Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I give Will Hodgman 3 months. Position Vacant - Liberal opposition leader

If the next EMRS poll results comes in as miserable as this weeks poll, Will Hodgman may well get the tap on the shoulder and my prediction Heresky that Will blew his last chance of becoming Tasmanian Premier at the March state election will come true.
Michael Ferguson?Jeremy Rockcliff ? Peter Gutwein?
They is lining up Willy boy.
and Peter Tucker analysis at Tasmanian Politics blogspot - "EMRS State Poll: Drop in undecided response worry for the Libs"

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Greens pair snub footy party - by MATT HURREN, August 28, Published in The Mercury

"GREENS Nick McKim and Cassy O'Connor have turned down, at the last minute, an invitation to be wined and dined at today's blockbuster Hawthorn-Collingwood football clash in Melbourne.
The pair had accepted an invitation to the Hawthorn Football Club president's lunch but yesterday, after questions from the Mercury, suddenly pulled out.
They said: "[It was] due to the Greens' policy position on the State Government's current sponsorship arrangement with the Hawthorn Football Club."
Before joining State Cabinet, the Greens were staunch critics of the Tasmanian Government's $15 million sponsorship of the Hawks."................  read more Here

Thought provoking article by the enigmatic Anthony John.

Political Winds of Change
by Anthony John
published on the Tasmanian Times

An Article published late last year ( Democracy Tas Style, Here) addressed issues associated with the failings of our parliamentary democracy. It noted an increasing voter frustration and disenchantment with the political system; and identified the major parties themselves as central to “the problem” primarily because they controlled the selection process where merit often seems to have been a secondary consideration when selecting candidates.
The Article concluded that reform was urgently needed if our democratic rights were to be restored – where focus would switch to what was good for the people, not just the Party. It also observed that the major parties would always act to preserve the status quo and any impetus for change would have to come from the people.
A subsequent article ( Call to Action, Here ) urged action, not words, noting that lamenting the loss of our democratic freedoms, corruption of process, shonky dealings and the like, was unlikely to drive reform. Instead, it was suggested that a first action- oriented step might be to identify talented, respected people in the community willing and able to stand as independent candidates for parliament, aided bya support network of concerned people. This would provide voters with a genuine alternative to the major parties. A loose coalition of Independents might then be organised to provide mutual support.
In this context: what positives appear to be emerging from the recent State and Federal elections?
Firstly, it is obvious that self-serving, inward-looking major parties are manifestly “on the nose” in the electorate. A pox on both their houses seems to be the verdict. The people have spoken clearly: if you don’t reform in a way that enables you to reflect and represent the interests of the people, you will be consigned to the political dustbin of history. No longer it seems can you get away with making grand pronouncements on, say, Carbon Trading – and then fail to act; or on climate change, and then turn it over to a “People’s Assembly” for action. If you fail to deliver, you will be punished.
What is driving the change in voter sentiment at this particular time? A key factor is undoubtedly the rise of the Greens who have survived all attempts to eliminate them as a political force in recent times and are now able to ride the wave of ‘green ideology ‘sweeping across the continent. They now have an identifiable political “brand” which differentiates them from the major parties, and are not saddled with the political ‘ baggage’ being carried by the major parties (at least, not yet!).They appear to be more tuned-in to contemporary issues and voter concerns.
The voting public thus had a credible alternative to the major parties, and switched to the Greens in record numbers.
Another factor is the realisation that coalitions do not necessarily result in chronic instability and unworkable parliamentary processes. After all, they are now working in such countries as GB, Canada, Germany and Israel. The loose Labour/Greens alliance in Tasmaniaalso appears to be working satisfactorily at present. This means the major parties can no longer use the scare tactic of warning against the dangers of a ‘hung Parliament’ : Vote for us, or suffer the consequences——.
Another factor militating against the power of the ‘big parties’ is that more and more voters are now able to access political information from a much wider range of sources. The internet particularly has changed the way politics are conducted. Historically, voters have relied on the local media (print, mainly) for information, unaware that this can be presented in such a way as to benefit particular commercial- cum political interests. Now better informed, voters are able to see past the party-line and change allegiances.
Arguably, the most important outcome from the recent federal election is that the spotlight has been turned on Independents. Whether or not he is elected, Andrew Wilkie has clearly demonstrated that a talented, energetic candidate with a track record of success, can challenge the big parties. Hopefully, this will encourage other quality candidates to have a go in future. Additionally, we see three other interstate Independents re-elected with big majorities. This surely would not have happened if they weren’t delivering results for their constituents and effectively debunks the conventional wisdom that a vote for Independents is a wasted vote.
For all of us lamenting the systematic loss of our democratic freedoms and protections under
1. The era of dominance of the big parties is coming to an end where party interests always superceded those of the electorate.
2. Third parties can survive and prosper if they genuinely reflect the interests, needs and will of the people.
3. Talented, committed individuals can stand as Independents secure in the knowledge that they are a real chance to be voted-in if they are seen as the candidate best able to serve the interests of the electorate. That is, they won’t necessarily be disadvantaged by not belonging to a political party as such.
2010 may come to be seen in future as the year when we stumbled on a pathway leading back to democracy. There will no doubt be missteps, mishaps and misadventures along the way but at least we are now heading in a direction chosen by the people, not the major parties.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Burnie Council wants pulp mill (der freddie) and...Robert Eastment fearmongering over mill, industry future? (see comments below)

From ABC News Online
Council backs Hampshire pulp mill option
A north-west council says it is would be "more than willing" to back Hampshire as a viable alternative to Gunns' controversial pulp mill in the Tamar Valley.
Gunns will not comment on any alternatives to its Tamar mill proposal.
A leaked draft peace agreement from forest industry talks shows industry and conservationists might be willing to accept a plantation-fed pulp mill in exchange for the protection of native forest.
Conservation groups say they are not giving the green light to the proposed Tamar Valley mill but might support a mill at a different site.
Burnie City Council's general manager Paul Arnold says the forestry peace talks could restart plans for an alternative pulp mill at Hampshire.
"Of course, we'd be more than willing to have Hampshire back in the game," he said.
"Burnie City Council's always been open to a pulp mill at Hampshire and been very, very supportive of it.
"In fact we did a lot of community consultation on it in the earlier days. However, we have respected Gunns' decision to commercially go for Bell Bay but if that is not ultimately approved, of course we'd be more than willing."
Industry analyst Robert Eastment says a pulp mill's essential for the forestry industry.
"If we do not have a pulp mill then we would certainly be faced with the closure of the forest industry in Tasmania

Bloggers note:  - This is the first time i have seen Bob Eastment make such dire apocalyptic claims about the logging industries need for a pulp mill…..“If we do not have a pulp mill then we would certainly be faced with the closure of the forest industry in Tasmania”.
I have heard Scott Mclean, Julian Amos and Terry Edwards make similar claims.
And of course some financial analysts have also suggested that the pulp mill is imperative for Gunns as the company simply cant afford the write off of the mill.
Fearmongering or an admission that Gunns has bet the company on the pulp mill?
The Examiner’s Rachel Williams said it here…. http://www.examiner.com.au/news/local/news/business/gunns-bets-its-future/1811738.aspx.
Either way, why should unwilling Tasmanians be dragged into the mess that the private logging company and Tasmania’s dysfunctional logging industry created all by itself?
The fact is Tasmanians shouldnt.
Read about why here…. http://wwwtascommentary.blogspot.com/2010/07/tamar-valley-pulp-mill-irretrievably.html

But I digress. This wasnt Robert Eastments only unsupportable public claim for the day after he declared Tim Cox's ABC Mornings program that “they are building pulp mill’s in the middle of cities in Europe”.
Oh really Robert?
And where would those mills be?
The Stendal mill perhaps?
The Stendal Mill  built in 2005 is one of the most recent kraft mills built in Europe and is located in a sparsely populated area (not a city) around 15-20km from the town of Stendal (population 38,000) which is some 125 km west of Berlin and around 170 km east of Hanover. .
Owned by Mercer International the Stendal Mill received loan guarantees valued at Euro 200 million so that it became attractive for Mercer to site the mill in an area of Germany that had high unemployment.
This modern mill which was hailed as the world's lowest odour mill has been located on flatlands with no inversion layer to retain the odour unlike Longreach in the Tamar Valley
Yet, the Stendal mill did develop odours problems after about 18 months and they have had to set up odour panels in the local towns. The Stendal Mill is only half Gunns proposed size, and has the following words on its website: “smells are ‘unavoidable’ and ‘unpleasantly noticed’ in surrounding municipalities”.
You can guarantee a statement like this made by the company responsible is probably an understatement. But perhaps also a significant admission from very hardy folk who lived without complaint for 60 years under the watchful eye of the Stasi and then suffered 10 years of high unemployment after reunification when the local sugar beet mill was closed!
Even the Labor government's disgraced pulp mill propoganda unit the Pulp Mill Task Force found that the Stendal Mill had "some complaints from individuals - principally during start up and when malfunctions occur".
This is what Australia's foremost expert on Kraft Pulp Mill odour, Warwick Raverty says of the modern Stendal Kraft Pulp Mill and odour............."There are over 400 places in a mill that can cause odour and so it is difficult to pin the cause down. The very latest high technology mill at Stendal in Germany has developed odour problems in its second year of operation, probably due to all of the many thousands of plastic pipe and pump seals becoming saturated with odour over the course of the first 12 months of operation. 'What most Swedes and Finns, including the experts from Jaako Poyry, would regard as 'odour-free' would be completely unacceptable to most Tasmanians. A mill with the same odour abatement system as the Stendal mill built at Hampshire would not create odour problems. At Longreach the same mill is virtually certain to cause major odour problems and even stunt lung development in children living near the mill, according to the latest AMA evidence".

In 2006, a NTD (The Northern Tasmanian Development Group) study tour reported that 'Pulp Mills in Europe emitted odour two or three times a year despite modern technology'.  Jo Archer reported that the smell from the older pulp mill at Gruvon, made her gag.

Curiously, The Stendal Mill was avoided by Tasmania's parliamentarians on their pulp mill fact finding trips to Europe.

Maybe Robert Eastment was actually talking about the Mill in Sweden that caused Julian Green to nearly collapse with severe asthma when he arrived and got out of the bus?
Warwick Raverty said of this incident…..“When we got out of the minibus in the car park, Julian Green very quickly became distressed - he couldn’t breathe,” Mr Raverty said. “I found the odour intensely objectionable and within a matter of minutes, Julian Green was gasping and saying ‘For God’s sake, get me out of here”.
Julian Green was RPDC Pulp Mill assessment panel chair at the time and wrote to Gunns about the RPDC’s concerns re odour.
The letter from Mr Green stated that the Tamar Valley was a particularly sensitive area.
.......“Gunns’ proposal to site the mill in the Tamar Estuary, where air is frequently stagnant and covered by a thermal inversion layer, and within the Tamar Valley air shed - itself subject to widespread concerns over levels of aerial pollutants from other sources - means that the commission must be proactive and take particular interest in this aspect of the proposal,” the letter said.

The letter finished with this backhander:
...“I reiterate that the commission has not had even a vestige of an indication from Gunns, or its consultants that this potential problem - that has been a major source of community nuisance and concern in the two other kraft mills in Australia - firstly exists, or secondly and more importantly, about how it is to be addressed,” it said.

The clear inference of Robert Eastment's claim about Kraft Mills in European cities being that Kraft mills just like Gunns exist in large populated areas in Eurpoe without harming public and environmental health.
Oh yeah Robert. Where?

Forestry wins court battle to conceal costs. From, ABC News online

From ABC News online
Forestry Tasmania has won its court battle to keep secret the amount of money it spent on a television series.
The state-owned forest company rejected a Freedom of Information request from Greens MP Kim Booth to release the money it has invested the TV series "Going Bush."
Forestry Tasmania argued some of the information would expose it to a competitive disadvantage.
But Mr Booth successfully appealed to the Ombudsman who concluded the company should release the information.
Forestry Tasmania took the matter to the Supreme Court and today Justice David Porter found in its favour.
Outside court Mr Booth said he was disappointed by the decision.
He says in the interest of openness and accountability Forestry should disclose the cost of the programs.

Greens still oppose Tamar mill by SUE NEALES. Published in The Mercury, August 27 2010

TASMANIAN Greens leader and Government minister Nick McKim believes a pulp mill will never be built in the Tamar Valley.
He said yesterday the Greens did not support the Gunns pulp mill planned for Bell Bay and would not be altering that position.
But Mr McKim said the Greens were prepared to consider any new proposal for a pulp mill of a different design at an alternative location.
He said if any future mill was based only on plantation timber, was chlorine free in its processing method and as close to closed loop as possible, without any effluent, the Greens would be supportive.
"A proposal for another pulp mill somewhere in Tasmania, we are prepared to look at, as long as it is put through the proper processes," he said.
His comments came after the leaking of a final negotiating draft on Wednesday linked to high-level talks to reach a peace plan over logging.
The document revealed that secretive talks of the past six months between forest industry and environmental groups were approaching the completion of an agreed framework for the Tasmanian forestry industry.
Premier David Bartlett told Parliament he was disappointed leaks had occurred at a time when the talks were building trust and goodwill.
He said he would not enter the debate on Tasmania's forest industry future while the negotiations were continuing.
"This is too important, we are on the cusp of a new economic direction where we can shout from the highest tree everything we are proud of in Tasmania," he said.
"There are challenges ahead but I say to everyone who wants to play the fear card to think beyond next week's news cycle to the future of Tasmania, based on innovation, new ideas and a forestry industry that all Tasmanians can be proud of."
Opposition Leader Will Hodgman accused those involved of selling out a viable industries.
Mr Bartlett acknowledged the Government was going to have to make some tough calls but said he was confident that a move towards a plantation-based industry would result in sustainable increases in jobs in the forest industry.
It appears critical divides remain within the roundtable group, which includes the Wilderness Society, Environment Tasmania, the Australian Conservation Foundation, Timber Communities Australia and the National Association of Forest Industries.
The future construction of the Tamar Valley pulp mill appears to remain a critical, if unresolved, theme of difference remaining between the key groups, as does the future of power stations in Tasmania fuelled by burning wood waste.
The Wilderness Society yesterday emphatically denied it had given the green light to the Gunns pulp mill or was trading off forests against pulp.
However, other organisations questioned the commitment of environmental groups to any final agreement.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Wilkie ahead by 1000 or so votes. May not know final result for two weeks. Antony Green is calling Wilkie as the likely winner. Gee i hope so. The Labor and Liberal organisations are inherently selfish and need to be sent a serious message. The days of big party dominance in Southern Tasmania may never be seen again. I certainly hope so. Government of the people, for the people, by the people. Not by the party.

On another far more important matter, i managed 30km ride in the rain today. I seem to be avoiding the hills though which is pretty hard to do in the Tamar Valley. Must ride uphill soon. Also swam 2km yesterday with Lunch crew. Swimming lazy though and avoiding pain. I am one of the best swimmers in the group but am lazing around at the back of the train. Must swim into hurt cupboard soon. Knee still sore no so have to take running slowly.

Updated 1.45pm, 3 Tasmanians named in 10 man team. Sulzberger, Goss, Porte..............Richie Porte set to be called up to Australias world champs team

See Here



Monday, August 23, 2010

Launceston cyclist Matt Goss keeps racking up the wins.


Gunns Building futures for......er um.....well not for the 120 workers who look set lose their jobs in Scottsdale. Thanks Gunns

How many jobs has Gunns shed now as part of its company (cough,cough) retructure?
Where is the outrage from those great defenders of Tasmania's timber folk? Members of parliament, Barry Chipman, Scott Mclean and Terry Edwards. Why the silence? Again.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Guy Barnett to lose Senate seat. Hallelujah! .....and Sex Party excited about the prospect of a Hung Parliament.

Have to say it warm the cockles to see the flag waving, monarch lovin, god-fearin, uber right Howardite Guy Barnett lose his seat. Hallelujah! Sorry Guy, there is one too many prudes in Abbott's Libs.
The Australian Parliament needs more progressive pollies.

Oh and did anyone see the rather unedifying catfight between the Guy and Eric Abetz on Sunday night's ABC news? Clearly no love lost between Eric and Guy. Straight out of church, Barnett took a swing at Abetz and others in the party for lumping him with the uncertain 3rd spot on the Liberal Senate ticket which ultimately led to Barnett's demise. Abetz retorted saying that Barnett never complained previously when he "rode on Abetz;s coat -tails". Ouch!
The biffo continued today and its now pretty clear that Abetz and Barnett hate each other and have failed sunday school.
I'm not sure what Jesus would have thought of the party's holiest getting down n dirty in front of all of Tasmania! Maybe is time for the squeaky clean Guy to seek out another political home. That is if you dont mind shedding the trappings Guy. Remember what the bible says? "Better a meal of vegetables where there is love than a fattened calf with hatred".

And speaking of riding others coat tails. How do you like our system.? Labor's Lisa Singh on the nose with punters and belted at the state election, then runs for the senate and gets a career promotion. Go figure???
A hung House of Reps and minor parties holding balance of power in senate should ensure greater check on executive power. Excellent outcome.
Would the election outcome have been different in the politicians graveyard and Rudd homestate Queensland if he'd been left to negotiate a solution with the miners? Check out Monday nights ABC Australian Story on one of Rudd's 'faceless' assassins, AWU president Paul Howes. Howes comes up looking rosy until the end of the programme which finishes with coverage of Howes at the tally room on Saturday night. Also, some unflattering outtakes at the end of the program. Plenty of questions left hanging over Howes, Shorten and the rest of Rudd's assassins. Though he will never admit it Rudd must feel secretly vindicated.

No doubt, Queensland killed Labor and Tasmania saved it from an outright loss. That should auger well for a long and prosperous future of pork barrelling in Tasmania - the new moonlight state.
If the Mad Monk does form government which is looking a real possibility the NBN could very quickly become the Liberals mining tax equaivalent. Placating rural and regional Australia will require a lot of sweeteners if the punters are to agree to remain in the dark ages with the coalition for a few more years. Thats should mean even more money being thrown at Tassie.
Note to Richard Colbeck and other Loony Liberal senators. Polls have repeatedly shown Tasmanians dont want another cent of public money spent subsidising Gunns poxy part foreign owned pulp mill proposal. Remember Richard, your party is meant to be the party of the free market. See the conflict Richard?
We dont want our state turned into a war zone anymore than it already is thanks chaps, nor does the Liberal party want its vote to plunge further towards the earths core, so let Gunns and the rent seeking Tasmanian logging industry find their own backers!
Incredible result if Wilkie takes Dension. The punters love a credible independent. Greens also look to have balance of power in the Senate.
And word is the Australian sex party, who rightly argues that Australia is overrun with prudish politicians (sorry Guy) and that government should get out of our bedrooms, are excited about the prospect of a Hung Parliament.
The big question is, will we be hung to the left (Gillard) or hung to the right (Abbott)?
The Sex Party swing to the left and so do we here at TPOS, however the vote is in so we will just have to wait and see.

Looks like we is havin' a hung parliament!

Hung to the left or hung to the right? That is the question.
Standout results so far - Andrew Wilkie to win Denison. Greens Adam Bandt wins Melbourne. Maxine Mckew loses Bennelong to a Tennis player after ousting the rat at the last election. Maxine then dumps on the party. Liberals smashed in Tassie. Labor smashed in Queensland.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Launceston Cyclists Ritchie Porte & Belinda Goss selected in Commonwealth Games team.

Australian Commonwealth Games Team:

Men's Road: Allan Davis, Mathew Hayman, Richie Porte, Mark Renshaw, Chris Sutton.
Women's Road: Ruth Corset, Rochelle Gilmore, Chloe Hosking, Carly Light, Alexis Rhodes.
Men's Track Sprint: Daniel Ellis, Jason Niblett, Shane Perkins, Scott Sunderland.
Men's Track Endurance: Jack Bobridge, Michael Freiberg, Michael Hepburn, Cameron Meyer, Travis Meyer, Dale Parker.
Women's Track Sprint: Kaarle Mcculloch, Anna Meares, Emily Rosemond.
Women's Track Endurance: Ashlee Ankudinoff, Megan Dunn, Belinda Goss, Josephine Tomic.

Flanagans take on Miranda's rant. ABC's The Drum Unleashed.

ABC's The Drum Unleashed
20 August 2010
Miranda's Gunns melodrama is just a lie - Here
by Richard Flanagan

Miranda Devine — born with a silver typewriter at her fingertips — has long run the convenient fiction that she stands with the ordinary Australian against the elites.
Miranda seems to dislike people who question the powerful and rich, which is strange for an anti-elitist. But perhaps it explains why when she writes of Gunns and its chairman, John Gay, her three witnesses are two millionaires and an ex-premier.
If she lived in Tasmania I doubt she would describe Gay as 'a hero of the working people of Tasmania.' Gunns is despised in Tasmania. Even its own research showed it to be deeply unpopular. It was a bad employer, a bad neighbour, and exercised its corporate power ruthlessly.
Ask those who slaved in the clearfells for it. Ask the farmers whose properties were over sprayed with Atrazine by it. Ask the grandmother sued by it. The communities who fear their water supply have been poisoned by it.
Gay, writes Devine, now 'lies in bed at night and worries about the logging contractors he couldn't save, who borrowed money to buy equipment and have lost their livelihood'.
Here's a question I'd like John Gay to answer: Did he lie in bed back when he was boss at Gunns worrying about all the logging contracts Gunns broke, all the contractors Gunns sent to the wall in order to make more profit?
Was he losing sleep over Gunns fighting furiously with those contractors in court, only deepening both their debt and despair?
Did he stay awake at night worrying about the sawmill workers at Scottsdale Gunns sacked in 2008?
The sawmill workers in Hobart Gunns sacked in 2009?
Do ask him, Miranda. We'd all like to know.
Or do those sawmill workers and contractors represent part of the great Godless Green conspiracy that Miranda so despises?
For Miranda hates greenies, which is fine; she no doubt believes, as she wrote after the Black Saturday bushfires, that "it is not arsonists who should be hanging from lamp-posts but greenies"; and it is brave to write what one believes. But hate, which may help garner headlines, blinds her to the truth of Gunns and all that befell Tasmania.
It is perfectly reasonable for Miranda to advise Australia that a vote for the Greens will move Australia 'back to the Dark Ages'. But she will need better evidence to bolster her opinion than the deluded testimony of embittered old men.
Former unionist and former ALP premier Paul Lennon is one of Devine's two witnesses in the defence of Gay. He led a government so inept it made Kristina Keneally's look like Churchill's war cabinet in comparison, and publicly gave the appearance of being more Gunn's gamekeeper than the island's premier.
Gunns was no friend of the workers, which made Lennon's choice of its anti-union construction company Hinman Wright & Manser to renovate his Georgian mansion a curious one.
Under threat of legal action by his minders no media outlet in Tasmania dared run the story of Gunns' renovation of Lennon's home at the time the pulp mill was being approved by Lennon's government.
After the story finally broke on the website tasmaniantimes.com, and Lennon was pressed on the matter, he said the renovations cost him somewhere in the vicinity of $150,000. No documentation was forthcoming. The Australian subsequently quoted a builder who said they were in the vicinity of $400,000. No explanation of the discrepancy was ever forthcoming.
In Devine's article, Lennon seeks to claim Tasmania's economic malaise is attributable to a forest industry nobbled by Green activism. But the forest industry in Tasmania is not what the mining industry is to Western Australia. On its own figures, in 2006 it employed the equivalent of 5,870 full time workers. After the retrenchments and closures of the last few years, the figure today would be considerably less, under 5,000 — or just over 2 per cent of Tasmania's workforce of 237,000 working Tasmanians.
Unlike the mining industry, woodchipping doesn't create jobs. It sheds jobs. Unlike the mining industry, the woodchipping industry doesn't create wealth for government. It takes wealth from taxpayers. Dr Graeme Wells, an economist from the University of Tasmania, has calculated that the Tasmanian forest industry received $767 million in taxpayer subsidies in the last 10 years alone. Little of this made its way down to those workers Gay claims he now loses sleep over.
But then the woodchipping industry in Tasmania was never a real industry. It was a racket in which Gunns ran the island as its fiefdom, rorting the state for all it was worth, maintaining its power through cronyism, bullying and intimidation, through cultivating cosy relationships with the likes of Lennon, and through the use of its flunkeys in the media to run soft stories about the woodchipping industry, and attack stories on those who questioned that industry.
Devine's other witness is Robin Gray, the ex-Liberal premier and former Gunns board member, widely regarded as the power behind Gay's throne.
In 1989, Gray's Liberal government lost power by one seat to a Labor-Green alliance. The then chairman of Gunns, Edmund Rouse, attempted to bribe a Labor member to cross the floor. The aim was two-fold, to restore Gray to government in order, according to the evidence Rouse's bagman gave to the subsequent 1991 Carter Royal Commission, to protect Gunns' logging profit.
The Royal Commission found Gray 'knew of and was involved with Rouse in Rouse's attempt to bribe Cox', and that while his conduct was not unlawful, it was 'improper, and grossly so'. Rouse went to jail. Gray became a director of Gunns.
Devine writes Gay's home was 'under assault two or three nights a week for years-from smoke bombs under the house, stink bombs at the front door, dead possums in the yard'. This presumably refers to the farcical events of last year when Gay claimed his home was under attack from 'a radical anti-pulp mill element' painting graffiti and using smoke bombs.
The local media  (BLOGGERS NOTE: READ RICK PILKINGTON'S COVERAGE AND LINKS TO THIS ISSUE HERE) initially presented Gay's account of this event as Devine does, without question. In the subsequent hysteria there was front-page talk of eco-terrorism, and in Paul Lennon's words, the 'expertly trained operatives' of the anti-pulp mill movement.
The truth turned out to be more prosaic and rather embarrassing for all concerned, though it would seem not for Miranda: the police discovered several drunk youths had let off some sparklers at the Gays front door and daubed a green penis on the Gays wall.
More Summer Heights High's Jonah Takalua than a Californian tree spiker, one man was sentenced for vandalism, the magistrate finding that he "did not act with political or activist motivations''.
Devine doesn't bother to mention this though, nor the many well publicised instances of businesses being burnt out, people bashed, and careers destroyed because of their stated opposition to, or in many instances, just questioning of the woodchipping industry.
Instead she talks of 'violent feral protestors'.
What violence, where Miranda?
There is no evidence of Tasmanian forest protestors ever being violent. The 40-year history of the Tasmanian environment movement is of a strong commitment to non-violence.
There is though much evidence — and several convictions — of the violence flowing in the opposite direction, as this sickening youtube clip makes clear.
The video, filmed by a hidden camera, shows Gunns logging contractor, Rod Howells, smashing the window of a gutted car that is blocking a logging access road in the Florentine valley with a sledge hammer. He and two other logging workers have subsequently been found guilty of assaulting the protestors they then pulled out of the car.
John Gay made abundantly clear to politicians what Gunns' position was in other ways.
Here's Bob Cheek, one time leader of the Tasmanian Liberal Party, on being summoned during an election campaign to meet John Gay — the man Miranda describes as 'visionary' — in the middle of the night, Gay telling Cheek that it would be "worth my while".
Gay gave Cheek a cheque for $10,000 and offered him another $20,000 "if I locked in the right answer to the question: 'Will you continue to support the existing forestry policy?'"
Some visionary, Miranda.
A decade ago it was clear that the world had changed and that Tasmania's third world forestry practices were becoming no longer acceptable to its first world customers. That wasn't a Green conspiracy. That was history.
And then politics failed Tasmania. Rather than insisting the industry modernise, both Liberal and Labor parties allowed Gunns to become a rogue corporation. Both parties, when in power, paid them our money to destroy our heritage to make a handful rich. Gunns returned the favour by making large donations to both major parties.
Both sides ran protection (BLOGGERS NOTE: READ THE CHRONICLING OF THE DECEIT AROUND GUNNS PULP MILL IN "THE GREAT PULP MILL SWINDLE" HERE AND TOM BAXTER/ROLAND BROWNES ESSAY "PROBITY ISSUES CONNECTED WITH THE TASMANIAN PULP MILL" HERESKY) for Gunns' ever more unpopular excesses. Lennon even brought Gunns lawyers into draft the bill that fast tracked approval of Gay's pulp mill. It included provisions preventing legal action under criminal law by the public against the mill, even if evidence of corruption was found. Both major parties voted in support of what Tasmanian upper house president, Don Wing, described as 'Gunns' dream bill'.
The major parties entered into a compact with Gunns so perverse it saw Labor Party luminaries campaign with John Howard in the 2004 election. So bizarre, it saw the Liberal Party remove a Federal candidate, Ben Quin, who looked likely to win a lower house seat, because he believed Gunns pulp mill proposal should be subject to proper process.
If there had been the political will and courage to make the woodchipping industry reform, the industry would not be in crisis today; there would be many world heritage class forests still existing, many working class Tasmanians would not have suffered as they had and are, and Tasmanian society would not poisoned by the hate, lies and corruption of public life that was so necessary to ensuring the woodchipping racket continue.
And so the racket continued, rorting the taxpayer, screwing the workers, raping the land, and attacking and sometimes destroying any who dared questioned what was happening.
And at the end of the racket what did we have?
A forest industry on its knees.
Certainly that's what the market thinks. Gunns shares had dropped to 25 cents in the dying days of John Gay, and soared after he left. Certainly that's what the forest industry thinks, because they — including to its credit, the post-Gay Gunns — are seeking a historic settlement with the conservation movement, and the two are at this very moment locked in complex negotiations.
With no thanks to either political party, the two groups are trying to find common ground. As forest contractors said to Eric Abetz two weeks ago, stay out of it. They — like all Tasmanians — want these discussions to succeed.
At a time when national politics in both its dominant versions has lost courage and clarity, Tasmania is a reminder of the terrible cost of such a failure of leadership. Politics that pursues only power inevitably betrays us all.
Miranda paints a picture of us and them, of working class heroes destroyed by 'greens in suits'. But the story of Tasmania wasn't any of those things: it was how greed poisoned and then split a society, made it foul with hate and violence, rancid with lies and corruption.
And now that society is trying to bring itself back together. It's far from easy. It may fail. But it is a source of hope, whereas Miranda's melodrama is just a lie. An old, divisive lie, pregnant only with despair.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Updated 12.10pm 20/8/08. Its enough to give you thrush! Candida Doyle predicted it. The Launceston Examiner runs Miranda's rant.............I havent laughed this hard in a long time. Have a read of this incredible rant from budding fiction writer and uber right wing mouthpiece, Miranda Devine.

Updated 12.10pm 20/8/08. Its enough to give you thrush!
Candida Doyle predicted it Here. See comments 10 & 45. The Launceston Examiner runs Miranda's rant heresky
Can you imagine how the conversation went.
"Hello Miranda here"
Hello Miranda it's Matt here from Gunns"
"Oh g'day Matt, what can i do for you"
"Well we have just released our latest financial statement to the ASX and to be honest its not great. So we are looking to put out some positive stories about the company, nothing to over the top"
"Matt, I think i know what you mean"
" Oh thats great Miranda, can we send you some ideas through"
"Yeah that would be great Matt, I'm fairly busy so that would help a lot"
" I look forward to the article Miranda
See Here

Monday, August 16, 2010

Congratulations to Launceston triathlete Joe Gambles on another win in the U.S


Monday, August 9, 2010

Article from Financial Review........and........Tasmanian Logging industry recieving $1.25Million per week in subsidies for the last 12 years according to local economics professor.......

Sides sweat on talks outcome
from The Financial Review

Forestry is once again shaping as a difficult issue for Labor in this election campaign as the Coalition says it will continue to support the timber industry and the Australian Greens vow to oppose any further industry assistance.
Both major parties have been waiting to see whether the old foes from environmental groups, logging companies and unions who are engaging in private talks on the future of forestry in Tasmania reach an agreement before the election.
Participants in the round-table talks, who were bunkered down in negotiations in Hobart late last week, have been tight-lipped but have come under pressure from both main parties to keep them informed of the progress.
After all, several seats could be at stake – most notably Bass and Braddon, which Labor holds with margins of 1 per cent and 2.3 per cent, resp
The Australian Financial Review revealed last week part of the price tag of the deal being discussed could be an interim assistance package for forestry contractors of an immediate $50 million, plus $1 million a week indefinitely.
The Australian Forest Contractors Association, which says 4000 contractors and their staff are struggling because of the industry downturn and looming restructure, has outlined this proposal and claims it has the support of all the parties to the talks.
There would likely be other costs to government involved, including possibly compensation to Gunns for surrendering timber concessions in state forests and further assistance with jobs.
In Launceston on Friday, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott declined to comment on the contractors’ proposal but said the Coalition had always supported the timber industry. “If you want the Tasmanian forest industry to survive, the last thing you need is a de facto Labor-Green alliance in Canberra as well as in Hobart,” he said.
Greens leader Bob Brown rejected any further assistance to the logging industry until it exited native forests and shifted to plantations. “We don’t believe one dollar should go to keeping loggers in the publicly owned state forests. The Howard government gave $250 million for so-called re-tooling, re-skilling and so on and we have an industry on its knees. It squandered that money,” he said.
The talks cover a restructuring of the industry, including seeking a way forward on long-running disputes over ending the logging of Tasmania’s oldest high-conservation value forests and over the proposed Gunns Tamar Valley pulp mill.
Participants include Timber Communities Australia, the National Association of Forest Industries, the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, Environment Tasmania, the Wilderness Society and the Australian Conservation Foundation.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard has twice been to Tasmania during the campaign but has thus far skirted making any forestry commitments. Her old confidant and friend from university days, Michael O’Connor, is representing timber workers in the talks. Mr O’Connor was the union boss who embarrassed Labor days before the 2004 election by leading workers who booed Mark Latham’s plans to lock up more old-growth forest.
If the round-table talks do reach a deal, it could provide Labor with a ready-made, long-term plan for the industry, which could be announced with the sort of widespread support that has proved elusive on this issue.
Associate professor and head of the school of government at the University of Tasmania, Kate Crowley, said forestry was a sleeper issue in the campaign that could still flare up in the final fortnight.
The Australian Financial Review
See Jarvis Cocker Here earlier on the Tasmanian Times

From the AFL website

Saints back in town: Riewoldt.
"ST KILDA captain Nick Riewoldt says the Saints rediscovered their trademark high-pressure football against Port Adelaide on Sunday.
The Saints leapt to an early lead and never took their foot from the Power's throat, powering to a 94-point victory that broke a run of three winless games.
“You could tell from the first five minutes that we’d got back to playing the way we’ve been recognised as playing over the past few years,” said Riewoldt, 27, after the game.
“That’s our real barometer - our team defence and our pressure, and I thought pretty early you could tell that was back today.”
Coach Ross Lyon described last week as a mini “pre-season” with the Saints going through the A to Z of their game plan that had deserted them over their past three games.
Riewoldt said the post-mortem of last Friday night’s loss to Essendon had been “pretty basic”.
“It was just us going back and reviewing exactly how we played,” he said.
“We know our game plan stands up and our trademarks stand up under pressure when we apply them for four quarters.
“Probably there had been a bit of a disconnect somewhere and we (had) just ... gone away from doing a few of the things structurally ... that makes us a good team.
“It was about pulling the way we’ve been playing apart and trying to realign it back to the way we want to play.”
Riewoldt has now played five games since his round 15 return from a badly torn hamstring tendon.
On Sunday, he had 19 touches and 14 marks - eight of which were on the lead. He kicked four goals and assisted in the same number.
It marked the skipper's biggest haul since round two this year, when he kicked seven goals against North Melbourne.
“I’ve got full confidence in [my body]. Mentally, the hamstring is not an issue,” he said.
“I think it’s just a matter of every week, I’ll get more in tune with playing and the touch will continue to improve.
“There are aspects of your game you can improve every week and I’m no different to any other player there.”

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Updated 9.50am, 9/8/10 (see below) Updated 10.45pm......Van Wisse completes 1st crossing in 9hr23. Over halfway through return swim to Dover......Aussie John Van Wisse swimming the English Channel NOW. Attempting a TRIPLE crossing

Updated 9.50am.

From Twitter- "John stopped at lap no 2. Conditions were against him and he couldnt continue. Final time 19hrs 55mins"

Well done JVW. You have reduced the English Channel to a lap pool!. Awesome effort.

This tweet from Van Wisse support team at 10.40pm Sun aest

johnvanwisse "The white cliffs of Dover look quite impressive from 10 miles away. Sea has just calmed and the sun is shining down on The Van" :-)

14 minutes ago via mobile web


Only 3 people have done a triple previously, Alison Streeter (GB) was the last in 1990.

Phillip Rush (NZ) holds the record at 28 hrs 21 min.

Follow John's progress Hear and Here and Heresky

Bypass bullying in the North and South. Tasmania's redneck Government strikes again

Though few Tasmanians buy it, Premier David Bartlett has always fancied himself as more honest, more kinder and more connected than Paul Lennon. However few would believe that the former Premier would have run roughshod over a 40,000yr old Aboriginal site.

From The Mercury......

See Here

"A BRIDGE over an Aboriginal site at Brighton would be akin to a freeway over Stonehenge or Buckingham Palace, a senior archaeologist says".

and Here

"The Jordan River levee is among the oldest and most intact human habitation sites in the world and is considered internationally significant".

and Here

Friday, August 6, 2010

Devious double effect; Backflip Bartlett takes land from a Tamar Valley farmer to give Gunns its pipeline

From The Mercury .....
"Farmer Gerald Archer had refused to negotiate with Gunns over a route through his land for the $40 million water pipeline, without which the $2.5 billion mill could not go ahead.

However, DIER compulsorily acquired a 70m-wide corridor comprising a total of 11.96ha for the bypass in November 2009"

"DIER spokesman Simon Hiscock said at the time the move was "entirely unrelated to the construction of the Gunns pipeline which is a separate matter for negotiation by Gunns".

Do the excuses get anymore lame than this?
What an amazing coincidence that the land that was compulsorily acquired was the biggest piece of land Gunns wanted to build its pipeline across where the landowner refused access. A year ago the government denied the pipeline was envisaged to run within the bypass when there was evidence in support of such strategy.
I doubt that our parliamentarians would raise their own children to double cross their friends in the way that Premier Bartlett has double crossed the Archers, the people of the Tamar Valley and Tasmanians with his latest slight of hand for Gunns.
Premier Bartlett has been caught out again.

Call for Gunns' pipeline halt


Anti-mill group pulps Bartlett's backdoor pipeline deal

Oh dear. The Tasmanian Government just cant help itself .
The latest favour for Gunns (see statement below) is the continuation of a history of secret deals and broken promises by the Bartlett government relating to the pulp mill. Premier Bartlett has made many utterances about restoring integrity and honesty to government, yet this latest slight of hand is so transparently deceitful it shows Mr Bartlett to be no different to his predecessor when it comes to the Pulp Mill.

The community group Friends of the Tamar Valley today called on the Tasmanian Premier to intervene following information that Gunns is receiving further assistance from a State government department for its proposed pulp mill.
Dept of Infrastructure Energy & Resources said it will let Gunns place its contentious pipeline within land that was compulsorily acquired for a road bypass.
FTV spokesperson, Vanessa Bleyer said “this follows the Premier saying only a year ago that he would not do anything further to assist Gunns’ pulp mill.
“It is a convenient coincidence that:- the land that was compulsorily acquired was the biggest piece of land Gunns wanted to build its pipeline across where the landowner refused access;
- a year ago the government denied the pipeline was envisaged to run within the bypass when there was evidence in support of such strategy.
“FTV is in the process of obtaining legal advice, with initial indications that it is illegal for land to be compulsorily acquired for a public road when it was always intended to be used for the pipeline.
“Protests from landowners and the local community should not be ignored or deliberately side stepped through corrupted processes.”
There is still uncertainty for the pulp mill relating to the pipeline because:
- there is still private land that Gunns does not have permission to construct through;
- the new pipeline route will need federal government approval.
There is still uncertainty beyond the pipeline. The pulp mill has not been finally approved at a Federal level – modules of the environment impact management plan relating to the impact on marine environment are outstanding: no approved plan, no pulp mill.

For further information contact Vanessa Bleyer of FTV on 0412 589 68 48 or 6394 8225.

Forests; Jarvis Cocker reveals the deal. A Tasmanian Times exclusive


A little birdy also whispered to TPOS that Labor will be announcing a big forests buy out package shortly -$200m for land and roads etc from Gunns and $75m for forestry contractors (re tooling etc).
Also told that Gunns have sold Tamar Ridge to Brown Brothers.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Perfect storm my arse Terry! Latest logger demand for taxpayer handout truly bizzare

Have a read of the ABC news report below.
Have you finished?
O.k. No its true. Its not a joke. Read it again if you have to.
The Tasmanian Forest contractors want over $100M of cash freebies from you the taxpayer over the next 12 months.
To quote the great 20th century American philosopher Mcenroe "You cannot be serious man"!

To put the logging contractors request into perspective, the total Tasmanian budget this year was around 5 Billion. Remember that the Tasmanian Forest contractors are but one small component of what we are told is a multi-faceted Tasmanian forest industry, which in turn is just one part of tasmania's overall economy.
We are consistently reminded by the Tasmanian logging industry that it is a crucial contributor (thats a giver not a taker) to the Tasmanian economy. How many times have Tasmanians been lectured that forestry has underpinned growth in the Tasmanian economy.
Here is UTAS economics professor Graeme Wells on this very issue: -
"Given their constituency, such behaviour is understandable and appears to have been successful. In 2007, for example, 24% of survey respondents thought that forestry had ‘made the greatest contribution to the growth of Tasmania’s economy in the last few years’ – second only in importance to tourism. It is hard to reconcile this response with the reality that Tasmanian woodchip exports had declined since 2000, and forest contractors had, in 2007, asked the Commonwealth for a $93m package to help them exit the industry. While it might be difficult for the general public to discount repeated but erroneous claims, more is expected from the responsible ministers. But Bryan Green, then Minister for Infrastructure, Energy and Resources, was infected by the lobbyists’ enthusiasm for forestry and wood products industry. For example, in his submission to the Australian Government’s review of taxation treatment of plantation forestry, he claimed that ‘these industries contribute ... 23 % of Gross State Product ... and directly employ around 10,700 people (1 in 13 workforce participants)’. These claims, which appear to have been sourced from a CFMEU website, were wildly inflated. Schirmer (2008) estimated employment in the forestry and wood products industry to have been 6300 in 2005-06 which, given the Tasmanian workforce of 222,000 persons, is 2.9% of the total. That is, the industry employed one in 35 workers, not one in 13 as claimed by Minister Green. Data on value added in the forestry and wood products industry are not compiled by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, but even in the unlikely event that workers in the industry were twice as productive as the Tasmanian average, their contribution to Gross State Product would have been 5.8%, not 23% as claimed by Minister Green".

Yet here we are again seeing the industry demanding government handouts to sustain that growth.
The TFCA is requesting $50m plus $1m per week which comes in at $100m for the next year.
Whilst the money is being requested from the feds if given it would be a handout to the equivalent of 2% of Tasmania's total budget.
It tells us a few things about the relationship of the loggers to the Liberal and Labor parties from whom the industry are putting this latest handout request.
The logging industry believe that taxpayer money is their birthright and that the public should pay for the loggers to exploit the publics natural heritage. It also tells us what a monster the lib/labs have created through its cosy & mutually dependent relationship. The claim is probably ambit, but even if they were given $5-10, maybe $20m which is what they are probably hoping for it is still very scary and very wrong.
I supported the state govts recent support packages However this latest handout requests is the most breathtaking and obscene grab for public money i have seen in a long time.


Forest industry's big multi-million-dollar wishlist(from ABC news online)
The forest industry has asked for a multi-million-dollar assistance package, and released a big ticket election wishlist. (ABC News: Fiona Breen)
A call to provide Tasmanian forest contractors with a multi-million-dollar assistance package has been backed by the nation's peak industry body.
The Australian Forest Contractors Association has called on both major parties to provide $50 million to help prop up struggling Tasmanian contractors.
The association has also asked for an additional $1 million a week in ongoing aid.
Terry Edwards from Tasmania's Forest Industries Association says local contractors have been hit hard by a "perfect storm" of events, including the global downturn, a strong Australian dollar, and campaigns by environmentalists.
"From that point of view I think there is a need for government to step in, and I think they do understand and accept that," he said.
"The Tasmanian Government has stepped up to the plate on three separate occasions, but this is becoming a pretty big ask."
The National Association of Forest Industries' chief executive Allan Hansard has backed the call.
"The contractors are an essential piece in the supply chain," he said.
Mr Hansard says it is vital to keep contractors in the industry for when the market improves.
"Their claims are all about ensuring that the viable operators, the viable contractors, stay in the business for when we do sort out the future of the timber industry in Tasmania."
Most of the contractors who would benefit are based in the marginal electorates of Bass and Braddon.
'Election wishlist'
NAFI is also lobbying both major parties to help increase Australia's wood production.
At the top of its election wishlist is a call for the Federal Government to guarantee long-term wood supply under the Regional Forest Agreements.
Allan Hansard says Australia is in danger of running out of wood to fulfill its own needs, let alone meet export demands.
"We just will not have enough wood to provide for houses and our shelter, going forward," Mr Hansard said.
The association is also calling for more government incentives for investment in plantations.
"It could be tax arrangements, it could be grants," he said.
'Request "laughable": Greens'
The lobbying to increase production in the forestry industry has riled the Tasmanian Greens.
Spokesman Kim Booth says the industry has been oversubsidised already.
"It's actually laughable," Mr Booth said.
"I mean NAFI is largely an organisation that appears to me to be looking for charity status, the way it appears to be seeking more and more contributions from the public purse."

and Sue Neales from the Mercury http://www.themercury.com.au/article/2010/08/06/163981_tasmania-news.html

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Child poisoned every 9 days in mine town Mount Isa - A sobering tale about the impacts of heavy industry and corporate greed on public health - Take note Premier Bartlett.

This story is shocking. The results of a study published in a prestigous Medical Journal this week, show that in Mt Isa a public health tragedy is unfolding which has the potential to be one of the worst industrial disasters in Australian history.
The article below reports the damning findings of the Medical Journal of Australia study which has found that a child in Mt. Isa currently develops lead poisoning every nine days. 11% of the 400 kids born every year in Mt Isa have lead poisoning. Even scarier is the fact that only a quarter of children in Mt. Isa have been checked. The Queensland Government is being accused of seriously underplaying the issue.
However the MJA study should represent the end of denials by mining behemoth xstrata and the Queensland Government about the true source of lead poisoning in the Mt. Isa community.

A purported lack of knowledge of the lead source is no longer a tenable response and provides no long term resolution for Xstrata, the government or the children of Mt Isa whose futures are at risk”.

"The evidence is clear. There is a single primary source of environmental lead in Mt Isa: the historic and ongoing mining and smelting activity," wrote study author Mark Taylor.
The game's up: the lead is not naturally occurring," .

"It's an inescapable conclusion that the source of the metals is mining and smelting activities" Professor Taylor said

Last year, a study also found lead contamination in the soil around Mount Isa was worse than that near similar mines in China. Now seven families are suing Xstrata

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh's response to all this?

Bligh argued that the Queensland Government was doing all it could to protect the health of children in Mount Isa. Bligh said, “We've seen those children who did have unacceptable high levels of lead reduced from 7.5 per cent to 5 per cent…I should stress that this is a minority of children but we are doing everything in our power to fix it.”

A "minority of children" said the Queensland Premier.
Being part of that 'minority' is cold comfort for parents like Daphne Hare, mother of a Stella, a schoolgirl at the centre of a seven family class action against Xstrata over the alleged lead toxicity in Mt Isa.
Hare said her eight-year-old daughter Stella was spending "increasing amounts of time in hospital with health and learning difficulties related to the elevated levels of lead in her blood.
"She's not a well child at the moment".
She's got gastro-intestinal problems... and intellectual disabilities," Hare said.
"She's having problems in areas where (teachers) explain things to her, and ten seconds later she's forgotten what they said," Hare added of her daughter's struggles at school.
"She's receiving counselling to deal with her intellectual disabilities."

For Daphne Hare, the case goes beyond compensation or a question of sums.
"You can't put a price on a child," she said.
"For me it's about what they're doing with these kids. It's about justice for these children."

And in the spirit of small town redneckery the likes of which we have seen from politicians in Tasmania defending the Gunns Pulp Mill, Mount Isa Mayor John Molony responded to the MJOA study saying, “We're a working town and a great town. The bloke who wrote that is working in hospital-like conditions in a big city - he wouldn't understand life out here.”

Can this public health tragedy really be happening in Australia, one of the most affluent and so called "developed societies" on earth?
Australians have been led to believe by the mining, oil, gas and logging industries that we live in an era when industry has cleaned up its act and our families are guaranteed protection through 'cleaner, greener' or 'environmentally neutral' heavy industrial projects?
Or is the reality that communities like Mt Isa and the Tamar Valley in Tasmania are being take for the same old ride. A con, greenwashed.

Indeed, the tragedy being played out in Mt.Isa should serve as a warning to the enthusiastic backers of the construction of the worlds 3rd Largest Kraft Pulp Mill around 1km from residents and working vineyards in the Tamar Valley a community of 100,000 people. In Mt Isa we see a pattern of Government and corporate cosying that Tasmanians have become all to accustomed to. Government siding with the corporation against the interests of the broader community as public health suffers.

The question Tasmanian's need to ask, with one of the single largest heavy industrial developments being fast tracked and shoe horned into the Tamar Valley, by a Tasmanian government which became notorious for its embarrassingly subservient relationship to the pulp mill's proponent , Gunns, is will Tasmania see a similar environmental and public health disaster unfold in the Tamar Valley?

Both Gunns and the Tasmanian government have persistently and deliberately ignored warnings from experts in the RPDC and from the Australian Medical Association about the public and environmental risks  associated with siting this type of industry at the Longreach site in the Tamar Valley.
As Richard Flanagan argued in his award winning article Out of Control ......."Though the Tasmanian chapter of the AMA warned Tasmania's political leaders that they would be personally accountable for any health problems resulting from the proposed pulp mill, the leaders were listening not to such dire concerns but rather to the Gunns board, with whom Premier Lennon and his kitchen cabinet met on 25 February. Two days later, Gunns told the Australian Stock Exchange it was "confident the necessary government approvals" for its pulp mill "will be obtained within a timeframe which maintains the commercial value of the project".

Indeed, in September 2006 the Tasmanian branch of the AMA put out a media release advising that ...."it would not support the proposed Tamar Valley pulp mill due to serious health omissions and gaps in the integrated impact statement. AMA Tasmania has supported the independent RPDC assessment process to publicly attend to and resolve our identified omissions and gaps. The health related gaps identified by AMA Tasmania in September have not been answered. Any expedient compromise on health standards is completely unacceptable.

In August 2007 after the Tasmanian Parliament passed Premier Paul Lennon's tick-in-the-box fast track Gunns pulp mill bill The AMA then put out another statement saying it could not support the project as it was "concerned that the Tasmanian Resource Planning & Development Commission (TRPDC) assessment has been replaced by a much less rigorous but government-sanctioned, fast-track process.
“This is not acceptable for an industrial development of international magnitude with possible significant public health consequences,” Dr Andrew Jackosn said.
The AMA has particular concerns regarding four potential health issues which,
when taken together, may constitute unacceptable risk:.....
Particulate air pollution in a valley with a well-documented atmospheric inversion layer close to a large population centre.
Odour having more than mere nuisance value with adverse health effects such as nausea, headache, and respiratory symptoms.
Increased heavy vehicle traffic-related accidents.
Bioaccumulation of toxins in the food chain such as dioxins and furans.

A decade ago, the Federal Government recognised Launceston had the worst particle pollution in the country, and spent $2 million trying to phase out woodheaters. Whilst Launceston has seen some improvement, doctors blame the community's high levels of respiratory disease on excessive minute particles.

Dr Michael Aizen from the AMA argued that Gunns' proposed pulp mill with its 130-metre-high smokestack will add even more particles and chemicals to the air sheet saying ............."it is almost certain that the Tamar Valley will act as a wind tunnel and actually concentrate and move air pollution into Launceston". It is poor policy. It is poor government, and it is gambling with the health of people in Launceston". said Dr Aizen.

Those Tamar Valley fogs which occur in Autumn and Winter also make driving dangerous.
The RPDC warned that this problem would be worsened with a tonne of water vapour expelled into the atmosphere for every tonne of pulp produced. In Alabama, USA, there is a drying facility that produces water vapour in similar quantities and this produces 'white-outs' on local highways that have been responsible for multiple pile-ups and deaths. Only a few weeks ago right in the middle of our winter there was a 16 car piled up in 3 seperate prangs on the ET highway due to fog. Yet the state government are still determined to see a doubling of log truck traffic on this road with the proposed Longreach pulp mill.
I'm not sure whether the Xstrata mine is ensrhined in state law as the proposed Gunns Tamar Valley pulp mill is in Tasmania, but even if it is, i doubt whether Xstrata's mining operations have been bullet proofed from community legal redress as the Gunns project has.
Read on below and also listen to the report by ABC's World Today Programme here or read here

Child poisoned every 9 days in mine town Mount Isa
by Michael Mckenna and Andrew Fraser.

A CHILD develops lead poisoning every nine days in the northwest Queensland mining town of Mount Isa, claims a new study.
Two years after Queensland Health testing found 11 per cent of the town's children had lead poisoning, researchers have accused Xstrata and the Bligh government of doing nothing.
The study, published yesterday in the Medical Journal of Australia, suggested that one child every nine days was exposed to dangerously high lead levels.
Macquarie University associate professor Mark Taylor, the report's co-author, said that mining giant Xstrata and the Queensland government had continually denied that mining activity was the cause of high lead levels in blood in the town.
"This study finally puts that theory to rest -- we've looked at the evidence, that includes . . . things like soil and geology, and they all point in the same direction -- that it's the processing of the soil, not what's in the soil, which is the cause of the problem.
"Cleaning up the river is good, but that's the easy part. It's cleaning up what comes out in the air which is the hard part, and that's still not being addressed," he said.
Xstrata is co-ordinating the Lead Pathways Study, which deals with a survey of land pollution in Mt Isa, and the second and third parts, which deal with water and air pollution, are both due to be released next year.
Last year, a study found lead contamination in the soil around Mount Isa was worse than that near similar mines in China.
The report by one of the world's leading lead toxicology experts, American Russell Flegal, debunked Xstrata's claims that the lead poisoning in children was due to naturally high levels of the heavy metal in the region.
Instead, Professor Flegal, an adviser to the US Environmental Protection Agency on mining operations, concluded that historic and continuing emissions from the mine and smelting operations caused the lead poisoning. The report was commissioned by lawyers Slater and Gordon, representing several children with dangerously high lead blood levels, in a negligence case.
Solicitor Damian Scattini yesterday said the latest study by Dr Taylor -- who has completed paid work for the negligence case -- was further evidence that children were at risk in the town.
"You only have to go to the top of the hill in Mount Isa and watch those trucks going up to the slag heaps and see how the winds blow the dust off the top and across the town," he said.
In a written statement, Climate Change and Sustainability Minister Kate Jones said the government last year installed an air monitoring device at Mount Isa to monitor lead levels.
"Since this technology was installed, there have been no breaches of national standards in regards to lead in the air," she said.
Mount Isa mayor John Molony said: "We're a working town and a great town. The bloke who wrote that is working in hospital-like conditions in a big city -- he wouldn't understand life out here."

Labors' Geoff Lyons and Martin Ferguson continue to back pulp mill over Tamar wine industry opposition.


Monday, August 2, 2010

Leigh Matthews on the Saints need for speed. From the AFL website


Absolutely agree with everything Lethal says. Saints cant afford to play 2 slow ruckman plus Kosi against the speedy teams. This weeks game against Port is a must win and would see the saints close the Gap on the top two, one of which will lose this weekend as they play off (coll v geel). The dogs are closing on the saints with far superior percentage, as are Freo. Yet the Saints couldnt have asked for an easier run home. Their fate is in their hands.
Whish-Wilson will be getting excited with the Dockers still a big chance for the top four and I'm glad i didnt join Whishys dad for the game on friday night as he is a mad bombers supporter.
Have a cup of tea Son!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Poll says no more taxpayer money for Gunns pulp mill

From the Tasmanian Times here

Gunns’ planned pulp mill on the nose for voters
Rod Hutchins, TAP Into A Better Tasmania.

“Internal polling of the northern Tasmanian 63 telephone district shows a clear majority of the electorate is less likely to vote for a political party that intends to support Gunns proposed pulp mill with taxpayer funds,” said TAP Into A Better Tasmania spokesman, Rod Hutchins.
The poll was carried out in late July 2010 by TAP Into a Better Tasmania. Voters were asked, “Would you be more or less likely to vote for a party intending to use taxpayers’ money to support Gunns’ proposed pulp mill?” Of the 258 Tasmanian voters surveyed, 55% said they are “less likely”, 26% said they were “more likely” and 19% were unsure.
If the undecided are either excluded or distributed in the usual manner for polls, some 68% of voters are less likely to vote for a party that intends using taxpayer funds to support Gunns’ proposal.
Rod Hutchins said, “The conspiracy of silence on the pulp mill from the major parties belies the continuing strong resistance to the proposal. This is the latest in a long series of polls that shows Tasmanians overwhelmingly don’t want it and don’t want governments to support it.”
“A corrupted government pulp mill assessment has delivered a toxic lemon and the proposal must be axed now or resubmitted to the planning system for a complete and independent assessment at Gunns’ expense. The assessment by the RPDC was foreshortened to supposedly avoid severe economic losses, and we now know that the project information was ‘critically deficient’, said Mr Hutchins.
“The pulp mill proposal continues to threaten thousands of existing jobs in tourism, fishing, wineries and organic food production. Further investments and jobs in these clean industries of the future remain frozen while the pulp mill remains on the books,” he concluded.

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