosevears concerned about jobs will be interested to hear Mr Finch’s stance,” he said.

0 comments

Jan Davis: They are businesspeople first and spud-diggers second

TFGA CEO Jan Davis' Mercury column today
16.04.14 11:35 am

The stereotype of an Aussie farmer has changed little over many decades. They are usually male; they are probably among the least educated people you could meet; they have red faces and white foreheads (from sitting on a tractor and under a big hat all day); they don’t have much to say for themselves and, when they do talk, it is pretty slow coming out. They are canny rather than clever.

Whether or not that stereotype ever reflected reality, I can assure you it bears little resemblance to the farmers I meet every day. Today’s Tasmanian farmer could be male or female (or anything in between); they are highly educated; they are businesspeople first and spud-diggers second. They are still canny and they are ultra smart; and they think outside the square.

Today, a young person considering a career in which they use their brains more than their brawn might seriously consider agriculture. Modern farming in Tasmania is for the smartest among us, no longer for those who were born into a farm or who can’t get a job doing anything else.

The Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association is working with the state government, the university, the CSIRO and a range of other world wide organisations on a fascinating and radical project.  The likes of the World Bank and other project partners have been drawn to Tasmania for a groundbreaking application of technology called Sense-T, or Sensing Tasmania.

Basically, it involves linking a vast network of sensors around the state, some existing, some new, in the soil, in waterways, within the crops themselves, among the livestock, among the vines. That network delivers a continuous stream of data about weather, geographical and climate information, soil moisture, water flow, growing conditions – and much more. This information is of vital importance to farmers, fishers and winegrowers.

The analogy I like to use to describe the capability of Sense-T is a Formula 1 racing car. Each time the car passes the pits, using digital telemetry, it downloads masses of vital information to the pit crews, who can then advise the driver to back off fuel consumption, conserve his tyres or pull over because the engine is about to explode.

Sense-T combines historical and spatial data with real-time sensing data to deliver critical information throughout the state. It is particularly applicable to agriculture, aquaculture, viticulture and water management.

Farmers optimise their agricultural production by having access to real-time microclimate, irrigation and soil information. That means they can minimise their use of water and other inputs and improve their environmental performance, all of which makes both the individual farm and the industry more sustainable.

Sense-T was born of two issues: how Tasmania could best use fast broadband and how to diversify the economy, particularly with the uncertainty over the future of forestry. This is a co-operative effort in the true sense of the word. The sensors are owned by the government, private individuals – such a farmers and winegrowers – and private companies. The information they deliver is collated and the outcomes are publicly available so everybody gets to share.

One of the benefits of Sense-T is that it is creating a demand for young people to study STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and maths – so that they can get jobs within the system. That could involve sensor installation and calibration, data research, as well as pure raking opportunities. At the moment, there is a shortage of STEM students in Tasmania.

Sense-T can provide provenance information – proving where food comes from, how it was grown, in what conditions. Sense-T collects real-time data about the conditions under which food is produced, processed, transported, stored and sold. That information is becoming available to consumers, producers and distributors to verify and improve the quality of food products. It literally provides the story from paddock to plate.

With these new tools and access to astounding data, it is clear that not only will our farmers be ahead of the pack, but Tasmania will soon be the place to come to pursue research in technology and sustainable development, food safety and agriculture.

When you combine the intellectual talents of our producers, the university, the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture, the CSIRO and the new Centre for Food Innovation in Launceston, and the amazing talents and reach of the project’s commercial partners, the sky really is the limit.

As I said, the farmers of yesteryear wouldn’t know their modern counterparts.

0 comments

Tasmanian ABARES conference to have local focus

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, Senator the Hon Richard Colbeck
16.04.14 11:34 am

Opportunities for Tasmania’s agricultural, fisheries and forestry industries will be explored by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) at the Launceston Regional Outlook conference on 30 April 2014.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, Senator the Hon Richard Colbeck, will open the conference.

“We are at a very exciting time in Australian agriculture and there are opportunities on the horizon for Tasmanian agriculture, fisheries and forestry industries,” Senator Colbeck said.

Senator Colbeck said the Coalition recognised agriculture as one of the five pillars of the economy and is focused on reinvigorating agriculture, fisheries and forestry.

“We have announced the creation of the Tasmanian Fruit and Vegetable Taskforce which will look at ways to increase returns for growers, reduce costs, increase competitiveness, investment and jobs growth across the supply chain,” he said.

“Developing relationships with other growers and working together to access markets will be an important part of this and is something we in Tasmania have the opportunity to do very well.”

ABARES Executive Director, Karen Schneider, who is also speaking at the conference, said the program was tailored to the region.

“This one day conference will include the latest economic and scientific data as well as practical information for decision makers in Tasmania’s agriculture, fisheries and forestry sectors,” Ms Schneider said.

“The conference will feature leading regional speakers and ABARES economists, who will examine commodity forecasts for agricultural industries in the state and analyse key regional industries and local challenges.

“It’s a fantastic hub for local producers to share the latest information and innovation and make new contacts in the community.”

The Launceston Regional Outlook conference is the first of the 2014 ABARES Regional Outlook conferences, which are held annually in each state and the Northern Territory.

Conference details:

Date: 30 April 2014

Venue: Tailrace Centre, 1 Waterfront Drive, Riverside, Launceston TAS.

Time: Registration from 8.30 am, conference 9 am – 4.30 pm

Cost: $110pp (inc. GST) includes conference entry, access to ABARES recent publications, morning and afternoon tea and lunch, delegate directory and an ‘About my region’ profile.
To register, contact ABARES Conferences on 02 6272 2303 or 02 6272 3051.

0 comments

Kim Booth: Respect the mountain – not exploit it

Kim Booth MP | Greens Leader
16.04.14 11:11 am

Greens Leader Kim Booth MP today called on Premier Will Hodgman to guarantee the local Tasmanian Aboriginal community their concerns over a cable car on Mt Wellington/kunyani are taken seriously.

“kunyani embodies the spirit of the Tasmanian Aboriginal community, the custodians and true owners of this extraordinary place, and it should not be treated as the play-thing of only the business community and developers,” Mr Booth said.

“As the Liberal’s Aboriginal Affairs Minister, the Premier must intervene and ensure that the Tasmanian Aboriginal community have a real say in the future of any developments on the mountain, including the latest controversial cable car plan.”

“Nonsense and insensitive proposals such as this jeopardises Aboriginal people having the opportunity to develop smaller-scale and sensitive tourism opportunities themselves, which celebrate and maintain those unique qualities which makes the mountain special.”

“This is an example of the big end of town ramming a divisive project down people’s throats, with the promise of an elusive pot of gold somewhere at the end being used to intimidate the community from voicing their objections.”

“There is great scope for creative and sensitive tourism opportunities to be developed on the mountain, including at the Springs site, but the viability of these potential experiences could be threatened by something as intrusive as a cable car.”

“Tasmanians are tired of seeing our natural and cultural assets exploited to benefit the financial interests of a few.”

0 comments

Brian Harradine

Guy Barnett, Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier
16.04.14 8:08 am

The Editor

Dear Sir

Former Tasmanian Senator Brian Harradine was passionate and wily, whose Christian faith shone like a beacon.

He was a fighter for Tasmania and got results. His commitment to the protection of human life was unquestioned.

During my time as a Senator for Tasmania I enjoyed working with Brian. We had much in common.

My sympathies are extended to his extensive family.

0 comments

Brian Harradine – a humble warrior for life

Mrs Roslyn Phillips, BSc DipEd National Research Officer FamilyVoice Australia: a Christian voice for family, faith and freedom Website: http://www.fava.org.au
16.04.14 8:07 am

“I first met Brian Harradine in June 1985, ten years after he was first elected as an Independent senator for Tasmania,” FamilyVoice national research officer Ros Phillips said today.

“I was an unknown editor of a small pro-family magazine, but my amateur status did not worry him.  He readily agreed to be interviewed, and his answers to questions on human embryo experimentation three decades ago are as relevant now as they were then.”

Senator Harradine answered the following questions about his private member’s bill to prohibit experiments on human embryos in Light, August 1985, p 3 (edited):

Have you received much support for your Human Embryo Experimentation Bill?  Yes indeed.  Already 25,198 people from all over Australia have petitioned parliament to pass the bill.  I have received a substantial volume of mail with letters running 8:1 in favour.  Two opinion polls conducted last year show that between 54-59% of Australians disapprove of human embryo experiments.  Only 32-34% approve – the rest are undecided.

How have other MPs reacted?  They have been heavily lobbied against the bill by some IVF scientists with a vested interest in experimentation.  But as the facts emerge, more MPs are recognising that the issue is vital to the future of humanity.

Would your bill prevent IVF programs from going ahead?  No.  While IVF raises many unanswered questions, my bill does not seek to settle them.

What did you think of the damaging report on your bill by a Senate scrutiny of bills committee?  The committee produced its report after a brief 20 minute meeting.  It then issued an extraordinary press statement against the bill before allowing me to comment.  I subsequently answered all its claims in the Senate on 15 May, but the committee has persisted with its main objection, contrary to advice given by its own legal counsel.

Are you worried about the outcome of the debate?  Scientists have told me that if the bill is not passed within 18 months, it will be too late.  Human embryo experimentation would be firmly established in this country.

History shows that Brian Harradine’s bill ultimately received the support of 100,000 petition signatures and in 1986, even the support of a Senate committee.  But the Hawke government refused to allow time for debate, and the bill lapsed. 

“Despite Brian Harradine’s efforts, human embryos and their stem cells have indeed been the subject of experiments,” Ros Phillips said.  “But those experiments have not produced any of the miracle cures we were promised.

“Embryo stem cells produce tumours as well as the desired tissue: the remedy has proved worse than the malady.  The many truly miraculous cures have come from adult stem cells that do not involve any destruction of unborn humans.

“Australia could have avoided much wasted time and money had parliament listened to this humble warrior for life.  I salute him!”

0 comments