Articles

How to squash an economy

Martyn Goddard*, Health, Arts, State Finances analyst. Pub: Dec 17. Pic*
20.12.14 5:30 am

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The state government is slashing the public service because, it says, Tasmania can’t afford to pay its way and faces a fiscal crisis. But does it? Changes need to be made, argues Martyn Goddard ‒ but not this quickly and not this way.

Teresa O’Leary: Peter Gutwein has a surprise for the New Year

Kim Booth: Is Harriss in Breach of RFA – or Has it Been Changed Secretly? The Minister for Resources Paul Harriss must come clean on whether he has secretly negotiated a formal change to the Regional Forests Agreement (RFA) with the Commonwealth, or whether he is in breach of the RFA with his announcement to overturn the January deadline for an end to broad-scale clearing and conversion of native forest on private land, Greens Leader and Forests spokesperson Kim Booth MP said today.

Peter Gutwein: Westpac report shows jobs growth leading to a stronger Tasmanian economy

Jeremy Rockliff: Lazy Labor’s Incompetence in Health continues

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Writers | Martyn Goddard | Politics | International | Local | National | State | Economy | Education | Environment | Editor's Choice | Health | Opinion | History | Planning/Heritage | Legal | Science | Society

But wait ... there’s more: TT’s Tasmanians of the Year

Lindsay Tuffin.
19.12.14 5:20 am

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Good things come in Threes ... no better exemplified than last night at The Hope and Anchor Tavern where TT knighted this year’s Tasmanian Times Tasmanians of The Year. And they are, from left, Martyn Goddard, Donzo Knowler, and Tom Ellison. ... all holding their - courtesy of the wonderful Artery - framed awards. A marvellous celebration of the wondrous contributions to society made by these three selfless writers. As the awards’ citation says: Keep Writing ... [The interloper in the middle is Lindsay (Poncy Wankers always talk of themselves in the Third Person)]. PS: We gatecrashed the Island party. Thanks Guyzzzz!x

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

The fall and fall of The Mercury

Bob Burton. Pub: Dec 18
19.12.14 5:15 am

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The Mercury – Tasmania’s largest circulation newspaper – is in deep, deep trouble. A leaked News Corporation Australia’s financial report from July 2013 provides a stark insight into the rapidly deteriorating finances of the Murdoch empire’s three Tasmanian newspapers:  The Mercury, the Sunday Tasmanian and Tasmanian Country.

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Writers | Bob Burton | Politics | Local | State | Media

Justice Estcourt rules Nelson Bay River mine permit amendments unlawful

Scott Jordan, Campaign Coordinator, Save The Tarkine Media Release. Pub: Dec 17
18.12.14 5:15 am

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… today’s win is bittersweet. “The fact is that we started this legal process last November, and the EPA has delayed and frustrated this case, including seven months of delays to provide a Statement of Reasons.” “Justice delayed is justice denied, and this is true for this mine. The destruction inflicted on the landscape at Nelson Bay River by unlawful mining is a blight on our regulation systems, and act as a warning to governments that seek to water down environmental protections and remove public participation”. While the legal challenge to the amended approval took thirteen months, the mine itself was placed into shutdown after just seven months citing financial factors. …

Kim Booth: Supreme Court finds for Tarkine against EPA

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

FT and the Economic Regulator

John Lawrence, Tasfintalk Pub: Dec 16
18.12.14 5:00 am

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If Forestry Tasmania were a government agency, as in the days of the Forestry Commission, it would clearly be required to adopt full cost attribution.  If prices were required to reflect the full costs of producing the goods or providing the services then Forestry Tasmania would have to cease unprofitable native forest harvesting. But under the rules that apply to government businesses conducted via a corporate entity the full cost attribution rules may not apply and the government can continue to provide deficit funds or equity transfers.

But that could lead to the absurd situation where a loss-making government activity competing in the private sector was corporatized so as to avoid full cost attribution. Which would obviously contravene the principles of competitive neutrality? Certainly the spirit if not the letter. So why isn’t the continued propping up of Forestry Tasmania using the resources of the State against the principles of competitive neutrality? It might take a complaint to the Regulator to determine …

Peter McGlone: Is Minister Paul Harriss telling the truth regarding changes to the forest clearing policy? The Minister for Resources Paul Harriss announced last Sunday that he had amended the Permanent Native Forest Estate Policy to postpone the date by which broad-scale clearing and conversion of native forest on private land is to cease, from 1 January 2015 for an unspecified period while the PNFE policy is reviewed. But the Tasmanian Conservation Trust has disputed the truth of the minister’s claim to have changed the deadline for clearing because the deadline is a commitment contained in the Tasmanian Regional Forests Agreement and would require both governments to agree to the change. “The Minister for Resources needs to come clean with the Tasmanian public about whether the Tasmanian Regional Forests Agreement has been changed in secret,” said the TCT Director Peter McGlone. “The date for ceasing broad-scale clearing of native forest on private land is a commitment contained in the Tasmanian Regional Forests Agreement and either this agreement has been changed in secret by the Tasmanian and Australian Governments without the Tasmanian public being informed or Minister Harriss has made a serious error and does not have the authority to change the deadline”.

Kim Booth: Is Harriss in Breach of RFA – or Has it Been Changed Secretly? The Minister for Resources Paul Harriss must come clean on whether he has secretly negotiated a formal change to the Regional Forests Agreement (RFA) with the Commonwealth, or whether he is in breach of the RFA with his announcement to overturn the January deadline for an end to broad-scale clearing and conversion of native forest on private land, Greens Leader and Forests spokesperson Kim Booth MP said today.

Greens: Backflip on land clearing to create forest chaos

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Writers | John Lawrence | Politics | International | Local | National | State | Forestry | Gunns | Economy | Environment | Opinion | History | Legal | Society

What can we say? Pakistan ...

The Editors
18.12.14 4:35 am

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Three people dead: a barrister and mother of three young children, a café manager and a deeply troubled and threatening man with a gun. An unknowable number of lives were profoundly affected for the worse last night after the traumatic events in the Lindt café in Martin Place: family, friends, the freed hostages, police, colleagues and the broader community. And then there was the global newspaper mogul gloating about what one of his newspapers did. What can we say?

Guardian: The Pakistan Taliban horror … The Nobel Peace prize-winner, Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head by the Pakistani Taliban two years ago for speaking out in favour of education for girls, said the Peshawar attack had left her heartbroken. “Innocent children in their school have no place in horror such as this.” Even the Afghan Taliban condemned the attack as “against Islam” …

Guardian: John Kerry: Pakistan school attack is ‘gut wrenching’ - video

Watch Russell Brand: Don’t Let Sydney Siege Claim Your Freedom: Russell Brand The Trews (E212)

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Media | Society

TONIGHT: TT H@A ... Come on Barbie, let’s go party ...

Lindsay Tuffin. Pub: Dec 15
18.12.14 4:30 am

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If you are passing the Hope and Anchor Tavern,  65 Macquarie Street, Hobart TAS 7000, , TONIGHT, Thursday, December 18, 6pm onwards, DROP IN ... and join the Island and Tassietimes’ workers for an ale, or an OJ or even a sparkling mineral water. Tis the season to be jolly ... and the time to announce the 2014 TT Tasmanian of the Year ...

• Gwenda, in Comments: ’ll raise my glass to TT in absentia, in recognition of the compulsive and sometimes maddening reads offered up over the year.  Thanks to all the thoughtful, incisive and stimulating writers (you know who you are) - and compliments of the season to the rest of you. My nomination for TT Tasmanian of 2014 is Richard Flanagan for his remarks on giving away his prize money (apparently one was enough?) and for getting Lindsay on ABC TV!

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Writers | Lindsay Tuffin | Politics | State | Economy | Environment | Opinion | Media | Society

MYEFO takes $86 million from Tasmania’s Health Budget

Martyn Goddard, Health policy analyst. Pub: Dec 15
16.12.14 5:30 am

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… The figures in the MYEFO represent another major cost-shift from the Commonwealth to the states and to individual patients. It comes on top of large cuts already foreshadowed in the May Budget. State and territory governments are now left with a dilemma ‒ whether to top up their health budgets from their own resources, including by borrowing, or allowing services to deteriorate further. More patients will be forced to pay for care which will no longer be available in the public system. Less well-off people will, therefore, be disproportionately hit. …

Peter Gutwein: MYEFO confirms need for budget discipline

• David Obendorf, in Comments: This is the stimulus that Abbott and Hockey will now use to get the State Premiers and the Senate to agree to increasing the GST receipts by limiting the exemptions or lifting the rate. It will also be the stimulus to increase the rate that Australian taxpayers fund our universal healthcare system - Medicare. If China now contracts further and coal and iron ore prices continue falling then Australia is in for years of government deficits and reduced public sector spending. And please remember, the opportunity to increase public revenue from a Resource Tax on miners was thwarted by the Liberals in 2009.

Rebecca White: Michael Ferguson must explain plan for health black hole

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Writers | Martyn Goddard | Politics | State | Economy | Health | Opinion | History | Society

Who was Man Haron Monis, the man behind the Sydney siege? Pakistan ...

ABC. ABC pic of Man Haron Monis
16.12.14 5:15 am

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Iranian cleric Man Haron Monis is the man police believe was behind the siege at the Lindt Chocolate Cafe in Sydney’s Martin Place.

ABC: In Pictures ... Dramatic photos show hostages emerging from Lindt cafe

ABC: #illridewithyou: support for Muslim Australians takes off following Sydney siege

• Use the TT NEWS Dropdown (top nav bar) for different interpretations of the Breaking News ...

Juan Cole, Informed Comment: The Banality of Terrorism: Sydney’s other Hostage Crisis, of 1984

Guardian: The Pakistan Taliban horror … The Nobel Peace prize-winner, Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head by the Pakistani Taliban two years ago for speaking out in favour of education for girls, said the Peshawar attack had left her heartbroken. “Innocent children in their school have no place in horror such as this.” Even the Afghan Taliban condemned the attack as “against Islam” …

Guardian: John Kerry: Pakistan school attack is ‘gut wrenching’ - video

Watch Russell Brand: Don’t Let Sydney Siege Claim Your Freedom: Russell Brand The Trews (E212)

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Politics | International | Local | National | State | Economy | Environment | History | Philosophy | Media | Personal | Religion | Society

Jan Cameron sells Spring Bay mill stake to site co-owner Graeme Wood

Mercury. Pic: Artist's impression
16.12.14 5:00 am

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PLANS to convert the former Triabunna woodchip mill into a $50 million tourist attraction appear back on track with a dispute between the site’s owners finally resolved.

Graeme Wood: Getting on with the Spring Bay Mill development “I am pleased that we were able to sort this out given our divergent views on investment in Tasmania,” said businessman Graeme Wood. “We will now continue to finalise our commitments under the Environment Protection Notice. Despite the delays, the decommissioning works are now 95% complete.” “This has been a difficult few months. Our team has had to deal with the delays caused by the Parliamentary Inquiry as well as this legal action.” “I am also very pleased to announce that we’ve partnered with MOFO again this year and will be bringing two world-class music events to Spring Bay Mill and the East Coast in January 2015.” This partnership follows on from the sell-out success of the Australian Chamber Orchestra’s Quartet in The Tin Shed last January.

• Ted Mead, in Comments: #7 The obvious difference between the Gunns Mill and the Wood’s proposal is that Mr Wood’s investment will be entirely self funding and not reliant upon political cronyism, taxpayer freebee infrastructure, subsidies and planning approval exemptions. Maybe Mr wood doesn’t see this as a profit making exercise and just wants to construct something that fits his ideology - Similar to how Mr Walsh and the Mona concept evolved. The proof is in the pudding! So give him so credit for attempting something different than fiscal woodchip madness!!!!!!

• Pete Godfrey, in Comments: #8 I am with you Ted. I have been to the site and it is an amazing place waiting for the right person to turn it into something special. If Mr Woods wants to spend his money on something inspiring that doesn’t turn a profit, that is his business. What he does with the site can only benefit the people of Tasmania and Triabunna especially. Already there are people working there moving a stinking rotting pile of woodchips off the wharf area; in fact they are removing what was once a valuable forest that provided oxygen, habitat, clean air and rain. The forest was laid to waste and left to compost. Mr Woods project is already supplying jobs, repairing a possibly damaging pollution problem and putting money into the area. Good on him, the more people with money who spend it employing people the better. Turning a profit is not the only reason to do something; we have Mona to point the way there. It seems that every government minister is happy to jump on the bandwagon and claim Mona as theirs somehow; hopefully one day they will say the same of Spring Bay.

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Politics | International | Local | National | State | Forestry | Gunns | Economy | Environment | History | Society

The more things change ...

Thomas Wood, Cobbers*
15.12.14 4:03 am

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*Cobbers: A personal record of a journey from Essex, in England, to Australia, Tasmania and some of the reefs and islands in the Coral Sea, made in the years 1930, 1931 and 1932. By Thomas Wood, Oxford University Press … But they are tied to Australia - ‘the mainland’, they call it. So far as their good manners will let them betray what they feel and so far as you can judge by what they say, ‘the mainland’ is an object of suspicion, envy, and dislike. It gives them little except patronage, and it tempts away their children and their artists to look for bigger chances and a wider sphere. All this, somehow, gave me the feeling that Tasmania is a country for the middle-aged, not for youth. I may be wrong; I hope I am. But even if I am right I can suggest no remedy. The only good I can do is to tell those who are not as young as they used to be, and are quite prepared to face the fact, that they could search for a long time before they would find a better place than Tasmania to live in. If you, Sir, or you Sir, have finished your job overseas and think England fullish when you retire, go to Tasmania and never grow old. …

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

NATION: The Lindt Chocolat Cafe siege. MYEFO

Fairfax. Pic: of Lindt, Martin Place
15.12.14 3:50 am

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Sydney’s CBD is in lockdown as police negotiate with a gunman who stormed into the busy Lindt Chocolat Cafe in Martin Place on Monday morning and took customers and staff hostage.

• Use the TT NEWS Dropdown (top nav bar) for different interpretations of the Breaking News ...

AFR: Foreign aid cut as Budget deficit blows out to $40.4b The federal government has announced a $40.4 billion deficit for 2014-15 after plunging commodity prices and slower wages growth led revenues to fall by $7 billion this year alone. The deficit, outlined in the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook, is $10 billion worse than the $30 billion forecast in the May budget. Deficits for this and the next three years have all blown out, pushing out until at least the end of the decade any return to surplus. The forecast of a balanced budget by 2017-18 in May has blown into a deficit of $11.5 billion. The government has allowed the deficits to blow out rather than chase the falling revenue with cuts but it has taken the axe to foreign aid to cover some of the new spending since the budget, namely war and national security. On top of the $7.6 billion cut from foreign aid in May, another $3.7 billion has been axed over four years to pay for the military deployment in Iraq, the $630 million boost to the domestic security agencies to fight terrorism and the recent $200 million contribution the Green Climate Fund. The foreign aid cuts do not need legislation nor will they harm the domestic economy. They represent a significant defeat for Foreign Minister Julie Bishop who was assured by colleagues after the May budget there would be no more aid cuts and she fought these vigorously.

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

The Tragedy of the Commons

Geoff Coles* PSM, former Regional Manager Northwest, Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service. Pub: Dec 11
15.12.14 3:30 am

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The Tarkine coast in the Arthur Pieman Area has long been recognised as having outstanding Aboriginal heritage that is of international significance. There is probably a greater number and density of Aboriginal material in the Arthur Pieman than there is anywhere else in Australia. Aboriginal sites include petroglyphs’ (rock engravings), hut mounds (former Aboriginal village sites), stone pathways, stone depressions (former seal hides), very large middens and specialist middens. Additionally many sites contact implements and human remains. These combine to form a landscape of highly significant and non-renewable heritage that is easily damaged by vehicles, deliberately or inadvertently, many tracks passing over or next to significant sites. Rerouting tracks is likely to uncover more sites.

The decision of the current Liberal Government to re-open these tracks to appease the ironically named “Save Our Heritage Group” led by retired Legislative Council politician, Tony Fletcher, is undoing decades of planning, consultation and work and will contribute significantly to ongoing damage to mankind’s priceless and non-renewable heritage. As a former Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife manager responsible for the area for the past 16 years I have retired early so I can speak out because the decision to reopen tracks in the Arthur Pieman Conservation Area lacks ethics and integrity and deserves scrutiny. There are several reasons behind this.

ABC: Indigenous organisations labelled ‘fringe groups’ in dispute over 4WD tracks near Aboriginal heritage sites Federal Member for Braddon Brett Whiteley has labelled Tasmanian Aboriginal organisations “fringe groups” in response to their opposition to the reopening of four-wheel drive tracks in the state’s west. The Tasmanian Aboriginal community is threatening to stage protests against the State Government’s decision to reopen the tracks through a section of of the Arthur-Pieman area. The previous government closed 15 tracks in 2012 to protect threatened species and Aboriginal heritage sites, angering four-wheel drive enthusiasts. The area was listed as a Cultural Heritage Landscape of National Significance by the Australian Heritage Commission, which described the area as “one of the world’s greatest archaeological regions” for its rich Aboriginal heritage. Now 90 kilometres of four-wheel driving tracks will be reopened. Some were closed in 2012 while others were shut down earlier. Mr Whiteley has dismissed the opponents, including Tasmanian Indigenous Australians, as “fringe dwellers”.

Peter Whish-Wilson: Whiteley must make amends for ‘immature’ comment on Tarkine

Bryan Green: Brett Whiteley’s attack on Aborigines a poor example

Adam Brooks: Bryan Green lost on Arthur Pieman

MEANWHILE ...

ABC: Prime Minister wants vote on Indigenous constitutional recognition on 50th anniversary of 1967 referendum

Scott Jordan: Save the Tarkine salutes Geoff Coles, former regional manager Parks and Wildlife Service, North West

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

Effectiveness and efficiency – is that what local government is really about?

Eva Ruzicka, Eva Ruzicka's blog, http://evaruzicka.blogspot.com.au/ Pic: of Eva Ruzicka
15.12.14 3:15 am

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The Minister for Local Government, Peter Gutwein, and the Property Council’s Brian Wightman, are leading the charge for a more effective, efficient and amalgamated local government sector in Tasmania. 

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Writers | Eva Ruzicka | Politics | Local | State | Economy | Environment | Opinion | History | Planning/Heritage | Society

A “lesson for the ages” from two Dead White Mediterranean Blokes

Leonard Colquhoun. Satire: Kudelka, used with permission: http://www.kudelka.com.au/
15.12.14 3:00 am

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A prof named Greg from a place called the Gong advises Aussie Tony & Bill and Tassie’s Will & Bryan to read old Nic and even older Tac to avoid doing a Santa by heeding a “lesson for the ages from classic political sages”.^

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Writers | Leonard Colquhoun | Politics | International | Local | National | State | Economy | Environment | Opinion | History | Philosophy | Society

Hilary Burden: In the Land of The Giants

Hilary Burden* https://hilaryburden.wordpress.com/ Pic: of Hilary Burden
15.12.14 2:45 am

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It’s a challenge to photograph big trees well.  From beneath, all it’s possible to really grasp is a Kardashian-likebutt and a girth you can’t see past.

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To stay or go into exile

© Niels Hav – Translated by Heather Spears
15.12.14 2:30 am

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Milosz and Szymborska ...

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Writers | Niels Hav | Arts | Poetry

Prince Cnut Defies the Waves of Reality

Kim Peart
15.12.14 2:15 am

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The Abbott Liberal Government became lambasted as climate change dinosaurs when they went out of their way to hush up talk of climate change at the recent G20 meeting of World leaders in Brisbane.

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

Mother Mountain: The Symphony of Birdsong (42)

Don Knowler, http://donaldknowler.com/ Pic: of a Christmas bush
15.12.14 2:00 am

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The “Respect the Mountain” forum ( here, here, and here ) at the Hobart Town Hall earlier this year prompted Don Knowler to return to a diary he compiled after daily rambles on Mt Wellington during the previous year. In what promises to be a momentous year in the modern history of Kunanyi, the weekly diary gives the mountain and its wildlife its own voice. All Don’s Mother Mountain columns - and much more by this superb writer - can be found under the Category, Don Knowler, here

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Writers | Don Knowler | Politics | International | Local | National | State | Economy | Environment | Opinion | History | Society

Cassy and her Tweets

Mark Hawkes*
15.12.14 1:45 am

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Recently, I was tweeting away to my heart’s content when I came across an interesting dialogue between Cassy O’Connor and a med student. Planetsekwah asked the med student his opinion on a health matter under Cassy’s timeline. Both Planetsekwah and the med student had provided some evidence to suggest, that as shadow health minister, she should at least be a little scientific in her approach. This is no longer simply a housing portfolio, it is aspirations to hold the health portfolio; where lives are at stake.

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Politics | State | Economy | Health | Opinion | Society

New resource on health threats posed by endocrine-disrupting chemicals

ScienceDaily, via Dr Alison Bleaney
15.12.14 1:12 am

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As governments, industry and public interest groups from across the globe prepare to meet next week to discuss endocrine-disrupting chemicals and other international chemical safety issues, the Endocrine Society and IPEN released a new guide documenting the threat endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) pose to human health.

Herbicide pollution reduction strategy for Austalia launched

Agroecological farming — better than ever

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Politics | International | Local | National | State | Health | Opinion | History | Science | Society

Tarkine: International call to protect nation’s heritage

Robert G. Bednarik, CEO, Convener and Editor, IFRAO Media Release Pub: Dec 10
12.12.14 4:13 am

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The recent announcement by the Tasmanian State Government to reopen the most sensitive off-road 4WD recreational tracks along the Tarkine Coast is not only reprehensible: it is in violation of the obligations on the State and Australian governments to adequately protect the values of the Natural Heritage Listed Western Tasmanian Aboriginal Cultural Landscape. Like other Australian Listed cultural sites Kakadu and Uluru, the Tarkine Coast contains what has been described as ”... one of the world’s great archaeological regions” — a landscape that is rich in Aboriginal cultural diversity dating back many thousands of years. As well as ancient occupation sites, there are five (5) rock engraving sites, several of which have already been degraded through vandalism, theft and neglect. The International Federation of Rock Art Organisations (IFRAO) says the degradation of Aboriginal heritage sites in the Tarkine is higher than in almost anywhere in the world, comparing terribly to less than 5% in all mainland states.

• Aboriginal and environment voices united on a Federal halt to Tarkine 4WD track expansion An unprecedented collective of Aboriginal representatives and environment groups have jointly called for federal intervention to halt to the planned expansion of destructive 4WD tracks on the Tarkine coast ... Click on Read more ...

The Original Peoples Freedom Movement: “Tougher rules” are racially discriminative

• Ted Mead, in Comments: Yep - Tasmanian’s have a long way to go regarding respect and appreciation towards Aboriginal heritage and the Tarkine environment in general. The best move the Aboriginal community did was to cover their heritage with sand so that nobody can find it. If the government was serious about retaining the cultural and natural values of the Tarkine they would have a strong presence on the ground keeping the bogans under control. Until there is active Ranger presence along the coast it will forever remain the last wild frontier for redneckism.

• Mathinna, in Comments: The problem is easily explained: the maximum fine for destroying rock art is $1000, but for vandalising historical heritage it is $500,000. The message to the public is obviously that non-indigenous heritage is 500 times as important as indigenous. This is a true measure of the situation, and it does imply that Tasmania is governed by barbarians. Nowhere in the world does such racist legislation exist in heritage protection laws. On the contrary, in most countries the situation is the precise reverse: the older the heritage, the more valued it is. And the fines for vandalising rock art in mainland states run into millions of dollars - as they should. To give an example: Saudi Arabia spends millions of dollars annually on protecting rock art. So there is something very peculiar and unique about Tasmania. …

The rock art of Tasmania is of greater scientific and cultural importance than that of any other place in the world. Why? Find out by reading Mathinna, in Comments

ABC: Indigenous organisations labelled ‘fringe groups’ in dispute over 4WD tracks near Aboriginal heritage sites Federal Member for Braddon Brett Whiteley has labelled Tasmanian Aboriginal organisations “fringe groups” in response to their opposition to the reopening of four-wheel drive tracks in the state’s west. The Tasmanian Aboriginal community is threatening to stage protests against the State Government’s decision to reopen the tracks through a section of of the Arthur-Pieman area. The previous government closed 15 tracks in 2012 to protect threatened species and Aboriginal heritage sites, angering four-wheel drive enthusiasts. The area was listed as a Cultural Heritage Landscape of National Significance by the Australian Heritage Commission, which described the area as “one of the world’s greatest archaeological regions” for its rich Aboriginal heritage. Now 90 kilometres of four-wheel driving tracks will be reopened. Some were closed in 2012 while others were shut down earlier. Mr Whiteley has dismissed the opponents, including Tasmanian Indigenous Australians, as “fringe dwellers”.

• Ben Cameron, in Comments: This comes as very sad news. I’ve spent months walking and cycling around the coastal areas of the West coast. Anyone who has seen both North and South of the Pieman river knows the effect 4wd’s and the attitudes of those who drive them have on these areas. South of the river is riddled with rubbish, broken glass and random tracks. North of it has a wild magnificence almost beyond words. Opening up this area isn’t about ‘open for business’ or there’d be a strategy in place for eco-tourism. There would be help and assistance for those like Tarkine Trails. Nope. It’s about pleasing those locals who think driving wherever they want leaving beer bottles and rubbish while destroying habitats and heritage is their God given right. Unfortunately, other’s may then follow suit. Even worse, it condones that behaviour.  What they’re doing is setting the scene for a continuation of deprivation and ignorance in the region. Perhaps if they put one foot in front of the other for a change they’d gain some respect for the precious place they live in.

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Politics | International | Local | National | State | Economy | Environment | Editor's Choice | Opinion | History | Planning/Heritage | Legal | Personal | Science | Religion | Society

Undermining The Tarkine

Ted Mead. Pub: Dec 8
12.12.14 4:00 am

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… The grand extent of the Tarkine, being one of the finest representations of cool-temperate rainforest on earth, deserves a greater recognition than one of mere resource extraction. Amidst the scenic coastline, forest and wild rivers, tourism is gradually providing an economical boost to the northwest of the state, and potentially could be the saviour for the region as it was for other West Coast communities.

The economic and posterity benefits of the Tarkine becoming a World Heritage Area far outweigh the short-term view of our successive government’s besotted quest to find the island’s mythical El Dorado.

Nick McKim: Tarkine 4WD Track Reopening is Simply Vandalism

Christine Milne: Greens say Hunt should rule on Tarkine debacle

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Writers | Ted Mead | Politics | Local | State | Economy | Environment | Opinion | History | Society

A breach of competition policy? FLAG ...

John Lawrence, Tasfintalk Pub: Dec 11
12.12.14 3:45 am

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The Forestry Tasmania scrutiny hearing left no doubt that its survival depends on selling more native forest woodchips at higher prices.

• Forestry Tasmania’s battle to survive coincides with a visit by FSC auditors to review its logging practices. It also comes at a time when Forestry Tasmania has encountered community opposition with plans to clearfell a 68 hectare coupe at Lapoinya in North West Tasmania ...

• John Powell, in Comments: Eastwards today to St Helens et al via Scottsdale and the Weld etc. devastation, clearfell. crappy Nitens plantations etc. A wonderful example to my wife’s 89 year old uncle from Brisbane on how not to log sustainably. Chinese tourists at Pyengana Cheese factory critical of what they saw! Paul Harriss = not a good look for President Xi.  Listen and hear the people Will Hodgman!

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Writers | John Lawrence | Politics | International | Local | National | State | Forestry | Gunns | Economy | Environment | Opinion | History | Society

STATE: Royal Hobart Hospital Decision

Michael Ferguson, Minister for Health Media Release
12.12.14 3:30 am

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The Liberal Government has accepted and will implement the recommendations of the Royal Hobart Hospital Redevelopment Rescue Taskforce for the project to proceed on the current site.

Andrew Wilkie: ‘I support the Government’s decision’

AMA: Response to Government’s decision on RHH redevelopment site

Rebecca White: Ferguson obliged to provide all the details

MEANWHILE ...

Lambie asks PM to release $110M of federal funds for Tas irrigation schemes

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STATE: Education; Will’s Music Report. The RHH

Teresa O’Leary. Pub: Dec 8
12.12.14 3:30 am

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… Will Hodgman, Jeremy Rockcliff and Peter Gutwein are just repeating their mantra and playing the same tune “ Labor wrecked the budget,… it’s the unions fault,…we are spending a record amount on education”. Parents are no longer fooled by this spin, the truth about the 5% has been revealed. $15,000 a year per school as part of the state’s Gonski commitment, a token gift given in one hand while their other hand fleeces our schools an average of up to $160 000 a year by cutting two teachers.  …

School nurse checks Will’s hearing

Andrew Wilkie distributes hundreds of ‘no school cuts’ bumper stickers

TASSO President Jenny Eddington: Proposal to break school funding crisis

Terry Polglaze: TASSO pay freeze proposal

Lisa Schimanski Chair, Albuera Street Primary School Association: Albuera Street Primary Parents and children will protest against the Tasmanian Government’s Cuts to Education tomorrow and for the rest of this week from 8:15-8:45am on Sandy Bay Road near the school.

Teresa O’Leary, South Hobart Primary and Taroona High parent: Liberals offer icing on the cake for our kids but steal the cake!

• Jean Walker, in Comments: I wrote this letter to the paper but it hasn’t been published: “There has been a great deal of brouhaha over the recent visit of the President of China but another interesting story might have been of the student I taught at a Tasmanian country high school (Huonville) who was given the opportunity to learn to play the viola as part of that school’s excellent music program. I have followed his career with interest. He went on to the Tasmanian Conservatorium, played with the TSO, was the recipient of a number of large scholarships, and a prizewinner at various international competitions.  He studied under Jan Sedivka (Australia), Bruno Giuranna (Italy) and Garth Knox (France), as well as in Germany at the International Ensemble Modern Akademie. … I can’t help wondering if cuts had been made to the music program at that school, whether such an illustrious career would ever have eventuated” BTW - At the time, his mother was a low income single parent with no possibility of providing music lessons or instrument.

FRIDAY ...

ABC: Tasmanian Government opts for redevelopment of Royal Hobart Hospital over $2.4 billion greenfield plan

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EPA accused of overstepping its authority after amending Nelson Bay River Mine permit

ABC. Pic*
12.12.14 3:16 am

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Tasmania’s environment watchdog has been accused of acting outside of its jurisdiction when it changed conditions imposed on a mining permit for a development in Tasmania’s west.

• Pete Godfrey, in Comments: Did Mr Schaap also have similar dinners with Gunns Ltd while he was deciding whether the never-started pulp mill was substantially commenced?

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The Flan Man and Bob Graham give it all away ...

ABC. Pic: of Richard Flanagan. Pub: Dec 9
10.12.14 4:45 am

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Writing is often a penniless business, but two winners of the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards have given away their prize money to ensure Australia’s vulnerable are better treated.

Guardian: Read Flanagan’s acceptance speech; Why I’m donating my $40,000 prize to an Indigenous literacy charity

Read the Prime Minister’s Speech

All the winners ... who include Sarah Day, Stephen Edgar and Julie Hunt ...

Vanessa Goodwin, in TT Books, here: Another Award for Richard Flanagan

Chris Gallagher, TT Books, here: Tasmanian author Richard Flanagan inspires home state with award-winning streak and passion for indigenous literacy Tasmanian Writers’ Centre director Chris Gallagher said Flanagan was not only a trailblazer and a role-model for all Tasmanian writers and authors, he was also an inspiration and an example for how to use personal success to build a better Australia. “When he won the Man Booker Prize, Richard showed great integrity in standing by his beliefs in protecting Australia’s old-growth native forests,” she said. “Richard has again demonstrated that firm resolve and integrity by choosing to channel his prize money into something else he believes in – helping First Nation Australians. “We are not only hugely proud of Richard’s achievements and wins, we’re also proud of the way he shows leadership in Australia, and we’re also deeply inspired.”

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NATION: What are we afraid of in this country? The Climate Terrorist. Prahran. GP co-payment ...

Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, Greens Senator for Tasmania. Pub: Dec 8
10.12.14 4:15 am

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… What are we afraid of in this country? What are we actually protecting our borders from? That is the question at the heart of this debate. Why does the coalition, going all the way back to John Howard and Tampa, see it as good politics to be cruel, dehumanise and marginalise other human beings? I am still struggling with why there are people in my country who are so fearful of desperate people arriving by boat. The only conclusion I can come to is that that fear is deeply seated for a number of reasons.

I sometimes wonder whether it is just the fact that we fear for our quality of life, because we have such a good one in this country. We are so lucky. Of course there are people doing it tougher than others. There are people doing it tough here but, compared to the poor souls risking their lives for a better life, I actually think we do pretty well here, and we would do pretty well to remember how fortunate we are. …

Community vigil for asylum seekers

• John Biggs, in Comments: What a splendid condemnation of the Abbott Government’s policy on immigration—so logical, clear, legal and humane. The very opposite of govt policy (and let’s face it Labor’s too when the heat is on), which is illogical, shrouded in secrecy, illegal, and inhumane. But Senate went even worse than Labor ever did by granting the Immigration Minister, whom Sarah Hanson-Young rightly called a “sociopath” more power than any individual in Australia, in that he can make life changing and life threatening decisions about individuals as it pleases his sick mind and those decisions are nonaccountable and may not be challenged. How could Senate have been so blind as not to see this? When Parliament resumes next year there must be a recission motion put and passed to resolve this outragous outcome that puts Australia in the same league—as far as immigration is concerned—as a third world dictatorship.

ELSEWHERE, NATIONALLY ...

Guardian: Tony Abbott confirms Coalition will alter paid parental leave scheme

Guardian: Labor in election-winning position with 10-point lead in Galaxy poll

ABC: Superannuation changes could boost retirement incomes by 40pc, Financial System Inquiry finds

Guardian: Australia named worst-performing industrial country on climate change Performance index released at Lima climate talks puts Denmark in the best-performing slot, followed by Sweden and Britain … Australia has been named the worst-performing industrial country in the world on climate change in a report released at international negotiations in Peru. The climate change performance index ranked Denmark as the best-performing country in the world, followed by Sweden and Britain. Among the world’s top 10 emitters, Germany was ranked the highest at 22. Australia was second bottom overall, above Saudi Arabia – which was not classified as industrial. The report states: “The new conservative Australian government has apparently made good on last year’s announcement and reversed the climate policies previously in effect. As a result, the country lost a further 21 positions in the policy evaluation compared to last year, thus replacing Canada as the worst-performing industrial country.” China, the world’s biggest emitter, was in 45th spot – one below the US, which is the world’s second largest emitter of greenhouse gases that cause climate change.

ABC: Hamid Kehazaei case: Seriously ill asylum seeker forced to wait more than 24 hours for medical transfer

George Monbiot, Guardian: Taming corporate power: the key political issue of our age Big business and its lobbyists have taken control of our politics. But there is an alternative. In the first of a new series, here’s how we can take on the fat cats

WEDNESDAY ...

Guardian: Victorian Greens claim Prahran, winning historic second seat in parliament

Lenore Taylor, Guardian: GP co-payment change brings a Hobson’s choice that still undermines bulk-billing

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Hopefully we can start to deal with this matter ...

An Observer
09.12.14 4:25 am

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There may be a flaw in the criteria set out in the commission which I think should be stated publicly. Grooming is a known trait of sexual predators. Thus grooming does fit the criteria of sexual abuse, I challenge the commission ( Royal Commission into institutional child sexual abuse now taking evidence in Hobart ) to publicly state this, on the proviso I have not misunderstood the confines of course.

• Peter, in Comments: Found: the alleged pedophile the royal commission said was dead ...

• An Observer, in Comments: This is part of a letter I recently received from the Royal Commission ... Also, I wanted to confirm that the Royal Commission considers grooming to be a form of sexual abuse. Therefore if someone was groomed by a paedophile and wanted to share their account with the Royal Commission, they will certainly be heard.

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