Articles

’ ‘Fake News,’ Trump’s Obsession, Is Now a Cudgel for Strongmen’ ... ask Will ...

New York Times: Pic: of Will Hodgman from his website
13.12.17 5:20 am

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BRUSSELS — President Trump routinely invokes the phrase “fake news” ( TT: as did Tassie Premier Will Hodgman ... )as a rhetorical tool to undermine opponents, rally his political base and try to discredit a mainstream American media that is aggressively investigating his presidency …

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NATION: A double agent in the house ... ?

Urban Wronski* Pic: Flickr, Donkey Hotey
13.12.17 5:15 am

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Loud hosannas resound in Canberra. Hallelujah. Could it be the joyous news that Harry and Meghan Markle will grace us with their royal presence at a charity polo match in Marvellous Melbourne early next year? Or is it Dotard Trump’s Middle East diplomatic masterstroke? Swayed by Zionist lobbyists and fat-cat Republican donors’ demands he moves the US embassy to Jerusalem? Images of rioting, protesting Palestinians appear immediately. Any moment, son-in-law, slumlord Jared Kushner, will “deliver peace” in the Middle East on cue …

MSN News: ‘What are you saying?’ Malcolm Turnbull in heated clash over indigenous MPs Ken Wyatt and Linda Burney ‘Q&A’ hosted fiery and emotive scenes as Malcolm Turnbull was challenged about his record on indigenous recognition, culminating in a visibly offended Prime Minister urging his critics to support Indigenous MPs from both sides of parliament. The Prime Minister was appearing as the sole guest on the program and received a grilling about issues from the MPs with dual citizenships, to the same-sex marriage plebiscite, the influence of the right-wing of the party, his views on climate change and, finally, the National Broadband Network …

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Regulars | Urban Wronksi | Politics | International | National | State | Economy | Editor's Choice | Opinion | History | Planning/Heritage | Legal | Society

Bitcoin ...

Cartoon*: Martyn Turner, used with permission
13.12.17 5:00 am

Image for Bitcoin ...

Cartoon*: Martyn Turner, used with permission

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Politics | International | Cartoons

‘The Palace, the Governor-General and the Dismissal of the Whitlam government ...’

John Menadue – Pearls and Irritations. Pic*
12.12.17 3:50 am

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Contrary to the accepted story that the Queen was not involved in the dismissal of the Whitlam Government in 1975, it is now clear that the Palace had a significant role in the process. Those involved, in Australia and in Britain, kept this involvement hidden from the Australian people in a process of collusion, deception and artifice …

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Politics | International | National | Economy | Environment | Editor's Choice | Opinion | History | Legal | Society

Why ‘Love Makes a Way’ is not loving

Andrea Tokaji* Pic*
12.12.17 3:45 am

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On the eve of the closing of Nauru and Manus Island detention facilities, I think it is helpful to reflect on those that contribute positively to change, and those that, through their advocacy might institute further harms …

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

I don’t want smart meters

Don Maisch*
11.12.17 4:32 am

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Here is a sample ... I suggest you write your own detailing why you do NOT want smart meters ...

This is money: The great smart meter rip-off: Energy giants will use devices to DOUBLE the cost of power when you need it most • Digital smart meters rolled out as an energy-saving measure. • Meters send instant information back to energy suppliers on usage. • Energy giant British Gas is trialling charging more at peak times. • Watchdog Ofgem warned in report suppliers would develop new tariffs

• Dr Pri Bandara in Comments: Introduction of these wireless “smart” meters is not a smart move at all considering the further increase of public exposure to microwave radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation (RF-EMR), an environmental pollutant with serious biological/health effects that can damage mental and physical health of exposed people. 236 scientists from 41 countries who have researched on RF-EMR and published in peer-reviewed literature have urged the UN and the WHO to protect public health from this exposure …

Canberra Times: Smart meters new default, unregulated installation costs ‘encourage competition’

Advocate: Inching towards smart meters

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Writers | Don Maisch | Politics | National | State | Economy | Environment | Editor's Choice | Health | Opinion | History | Planning/Heritage | Legal | Personal | Society

Southern-fried half-baked woodchips

Tom Allen, campaigner, The Wilderness Society. Pic: Jam-packed crowds at the Dover meeting
11.12.17 4:25 am

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Here’s some gratuitous advice for the proponents of the proposed Southwoodfibre1 woodchip export facility at Dover: When you hold a ‘community consultation’, have a map of the site for people to see, ensure your laptop works and that you can answer questions with more detail than just platitudes. Especially if about 200 people fill a school hall, thirsty for information. Which they did and they were …

Chris Harries in Medium: Land use policy may end up being much more important than renewables Growing trees absorb more carbon than we can poke a stick at! Given all the remedies for stalling climate change, my home state of Tasmania has illustrated, almost by accident, the huge role that changes in land use can play. Tasmania has the luck of having hydro-electric resources — lofty mountains and rainfall. But being a remote economy it has also relied heavily on exploiting and exporting its natural commodities, especially via its dominant native forest logging industry. A massive turnaround in the state’s carbon emissions occurred around 2012- 2015, whereupon the state Minister for Climate Change, Matt Groom, announced that the state had quite suddenly and unexpectedly achieved its 2050 emissions abatement target several decades ahead of time. This remarkable success came about despite the state government having a very weak mitigation strategy, having almost no deliberate policies in place to reduce emissions. How did this magical, phenomenal result come about then? It was all to do with a downturn in log exports …

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

The Robot Journo ...

Charles Wooley*
11.12.17 4:20 am

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Ideally a column needs a good opening line to grab the reader. How about this one from my wife Donna when I arrived home from a fishing trip: “Charlie I want you to meet my new lover …

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Writers | Charles Wooley | Politics | State | Environment | Editor's Choice | Opinion | History | Society

The Decline and Fall of RMPAT: Tribunal loses its teeth

David Halse-Rogers* Pic*
11.12.17 3:30 am

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Have you had an inappropriate development approved in your street?  Do you realise that the loss of your view, light or airflow is now considered irrelevant to planning authorities? Developments, which maximise profit at the expense of neighbours’ amenities, are now festering like un-lanced boils across many suburbs and town in Tasmania As many Tasmanians will now be aware, the State Government is in the process of implementing new, contentious, standardised planning legislation designed, supposedly, to make development applications …“fairer, faster, cheaper and simpler”.  The Government mantra does not state for whom the new State-wide planning scheme will be ...“fairer, faster, cheaper and simpler”, but it is not hard to work out that the developer will be in the driver’s seat from now on …

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

Whose victory was it that the MPs were celebrating ... ?

David Chadwick* Pic: Nic McBride on Flickr
10.12.17 8:00 am

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With a truly wonderful outpouring of emotion at 5.58pm Friday evening at that moment the parliament erupted in what I’m sure was the most a heartfelt joy ever expressed in the chamber of the new parliament house.  It was so good to watch.  It would have been nice to have been there, but would it?  Whose victory was it that the MPs were celebrating … ?

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Politics | National | State | Economy | Editor's Choice | Health | Opinion | History | Legal | Society

Just how removed is the Integrity Commission from government influence ... ?

Lyndall Rowley* Pic: Nelson Pavlosky, Flickr
09.12.17 4:00 am

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Concerned about the numerous stories on TT surrounding mismanagement, maladministration, misconduct and many other negative accounts of poor government and poor conduct by public servants in Tasmania, I went browsing over the internet …

Mercury: Tasmanian Integrity Commission warns on public servant exits TASMANIA’S Integrity Commission has recommended changes to allow disciplinary findings against public servants who have quit their post. A commission report has found changes should be made to the State Services Act to prevent investigations ceasing once an employee subject to allegations of misconduct leaves. The recommendation is one of three made by the Commission following an investigation into the management of misconduct in the state’s public service. The report also recommends a written record of proceedings and action taken be kept for seven years …

ABC: Integrity watchdog calls for significant changes to handling of misconduct by Tasmania’s public service

Examiner: Tasmanian Integrity Commission delivers report on state service misconduct

The Integrity Commission: Investigation report recommends legislative changes for misconduct accountability

• David Obendorf in Comments: … In the case of Pandora’s box, unbridled curiosity when acted upon opened up and released consequences. As the myth tells it, when the box was open: Pandora could still hear a voice calling to her from the box, pleading with her to be let out. Her husband Epimetheus agreed that nothing inside the box could be worse than the horrors that had already been released, so they opened the lid once more. All that remained in the box was Hope. For me, the lesson from Pandora’s box is – be careful what I release because sometimes all that remains is Hope …

• Bob in Comments: Hodgman’s Chief of Staff Stansfield comes from the Abetz office. It shows and says it all really! ‘I didn’t say that’ and ‘not available for comment’ appears to be the Liberal Party mantra these days. Roll on March!

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Politics | National | State | Economy | Editor's Choice | Opinion | Planning/Heritage | Legal | Personal | Society

For Eleanor ...

Dr Michael Rowan*
08.12.17 5:00 am

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Editor: I asked Michael Rowan for a copy of this wonderful eulogy at the celebration of Eleanor’s life a couple of months ago. Here it is …

• Isla MacGregor in Comments: Thank you for posting.  I very much enjoyed reading Michael Rowan’s eulogy for Eleanor. She truly was a great contributor to girls’ and women’s equality and for the principles of universal and high standards of education.

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Writers | Michael Rowan | Politics | International | National | State | Economy | Editor's Choice | Opinion | History | Personal | Society | Tribute

Misrepresentation, lies, deception and fraud ...

Dr David Obendorf* Pic*
08.12.17 4:47 am

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… Despite the expense neither the Department nor their collaborators – the Invasive Animals CRC – were able to confirm the existence of any live foxes in Tasmania. Beginning in 2014 independent peer-reviewed research demonstrated that the physical evidence gathered in Tasmania was unsound and to date neither organisation has chosen to vouch for their data or justify the expenditure of tens of millions of taxpayer dollars trying to eradicate an animal they could not locate …

… Premier Bacon literally head-hunted journalists he wanted from the local newspapers, commercial TV and the ABC and paid them far more than they could ever earn in the private sector. In this way local media was tamed to play along with Government policy. Twenty years on and arguably there are more journalists now employed inside government to fend off the public interest than exist outside to defend it. Moulding public perception is now a bog-standard skill of government with little regard for truth …

• Jack Jolly in Comments: … Deception is the way this is done. That’s how High Rise Harry gets to turn Sydney and Melbourne into Hong Kong. He’s given a licence by the state government to do so, and to hell with what the people who live there want. Did anyone ask the people of Sydney and Melbourne? Nope. Oddly, governing the state would be a hell of a lot easier if it was done on the basis of finding out what the public wanted done and what public values require … If you can chase something that does not exist for 15 years and spend $50 million on it, then claim that it has been an outstanding success, then there are no limits to the bullshit you will project. Anything is possible. Isn’t that the lesson of the fox fiasco - that government has no shame and no fear of the public whatsoever? They can look us in the eye and lie time and time again. There are no consequences …

• David Obendorf in Comments: … Perhaps it is a bitter pill. That this expensive eradication program was based on some unconscionable lying and the use of imported hoaxed evidence calculated to deceive. The presentation of false, unsubstantiated allegations to Tasmania Police was bad enough, but lying to a fox ecologist compounds the offence. To falsify physical evidence using dead fox exhibits adds to the gravity …

• Jack in Comments: Of course, the government in the lower house can always cancel parliament when things get too hot as Do-Nothing Malcolm (Member for Goldman Sachs) has just done: HERE

• Lyndall Rowley in Comments: … David – the above questions are rhetorical only. You need to rest and save yourself for the Royal Commission. In the end - after the clean-up - Mr Ian Rist and you David, as well as other courageous and persistent fighters for integrity in government as well as in science, deserve a public apology from government for how you’ve been treated and should instead be given our sincere thanks.

• David Obendorf in Comments: … Are any of these resignations, investigations of nepotism, white-collar fraud and cronyism linked to a systemic and unaddressed malaise in the Tasmanian Public Sector? You can literally exhaust yourself trying to shine a light on those in the leadership positions who leave these expensive and sickening trails of chaos. And I haven’t even mentioned the extensive investigations into staff misconduct, nepotism and misuse of funds in RSPCA (Tasmania) only a few years ago.

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Writers | David Obendorf | Politics | International | National | State | Economy | Environment | Editor's Choice | Health | Opinion | History | Planning/Heritage | Legal | Society

TWO Martyn Turners on Trump ... and Jerusalem ...

Cartoons*: Martyn Turner, used with permission
08.12.17 4:45 am

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Cartoons*: Martyn Turner, used with permission

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Politics | International | Cartoons | Editor's Choice | Opinion | History | Society

‘Jacqui Lambie looming large over 2018 Tasmanian election, as Liberals, Labor neck and neck’

ABC. Pic: of Will Hodgman from his website
07.12.17 4:45 am

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The Hodgman Liberal Government is facing a disaster at next year’s Tasmanian election and Jacqui Lambie is partly to blame, according to political analysts …

Mercury: Poll shows Labor level with Libs TASMANIA is hurtling towards minority government as Labor draws level with Will Hodgman’s Liberals in a key poll for the first time in more than seven years …

The definitive Dr Bonham: Dr Kevin Bonham: EMRS Says The Wheels Are Falling Off, HERE If the December EMRS poll is to be believed (see also the helpful trend tracker), the Hodgman Government is currently headed for a Campbell Newman-like reversal of fortune at the 2018 Tasmanian state election.  Having won a massive victory from Opposition at the 2014 state election, the current poll suggests Hodgman’s government, much like Newman’s, could be going straight back where it came from and that election night could be carnage with incumbents losing all over the place - to Labor, the Greens, the Lambie Network and their own party.  On a like for like basis (which is rather difficult to follow through old EMRS poll reports) this seems to be the Liberals’ lowest primary in an EMRS poll since August 2006 …

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Politics | State | Economy | Editor's Choice | Opinion | History | Society

Policies for a Sheltered Workshop

Gordon Bradbury*, Tasmanian Blackwood Growers Cooperative
06.12.17 6:30 am

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Before we delve into the crocodile infested waters of Tasmanian forest politics I recommend reading this review of public native forest administration by economist John Lawrence first …

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Politics | International | National | State | Forestry | Gunns | Economy | Environment | Editor's Choice | Health | Opinion | Planning/Heritage | Legal | Personal | Society

NATION: A shameful betrayal of trust and responsibility

Urban Wronksi (aka David Tyler*) Pic*
04.12.17 5:03 am

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“Yes we have no bananas. We have no bananas today.” (Frank Silver, Irving Cohn from, Make it Snappy 1922.)

… A surreal political week reaches peak bullshit, the communications strategy of our era and one of the greatest dangers we face as a people and as a nation, Saturday. It’s the talking up of Barnaby Joyce’s victory in the New England by election Saturday. Professional political con-artist, Malcolm Turnbull gives four cheers for his side-kick Joyce. Two stooges in concert in Tamworth, he and his deputy are dressed like stock agents on a Saturday night out. Costume is vital to any Nationals’ occasion …

… Tingle calls the targeting of industry super an “ideological fatwa”. It is clearly an extension of the government’s war on workers and their attempts to organise their labour to protect their rights and conditions through unions …

Guardian: Labor MPs in Turnbull’s sights as Coalition aims to revive citizenship saga Staff in PM’s office say Justine Keay and Susan Lamb could be referred to high court after same-sex marriage legalised …

Guardian: Polls give Labor clear lead over Coalition, keeping pressure on Turnbull Newspoll and Fairfax-Ipsos poll both have Labor leading 53-47 and show Julie Bishop is most popular preferred prime minister …

Guardian: Shades of Sir Humphrey in banking royal commission terms of reference Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison could hardly have done more to express hope that the inquiry will not actually find any wrongdoing

Laura Tingle, AFR: Peril in a banking royal commission framed in political desperation Royal commissions are notoriously dangerous politics in the best of circumstances. The perils of such an inquiry framed in an atmosphere of political desperation are likely to only be greater. The arguments for a really powerful inquiry into the banks have long been made. But it is not at all clear that this compromised, begrudging body will deliver what frustrated bank customers would like to see established, nor even what its actual purpose will be … Most notably, and outrageously, the terms of reference make it clear that the royal commission will be targeted as much at the superannuation industry, and particularly industry super, as the banks, as the Coalition continues its ideological fatwa against one of the few sectors of the financial industry that has actually been delivering for its customers …

Huffington Post: Parties That Are Meant To Protect Farmers Are Failing Us When It Comes To Adani

Guardian Live: Labor asks Turnbull to explain photo with Chinese political donor – question time live

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

The commercialisation of the Tasmanian wilderness ...

Donald Knowler* Pic*
03.12.17 4:30 am

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Author Don Knowler voiced his concern about the commercialisation of the Tasmanian wilderness when he was invited to address the annual general meeting of the Tasmanian National Parks Association on November 26. Here is his speech

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Writers | Don Knowler | Politics | International | National | State | Economy | Environment | Editor's Choice | Opinion | History | Planning/Heritage | Legal | Personal | Society

My terrible experience of flying Jetstar ...

Fiona Leslie, Scotland UK
03.12.17 4:15 am

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… Our experience was very different and not one we ever would want to repeat …

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Writers | John Hawkins | Travel

Who wins the Dodo award this week?

Ted Mead* Pic*
02.12.17 3:15 am

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When it come to senseless and wanton forest destruction then it would be difficult to choose between Queensland and Tasmania as to which state is presently more archaic …

Blow the lid off deforestation “The majority of koalas will never receive treatment. Their bodies will be broken and churned up with chopped vegetation, get piled up into big rows and then burnt or chipped.” Dr Jon Hanger.

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

Pimp/Porn inquiry needed in Tasmania

Joanna Pinkiewicz* Pic: Ivan Dean, Rosemary Armitage
02.12.17 3:00 am

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Discussion about prostitution laws in Tasmania reveals that politicians have been advised that Tasmania Police is aware of locations of “known brothels”, but turning a blind eye to illegal brothel operations and with it to the sexual violence to women associated with the sex trade …

SAS CEO Jill Maxwell: ‘Yes Means Yes’ Poster campaign to target sexual abuse and sexual harassment

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

On Being a ‘homophobe’

Christopher Nagle, writing.com Pic*
02.12.17 2:45 am

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The common use of the word ‘homophobe’ is not just about ad hominem attack, or bad manners, or unwarranted stereotyping, but about how the present regime and its acolytes bolster themselves and deprive opponents of oxygen …

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Writers | Christopher Nagle | Politics | National | State | Opinion | Society

First Day: December

Isla MacGregor* Pic*
01.12.17 5:00 am

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And ... where has the year gone ... ? Today we celebrate December 2017 …

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Writers | Isla MacGregor | Politics | International | National | State | Economy | Environment | Opinion | History | Planning/Heritage | Society

NATION: Turnbull’s week begins badly; ends in disaster

Urban Wronksi (aka David Tyler*) Pic*
01.12.17 4:55 am

Image for NATION: Turnbull’s week begins badly; ends in disaster

When the going gets tough, the tough burrow under the bed-covers.  Malcolm Bligh Turnbull, “a good man in a crisis”, and a “strong leader”, as he insists, scents a mutiny brewing over his indulgence of the banks. And runs away …

Don Watson, The Monthly: We are all diminished Australian politics is full of contradictions, double standards and gaping voids

• John Hayward in Comments: For more on the workings of the conservative hindbrain, have a look at Richard Cooke’s article on the same, and Margaret Simon’s article on Gillian Triggs, both in the summer edition of The Monthly, along with Don Watson’s reflections on the Libs’ bizarre notions of liberalism: The Monthly HERE

Guardian: There was our silence and their violence as Manus camp was evacuated | Behrouz Boochani Of all the violence and abuse inflicted on refugees on Manus Island, the emotional trauma is hardest to endure

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

Martyn Turner: The Toy Show

Cartoon*: Martyn Turner, used with permission
01.12.17 4:49 am

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*Cartoon: Martyn Turner, used with permission: https://www.facebook.com/martynturnercartoons/ . http://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/martyn-turner

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Politics | International | National | Cartoons | Opinion | Society

Vintage Nudes in the Snow Gallery ...

Kim Peart* Pic*
01.12.17 4:47 am

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After building a round gallery now in Discovery Grid, where it is called the Snow Gallery, I set up an exhibition of vintage nudes …

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Writers | Kim Peart | Arts | Opinion | Personal | Society

Mmmmm ... Uni vice-chancellor salaries ....

The Hag* Pic: of Peter Rathjen
01.12.17 4:46 am

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How fascinating is this. It seems the Uni Of Tas vice-chancellor Peter Rathjen’s salary - ( Rathjen is about to move to Adelaide HERE ) - is above that of Glynis Breakwell, the UK’s highest-paid vice-chancellor ... which led former UK education minister Andrew Adonis to call for her resignation (because of the package) …

Guardian: Bath University vice-chancellor quits after outcry over £468k pay

Guardian: Birmingham academics protest over university vice-chancellor’s pay Staff seek ‘reform of system which sees those at top allocate themselves huge salaries, while denying fair pay to those at bottom’

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Regulars | The Hag | Politics | International | National | State | Education | Editor's Choice | Opinion | Legal | Society

Martyn Turner ... Mr Trump ...

Cartoon*: Martyn Turner, used with permission
01.12.17 4:45 am

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*Cartoon: Martyn Turner, used with permission: https://www.facebook.com/martynturnercartoons/ . http://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/martyn-turner

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Politics | International | National | Cartoons | Economy | Opinion | Society

Tarkine wonder ... what a blooming delight ... !

Ted Mead* All (brilliant) pics: Ted Mead. Pic*
30.11.17 5:00 am

Image for Tarkine wonder ... what a blooming delight ... !

Rain or shine, come every late spring to summer the Tasmanian bush always displays its glory …

The Bioblitz ...

EARLIER on Tasmanian Times ...

Push for expanded protection of Tarkine to become a poll issue ...

John Lawrence: Forestry Tasmania’s demise in detail: Billion Dollar Loss

• Robert Middleton in Comments: Thankyou Ted, for once again sharing the spectacular beauty of Tasmania and the Tarkine with the rest of the world. Your images are a powerful tonic which helps one endure the hate, anger, greed, poverty, inequality, stupidity and political treachery that dominate life these days for many of us. Your pictures brighten the day, rekindle hope for the future, and inspire one to fight on.

Guy Barnett: FPA Annual Report

EARLIER on Tasmanian Times ...

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

Peter Gutwein is wrong on debt. Here are the numbers that prove it

Martyn Goddard* Pic*
30.11.17 4:35 am

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Even Scott Morrison finally got the message. There is good debt, the federal Treasurer pronounced, and there is bad debt. The idea that government debt is not all bad is a turnaround for his side of politics, which rode the debt-and-deficit bandwagon into government in Canberra and in Hobart. After years of transparent number-fudging in federal budgets, Mr Morrison has come grudgingly to terms with two aspects of fiscal reality: that he will never get to a surplus without increasing taxes rather than cutting them; and that running a government budget is not quite the same as looking after the housekeeping money …

… And this is the biggest single reason why Tasmania has to endure the worst public services, particularly in health and hospitals, in the country. Because of the government’s ideological fixation on reducing debt, the community is missing out on services other Australians are able to take for granted …

Rebecca White: Mystery deepens over crucial health report as Ferguson now denies its existence

Rosalie Woodruff: Tasmania Lagging on Emergency Department Wait Times Under Liberals

Mercury: Health Minister says report into Tasmanian Health Service does not exist

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