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Archive for the ‘Tasmania’ Category

Bugger the Pulp Mill, Sponsor an Idiot!

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That’s right! In an age of easy vehicle access and painfully unreliable but ultimately half-assed public transport, who the f$%# needs to run anywhere?

Then again, who needs air to breathe, water to live, or biodiversity to flourish?

Answer? You.

Which is a good reason to spare some plastic pocket change for the good folks at Tasmanians Against The Pulp Mill V3.0. If you sponsor this running doofus in the Sydney Marathon Sydney Marathon Sydney Marathon this weekend (September 20) then all your hard-earned wisely-donated $$$$ will go straight to very effective direct actions in Tasmania, carried out by clever and determined locals against a shabby state government and an even shabbier bunch of forest-f$#%ers.

For latest updates, see the sexy new-look Tassie Times. Now, what are you waiting for? Get emailing and get donating!! And thanks, eh?

Written by typingisnotactivism

September 14, 2009 at 2:39 am

Channel 7 to fiddle Olympic free speech

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Channel 7 in Australia appears to have misplaced the booking sheet for this ad by GetUp! and the Australian Tibet Council – due to run before and after the coverage of the opening ceremony tonight.

Wankers! Shame on!

Speaking of wankers – go behind the IOC facade of feelgood handholding and nationalistic mindlessness with journalist and author Andrew Jennings.

CLICK in a bullet. Crosshairs. Down a bit, left a bit. A clear view of the stand of Honour. The Lords of the Rings and their Partners. Berlusconi and Bush, they’re for another time, concentrate on the officials who stole and sold our sports. And the businessmen who learned from Gramsci’s prison notebooks. Hey, this commie saw how to make business bigger. Look at the hegemony stuff. Smarter than Milton Friedman.

This press enclosure is perfect for an assassin. The reporters, who can’t see the needle tracks up the athletes’ limbs, don’t notice the nearly two-metre long machine in my hands. Neither do the blue-tracksuited thugs. They don’t expect trouble from this quarter of the stadium.

from The Sniper’s Guide to the Bird Nest

There’s no shame in following the Olympics, so if you’re going to, please do the right thing and watch it on SBS, eh?

Written by typingisnotactivism

August 8, 2008 at 3:44 pm

Emissions trading: Greens Senator Bob Brown takes aim at Cadbury…?

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This just in from Bloomberg, one of the most useful American-based sources of international market-related news.

July 9 (Bloomberg) — Bob Brown, leader of the Australian Greens party that now holds the balance of power in the Senate, will push for the government to cut greenhouse gases by 90 percent by 2050.

The five Greens Senators will push for deeper emissions cuts and a tougher carob trading system, Brown said. The government has vowed to cut gases by 60 percent by 2050 and has not yet set short-term targets.

It’s not yet clear what climate science says about the impact of eating chocolate substitutes.

Written by typingisnotactivism

July 9, 2008 at 5:47 pm

GetUp’s pulp mill poll carries warning for Australian future.

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I’m not much for analysing polls, though I certainly admire the astuteness of those who are able to do so in meaningful ways. Citizen lobby group GetUp has just taken this poll looking at Australian attitudes to the ongoing clusterf&%k that is the Gunns would-be pulp mill project in Tasmania’s Tamar Valley.

GetUp! Poll
Conducted by Essential Research between the 10th – 15th June 2008
n=1019 adults 18+

Q: The recent resignation of the Tasmanian Premier Paul Lennon and the decision by the ANZ Bank to withdraw its involvement from Gunns proposed pulp mill in Tasmania’s Tamar Valley has resulted in more debate on this issue. Do you personally support the building of the pulp mill or oppose the building of the pulp mill?

Support Oppose
TOTAL 39% 61%
Male 45 55
Female 34 66
ALP voter 35 65
Liberal/National voter 48 52
Green voter 21 79
Other/Independent voter 35 65
18-24 44 56
25-34 38 62
35-49 39 61
50+ 38 62

Interestingly, this survey result shows the opposite of what might be expected based on common assumptions about age and conservatism of attitudes. Namely, rather than 50+ year olds being more conservative in their politics and trusting of corporations than 18-24 year olds the opposite is true. 62% of over 50-year olds across Australia oppose the mill, while only 55% of the should-be more radical and more aware 18-24 crowd reject it.

To me, this says one thing very clearly. Basically, if you were aged from 6 to 12 years old when John Howard came to power, then your experience of Australia, governance, and social values has been retarded by having not been properly exposed to life in a country with a social conscience in your formative years.

State governments – in Tassie and New South Wales at the very least – have done nothing to balance this retardation. Just as there are hundreds of thousands of Australians who buy Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera albums, it seems that we’re also awash in young Liberals who know too little to know any better.

Which explains how turd blossoms like Christopher Pyne were spawned, even if it is impossible to explain why.

Written by typingisnotactivism

June 22, 2008 at 4:30 pm

Tasmanian suicide bombing caught on home video.

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Pauly RIP, did it for white skinned bogans everywhere.

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June 4, 2008 at 9:31 pm

Goodbye, Lennon!

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sent in by JS of Tassie (i think)

Double chins conspiracy?

Of course!!! It all makes so much sense now!!

Check out some of the other rapidly generated pictorial tributes flying around the interweb as Tasmania begins asking the question, “what do you do when you wake to find your asshole has gone?”

Written by typingisnotactivism

May 27, 2008 at 2:27 pm

Tasmanian Bum Puppet Paul Lennon Finally Pisses Off

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ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST!!!!

(by DJ Lobsterdust)

Woo Hoo!!!!! Paul Lennon has run out of scapegoat deputies and finally resigned as Premier of Tasmania. In what may be one of the only political moves he has ever made in the genuine interest of Tasmania’s populace and future generations, Big Red finally pulled the plug on his untenable losership blaming his 17% popularity rating and the needs of the party, rather than the fact that health claims about the vitamin content of Coco Pops are widely considered more credible than he is.

It will only be to make way for a slightly less oafish brand of corporate lackey douchebaggitora sociopathica, but bugger it – that’s something to get depressed about tomorrow and every day thereafter. For now, it’s time to pop corks and light whatever your preferred flavour of fat one might be.

Lovely bit from Tasmanian Times here – guessing their offices erupted into some sort of Bacchanalian orgy with in seconds of Big Fat Red finally making the announcement that TT had so long been anticipating. As they say,

The disaster of the pulp mill became more about the erosion of democracy and public trust than it was even about the environment. If it was the most glaring example of Paul Lennon’s contempt for proper governance and indifference to democratic process, he was here only following where Bacon had trod. At his ascension Lennon made much of his determination to fulfill Bacon’s vision for Tasmania. How could he know it also portended his own tragedy?

For he lacked Bacon’s charisma. Perhaps his greatest political failure was to be too honest about all that Bacon covered over with his undoubted public charm.

Lennon is now gone.

Even in the moment of final “Good Riddance”, the Mercury – “Tasmania’s leading source of frequently pro-government pap propped up by ad dollars” – has seen fit to run a blancmange of cut-and-pasted infobytes and ministerial quotes which more or less neglects to mention the curry-fart cloud of corruption and big-money-friendly bloody-mindedness hanging over the squinty eyed Big Red One for the last decade or so.

Nevertheless, at least the Mercury has chosen to mention on this fine day that Gunns are having some trouble getting the cash for their toxic planet-raping bog roll enabling Pulp Mill. Seems that ANZ are backing away from the project under the guise of credit concerns, rather than risking future industry dollars by bluntly opposing any project that might make the Exxon Valdez seem like a hiccough.

I don’t share the optimism of pundits who think that the departure of Lennon means a sure end to the pulp mill, nor do I think that ANZ’s unwillingness to fund the bastardry – even if this is officially confirmed in the fullness of time – is a guaranteed end to the world’s biggest, stupidest pulp mill. What is needed for 200 000 hectares of forest to rest easy is for John Gay to announce the project’s demise to the ASX, and for Peter Garrett to rescind any and all outstanding approvals related to the project. Given that Garrett just last week approved the construction of mill worker’s quarters, the gigantic forest-eater may yet have legs… ugly, gnarled, wart-infested, pus-dripping legs.

Read comments by the Tassie public here and here – seems most people are calling for a massive piss-up or a public holiday to properly acknowledge Lennon’s departure.

Written by typingisnotactivism

May 26, 2008 at 1:46 pm

Tasmania – forest lies, lies, and more lies.

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Tasmania – where blokes are blokes, and trees are nervous.

A state where everything is above board, but Royal Commissions – the highest level of independent inquiry into allegedly corrupt use of authority – are practically banned. Oh Tassie – thank goodness for you, the one place on Earth where destroying forest ecosystems defies physics, biology and chemistry to fight global warming. How? Buggered if I know, but some big blokes with beetroot-blood pressure and friends running chainsaws seem to have worked it out.

Barely a week ago, Paul Lennon – the spectacularly inept Premier of Tasmania and occasional dinner-buddy of Gunns’ CEO John Gay – made a baffling announcement. In response to Professor Ross Garnaut’s analysis of the climate change issues and options facing Australia, Lennon declared that once and for all it was time to get the facts straight about Tasmania’s forests.

This was baffling for two reasons.

Firstly, Lennon and his colleagues in government, industry, and small-minded lobby groups have spent decades arguing that old growth grows on trees and should therefore be woodchipped as quickly as possible lest it get out of control. This argument shifted in the ’90s toward the need for human-led forest management for the good of forests, because without humans, forests are incapable of cutting themselves down. The latest model is two-pronged – logging prevents bushfires (just like abortions prevent cancer) and clearing forests makes room to plant more trees and therefore fight climate change (yes, they are that stupid). In essence, these people have deemed themselves the source of all forest facts. By calling for someone intelligent and with no connection to forestry cash to disseminate facts, Lennon risked undoing decades of half-assed but ubiquitous propaganda.

Secondly, for any non-Greens member of Tasmanian parliament, let alone the bug-eyed, frothing, rabidly pro-Gunns Premier to call for a setting aside of nonsensical argument and the genuinely independent presentation of clear, firm, scientifically credible facts about the environmental impacts of logging is simply unheard of.

But today everything is back to normal. Thanks to our good progressive friends at GetUp, we can see Lennon’s message for what it was. Thanks largely to his timing, it was just another hot, steaming, cow chip of media distraction from a sociopathic Tasmanian bureaucrat. GetUp has just circulated the following release:

You may have missed it, but the Tasmanian Government last week unbelievably signed an agreement handing over Tasmania’s forests to the Gunns pulp mill for the next 20 years – in the very same week Professor Garnaut warned them of the dire climate change consequences facing us.

If we don’t act now, bulldozers will start clearing land for the mill that will contribute 2% of Australia’s greenhouse emissions – at a time when we’re being told we need to drastically cut our emissions. But unfortunately Australia’s forests were largely left out of Garnaut’s recent interim report.

We have only one opportunity to put them in the picture. A proper assessment in his impending Climate Change Report of our native forests’ climate change value may just sink the mill project. Click here now to sign the petition asking Professor Garnaut to examine the full climate impact of this mill madness and the logging of Tasmania’s native forests:

http://www.getup.org.au/campaign/DontPulpOurClimate

There’s a real risk the Garnaut report won’t include a comprehensive assessment of native forests – despite new research finding the stopping of deforestation a “large, immediate and perishable opportunity”* to massively reduce emissions. Costing out the real value of native forests will not only prove Tasmania’s trees would be better left in the ground but make this teetering project financially unviable when Gunns realises they will have to pay for the carbon embedded in our forests.

Native forests are invaluable sources of carbon storage – and it costs nothing to leave them in the ground. But 80% of the 4.5 million tonnes of wood needed to supply the pulp mill each year will initially come from Tassie’s native forests – permanently destroying forests that can hold 10-20 times the amount of CO2 than plantations.

A proper assessment of their climate change value will undoubtedly make the arguments in favour of the mill, whose climate change impact has never even been assessed, untenable. Take action to protect nature’s lungs before the bulldozers move in:

http://www.getup.org.au/campaign/DontPulpOurClimate

Long story short, Lennon can dance naked down the main street of Hobart wearing wattle in his hair and singing about how he loves the freaky forest critters and their precious wooded homes because he has already pushed through the legislation guaranteeing that they will all be turned into dioxinated mulch.

What visionary leaders he, his state Labor Party, and their big-L small-minded ‘opposition’ are.

Many people may have missed it, but Kyoto in its current incarnation is the best hope for global climate action. Even supposedly progressive governments in supposedly first world countries still treat Kyoto as though it’s too hard, but it is riddled with perverse incentives.

For example, emissions from international shipping and air traffic are not included on anybody’s scorecard at the moment – even though these vapours are as damaging as those of any American cattle ranch or any Chinese coal plant. More directly, Kyoto rewards the cutting down of trees that were planted before the 1990s by recognizing the carbon uptake potential of new trees planted in their place – which means that governments have incentive to replace 600-year old eucalypts with water-intensive saplings.

Brilliant.

Add in the fact that Tasmania’s forest ecosystems are administered by people you wouldn’t trust to look after a goldfish, and all the big environmental research, studies, reports, and recommendations look less and less like progress, and more and more like good ways to feel proactive about doing less than nothing.

Written by typingisnotactivism

March 3, 2008 at 3:31 pm

Tassie Devils trapped in forestry Hell.

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Kind of strange that the “Save the Tassie Devil” website is posted by the Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries and Water, also known as the Department of Slime and Industrial Slaughter. Funny that the website tries to make the devil out to be cuddly and pitch it to Japanese tourists, like this

when the reality, the utterly malignant and horrid reality, is that more and more Tasmanian Devils are being delivered unto an even crueler and more painful fate like this:

Some are tipping the Devil for extinction within a matter of decades. Even though the so-called Devil Tumour Facial Disease (DTFD) was first classified in 1996, fuck all has been done until now by the Tasmanian government. Why? Because it’s just the environment. It’s just an animal. It’s just a low-grade tourism attraction. Let’s not do anything until it’s at absolute crisis point because all that will be left to do by then will be to watch the last bunch die and say some nice sad words, then get back to the business of turnng Tasmania into one big toxic splintery carpark.

Which happens to be something that the DPIW is well into, when they aren’t throwing up token websites telling tourists that it’s okay to come and spend your yen in Tassie because nobody marries their sister there anymore. Of course there has been kerfuffle lately around the notion that chemicals from abandoned fridges are the main catalyst for this horrific condition that is decimating the devil population, but scientists close to the problem aren’t yet buying into that position.

My bet is that once it’s too late, someone with qualifications will work out that it was the accumulation of Tassie government-subsidised 1080, atrazine, and other hardcore chemicals used in the clearfelling processes that continue to destroy devil habitat, somehow interacting into a spiky and horrible cancer cocktail which is causing such suffering and doom for the devils. Still, an American scientist thinks that there may be an$wer$ for human cancer in treating the devils, so they may have more than a hope in hell.

If this is something you would like to know more about, there is a very proper treatment of the situation with a detailed background here and here in parts I & II of David Obendorf’s ‘Poison Island’. Thoroughly worthy reading about one more possibly irreversible tragedy in the making.

Written by typingisnotactivism

February 18, 2008 at 2:10 am

Forest campaign against Garrett may have teeth…

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Just pilfered this sassy new bulletin from the ever-lovely Tasmanian Times. It comes fresh from the keyboard of Karl Stevens:

Peter Garrett needs a comb as much as Tasmania needs a pulp mill’.

This is a new campaign targeting Environment Minister Peter Garrett …

PEOPLE are asked to send a plastic hair comb or a picture of a hair comb, with or without an anti-pulpmill message to Environment Minister Garrett.

Nothing abusive or insulting please.

The aim of this campaign is to draw attention to Garrett’s refusal to acknowledge the proposed pulp mill and the clearing of native forest in Tasmania as a critical environmental issue.

There are the 2 addresses for people to post to:
Peter Garrett
Suit MG40
Parliament House Canberra ACT 2600

Peter Garrett
PO Box 249
Maroubra NSW 2035

If you happen to be combing the internet from overseas, just stick ‘Australia’ in before the postcode.

Written by typingisnotactivism

January 14, 2008 at 12:59 am

MELTDOWN: Yankee Subprime, Tassie Pulp = Merry Xmas!

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This piece has just arrived from a Tasmanian hee-roe by the name of Bob McMahon. He’s one of the many heavy lifters active in the fight against Gunns proposed pulp mill in Tasmania’s Tamar Valley, and although he can flippantly fire of the term ‘civil war’ when his blood’s up, i think it’s only because he means it. Check out more of his work at A Better Australia.

“As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.”  Thus spoke King Solomon (Proverbs 25.25). His wisdom resounds down the ages and brings good cheer to the Tamar Valley in this Christmas week of 2007.

Where is this ‘far country’ and what is the ‘good news’?

The far country is America. The beginning of the good news, the incipiently good news you might say, occurred a few months ago. That was the start of a ‘credit squeeze’ in America due to the subprime mortgage crisis. Loan defaults in the housing market, in particular the 3.5 million ‘homeowners’ who were sold loans they had no chance of repaying over the long term, or even the short term, sparked the squeeze.

No problem for us in Australia, the local economists assured us, because we did not go in for subprime type lending, that is, reckless lending to mortgagees (or companies?) with insufficient assets or cash flow to make loan repayments. We have been altogether more circumspect in Australia. We were immune from that sort of thing we were told. No mention of companies like Centro with assets and exposure in the USA.

Several days ago the pundits had changed their tune following the Centro avalanche, because the problem wasn’t confined to the domestic housing market, nor was it peculiar to the USA. Britain got clobbered. Now it’s Australia’s turn.

Companies, like Centro, which are highly leveraged – short term borrowing, bridging finance at high rates that have to be re-negotiated, borrowings at a high proportion of assets and earning potential etc. – are in for a rough ride. There are a lot of shareholders and investors in superannuation funds exposed to speculative property trusts which surfed in on the big wave of credit expansion, who are feeling rather sick right now. So much for our immunity.

Now the really good news flashed up red on the screen when the squeeze turned into a meltdown which the US Federal Reserve was unable to control with interest rate cuts and wads of money shovelled into the banks to soften the impact, on them, of their own junk loans. Once the credit squeeze ceased to be a mere liquidity problem and started to look like a money market collapse, prescient Tasmanians dared to quietly rejoice and put off their Christmas shopping for a day or two to watch the screens instead: Bloomberg, Squawk Box, Sky, ASX etc.

Some of you might be puzzled as to how this meltdown could possibly be good news for Tasmania?  It is good news because risk capital suddenly got much more expensive, or even impossible to get, not just in Australia but worldwide. Risk capital got a whole lot riskier if you were in the market, like the ANZ, to supply a couple of billion to finance a dodgy business in Tasmania spruiked by a hurdy-gurdy of Scandinavians who had taken advantage, if the truth be known but the Scandinavians would be the last to say so in public, of a board of dimwits.

Yes, that’s right. At a time when pulp mills all over the developed world are closing down because they can’t possibly compete with the developing world (the ‘global south’) or are being bailed out of insolvency with mountains of taxpayers’ money, the Finns were able to flog off a stupendously smelly, long dead fish disguised as a rainbow trout flashing silver in a mountain stream, to Dad and Dave and the bastard from the bush. Taken advantage of, you might say. Pretend international players taken for a ride by real international players.

Serve them right you might say. Let them borrow their two billion, let them borrow twice as much as the company is valued on the stock market, let them be leveraged so highly the earth is dislodged from its orbit around the sun, let them build the pulp mill, because, by 2010 the world will be a meaner place with rat devouring rat and nobody will want the world’s most expensive and environmentally ghastly pulp and the company will be doomed.

I know many readers might think that is justice on about the right scale given the level of contempt shown by the pulp mill proponents (and complicit governments) for the concerns of the people. I would disagree but not out of any love for the company. Let it be napalmed from a great height one part of me says.

But another part of me says let it survive and be marinated in the odium of the people until such time as it changes its ways and the current board of directors is gone to where boards of directors on the dark side go, but let us not have the pulp mill, not any cost, not even at the cost of Gunns sliding off the continental shelf into the abyss.

The risk is well and truly back in risk capital where it rightfully belongs. Many will be scorched as the subprime, slick credit and delusional accounting schemes work through the world economy, transforming world money markets into gut-shot dogs in the process. There will be an untold number of victims, deserved and undeserved and there will be a few winners as well.

The people of Tasmania are beginning to look like winners. Merry Christmas.

 

Bob McMahon

http://www.abetteraustralia.com

 It may also be of interest to Bob and other readers that one of the latest developments in the subprime shockwave is a legal matter which could potentially tear banks wide open. In a way, loans are like property. Smaller banks sell loan agreements and contracts on to bigger banks or investment groups. The debt of the homeowner continues, but is now to the new ‘owner’. But for a recently emerged technicality. A loan that is already in default cannot legally be transferred. Legal eagles are scrambling to navigate around this issue, but it may well be – in the extreme realms of possibility – that loans in default which have been on-sold may have in effect been annulled. Watch this space.

Written by typingisnotactivism

December 20, 2007 at 11:46 pm

Senator Christine Milne’s view of the Bali Climate Change Conference

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Bali Choices – a review of the Bali Climate Change negotiations by Senator Christine Milne, as of Tuesday December 11th

There was genuine excitement and warm good will in Bali last week when the new Australian Government announced its decision to ratify the Kyoto Protocol immediately and rejoin the global effort to tackle climate change.

But good will turned to suspicion when Prime Minister Rudd unceremoniously stomped on the Australia delegation for daring to align Australia with the goal of cutting rich country emissions by 25-40% by 2020, the minimum that the climate science requires. The delegation told the conference that Australia accepts that target range, and the rest of the world understood that to mean that Australia was agreeing to negotiate using those figures as a starting point. Rudd’s public rebuke, saying his Government would not commit to any 2020 targets until the Garnaut Review is completed, was worrying.

Prime Minister Rudd’s welcome in Bali will be conditional on his immediate clarification of Australia position on 2020 targets. He cannot hide behind the Garnaut report here.

Australia‘s positioning in the next 2 years’ negotiations will depend on convincing the world now that Australia is genuine. Mr Rudd has to decide whether his election represents a genuine change or whether we are continuing the spoiler role of the last decade.

Perceptions here have not been helped by the fact that the Australian delegation remains overloaded with vested interests from the coal, aluminium and logging industries, the CFMEU, and public servant negotiators still steeped in the attitude of the former PM. It is an ominous sign that the Ambassador for the Environment, Jan Adams, believes that the 25-40% target will never be agreed to here in Bali, when the fact that it is in the Chair’s Draft of the Bali Mandate indicates there is significant support for it.

But the biggest problem is Australia’s hypocrisy on logging and deforestation.

There is a big push from around the world to find a way to include the protection of forests in the post 2012 climate treaty. This ‘reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation’ (REDD) work would have a clear benefit for the countries of the Amazon, African and Pacific forests. But it would also have a significant impact on Australia, since ‘degradation’ makes it clear that logging substantially reduces the amount of carbon stored in a forest.

The definition of degradation is critical and there will be intense efforts to water down any resolution. The National Association of Forest Industries have already flown in reinforcements, attempting to undermine any agreement on REDD which would destroy their propaganda that the ‘management’ of native forests in Australia is carbon positive.

With exquisite timing, on the day that bulldozers went into the Styx Valley in Tasmania to clear-fell ancient forests holding 1400 tonnes of carbon per hectare, Peter Garrett stood in front of a banner here saying “Save Wildlife. Reduce Carbon Emissions” and talked about biodiversity benefits of saving forests. He was talking about the Indonesian orang-utan, not the Tasmanian wedge-tailed eagle.

It is tragically clear that there is still no political will to act on the clear and urgent climate science. Whilst every country is happy to talk the talk, the negotiations in Bali reflect the 19th century view that national sovereignty overrides global responsibility and selfish short-termism rules the day.

I welcome the Chair’s Draft including a 25-40% reduction by 2020 from rich countries and an explicit statement of urgency that global emissions must peak and begin to be reduced in 10-15 years. But the lack of political will is evident in the fact that these figures are in the preamble, and not the text of the draft decision.

Given the uncertainty about whether Bali will produce a roadmap with significant, science-based targets, Kevin Rudd’s role here is critical. He can either lead with the EU or he can stall with Canada, Japan and the USA. Rudd’s actions here will have long-lasting implications which the world will look back on as it reflects on progress in 2012.

Senator Christine Milne

Australian Greens Climate Change Spokesperson

Vice President of IUCN, the World Conservation Union

Another unappealing Australian forestry decision

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A crucial, complex, and under-reported court battle for Australian forests and endangered species came to a head in late November, as three judges of the Federal Court overturned a decision which had previously seen Greens Senator Bob Brown triumph over the state government of Tasmania, Forestry Tasmania, and the federal government.

Brown has been in court for the last two years, fighting to establish an important understanding of Australian environmental law by arguing about the way it should apply to endangered species in Tasmania’s Wielangta Forest.

The major piece of environmental legislation in this country – the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBCA) – has, in practice, been excluded from all forests governed by Regional Forest Agreements (RFA) between the state and federal governments. In essence, this means that any forest being logged with state approval is exempt from the protections of this particular law.

Brown’s argument – previously upheld in December of 2006 – was that the EPBCA was only excluded because the RFA was meant to confer federal responsibilities for species protection to the state authorities, by virtue of the RFA. Where these responsibilities were not honoured in practice, Brown argued, the RFA was invalidated and endangered species provisions of the EPBCA must therefore be applied.

While the appeal judges seemed to agree that logging in Wielangta has a significant and unacceptable impact on endangered species, they overturned the key finding of last year’s decision, supporting instead the conclusion that areas of logging are exempt from protection other than that deemed necessary by departments of forestry under agreement with state and federal governments.

“It’s a case of the law intends to protect endangered wildlife but if Canberra and Hobart ignore logging which endangers their existence, they can,” Senator Brown said.

“I will ask both Prime Minister Rudd and Peter Garrett to put the Howard years of indifference behind and insist these habitats be protected as the law intends,” said Brown. “I have also asked my barristers to weigh up the obvious grounds for an appeal to the High Court – this nation’s natural heritage depends on us taking action.”

Bob Gordon, Managing Director of Forestry Tasmania took a different view of the decision’s significance.

“Propaganda put out by extreme elements in the anti-forestry movement claimed we were somehow acting outside the law,” said Gordon. “This has been an expensive, emotionally draining and time consuming exercise – but it has been worth it. There is now no doubt that our forest operations are legal.”

Of course, there is still doubt. Unlike Forestry Tasmania and the two governments they are joined by, Brown has not had the benefit of departmental budgets or tax moneys to fight his battle – a battle which is not yet over.

 


Written by typingisnotactivism

December 9, 2007 at 8:31 pm

Voyeurs, Gunns and Money.

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As I said here a few days ago, there will be some bits of interest going up here shortly for filing under forests, environmental law, and Tasmania. Although I’m essentially an opinionated prick who reads a bit, I try not to let a good rant get in the way of most facts – and the fact is that the overturning of the Wielangta decision, which had previously seen Bob Brown’s interpretation of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act upheld by the Federal Court, means the battle for forests and ancient land-based ecosystems in Australia is on a much more demanding uphill slog than it was a week ago. More on that later.

Speaking of things Green – it may be that media aren’t interested until there’s a bunch of hard facts on the ground (yeah, right), but the Senate counting is not yet complete and will likely not be finished for another week. Counting in at least two states is still so close that it may be decided by the final handful of votes yet to be tallied. This is significant, because it means the difference between the crossbench power bloc in the Senate being composed of 7 Greens, or 6 Greens and a centre left independent, or 5 Greens and a centre left independent and a whatever from Family First, aka Neoconservative Demonspawn. So fingers still crossed. The less right wing influence on legislation for at least the next few years, the better.

And now to the point of this post. Gunns are now negotiating in Tasmania to secure an area for accomodation for up to 800 construction workers and a worker’s town to be built near the proposed location of the pulp mill. But they haven’t yet bought the actual site for the pulp mill itself. Here’s hoping that it all comes undone. Either way, a friend just sent me the link for this new website: The Gunns Investor Information Service.

It has a bunch of interesting and relevant information such as:

3) Gunns business is highly exposed to subsidy reductions:-

  • For each hectare of plantation established by Gunns, they receive over $3,000 of taxpayer money via MIS. To increase their plantation estate, Gunns needs more land. The mill seems to need a minimum of 400,000 ha of plantation, an increase of 200,000 ha from current levels. That growth would represent further federal subsidies of $640 million. If that scheme is stopped (and there are many farming and community groups fighting it), then plantation estate increases would be curtailed. That would cap inputs and lower income significantly.
  • Road and bridge repairs are conducted at ratepayer expense. The weight of modern log trucks creates disproportionate damage and total cost relief for this item has been estimated at about $20 million per year across Tasmania. Councils are already crying poor, how long before this subsidy comes under serious question?
  • Plantation trees consume a lot of water (reported as averaging 2 Ml/ha/yr more than agriculture) for which plantation operators do not pay. Tasmania is in drought status right now, rainfall has been diminishing for 10 years and reservoirs are at record lows. Pressure from farmers and communities down catchment could easily change government policy on water charges for trees. The 400 Gl currently calculated for Gunns plantation, at $100 Ml, represents $40 million dollars of foregone State revenue per year.
  • Additional subsidies in the forms of cash payments and cost relief have also been made available to Gunns (e.g. forest agreements etc) to the value of over $300 million in the last 3 years.

So go check it out, and feel free to let any of your elected representatives know if, for example, you have never actually voted for Gunns and are therefore curious why they seem to be running a state of Australia.

Oh, the picture up the top? It’s part of a new outdoor installation in Bethlehem by Banksy, near the wall dividing Israel from Palestine. Bird of Peace in a bulletproof vest on a gunshot-riddled wall facing an Israeli guard tower? Magic. It’s nothing to do with any of this and that’s perhaps why it’s there. Go to Santa’s Ghetto and check out the art show and fundraiser which this cutting work is part of.

 

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December 8, 2007 at 1:38 am

Bob Brown & endangered species broadsided by overturned Federal Court finding

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This is a particularly important matter in the development of national environmental law in Australia. Having only just got word of this decision handed down 4 days ago (my bad…. grr), here is the press release on Bob Brown’s site.

Forest absurdity – appeal to Rudd, Garrett certain, High Court likely

30th Nov 07

Greens leader Bob Brown has called on the Rudd government and Environment Minister Peter Garrett to read and take action to rectify the absurdity of today’s Federal Appeal Court’s decision on Tasmania’s Wielangta forest and to nullify the Regional Forest Agreement.
While the appeal bench ruled 3-0 that section 38 of the federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act exempts logging from environmental law, it left intact Justice Marshall’s finding that logging had a significant and unacceptable impact on the endangered species.

“It’s a case of the law intends to protect endangered wildlife but if Canberra and Hobart ignore logging which endangers their existence, they can,” Senator Brown said.

“I will ask both Prime Minister Rudd and Peter Garrett to put the Howard years of indifference behind and insist these habitats be protected as the law intends. I have also asked my barristers to weigh up the obvious grounds for an appeal to the High Court – this nation’s natural heritage depends on us taking action,” Senator Brown said.

With all the changing of the government and Kyoto-ing and promises of apologies to the Stolen Generations, this decision slipped straight through and I should think it was also neglected by most major newspapers – which is a huge mistake. The overturning of Justice Marshall’s interpretation of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act in the first Wielangta Case is a significant setback for checks and balances needed to prevent monopolistic forestry departments running amok in the most irreparable manner possible.

More on this in the next few days – definitely.

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December 5, 2007 at 2:45 am

Australia ratifies Kyoto – now the real fun begins!

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Not much time to write this up at the moment, but WOW!!! Shortly after being sworn in, along with his new government, as the 26th Prime Minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd took the bold step of ratifying the Kyoto Protocol. Making this his first official act as Prime Minister, having already indicated last week that Aboriginal Australians – particularly the Stolen Generations – can expect an apology in this federal term, Rudd is really shaking expectations in the most pleasing manner imaginable.

Michelle Grattan – one analyst and writer worth far more than her bodyweight in water (unlike many other mainstream journos named elsewhere in these screens) – writes in today’s Age that

Its Kyoto pledge was one of the policies that helped Labor to victory. Rudd’s instant move is saying Labor will keep faith with its voters. It also emphasises the new PM wants to hit the ground at full tilt on this issue but on others as well.

While I would expect that many of the new government’s supporters didn’t swallow the “me-too” and “Howard lite” bollocks spouted by media for months before the election, I doubt that such decisive and progressive commitments were expected before the year was out.

Symmetrically, these are two big commitments – one domestic with international implications and the other international with big domestic implications – which neatly and responsibly tends to two festering wounds that have only been repeatedly salted and gouged over the last 12 years. Read the rest of this entry »

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December 4, 2007 at 1:09 am

PM Rudd’s first domestic courtesy of the Greens

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By any objective measure, the vote in most of Australia was heavily influenced by Green preferences and should be seen as a call to the Rudd Government to consider a more environmentally friendly way to deal with this issue of the pulp mill.

- Dr Warwick Raverty, 26th November, 2007

It is certain that under Prime Minister Kevin Rudd (*aahhh*) Australia will be an international citizen like never before. A veritable treasure trove of global possibilities now lie across the sea. Ironically, so shall his first major domestic challenge.

Barely had the Rudd victory been declared on Saturday than Greens Senator Bob Brown, surrounded by cheering supporters and green ‘no pulp mill’ triangles, declared the result a vote against the proposed Gunns pulp mill.

“From Bass to Bennelong to Bowman, this pulp mill has had an influence,” Senator Brown said. “And the pulp mill was the single most defining environmental issue which has made this huge swing against the government to the Greens.”

The eviction of the Coalition government was partially rejection of a government that approved the pulp mill. The difficulty is that a vote – primary or preferential – for Federal Labor was still a vote for a party that supported the pulp mill. Read the rest of this entry »

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November 26, 2007 at 9:53 pm

Gunns pulp mill finds vocal support in Tasmania

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thanks Kim & Mr. Missile for helping me, um, take a broader view of the situation. LOL.

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November 26, 2007 at 6:37 pm

Aussie election day – media roundup… (update 2)

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Update: Great freshly posted articles in the U.K. press here and here about John Howard’s climate change and pulp mill legacy and its significance in today’s election. (thanks Mr. M!!)

 

This won’t be totally comprehensive, but going into the day (just turned noon on the east coast) these are some of the stand-out pieces of coverage and opinion so far:

If you’d rather do the sane thing and skip earnestly fact-checked media, check out the videos and transcripts at the Clarke & Dawe page, especially their excoriation of Howard over the politics of fear. This farewell to Howard is brutal and amazing – one of the funniest things they’ve ever done with their 3-minutes.

And happy to see that another of my sometime-favourites, Mike Carlton, has thrown his hat in the ring with the perfectly titled White tracksuit bottoms flutter over the bunker.

The first group left before dawn, silent figures picking their way through the smoking rubble, casting long shadows in the light of the heaped documents burning in the courtyard.

They would take the northern escape route. Most had only the few possessions they had frantically scraped together as the enormity of the disaster emerged. A bundle of lovingly polished pejoratives, perhaps: chardonnay-sipping, elitist, latte left, Howard haters.

Others clutched an old Quadrant magazine, an invitation to drinks at Kirribilli, a treasured newspaper editorial written long ago in praise of Donald Rumsfeld. These keepsakes from happier days would bring comfort in the grim years ahead.

Away from the seriously hilarious to the hilariously serious. Was I wrong about Alan Ramsey? I think so; here’s a vigorously waved middle finger to the departing Magoo of a Prime Minister.

Yet Howard’s true political “genius”, if you like, is forever talking to what he sees as his base constituency as if they are no more than sheep. In this he might well be right.

It’s a great bit of venom which also points out that 300 recycling bins have just arrived at Parliament House, as if out of nowhere… Somebody might be preparing for a shred-a-thon.

This piece, Desperate Tactics, by Shaun Carney clearly points out the obvious reason why the racism/dirty tactics scandal which burned up about 48 hours of Howard’s oxygen this week probably seemed like a good idea at the time:

In 2001, John Howard, aided by Philip Ruddock, showed that it was good business. Howard’s vital sentence, uttered for the first time during that campaign during the Liberals’ formal launch at the Sydney Recital Hall, was: “We decide who comes into this country and the circumstances in which they come.” I was there and there were two moments during that event when the roof of that beautiful space just about lifted off due to the rapturous applause from Liberal supporters: when Howard made that statement and when Ruddock, the hero of the push against boat people, was introduced to the crowd.

Tracee Hutchison sprays on a bit of drama but with a lyrical flair and 11 years of pent-up anger prays that the past week will indeed be Johnny’s epitaph:

Somehow the word comeuppance came to mind as the 11th-hour race implosion in the federal seat of Lindsay derailed Howard’s re-election momentum. And it screamed poetic justice.

Election analyst Antony Green gets his outlook in here, while Chris Uhlmann disembowels the last 6 weeks of election campaigning here.

So their slogan was “Go for Growth”, and all of a sudden people could think, “Well, that could mean that interest rates might rise, so that’s a bit of a problem.” So then we saw another banner appear which was red and said, “Don’t risk our economy with Labor.”

And in the last week really, the Prime Minister has borrowed a line from Morris Iemma, which is if we’re heading in the right direction, there’s no need to change. So, there’s been a dog’s breakfast of themes throughout this.

Peter Hartcher has written a comprehensive comparison piece, Taste The Difference, which needs a cup of coffee and some breathing space – but is well worth it. Hartcher’s been almost as outstanding reading as Michelle Grattan, and while it’s a shame that she hasn’t written anything in the last 24 hours it’s a sure bet she’ll write something dazzling within the next 24.

They do converge on a great deal – in the words of the online satirist Hugh Atkin, Rudd proceeds according to the “clever principle of similar difference”.

We could also take a visit to the News Limited stable, but nah. Half of the editors there have decided in the last week that their best marketing outcome lies in supporting the ALP for 4 days, rather than continuing their line of “Howard’s amazing, why is he so misunderstood?”

Instead, there’s the lucky-dip mix at Election Tracker, which I believe is a loose collective of journalism students taking a crack at broadly composed online coverage. My guess is that it will be bereft of jaded cynicism and bitter bias, but that is just a guess.

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November 24, 2007 at 3:30 pm

Turnbull goes down screaming

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nagyon-depis-life-sucks.jpgMore like a 5-year old than a banshee – Malcolm ‘animal lover’ Turnbull has picked election day to prove that Geffrey Cousins isn’t the only millionaire who can place a full-page ad. The Liberal Party, according to this article, have placed a full-page ad telling the voters of Wentworth (Bondi, Kings Cross, Darlinghurst, Double Bay, etc.) that if they don’t make sure that Turnbull wins, his legal advice is that he can force a by-election.

Sounds like he gets his campaign advice from the same place as News Limited’s Caroline Overington.

Wait a minute… Of course he does. The husband of her good buddy and Oz-colleague, Janet Albrechtsen – John Howard’s culture-Scud on the ABC board – is his media advisor.

Wow. What a small world.

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November 24, 2007 at 4:12 am

Peter Costello – new pre-election policy position!!

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why just be

fiscally conservative,

when you can be

physically contraceptive…

smirkchoicesthe68.jpg

this rich and joyful tapestry would not have happened without the wisdom of Merry Gander at Tasmanian Times. . . onya!

add to kwoff

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November 20, 2007 at 3:32 am

Updated: 12 000 Tasmanians rally against pulp-mill.

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Despite a constant spray of rain, over ten thousand Tasmanians turned out for today’s midday rally in Franklin Square, Hobart. Author Richard Flanagan – whose piece in The Monthly moved Geoffrey Cousins to campaign against the pulp mill in Malcolm Turnbull’s seat of Wentworth and Peter Garrett’s seat of Botany – made a stirring speech which has been reproduced in full at Tasmanian Times. Here’s a taste, but you should really read the whole thing:

And if, in the end we have all other avenues denied us, if we are left with no other alternative, if it takes standing on the road to the pulp mill site and placing our bodies between their machines and our home, we will stand there, in peace and with pride, united against hate and greed, joined in our love for our island. And if we are arrested and thrown in jail, then we will go to jail in our tens, we will go to jail in our hundreds, we will go to jail in our thousands, and Paul Lennon will have to build seven new prisons to house all the people who will come and who will keep on coming before they even attempt to pour the foundations of one new pulp mill.

If it must be, I will stand on that road to the pulp mill. Raise your hand if you will stand there with me, raise your hands so Kevin Rudd can see he was wrong, raise your hand so Peter Garrett can see that people care, raise your hand so John Howard can see this matters, raise your hand so that ANZ, Perpetual, AMP and the Commonwealth Bank can see that will have to deal with the fallout of the biggest civil disobedience campaign in Australian history since the Franklin River blockade if they do not take action now.

the photos are by Matt Newton and lifted from this page at Tassie Times.

the photos are by Matt Newton and lifted from this page at Tassie Times.

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November 20, 2007 at 3:19 am

How they do business at The Australian?

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Check out this story – a senior journalist at The Austra-lyin’ wrote emails to independent Wentworth candidate Dani Ecuyer urging her to preference Malcolm Turnbull – her rival, and one of the key people for Australia’s sabotage of climate change action and for the approval of Gunns’ pulp mill project in Tassie. Turnbull is essentially the antithesis of everything Ecuyer is running in support of, and yet,

She has released an email exchange with The Australian newspaper journalist Caroline Overington, in which the reporter writes “Please preference Malcolm. It would be such a good front page story.”

Even on Star Trek where oversexed humans zapped around space at light speed with photon torpedoes and influenza, the crew knew they weren’t meant to influence the paths of other cultures. Here’s a senior writer for a paper which funds massive advertising b.s. about how awesome it is, asking a pro-environment candidate in what has become a very marginal seat to help return the Liberal anti-environment candidate.

Media Watch, the unique Australian show which guarantees the host a very limited number of journalistic career options for at least five years, has provided a deadly bit of coverage here chronicling the entire sage of communications to and about Ecuyer by the dark forces of  News Limited.

Hilariously, both Caroline Overington – the ‘journalist’ in question – and Chris Mitchell – editor-in-chief at The Australian – are claiming that the whole thing was just part of a friendly joke between girls. Seems like the same kind of contempt which they express for the nation’s collective intelligence each and every day.

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November 13, 2007 at 9:03 am

$2+ Billion class action against Gunns under consideration

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Word is just starting to come from Tasmania of a citizen’s movement over the pulp mill which Gunns are planning to begin building in January 2008. More news is expected to come out later today, but at this stage there is a core of 200 residents supporting the action with more likely to join should initial considerations move toward a definite legal action.

At this stage, residents are compiling a list of potential litigants – people whose health, livelihood, business, lifestyles, property values, and futures are likely to be negatively impacted by the mill.

Organizers are making comparisons to the James Hardy asbestos damages case, but with the qualification that

“Unlike James Hardie, Gunns and their shareholders and potential financiers of the pulp mill know full well the health hazards, issues of public safety and the potential for loss of property values. They are also fully aware of the risks that the mill poses to businesses such as tourism, vineyards, horticulture, farming and the service industries to these businesses. They are fully aware of the health dangers of the dioxins they are planning to dump into Bass Strait and the threat to our fisheries”.

For breaking news, check out TAP. This post will be updated later today following a public meeting in Launceston.

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November 13, 2007 at 1:50 am

Aussie Green Blog props LOL pols on Flickr (aka LOLiticians)

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…you get the idea. Check out the LOL POLS group on Flickr. Have a rofl or may a submishn. Currently is fun, but may evolve to status of therapy over next 5 weeks.

Thanks Greens – good tip! (Do check out the Greens blog by the way – is more down to earth than other parties’ staff-maintained MySpac pages).

COALition can not haz cheezburger!!! 

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October 22, 2007 at 5:39 pm

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