Articles

Jo Cox ... and the Language of Hate ...

Harriet Binet* Pic*
30.06.16 1:00 pm

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… In a BBC interview Brendan spoke about the increasing tribalism of politics, the coarsening of language and tendency to play to peoples’ fears rather than better natures. These were sentiments echoed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel who warned, in the wake of Jo’s death, about the dangers of divisive language, saying that “exaggeration and radicalisation of language did not help foster an atmosphere of respect.” In Australia we too need to bring into sharper focus the language of public and political discourse. Language matters and words have consequences. Rhetoric which promotes fear or prejudice provides succour to those harbouring extremist or prejudicial views. The embers of hate are fanned by hateful and violent language.  …

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Politics | International | National | State | Editor's Choice | Opinion | Personal | Society | Tribute

Everyone rejoice, Manus Island is ‘open and free’!

John Martinkus* Pic*
30.06.16 12:30 pm

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Didn’t you hear Julie Bishop? Manus Island is open and free! Asylum seekers rejoice! Foreign correspondent John Martinkus reports that nothing could be further than the truth.

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It’s up to all of us

Scott MacInnes* Pic: of Mahatma Ghandi. First published June 29
30.06.16 5:30 am

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… We know intuitively that something is seriously wrong but feel so overwhelmed by it all that we either flee into vehement denial (“There really isn’t a problem.”), defensiveness (“It’s not my fault.“), blame (“It’s the governments and the big corporations.”), moral indignation (“It’s all those other insensitive, greedy bastards.”), self-righteousness (“I’m entitled to my indulgent lifestyle. I work hard and deserve it.”), avoidance (“I haven’t got time to deal with this now.”), displacement (“It’s somebody else’s problem” - Douglas Adams’ SEP); helplessness (“There’s nothing I as an individual can do about it.”), imperfect solution excuses (“If there is not a perfect solution, then we are entitled to do nothing.”); resort to magical thinking (“There’s sure to be a technological magic wand just around the corner. God/science will save us.”); fatalism (“It’s too late, we’re all already doomed.”); and/or, finally, collapse into paralysis (“It’s just all too hard and I cannot deal with it.”).

The result is that we deny, avoid or disavow reality. And what is so alarming is that our current culture relentlessly encourages us in this. Rather than performing its traditional critical function of helping us understand, face and deal creatively and constructively with reality, the prevailing dominant culture actively undermines our capacity to do so. …

… We see footage of world poverty on the news and in charity advertising all the time but somehow we find ways to disavow the reality of it and our deepest feelings about it. In doing so, we create a dislocation in our inner world. We cut ourselves off from that part of us that instinctively does care. To deal with the anxiety of that loss of integrity, we have to fool ourselves that we don’t really need to worry about this problem and the prevailing culture of uncare subtly supports us in this.  …

• Bob Hawkins in Comments: Thanks Scott. Wise words. From my “It’s too late, we’re all already doomed” perspective, I find myself “if only-ing”. Ghandi offers us a way. Sadly his words address a life form (in the shape of the monster that is its whole) without the mindfulness even to slow in its destructive course and contemplate his advice.

• Lyndall Rowley in Comments: Magnificent piece of writing Scott. Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! I would, however, add one more concern to the five already listed - ‘Population’.  In my opinion, the major driver and underlying cause of the majority of concerns is unsustainable population growth. We must face up to this stark and complex self-inflicted reality. Having accepted in full your cri de coeur and urgent need for a collective (even societal global) mind-shift & action, I would then sincerely and respectfully ask the most difficult question of all: HOW?

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Writers | Scott MacInnes | Politics | International | National | Economy | Editor's Choice | Opinion | History | Personal | Society

Images Leaked of Super Trawler Kills as Government Cover-up Deepens

Rebecca Hubbard*, Nobby Clark* Media Release
30.06.16 5:20 am

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The Stop the Trawler Alliance have received troubling images from an informant who claims to be a crew member of the Geelong Star, who for the first time, is leaking to the public images of a whale shark which has been at the centre of a Freedom of Information battle with government since March

• Luigi Brown in Comments: More protected species kills; secrecy and cover-ups; AFMA intransigence; government silence. Is anybody surprised by this?

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

A Big Week for Boy-Men

Steve Biddulph* Pic* First published June 27
30.06.16 5:15 am

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We have to get more light into the messed up world of manhood, writes Steve Biddulph

… The problem created by “boy-men” - fully grown men in large bodies, and sometimes in powerful positions, yet with the emotional development of three year-olds - begs for proper understanding.  This small, yet resistant rump of damaged males have so much capacity to do harm that we cannot ignore them any more … 

• Gordon Bradbury in Comments: Good article Mr Biddulph. And I agree entirely. Everyday I witness men behaving badly. Men in positions of power, trust and authority. Being a father to 2 young men (and having very limited parenting skills myself), I am acutely aware of the broken dysfunctional “system” in which families operate. Parenting as a real skill is completely ignored (save by a few people such as Mr Biddulph). Communication and relationship skills are also completely ignored in our education system. Emotional intelligence? What’s that? If we think the current generation of male leaders are bad just wait 20 years. The cult of the ego-driven male has only just begun! The one ray of hope is that social media and the growing power of women will head this disaster off before its too late. There are very few men who seem able or willing to call the problem.

• Bob Hawkins in Comments: When I was a mid-teenage lower-working-class lad, I was given two brief bits of advice from my parents, who probably were shyly doing their best at modern-day (early 1950s) sex education. As if she were confiding a secret, Mum whispered: “Son, always treat every girl as if she was a lady.” Never another word from her on the subject. About the same time, with Mum not around, Dad said: “Son, never go further than she’ll let you.” He said no more. At the time, it sounded like a contradiction. More than 60 years on, I thank both those poorly educated people for their wisdom. Thanks Mum, thanks Dad. At least I had a pretty good idea about what was right and what was wrong. Must be why I ended up in the Far East as a virgin soldier.

• Rossi in Comments: What can we expect from “sports people” when cynical adults have made a lucrative industry (and religion) out of what are essentially children’s games of playing with inflated balls?  Maintaining the complete suspension of credibility undermines any integrity they might show.  It’s not in their interests for the players and audience members to actually grow up - in a world of bread and circuses.

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Politics | National | Economy | Environment | Editor's Choice | Health | Opinion | History | Media | Personal | Society

Brexit ...

Martyn Turner, Irish Times, used with permission. First published June 29
30.06.16 5:00 am

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Martyn Turner, Irish Times, used with permission

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

POKIES: What the Candidates reckon ...

Pat Caplice*, Facebook modrator, Rein in The Pokies. First published June 29
30.06.16 4:30 am

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Host Leon Compton sought the candidates’ thoughts about the fact that each adult around them in the shopping centre lost, statistically, $700 each year to The Pokies and that reform wouldn’t occur as the parties were effectively bought by The Pokies lobby.

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The destructive madness of hospital funding

Martyn Goddard* Pic* First published June 26
30.06.16 4:00 am

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The number of patients being treated in Tasmania’s public hospitals is set to fall for the first time in almost a decade. The yawning gap between funding and actual costs make that inevitable. Next year, nominal funding given to the hospitals for the direct treatment of patients will rise by 0.9 per cent and over the four years of the forward estimates by 3.7 per cent. But costs are rising much faster. Just to stay where we are, with the number of patients rising by their usual long-term average, costs will outstrip funding by $92 million next year and $367 million over four years. By 2019-20, the hospitals will have to trim their costs by 30 per cent. And because years of cuts under Labor and Liberal governments have already pushed the system to breaking point, no fat is left. There will be no alternative to cutting staff and treating fewer patients …

EARLIER today on Tasmanian Times ...

The AMA’s attack on Liberal policy ...

• Andrew Ricketts in Comments: … Remember Malcolm said in essence we should not have slogans thrust at us. “We need advocacy, not slogans,” he said. Now it seems the Liberals see slogans as either a strength or an inalienable right but this is surely their Achilles heel. What is next: exciting stability? Malcolm’s slogan statement was surely an indication of what he considered to be important - the avoidance of trivial slogans? Can we now believe and trust him? Can we trust him over Medicare and our health system? …

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Writers | Martyn Goddard | Politics | National | State | Economy | Health | Opinion | History | Planning/Heritage | Society

Huon Valley Guessing Games: Dysfunction’s the name of the game

Bob Hawkins* Pic* First published June 27
28.06.16 5:45 am

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If Peter Gutwein really thought that the directives he issued on June 14, in response to the report of the board of inquiry (BoI) into Huon Valley Council, were to the benefit of the people of the valley, by now he should be having nightmares. Not only was Gutwein’s act one of political cowardice. His decision not to sack the council is beginning to look like a serious misjudgment typical of the dithering Hodgman Government’s record. Another view, however, suggests that, if Gutwein had opted to sack the council, the administrator installed would likely have been a government stooge ...

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

The Triumph of Iceland ...

Lindsay Tuffin*. Pic*
28.06.16 4:50 am

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How absolutely incredible. The entire country has a population around 150,000 less than Tasmania, FFS. But do they ever punch way above their weight. And it’s happened again in the European Cup: dismissing the multi-millionaires of England with a wondrous, opportunistic display ... It is just incredible ( Report HERE ). And, they deal with their elite summarily: gaoling bankers ( TT HERE ); dismissing leaders, dealing common sense ( TT HERE ),  ( TT HERE ). Perhaps it’s a Scandinavian thing ( John Biggs TT: Why has Scandinavia got it right and we haven’t? ) …

• Chris Sharples in Comments: … In my humble opinion they seem to have worked out that far right-wing social, economic and political policies (like the US, UK and Australian “Liberal” party espouse) are ‘zombie’ ideas (as John Quiggan expresses it): that is, failed ideas which should be dead, buried and forgotten but which somehow continue to shamble onward nonetheless.  Right wing policies demonstrably do not benefit their whole societies via a mythical “trickle-down effect” whereby “a rising tide raises all boats”; rather they create more and more unequal societies (the USA and UK since the Reagan/Thatcher eras being stark examples of this).  And more and more unequal societies breed an alienated underclass that becomes so desperate that they can be tricked into voting for populist demagogues who are actually their worst enemies, as the Trump-supporters in the USA are doing. …

• don knowler in Comments: As my fellow countrymen would say, COD HELP US!

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Writers | Lindsay Tuffin | Politics | International | National | State | Economy | Opinion | Society | Sport

Neighbours of Fish Farming: What the candidates say ...

Dr Christine Materia, NOFF Spokesperson
28.06.16 4:45 am

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Neighbours of Fish farming recently emailed all candidates for the upcoming election to gain their views on the continued expansion of salmon fish farms in Tasmania. Very few of them gave us the courtesy of a reply …

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Politics | Local | National | State | Economy | Environment | Opinion | History | Planning/Heritage | Legal | Personal | Society

Derwent Valley Council’s plea ...

Lindsay Tuffin*
28.06.16 4:00 am

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… “We have the highest youth unemployment rate in Tasmania, and unfortunately $2 million for Boyer Oval or $600,000 to redevelop the areas around the Derwent River does not address this or the many real and serious issues facing the Derwent Valley. “We believe real strategic investment, long term projects will deliver the much needed boost to reinvigorate the Derwent Valley economy. “The popularity of Dark Mofo installations at Willow Court has been a prime example of the potential reuse of Willow Curt and the economic gain that investment in that precinct could bring. Dark MoFo has highlighted the community’s willingness to engage with one of the most unique pieces of our history …

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Lapoinya: What a waste ...

Lindsay Tuffin* Pic*
27.06.16 4:50 am

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What a farce ... All that police presence ... All for nothing. Charges against arrested Lapoinya Forest protesters were dropped in the Burnie Magistrates Court Today (Mon, June 26, 2016). And there’s still a High Court challenge to come ( TT HERE ). And it all seems to be a loss-making exercise anyway ... ( John Lawrence HERE ). Incredible!

Read the Media Release, see the picture of the freed protesters, HERE

• Gordon Bradbury in Comments: Lapoinya is much more serious than just “a waste”. It’s clear evidence (like the 2013 election campaign) that the Liberals will do absolutely anything to provoke “Greenies” and wedge the community. “Greenies” must be continually provoked and then shown to be “the bad guys” - breaking the law, stopping “real workers”. Forest-protecting “Greenies” are such easy targets for the Liberals. Like shooting fish in a barrel. It’s all a media/political stunt! Nothing more. The forest industry is just a political toy. A play thing for the politicians to divide the community and win elections ...

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

NATION: The ‘opportunistic Trots ...’

Urban Wronski* http://urbanwronski.com/ . Pic*
27.06.16 4:45 am

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“They are a bunch of opportunistic Trots hiding behind a gum tree trying to pretend they’re the Labor Party,” claims Paul Keating getting stuck into the Greens in his pal Albo’s inner western Sydney seat of Grayndler which the Labor MP has a chance of losing to the Greens. It’s splendid invective, vintage Keating and a marked contrast with most of the language of this dull, passionless, pedestrian campaign …

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Regulars | Urban Wronksi | Politics | National | Economy | Environment | Editor's Choice | Opinion | History | Planning/Heritage | Media | Society

Tasmania’s Alternative Government: Who really runs Tasmania?

Graeme Wathen*, Secretary, Friends of the East Coast Inc. Pic* First published June 25
27.06.16 4:00 am

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Almost 300 submissions were made to the Tasmanian Planning Commission on the Draft State Planning Provisions. One of the most telling submissions was made by the Property Council of Australia (PCA), Tasmanian Division …

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Politics | Local | State | Economy | Environment | Opinion | History | Planning/Heritage | Personal | Society

The AMA’s attack on Liberal policy ...

Lindsay Tuffin* Pic: of Acting Professor Tim Greenaway
26.06.16 1:37 pm

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The Tasmanian President of the Australian Medical Association, Acting Professor Tim Greenaway has launched an extraordinary attack on the Tasmanian Liberal Government’s Budget and the role of Health Minister, Michael Ferguson … And he backed up this conclusion with regular Tasmanian Times’ health analyst Martin Goddard whose most recent analyis concluded that the Liberals’ Budget was A horror budget for patients.

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Writers | Martyn Goddard | Politics | Local | National | State | Economy | Health | Opinion | History | Personal | Society

End of an empire

Phil na Champassak* Pic* First published June 25
26.06.16 6:44 am

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The world’s geo-political axis has been turned topsy-turvy as a result of a major tectonic shift that no-one really saw coming.

FOR and AGAINST leaving ...

John Pilger: Why the British said NO to Europe

Laurie Penny, New Statesman: I want my country back This was never a referendum on the EU. It was a referendum on the modern world … It says something about this campaign that I’m no longer at all worried about risking hyperbole or unoriginality when referencing all that Nazi history they made us study in school. I’m just frightened. I’m frightened that those who wanted “their” country back will get their wish, and it will turn out to be a hostile, inhospitable place for immigrants, ethnic minorities, queer people – everyone and anyone who wasn’t included when Farage proclaimed victory for “ordinary, decent people” this morning in front of a posse formed entirely of angry-looking, whey-faced blokes in suits …

Nick Cohen, Guardian: There are liars and then there’s Boris Johnson and Michael Gove … Yet they gazed at the press with coffin-lid faces and wept over the prime minister they had destroyed. David Cameron was “brave and principled”, intoned Johnson. “A great prime minister”, muttered Gove. Like Goneril and Regan competing to offer false compliments to Lear, they covered the leader they had doomed with hypocritical praise. No one whoops at a funeral, especially not mourners who are glad to see the back of the deceased. But I saw something beyond hypocrisy in those frozen faces: the fear of journalists who have been found out. The media do not damn themselves, so I am speaking out of turn when I say that if you think rule by professional politicians is bad wait until journalist politicians take over. Johnson and Gove are the worst journalist politicians you can imagine: pundits who have prospered by treating public life as a game. Here is how they play it. They grab media attention by blaring out a big, dramatic thought. An institution is failing? Close it. A public figure blunders? Sack him. They move from journalism to politics, but carry on as before. When presented with a bureaucratic EU that sends us too many immigrants, they say the answer is simple, as media answers must be. Leave. Now. Then all will be well.…

Guardian (Observer): View from Wales: town showered with EU cash votes to leave EU In Ebbw Vale, with little immigration and perhaps more EU investment than any other UK small town, the sense of injustice is greater than the sum of the facts

OffGuardian: Guardian Watch: Insults fly in post-Brexit hysteria

AND ... James Dryburgh ...

James Dryburgh, Right Now: AUSTRALIA: BECOMING THE “OTHER” Polish journalist Ryszard Kapuściński spent his life immersed in human conflicts all over the world. Reflecting upon decades of observation, he concluded that the Self is not a solitary individual – its composition includes the Other. In simple terms we use the concept of “Other” to distinguish between ourselves and those of different traits – such as nationality, religion, gender, or ethnicity. Since the Howard era, collective Australia, “public Australia”, has been obsessed with negative perceptions of the Other and in doing so has damaged the Australian Self. Heading toward the 2001 federal election and fearing defeat, Prime Minister John Howard embedded a strong concept of the Other into our public language with the now infamous words: “We will decide who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come.” We heard the clear implication that “boat people” (they) are not like us. The Other was demonised with parroted lies about children being tossed overboard by “the kind of people we don’t want in Australia.” At least since the time of Plato, it has been understood that for politicians it is easier to pander to our inherent vices than to harness our virtues. It is also well known that when fear increases, society becomes more conservative. …

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Writers | James Dryburgh | Phil na Champassak | Politics | International | National | Economy | Environment | Opinion | History | Planning/Heritage | Personal | Society

The faceless men of the Tasmanian Liberals’ Senate team

Bob Burton, First published June 17
26.06.16 6:35 am

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An unspoken rule of political campaign posters is to portray candidates as warmly as possible with humanising high-quality portrait photos. The Tasmanian Liberal Party’s posters for its Senate candidates though are faceless. Why?

• Michelle Hoult in Comments: Thank you Bob for this article! I am working on a similar piece outlining the lack of women the Liberal Party have chosen for candidates, 1 out of 11. In 2016. What kind of a message is that sending to women? To women like myself who are aspiring politicians? Or to my daughter?

• Greg James in Comments: Without doubt, the local Liberal leadership is stupid. They expect Abetz as No 1. to do what? Be a vote catcher, when in fact he has an atrocious record, losing 25,000 votes over the previous Colbeck, lead ticket. Yet, did you expect an intelligent result, given their local leadership of the party of free enterprise promotes a monopoly. Arriving completely unprepared for government, the Hodgman Liberals declared it was their turn ... that was all they had to offer, ‘it was their turn’. So it goes with these faceless candidates and as it is with the ALP faceless women ...

• Keith Antonysen in Comments: … Morally it is quite reprehensible what has been happeninig in Detention Centres. Prior to the last election for a long time I was considering not casting a valid vote on the basis of how asylum seekers were being treated, information then was quite tame compared to what is being disclosed now. What is happening now is even more shameful. That is, unless you believe it is fine for young people to try committing suicide, or to be sexually assaulted. That is what you are supporting if you choose to ignore the situation.

• Dr Kevin Bonham in Comments: … A 1-6 above the line vote may be equivalent to a below the line vote for 12 candidates, or it may be equivalent to a below the line vote for a few more.  It doesn’t matter because the voter, whether above or below the line, has the freedom to vote for more parties/candidates if they want to do so.  Nobody is required to stop at 6 (above) or 12 (below).  So the answer to the questions in #36 is no - at least not for the reason stated.  Indeed the High Court has already looked at a lot of the theoretical arguments against the new system and gave them all very short shrift indeed. I don’t usually post here so I’ll just take the opportunity to plug my article on how to best use your vote in the new Senate system while I’m here: HERE. This article explains whether given voters should vote above or below the line and some handy tips for those who want to get the maximum value out of their vote. …

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Writers | Bob Burton | Politics | State

When Does Democracy No Longer Matter?

Kim Peart* Pic*
26.06.16 6:30 am

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I love democracy. The British people have expressed their democratic will to leave the European Union. Australia is in the midst of our national election carnival, which determines who serves the community. I had my own shot at the Federal election in 1996, running in Franklin on a platform of social justice. I ran in many Clarence Council elections after that, and one year, nearly got in. I have been engaged in democracy with community concerns, as when the Bellerive Advancement Group was formed to question Council intention to pursue development around Kangaroo Bay, before properly asking the people about it …

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Writers | Kim Peart | Politics | Local | State | Economy | Opinion | Planning/Heritage | Personal | Society

A new approach to democracy

Ray Norman*
26.06.16 6:15 am

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A new approach to democracy in Local Government would surely be a breath of fresh air in Tasmania. The state’s Local Govt Act 1993 is way past its use-by-date and in any event there are way too many councils for an essentially static population of 517,000 people. The Act is too open to perverse interpretation and one doesn’t have to look far to witness that in action. Moreover, with 29 councils it stretches the available resources – human, fiscal and other. Demonstrably, its a stretch to find enough representatives with the appropriate skills and experience to do the job that’s asked of them …

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Politics | Local | National | State | Economy | Opinion | History | Legal | Society

BASSLINK: Energy Council damns Libs’ Energy Strategy

Lindsay Tuffin*. Pic* First published June 24
26.06.16 6:00 am

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The Tasmanian Minerals and Energy Council (TMEC), in their submission, questions the 33% rise in electricity prices since the Energy Strategy was released in May 2015; and has set out a comprehensive list of questions in regard to Hydro Tasmania’s and Tas Network’s cash flows, revenues, costs and debts, as well as energy security … The TMEC questions are astounding. In effect, they list the numerous gaps in Tasmania’s Energy Strategy and effectively demonstrate the poor capacity for strategic planning by the current Tasmanian Government.

• Gordon Bradbury in Comments: Wow! The TMEC submission pulls no punches. Four pages of very succinct text that rips the current State Government to shreds! And not a word from mainstream media ... Very entertaining and enlightening reading.

• Luigi in Comments: Hydro Chairman Grant Every-Burns:  “In my 45 years’ experience in the power industry as a power engineer, senior executive and board Director I have rarely seen a situation more difficult than that recently faced by Tasmania and I have never seen a response so effectively executed,” he said. What he neglects to mention is that the crisis was caused by the Hydro selling our water energy in the teeth of an exceptional dry period throughout 2015.  With water energy levels at 25% in December, they were still exporting when BassLink fried. And they’re exporting again now with water energy levels at 27%.  And running the Gordon Power Station to do it when its level is under 15%. Sack the lot of them.

• Lyndall Rowley in Comments: There seems to be a fairly uniform pattern of expert negative assessment flowing towards the government in its parliamentary inquiry. I was shocked enough to read the Tasmanian Energy and Minerals Council submission which clearly criticises the Tasmanian Government’s Energy Strategy and management. But the submission from the Launceston Flood Authority provides an equally eye-opening account of poor management from a slightly different perspective. It’s a passionate and convincing but damning plea for the return of full flows to the South Esk River and Cataract Gorge through the closure of the Trevallyn Power Station …

• Mark Temby in Comments: … I hope I’m misinterpreting the thrust of this article but it appears someone didn’t do their job properly in 2015 and the buck stops with the Minister just like Gutwein with councils or Hidding with road safety. …

• Lyndall Rowley in Comments: I’ve just finished reading the entire ‘Mervin C Reed FAICD FChFP AAFA JP, Chartered Financial Adviser’, submission to the parliamentary accounts committee re government owned energy entities.  Wow, what an entertaining read! Trouble is, if taken as gospel, it’s a damning (even frightening) indictment of the management of Tasmania’s energy system by the three ‘energy entities’. There are too many gems to repeat here. But just to give you a sample of the tone and content ...

• Jack J in Comments: #20 Lyndall. I can only second William’s recommendation. The amount of well digested detail and excellent analysis you have provided for the fire management debate was impressive enough. This post is on par. First rate. We’ve got the famous 4F’s in Tasmania. Fire, Foxes, Forests and Flood. Add to that this damning analysis of how our water and energy have been mismanaged and can one ignore what seems to be the bleeding obvious any longer? Because we seem to have a systemic failure of governance in Tasmania. Reform is needed at a fundamental level concerning how we do business. I don’t believe that party politics are the answer, in fact, it may well be the problem. Nothing really changes concerning the QUALITY of the outcome irrespective of what party has power and what luminary sits on a board of directors.

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Writers | Lindsay Tuffin | Politics | State | Economy | Environment | Opinion | Planning/Heritage | Science | Society

World’s largest wind farm study finds sleep disturbances aren’t related to turbine noise

Simon Chapman, Emeritus Professor in Public Health, University of Sydney. Photo: Bob Burton. First published June 24
26.06.16 5:30 am

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During the Abbott government, the often recalcitrant Senate cross bench was thrown a big, juicy bone plainly intended to sweeten their disposition toward government bills which needed their support to pass. The anti- wind farm Senators were outraged with the National Health and Medical Research Council’s (NHMRC) 2015 report on wind farms which found no strong evidence of health effects from turbine exposure. There have been 25 reviews with similar findings published since 2003. The government may have promised these Senators the gift of the office of the National Wind Farm Commissioner which by February 2015 had received just 42 complaints about 12 wind farms, seven of which have not even been built… State governments are increasingly removing wind farm planning barriers and the availability now of the Health Canada health report should drive another large stake through the forces determined to slow the growth of wind energy in Australia.

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Writers | Simon Chapman | Politics | International | National | State | Environment | Health | News

Huon Valley Council: I will fight on as mayor, says Peter Coad

Peter Coad, Mayor, Huon Valley Council, Statement. Pic* First published June 23
25.06.16 5:30 am

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Widespread and strong support from the Huon Valley community, and from supportive councillors, has convinced me that I must remain mayor of the Huon Valley Council until the council’s dysfunctional condition has been resolved. The decision of the Minister for Local Government, Mr Peter Gutwein, to reject his own Board of Inquiry main findings and recommendations, can only be considered a real disappointment to concerned valley residents. The Minister requested, last September that the board provide him with its findings and recommendations by 30 November. The board, discovering that such a deadline was impossible to meet, requested an extension. Now, seven months on, the Minister has made a decision — after a process that has cost ratepayers, and me personally, tens of thousands of dollars — that resolves nothing …

• Mark Temby in Comments: Mr Gutwein’s lack of strategic direction, decision making capability and, ultimately, action is symptomatic of many in politics today. Specifically, he is no different to Hodgman, Groom or Hidding. They will stand to take credit but cannot point to any specific decisions that lead to achievements in tourism, industry, state budgets or council amalgamation. As an outsider to the process I remain curious as to why Mr Gutwein has not acted. His decision can only be seen as a measure of support for the HotH team and placing pressure on Mayor Coad. Is it simply a matter of most Independents in local council being closet LP members? I doubt it given none in the HVC example are worth the support. Has there been lobbying within government or from the business community? The only local ones under this scenario would be Paul Harriss, Robert Armstrong and those in southern forestry.

• Funding & Disclosure (Inc) in Comments: Mayor Coad was one of the candidates who chose transparency and declared all donations on the F&D (Inc) website at the last LG elections. Under current Tasmanian laws candidates can spend as much as they want on election campaigning and can accept money from anyone (including developers) with no obligation to declare anything. A clear recipe for corruption; as we saw in NSW before new laws were introduced. It was noted that none of the “Heart of the Huon” candidates declared their donations.

• Peter Cleary in Comments: As a Sydneysider who saw the light & relocated to Tasmania, and in particular, the Huon Valley two years ago, I’ve sensibly kept my head down, and my mouth shut as I’ve adjusted to living in a new State, and a new Community, reading and absorbing as much as I can about how things are down down here. Having seen how local Politics has been played out in various councils in greater Sydney, I’ve followed the local stoush very closely, and i just want to put in my two bob’s worth and say, “Hang in there Peter Coad!” you’ve won my vote.

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

What Happens When the Sky Starts to Fall?

Kim Peart*, Ross. Pic*
25.06.16 5:15 am

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A flake of paint blowing in the wind will do no harm on Earth, even if it hits the windscreen of a speeding car. In space, where there is no air, a flake of paint flying at 34,500 km/h is in a whole different ball park. When a window of the Capola observation deck on the International Space Station was cracked recently, it was believed to be the result of a flake of paint in space moving at high velocity. If a flake of paint could do that much damage, imagine what a lost nut would do?

There are over a trillion dollars worth of satellites whizzing around above Earth and a great many dead satellites, as well as a huge volume of space junk of all sizes, from discarded rockets to flakes of paint.
Satellites are in many ways the invisible face of modern society, providing weather information, environmental monitoring, communications, navigation with GPS, internet services and more. [1] Without satellites, we would have little or no warning about many severe weather events …

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

The horror of Australia’s Live Export trade. Rally TODAY (Sat)

Lindsay Tuffin*. First published June 23. Pic*
25.06.16 5:00 am

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I watched in horror last night as Australia’s Live Export Trade was further revealed by the 7.30 Report as the awful, indefensible trade it is ...

• Suzanne Cass in Comments: Following damning revelations over the last two weeks from the scandal plagued live animal export industry, a FLASH RALLY is being held this Saturday at 12 noon at Franklin Square in Hobart. DATE: SATURDAY, JUNE 25, 2016. TIME: 12 NOON. PLACE: Franklin Square, Hobart. CONFIRMED SPEAKERS: Suzanne Cass, Lead Senate Candidate for Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party, Andrew Wilkie, Independent Member for Denison and Karen Bevis, Lead Senate Candidate for the Animal Justice Party (apologies from Peter West, General Manager, RSPCA Tasmania) …

• Suzanne Cass in Comments: There were no surprises in the revelations on the ABC’s 7.30 program about Australian cattle beng sledgehammered to death in Vietnam last week, and the apparent corruption in the ranks of the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, and that is truly saddening. As outrageous as all of this this is, and always has been, we must all remember that the standards we walk past (ignore) are the standards we accept. Gandhi said that ‘the greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated’. If we were to judge Australia by those words, it’s a horror story …

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Writers | Lindsay Tuffin | Politics | International | National | State | Economy | Opinion | Personal | Society

The questions around Biosecurity Tasmania’s review ...

Lindsay Tuffin*.
24.06.16 5:00 am

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A Media Release from ‘Friends of Biosecurity Tasmania’ raises a series of questions about a Review into Biosecurity Tasmania. These are serious questions ... which demand answers. Will they be forthcoming? Will this review be released? Read the questions in the MR HERE

• David Obendorf in Comments: Biosecurity Tasmania should be a “core business” asset and a flagship responsibility of the mega-Agency we know as DPIPWE. It has a history and a legacy that are inter-twined. The fore-runners to BT were Quarantine Tasmania and the DPIPWE portfolio Division of Market Access & Product Integrity. I have long argued that the unique advantages of the island of Tasmania require ‘public good’ investment in the biological and climatic advantages of this State. The advantages of cool temperate climates, good soils and rainfall to grow food, fibre and fish.
There are several areas within DPIPWE that, in my opinion, are outdated and redundant in the 21st Century. Biosecurity Tasmaniais not one of them. Finding a way to finance and promote the public good and the private/commercial benefit of safeguarding Tasmania’s unique market advantages in disease, pest and weed freedom is the chalice that was placed in Minister Jeremy Rockliff’s hands in March 2014. Will Minister Rockliff find the sustaining elixir to place into this precious vessel or will biosecurity become the “poison chalice” that it became for a succession of Labor Ministers from 1998 to 2014? The clock is ticking ... ...

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Writers | Lindsay Tuffin | Politics | State | Economy | Environment | Health | Opinion | Legal | Science | Society

A bright new extension lead for Basslink, which is down (again)

Urban Wronski* http://urbanwronski.com/ . Pic* First published June 21
23.06.16 5:30 am

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Yet no-one important rates Labor’s chances, although the independents, especially the Xenophon Party in South Australia, get a massive talking up causing Malcolm Turnbull to warn that chaos will result from voting for minor parties - as opposed to the halcyon tranquillity and stability of his own party which has had two prime ministers and fifteen cabinet changes in three years together with an approach to economic policy and tax reform which involves keeping everyone guessing.

When a cut to the pathology rebate was proposed, Tasmania’s head of pathology could not get an appointment to raise his concerns with the retired Brigadier. Nor could local Baptist Church pastor Jeff McKinnon who reckons Nikolic doesn’t listen to people who hold opposing views.

In Tasmania, in microcosm, are writ the deficiencies of our national energy policy over successive governments. Solar and wind energy resources abound and yet we cannot break away from the fossil fuel capture of the energy market and build up our solar and wind capacity. Last budget, the Turnbull government, cut one billion from Australia’s Renewable Energy Agency. …

ABC: Tasmanian Government response to SECOND BASSLINK OUTAGE in nine days ‘really is scandalous’ … Energy Minister Matthew Groom, who talked to media on Tuesday about the energy system, said in a statement the outage was “another reminder of the importance of continuing to manage water supply systems carefully”. Labor Leader Bryan Green said he was worried that Mr Groom’s failure to hold another press conference would send the wrong message to energy customers. “It really is scandalous,” he said. “Most people look towards the Minister for confidence when it comes to these issues, but by not fronting that actually undermines confidence” …

• phill Parsons in Comments: So we find out Bass Link Cable owners and the Hydro were in dispute over capacity from the day the cable opened for transmission. We find that the Hydro has been used to prop up the budget through dividends to it’s owners managers, the Government. We find that it has broken down a second time yet they say it has not been fried through high use. There is no point in an age of climate change to a second, or any other cable, if they are not made to as pre-agreed carrying capacity, well managed to ensure their capacity is not abused and only carry renewable energy.  …

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Regulars | Urban Wronksi | Politics | National | Economy | Education | Environment | Editor's Choice | Health | Opinion | History | Planning/Heritage | Society

The ‘attack on the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Act 1999’ ...

Lindsay Tuffin*. First published June 23. Pic*
23.06.16 5:18 am

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He’s approached the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Hobart Julian Porteous ... but has yet to receive a reply.

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Writers | Lindsay Tuffin | Politics | Local | State | Opinion | Legal | Personal | Religion | Society

Making the Arts An Election Issue

Scott O’Hara, Senate Candidate for Tasmania, The Arts Party. Pic: of Scott. First published June 22
23.06.16 5:14 am

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The Abbott/Turnbull Government is without doubt the most harmful one to the Arts sector since Federal Governments started taking an interest in the Arts in the late ‘60s.

• John Biggs in Comments: Excellent Scott. The Libs state and federal are utter barbarians—and not only with regard to the Arts. “Blue-tied bogans” as I described them in the Mercury and which it published …

• Hans Willink in Comments: Well said Scott, the Arts have always punched well above their weight in Tasmania and emerging artists in particular deserve support. When arguably the world’s best writer, Richard Flanagan, had to seriously consider moving to WA during the mining boom to earn a living, you know we have a problem. I also have a particular concern with Liberal changes to tax law that have severely impacted on indigenous art communities …

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Politics | Local | National | State | Arts | Economy | Opinion | History | Planning/Heritage | Society

America is a Gun

Brian Bilston. First published June 20
22.06.16 5:35 am

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THURSDAY June 23 ...

Guardian: Paul Ryan drowned out by Democrats’ during chaotic gun control sit-in – campaign live

Also published, TT Books, HERE

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Politics | International | Books | Poetry | Society