typing is not activism….

environ mentalism, fresh articles, interviews & checkitouts from Sydney.

Archive for April 2007

Mmmm, get a load of that Finnish – more pulp fiction insights from Dr Warwick Raverty

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The following is a communication from Dr Warwick Raverty on April 19, just after the Tasmanian Govt announced the appointment of SWECO (which is apparently an imaginative shortening of ‘Swedish Company’) as independent consultant for assessment of the Tamar pulp mill proposal. Simon Bevilacqua has just run an interview with Dr. Raverty about pulp mill emissions, and a more lengthy recounting of the RPDC experience in Europe may be of interest to TT readers.

As you’re all aware by now, Dr Raverty is very appreciative of those CSIRO colleagues who continue to support his right to speak freely as an individual, and he is speaking entirely on his own behalf and not in his capacity as a CSIRO employee. Will be getting more articles to you all soon from informational places further along the current track (promise) but hope you find this useful for now. The words that follow hereafter are entirely Dr. Raverty’s: Read the rest of this entry »


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April 30, 2007 at 11:09 am

Intimidation breaking through – Raverty elsewhere

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More fresh pieces to come, but in the meantime it’s good to know that Dr Raverty isn’t screaming in a vacuum. Apart from the trusty Tassie Times, his detailing of intimidation has showed up on national radar at the ABC. Keith Windschuttle mustn’t be trying hard enough. Read the rest of this entry »

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April 26, 2007 at 11:15 am

Because flags are just pieces of cloth

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Click here or on the pic to check out Imaginif’s special ANZAC Day collection of writings from the Australian blogosphere. Her site is worth a very good look, with a focus on making the protection of children not just a social but a corporate responsibility.

It is a brain cramper to recall that only about 7 years ago some politicians in Australia tried to legislate for a corporate code of ethics. It would have seen companies found to have acted abhorrently overseas held accountable in Australia. The Bill was more or less laughed out of Parliament. Why? Because it would have been too difficult to punish companies for unethical conduct on foreign shores when there is no such law to compel ethical practices within Australia.

For all the patriotic and God-invoking twoddle that will pour today from politicians and media, it is worth remembering that at the heart of it the day is about remembering people who have both sacrificed and been sacrificed in the name of causes both worthy and dubious.

Robert Manne has written an excellent piece on ANZAC as a foundational myth. Australia celebrates ANZAC as the forging of a national identity, while largely denying a very real genocide. As young Australians were thrown into a hell at Gallipoli, modern Turkey was being born from the blood of a million Armenians. A genocidal origin their self-identity also largely and aggressively rejects. Two national identities born in the same moment on opposite sides of the world but with striking similarities with which neither has yet come to terms.

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April 25, 2007 at 5:00 pm

And now for some light relief….

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click on the pic to read Henry Rollins‘ answers to 15 different readers’ questions about politics.


HR: The most messed-up political systems are the ones supported by those who say their system is the fairest and the best, to the point where they feel the need to spread that system to other countries without asking said countries what they think. These are the ones who seem to have no problem ignoring the hypocrisy and shortcomings of their system, but demand that others use it anyway. It’s like only selling damaged goods to people, then robbing them of the cost if they don’t want to buy the product. If you dare to point out the parts of the product that could be improved upon, you are told that you hate the product. That is pretty messed-up.

…this is the “did you eat the last cookie?” face…

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April 24, 2007 at 10:35 pm

Silencing Dissent: How the Australian government controls public opinion and stifles debate

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Silencing Dissent is an appropriately red, incendiary book detailing how the Howard Government is undermining democracy and playing by its own rules.

To learn more, I spoke with Dr Clive Hamilton, co-writer and executive director of the Australia Institute. In 2004, Hamilton and co-editor Sarah Maddison had researched nearly 300 NGOs representing concerns across Australia. While 9 per cent said the Federal Government encouraged public debate, 90 per cent felt funding cuts were a threat to dissenting individuals and organizations. Read the rest of this entry »

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April 22, 2007 at 5:41 pm

Raverty under pressure – detailing the latest silencing strategy

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“…my New Zealand General Manager told me in a one-on-one meeting, acting as judge, jury and executioner, that this publication of ‘confidential CSIRO information’ contravenes my terms of employment and as a consequence I am to be removed from my current position of Sustainability Coordinator for the pulp and paper section of Ensis, consigned to a ‘back room’ and that my file is to be marked ‘Never to be Promoted’…” Read the rest of this entry »

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April 22, 2007 at 3:02 am

An Interview with Dr Warwick Raverty – Tuesday April 17: SWECO PIC, Premier Paul Lennon, the Tasmanian Pulp Mill Task Force, defamation, a retraction and due process

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A verbatim transcript of the first 12 minutes of a two hour interview conducted with Dr Warwick Raverty follows this introduction. Significantly, we spoke on the very day that Steve Kons announced SWECO PIC as the independent consultant chosen to assess the pulp mill proposal for the Tamar Valley and accordingly advise the Tasmanian Government.

More of this far-reaching discussion will be brought to you in the coming week, but the intention of this interview was to prepare for an article due out shortly. Having spoken with Tasmanian Time’s Lindsay Tuffin, to whom I’m sure many southerners are grateful for a kick-arse genuinely independent media source in Tassie (especially in times like these), here comes that part of the discussion which focused on the appointment of SWECO.

Pertinent to this interview, Dr Raverty is speaking on his own behalf, and his opinions and comments have nothing to do with his role in the CSIRO, or in the Joint venture Ensis, to which he is presently seconded. Notwithstanding this fact, in the course of our discussion he expressed sincere and strong appreciation for senior staff at the CSIRO who, while neither implicitly supporting nor condemning his views, have both supported and maintained his right to speak publicly on his own behalf despite pressures they themselves might be experiencing. Dr Raverty had 20 years experience in the kraft pulping and paper industry before joining CSIRO in 2000.

In further clarification on a genuinely unrelated matter, Dr Raverty would like to expressly withdraw any suggestion that Gunns will be storing vast quantities of chlorine on site which, if gasified, would kill everything in a fifteen kilometer radius. He has now been assured by Les Baker, representing Gunns, that all such potentially hazardous chemicals will be used in the mill as they are produced. Baker insists that they will not be stored in massive quantities on site as Raverty previously thought. Raverty maintains that this misunderstanding would not have occurred had all information about the operation of the mill been provided by Gunns in a clear and timely manner in the course of the now defunct RPDC panel’s assessment of the proposal’s detail. Read the rest of this entry »

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April 21, 2007 at 4:10 pm

Under Southern Scars – Australia’s new National Vanthem. by “Um” and “er” Vanstone.

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under southern star – visit this link, it’s worse than Barry Mannilow.

OH MY F#%K!!!!!! AAAAAAAGH!!!! Torn between laughter and suicide. We all know that Amanda Vanstone, former minister for indigenous affairs, immigration, and language lessons penned a little ditty before she got ruthlessly Ian Campbelled by John Howard. But now she has put up a patriotic website with the full mix, piano mix and vocal mix. Whoever does the first mash-up PLEASE send me the link. Read the rest of this entry »

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April 20, 2007 at 11:20 am

A piece of work too good to miss

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from “An Open Letter to Oprah Winfrey” by Saul Williams

You see, Ms. Winfrey, at it’s worst; Hip Hop is simply a reflection of the society that birthed it. Our love affair with gangsterism and the denigration of women is not rooted in Hip Hop; rather it is rooted in the very core of our personal faith and religions. The gangsters that rule Hip Hop are the same gangsters that rule our nation. 50 Cent and George Bush have the same birthday (July 6th)…

full rhyme here

I started reading thinking “oh no, he’s lost it” but by the end had tingling spine and goosebumps – seriously worth checking out. Saul Williams is a SpeakFreak.

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April 20, 2007 at 6:05 am

A Tasmanian logging company, John Howard & Kevin Rudd walk into a bar…

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April 20, 2007 at 12:40 am

Silencing Dissent: an interview with Clive Hamilton – April 17, 2007

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What follows is the full version of a 20 minute interview with Dr. Clive Hamilton, executive director of The Australia Institute, conducted as preparation for an article about the book he has recently edited and contributed to with Sarah Maddison, Silencing Dissent. The summary impact of contributions from a range of authors is not only certainty that the Australian government is deliberately controlling public opinion and stifling debate, but a keener, specific awareness of the insidious processes by which this is occurring.

On a personal note, Hamilton’s Growth Fetish was the first book grounded in economics which I found to be not only highly readable, but to actually give both hope and reason to better understand the subject. In this Information Age (does that imply a Post-Information Age?), his multi-disciplinary proficiency, expansive critical thought, and refreshing accessibility are natural resources which offer an opportunity for social, economic, ecological, and political advancement in Australia. At the very least, he is a provocative thinker, and grounded as his ideas are in human rather than partisan values, they should also find resonance with a number of peoples across the globe.

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April 18, 2007 at 11:22 pm

Some Readommended Recconing

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April 16, 2007 at 12:21 pm

Kurt Vonnegut 1922 – 2007 RIP.

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The only specifically American inventions that have made this a better world are Alcoholics Anonymous and jazz, and jazz has no bad side effects. But one piece of AA’s advice to recovering addicts, that they live one day at a time, so infects the brains of those who are wrecking the planet as a life-support system nowadays, recovering addicts or not, that it might as well be Hong Kong chicken flu or mad-cow disease. To have gotten through Tuesday, say, with an atmosphere still breathable and water still potable at bedtime is for those so afflicted to be as happy as pigs in shit, so to speak.

Vonnegut from The Work to be Done, Rolling Stone May 28, 1998

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April 12, 2007 at 3:19 pm

Interview with Federal Greens Senator Christine Milne – transcript

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This interview – conducted with Senator Milne the morning after the Pulp Mill Assessment (Approval) Bill first cleared the Tasmanian Lower House – extended to the politicization of Tasmania’s disappearing old growth forests, what Mark Latham’s ‘Tasmanian disaster’ was really about, and an extreme crisis of confidence in Tasmania that has shifted the focus from a threat to the environment to the state of a dying democracy. There are some particularly interesting insights into major party politicking at the federal level around Tasmania’s possible futures.

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April 12, 2007 at 11:33 am

Howard Government Pushing New Law to Steal Election Before It’s Even Announced

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This is important information for any Australian who thinks voting in this year’s federal election will matter. The following is not an orginal article but a mailer that has just been sent out by GetUp. Like a whole bunch of political slipperiness happening right now, it requires public action and attention before mid-April:

It beggars belief, but this federal election tens of thousands of eligible Australians will be stopped from voting. Will you be one of them?

The Federal Government has passed extraordinary legislation that will close the rolls for new voters at 8pm, on the very night the election is officially called. In the last election, 83,000 first-time voters enrolled in the first week after the election was called. Hundreds of thousands more registered at their new address. But this time they won’t
get that chance – unless we act urgently.

That’s why whether you’re enroled to vote or not, there’s a crucial role for you to play right now. Click on the link below to demand this law be revoked, and help friends and family enrol correctly in the next two weeks – before new changes and extra red tape come into effect on April 16 making it even harder!


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April 5, 2007 at 1:05 am

David Hicks: Habeas Corpus as Habeas Corpse (or The Blatant Packaging of Self-fulfilling Bulls$%t as Truth)

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So David Hicks has now been crucified on words forced from his mouth. Senior politicians say this is proof that they were right all along. The outcome of ‘the Hicks’ dilemma’ (and no, that doesn’t mean George Bush’s presidency – well, not entirely) might be best considered through the lens of other works of creative fiction – The First Circle by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn is certainly instructive on the matter of spin-based, unchallengeable and politically-motivated detention.

'borrowed' from Mr. Fish, cartoonist for Harpers.

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April 3, 2007 at 10:13 pm