Friday, 28 November 2014

George Brandis: I will decide who has a right to access my metadata and the manner in which they access it

Personal information contained in metadata is 'owned' by you if you just happen to be Australian Attorney-General George Brandis (left) or one of his political or personal acquaintances, but not if you are unfortunate enough to be Bazza Citizen…..

The Sydney Morning Herald 27 November 2014:

Attorney-General George Brandis wants your private phone and internet metadata to be accessible by law-enforcement agencies without a warrant but won't let you see his.
As the Abbott government moves to make it a requirement for internet and phone providers to store every Australian citizens' metadata for two years, Mr Brandis has refused to divulge the metadata of his mobile phone bill.
Instead, a redacted version not even showing the cost of his bill has been released. It shows his Telstra bill for July is 17 pages long - 13 pages longer than this author's bill for the same month.
According to Mr Brandis' chief of staff, the decision to entirely censor the bill was due to it containing "personal information about a number of individuals' telephone numbers", as well as the time and origin of calls, reports technology publication ZDNet.
"Disclosure of the personal information in the document is unreasonable," Mr Brandis' chief of staff Paul O'Sullivan said, adding that who the minister called was not relevant…..
Telstra is refusing to hand it over and the case is currently before the Privacy Commissioner, who is set to decide on the matter before the end of the year.

* Photograph from, May 2014

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott's on again, off again, support for White Ribbon Day 2014

White Ribbon Day helps raise awareness and funds to stop men's violence against women in Australia.

This was Prime Minister and self-appointed Minister for Women Tony Abbott sporting the official white ribbon at one of the main Canberra events on 25 November 2014:

This was the Prime Minister a few hours later minus ribbon during Question Time:

Apparently, unlike many of his parliamentary colleagues, he did not consider it worth the effort to wear this ribbon for the day instead of just for a morning media opportunity.

Bill Shorten on the other hand was wearing his ribbon during the afternoon as this second screen shot shows:

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Vale Phillip Hughes

Best Question Time Exchange - Part 1

It took some doing but Opposition Leader Bill Shorten finally made Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott admit without qualification that he had uttered that now infamous statement and, this exchange was recorded by Hansard at 14:01 on 25 November 2014:

Mr SHORTEN (Maribyrnong—Leader of the Opposition) (14:01): My question is to the Prime Minister. On the night before the election, 'somebody' was interviewed on SBS and made the following statement: 'No cuts to education. No cuts to health. No change to pensions. No change to the GST, and no cuts to the ABC or SBS.'
Prime Minister, no-one will now own up to making that statement. Does the Prime Minister have any idea who said this?....
Mr ABBOTT (Warringah—Prime Minister) (14:02): Of course I made that statement.

Fans of Lower Clarence Community Radio TLC 100.3 FM all their lives!

Here are two members of the Lower Clarence community who have been listening to TLC 100.3 FM on the radio dial since they were ten weeks old.

They enjoy the eclectic mix of easy listening, light jazz, nostalgia and presenters' personal favourites, but what they really croon along to is country and western classics.

If you haven't listened to the little radio station beaming out from Pilot Hill, Yamba, before - give it a try today.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Coal seam/tight gas miner Metgasco Limited's major shareholder makes the news again as Australian Senate inquiry into Queensland Government continues

Metgasco Limited's major shareholder ERM Power gets a mention in the Brisbane Times on 24 November 2014:

State Energy Minister Mark McArdle held a Liberal National Party fundraiser at the offices of one of the nation's largest energy companies, but did not declare it in his ministerial diary.
The 2013 event was held in the boardroom of ERM Power, one of many meetings between the minister, the energy company and lobbying firm SAS Group, according to documents seen by Fairfax Media.
A spokesman for Mr McArdle said the minister always complied with the reporting obligations set down by Premier Campbell Newman's demand for the most transparent and accountable administraton in Queensland's history, but the boardroom fundraiser did not fall into the category of a reportable event.
"Fundraising is carried out by the party organisation in strict compliance with state and federal laws," the statement says.
A spokesman for ERM Power said political fundraising was a "legitimate exercise of the freedom of political association and expression".
"ERM Power complies with the regulatory framework in Queensland for such activities, making the required disclosures under the Electoral Act," he said.
The documents, which the Electrical Trades Union is expected to submit to the Senate Inquiry in to the Queensland Government, show meetings and meals between the government, ERM executives and their lobbyists stretch back to 2012, soon after the LNP took office.
Locations included Minister McArdle's office, the LNP state conference and the Queensland Club.
Mr McArdle's spokesman said the minister regularly met with a wide range of stakeholders in the energy and water sectors.
So far this year:
* Mr McArdle met ERM Power representatives at The Queensland Club on February 5 to discuss "renewable energy" on February 5;
* The state government announced on March 6 it was axing the 8 cent solar feed-in-tariff paid to 40,000 Queenslanders in favour of a system where customers negotiated directly with retailers; and
* On March 11 Mr McArdle was the guest at a lunch hosted by SAS Group in the lobbying company's boardroom. 
SAS Group did not declare the event on the contact register maintained by the state's Integrity Commissioner but Mr McArdle did, listing its purpose in his diary as "boardroom lunch" and naming the lobbyists as the organiser......
Fairfax Media last year revealed that ERM, which had previously predominately donated to the Labor Party, had donated more than $25,000 to the LNP since 2010, with $1500 going to the Labor Party in the same period. 
The government appointed the company's non-executive chair, Tony Bellas, as head of its Independent Review Panel into the electricity sector in May 2012.
An ERM Power spokesman said the company, whose Brisbane office was opened by Premier Campbell Newman in April 2013, was a major Queensland employer and ASX listed entity and as a matter of good business practice maintained appropriate relationships with all of its stakeholders, including the government and opposition.
The Senate Inquiry into the Queensland government will hold its next public hearing on November 28.

The question a number of voters on the NSW North Coast are asking is: How much is ERM Power donating to the NSW Liberal and Nationals election campaigns ahead of the March 2015 state election?

Because unless the current Liberal-Nationals Coalition Government headed by Premier Baird wins re-election Metgasco Limited will lose all its North Coast coal seam gas tenements and ERM Power the value of its investment.


Details of the Senate Select Committee inquiry into Certain Aspects of Queensland Government Administration related to Commonwealth Government Affairs can be found here.

Yet another policy Abbott & Co didn't think through

The Sydney Morning Herald 21 November 2014:

A central pillar of the Abbott government's fledgling environmental plans - the $300-million Green Army - has been hobbled by a High Court ruling.
In June the High Court ruled that the Commonwealth did not have power under the Constitution to fund the school chaplaincy program through direct funding as proposed. 
The case has meant the types of projects approved for the Green Army must now be of a national focus and "directed towards meeting Australia's relevant international obligations" or "conserving matters of national environmental significance".
The Coalition marketed the Green Army as delivering "local conservation outcomes" and first-round projects approved on guidelines set before court ruling had a strong local theme, including weed and pest control in Nillumbik, removing weeds in the Dandenongs, and revegetation and fencing in the Macedon Ranges.
The chaplaincy ruling may also mean some of the 196 Green Army projects approved under the first round of the scheme may not survive a High Court challenge.
The Green Army scheme was a key Coalition election promise at the 2010 and 2013 elections and involves young people aged between 17 and 24 paid an allowance to do up to 30 hours a week of environmental work.
About 2500 participants across 250 projects are expected in the first year, climbing to 1500 projects and 15,000 participants a year by 2018-19. 
The scheme is to be funded directly by the Commonwealth government.
Environment Minister Greg Hunt described the first-round projects as "community-led projects that support practical, grassroots environment and conservation activities".
But new guidelines released this month for second-round Green Army projects include a new clause, stating that projects "must be directed towards meeting Australia's relevant international obligations or, alternatively, directed towards protecting and conserving matters of national environmental significance".
One project co-ordinator hoping to be involved in the Green Army scheme - who did not want to be identified - said their project would no longer meet the guidelines because it came under state heritage regulations and was not of national and international significance. 
"The scheme has been gutted for community projects," they said. 
A spokeswoman for Mr Hunt declined to directly comment on the High Court decision……

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Fans of Ginger Meggs, stand up and be counted

APN newspapers has informed its readers that it will be reducing the number of cartoons it publishes from six to three.

As a mighty big fan of Ginger Meggs this blogger will be casting a vote to have Ginger be one of the three that continues to appear.

All fans of Ginger Meggs are called on to visit an APN website and give our home-grown little mate their vote.

Vote here here here here  here  here by Saturday November 29.

Image from

Don't know what to get him for Xmas? Here's just the thing to get him.

When reading today's Northern Star I had to check that it wasn't April 1.

Today's Star reports: 

Now you can "let it rip" in public without reproach thanks to a North Coast TAFE student who has introduced new underwear to Australia designed to mask the smell of farts.

Proving you are never too old for a fart joke, Wayne Hooper, 62, has just launched his Cheeky Wearables website selling underwear made with high-tech fabric claimed to absorb the odour of flatulence.

"This material, Zorflex, is a carbon-absorbent cloth that can absorb the toxicity of 200 times the average fart," Mr Hooper, of Tweed Shire, said.

"Farts are tame compared to the chemical warfare this material was designed to cope with."

The former film editor discovered the UK-made fart-proof pants while researching wearable technology as part of a Certificate IV course in IT Technology he has been studying at Kingscliff TAFE.

"Instead of doing the project as an experiment, when I came across these pants I decided I would start up a business and I am now the Australian distributor," he said.

The "flatulence filtering" underwear have the activated carbon cloth sandwiched between layers of regular fabric, and this specialty layer absorbs and traps fart odour.

"The average person will fart 14 times a day," he said.

"The pants won't mask the sound, but they will absorb the smell."

While farting is a perfectly natural body action, the smell is considered anti-social and the pants could help in those awkward situations like being caught in a lift, out on a date or while working out at the gym, Mr Hooper said.

The fart-proof pants are available in gift boxes, cost no more than Calvin Klein's designer underwear and could make the ideal Christmas gift to ward off fruit cake-induced flatulence.

Mr Hooper's website design will be among the projects by Kingscliff and Murwillumbah TAFE Creative Arts, Multimedia and Web Design students to be exhibited on Friday at the Synectic Exhibitions at the Kingscliff campus. 

And just in case you think I'm pulling your leg about today's date, read the real thing in the Star here.

Credits: The Northern Star, 25/11/2014

Clarence Regional Library seeks feedback on their collection - complete the survey and be in the running to win a Samsung Galaxy tablet

Mayor: Richie Williamson
General Manager: Scott Greensill                                                                  
21 November 2014    

Library seeks feedback on their collection, with a prize incentive!

As part of the goal of providing a high quality, relevant service the Clarence Regional Library is asking the community to give their opinion on the items you can borrow.  A major collection survey will be made available to the community during December and January, and will be asking for suggestions about authors, areas of interest and different formats.

Developments such as the growth in popularity of ebooks, the recent introduction of DVDs to the library and the changing subject interests of the community make it necessary for libraries to engage their customers in the selection of materials. In the Valley this is carried out on an ongoing basis through purchase requests and community book selection days, but this survey will help to gain a better view of what people want.

Mayor Richie Williamson is encouraging everyone, regardless of age, to complete the library survey which will help to guide future planning and purchasing for the collection. 

"A public library's collection is one of the community's most valuable resources. It is a storehouse for knowledge and we need to ensure that information is relevant for our community's learning and leisure needs and is in a format that is easy to access."

You can access the web survey from Clarence Regional Library Web site at  from 1st December until 31st January. Or visit one of our many branches to complete the survey. It will take 10 minutes to fill out, and can be completely anonymously or you can add your details to be in the draw to win a Samsung Galaxy tablet.

Release ends.

For media inquiries, phone 6643 0230
Clarence Valley Council
Locked Bag 23
Grafton, NSW, 2460