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

Posts Tagged ‘Australia

When Life Hands You a Lennon….

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sorry this stream of contrariness is a bit behind the times. I have been busy negotiating an arrangement with the International Panel on Climate Change. Now I can offset carbon emissions that I create by burning plastic bags, furniture, and SUV drivers simply by agreeing not to mine coal, rape penguins, or nuke the Vatican. It’s a tough trading scheme but we’ve all got to do our bit.

Tasmania never ceases to amaze – bigger than Glebe, less corrupt than Zimbabwe, more lively than Stan Zemanek, and better looked after than the Fritzls (pre-rescue, at least). But even by Tassie’s own standards of enviro-political chaos and angst, news emerging from that state over the last month has been like a prolonged advertisement for a WTF theme park.

In late May, ANZ Bank confirmed the rumour that had for weeks been spontaneously swelling the nipples of environmentalists. They would not be acting on behalf of their client, Gunns, to help secure the $2 billion needed to build the world’s largest pulp mill. Some prematurely celebrated the death of the project.

But it is still likely that Jaakko Poyry, Gunns’ pulp mill consultant, will organize the money through less scrupulous international financial colleagues of their own. To do so would not only guarantee their commission, but make it possible for Gunns to actually pay up.

Seemingly bigger, better news came the following week. On the morning of Monday the 26th of May, Premier Paul Lennon aka Big Red, aka The Guy in the Pulp Mill ads, aka Gunns’ Elected Representative, aka The Forest F*cker, announced his resignation. After less than five years and many more decimated ecosystems, Premier Lennon decided to follow in the footsteps of every single east coast Labor Premier before him.

Echoing Lee Harvey Oswald, Lennon declared “I’ve given it my best shot.”

Content with his legacy and bathed in the love of his people, he had gone for a walk in the park and realized that it was time to retire and be bronzed by tulip-clad virgins, placed on an altar made entirely from the feathers of endangered eagles, and worshipped with offerings of old growth at the rising of each morning’s Sun henceforth.

There was, of course, unkind speculation that he was stepping down to avoid being pushed – given that an opinion poll the week before had seen his approval amongst Tasmanians rating a sub-George-Bush 17 per cent. Those are nearly Brendan Nelson numbers.

Unkind and as yet unaddressed rumours have circulated that the poll was actually commissioned by Federal Labor. While it would make sense for Federal Labor to jettison a Labor Premier for whom two deputies have already fallen on their sword amid suggestion of deceptive conduct, one might expect that an inquiry, a committee, and a Lennon Watch scheme would have first been established before launching such an effective and timely strategy.

Even less kind – though almost plausible in a T.I.T. (This Is Tasmania) way – was the suggestion that Lennon didn’t stand aside for family and personal reasons, that he didn’t stand aside out of political foresight, that he didn’t stand aside because he had become less bankable than an old-growth-eating pulp mill or even because he was perceived as less credible than Eddie McGuire.

Some tied his resignation on the Monday to the death of a Gunns’ board member, with the subsequent job opening, on the Saturday immediately before.

It’s enough to make you Very Old Men In Ties.

Lennon was immediately replaced as Premier by David Bartlett, a squinty-eyed bucket of water ten years his junior. His first eighteen hours in office were promising. He considered withholding tens of millions of public dollars from questionably sound private projects and mumbled something about a corruption inquiry before descending into the time-honoured practice of contorted linguistics.

The closest he has since come to promising a return to democracy in The Land of the Wrong White Crowd has been to propose a visionary new system of governance involving merit-based appointments. This, of course, is code for ‘business as usual’.

Because in Tasmania, as in News South Wales, ‘merit’ means one thing: Mates Employed Regardless of Intellectual Talent.

The battle for sanity continues…..

New climate group to drive Australian policy change

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In early March Sydney University’s Faculty of Law launched a new multidisciplinary initiative – the Climate Law & Policy Group.

In line with recent developments – the UK’s Stern Report in 2006, reevaluation of the Kyoto Protocol during 2007 and Australia’s current review process under Professor Ross Garnaut – the initiative aims to fill critical voids within current thinking and activity, both locally and internationally.

Key organisers Professor Gillian Triggs, Dean of Law at Sydney University, and Dr. Rosemary Lyster, an internationally respected teacher and practitioner of environmental law, spoke briefly of the new group’s reason for existence.

They identified the need to transverse various branches of law – administrative, environmental, international, trade, migration, taxation, corporate, criminal and public health – in making way for the emerging field of climate law and preparing legal infrastructure for an all-embracing response to the growing challenge of climate change.

With Australia’s emission trading scheme due to launch in 2010 and with Kyoto having so far failed to adequately engage developing countries, this first-of-its-kind initiative will work with individuals and governments to develop research projects and policy.

Keynote speaker John Connor, CEO of the Climate Institute, addressed the lawyers, academics, NGOs, Justices and students who came to hear his insider’s account of last year’s Bali negotiations and their implications for Australia. Though unsurprisingly absent, environmental barrister extraordinaire, Chris McGrath, did receive an honourable mention as the legal frontiersman keeping the Australian government falling over its legislative toes.

Connor signalled that there are powerful undercurrents building within global negotiations. Developed nations may yet group together to go beyond currently tentative Kyoto targets to cut their carbon emissions by between 25 and 40 per cent by 2020. He identified 2020 as the proving ground, the year by which bold initiatives must be taken and, if successful, replicated on a grand scale.

He said China and South Africa were leading the negotiations to build bridges with the developed world, while Australia is crossing a bridge of her own. The American position of controlled stalling has been rejected, traded for the quantum leap of the Garnaut Review and its broader consideration of the national interest in responding to climate change.

The way forward mapped out by these pragmatists seems to be a multi-layered paradigm shift already set in motion, from changes taking place in local planning laws and research financing to regional partnerships and global transparency and accountability.

The Climate Law & Policy Group’s first conference will be held on August 8.

 

Written by typingisnotactivism

March 11, 2008 at 5:40 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

full video of Kevin Rudd’s speech and apology to the Stolen Generations

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hat tip to gruffybear for getting these all in the one place.

Written by typingisnotactivism

February 14, 2008 at 1:55 pm

Howard still anti-Reconciliation – the most telling minute of the debate.

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The Howard – Rudd debate on national tv just now revealed a couple of things. There are certainly a number of possible topics for discussion – commentator bias (hi Annabel Crabb), media ethics (hi Channel 9) – but here’s a suddenly crucial revelation which I expect shall be neglected by most political analysts in tomorrow’s papers. The same analysts and outlets as usual shall no doubt continue to lobby poisonously against reality.

Consider this – Howard’s final minute of summary and closure. As he talked about his proposed education revolution, one to overhaul and Gerard-Hendersonise the Aussie school history curriculum, he ever so briefly dropped his daks and waved red, white and blue-spangled genitalia at the national tv audience.

Well, not literally. But he did expose his dirty little reconciliation secret. For all the talk of his new attitude to Aboriginal Australians, his deeper understanding, his hope for real progress – he went straight back to the moment in 1997 when in front of the nation’s indigenous leaders, activists, academics, and citizenry, he categorically stonewalled the Reconciliation movement in this country. In talking tonight in that final moment, he insisted that without knowledge of where they’ve come from and the sacrifices made to make Australia what it is today, kids must know the great Australian story. Fair enough. “It’s not a story without blemish,” said Howard – his only acknowledgment that part of that story is a brutal, prolonged tale of systematic murder, abduction, relocation, separation and theft (more commonly referred to as ‘genocide’).

“Blemish”. Blemish? Blemish!!! A word commonly used to refer to displeasing aberration of the skin. the same word by which he specifically sought to emasculate the issue of Australian genocide in front of distinguished, committed, and affected hosts and guests a decade ago. Within the same hour as he spoke with feigned sincerity of his nation-propelling plan to include lip service within the preamble to the Constitution.

“It’s not a story without blemish”. It’s not a country without displeasing aberrations of the skin. It’s not a Prime Minister given to any kind of sincere respect or appreciation for the First People of this land, even as he proclaims his passive aggressive urge to consider acknowledging their existence if he is re-elected.

Disgusted.

Thanks to Ninglun for the tip – check out the commentary on this little slice of history (although it could have been this evening) from 2min 50sec.

add to kwoff

Written by typingisnotactivism

October 21, 2007 at 10:02 pm

wwworldwide John Howard caption contest!!!

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John Howard’s beloved Liberal Party had their website hacked by some freedom-loving web ninjas. EXCELLENT!!! The story’s here in Rupert’s always-aptly-titled News Limited, who have of course censored the ‘lewd’ message.

I’m guessing that John Howard says:

“I like to suck dick”. It would be cooler if it said “I like to suck dicks this big”, or “I once stuck my fist this far up a refugee,” or, best of all “I don’t care if a bloke sucks dicks this big, he and his partner should still have the same legal standing as everybody else”.

 

 

There are so many possible messages that would fit here. Please make your suggestions in the comments section and I promise to do something amazing with the best ones in the lead-up to our federal election.

Scoopit!

Written by typingisnotactivism

October 10, 2007 at 7:48 pm

Joint anti-pulp-mill campaign targetting ANZ bank to launch Wednesday

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MEDIA RELEASE

A co-ordinated national campaign takes aim at the ANZ bank.

WFCA (Women For Change Alliance) and TAP (Tasmanians Against the Pulpmill) will be launching their joint campaign targeting the ANZ as Gunns’ bankers and potential financiers of the proposed pulp mill, on Wednesday October 10.

Danielle Ecuyer, director of WFCA and resident of Bondi (Malcolm Turnbull’s electorate) is in Tasmania at the invitation of TAP to launch a joint “ANZ Sign the Letter” Campaign directed at ANZ’s Mike Smith.

“Huge numbers of signatures are pouring in”, said Danielle Ecuyer. “Banks like ANZ are at risk of severely damaging their reputation and losing market share, which takes years to establish”.

“I would warn any other bank that seeks to finance the mill that they too will be subjected to a similar campaign”, she said.

TAP spokesperson Bob McMahon said: “Once ANZ realizes what a risky and unsustainable business this pulp mill is they will decline to be involved in financing it. With that as a judgement why would any other bank touch the project?”

“As a community group TAP aims to put the risk back into risk capital.”

The campaign will be officially launched in City Park near the Albert Hall at 1.00pm tomorrow, Wednesday October 10th, 2007.

Written by typingisnotactivism

October 9, 2007 at 11:53 pm