Tuesday 31 May 2011

Ludwig partially bans live export to Indonesia but fails to follow Saffin's well-grounded lead

The Australian Online 31 May 2011:

caucus erupted after Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig announced a ban on exports to 11 Indonesian abattoirs, which many MPs felt did not go far enough.

About 20 Labor MPs spoke on the issue, with many saying they had been besieged by phone calls after a confronting Four Corners documentary showed graphic images of Australian cattle being whipped, beaten and dismembered in dozens of prolonged and painful slaughters last night.

Backbench MP Janelle Saffin presented a notice of motion to caucus, seconded by fellow MP Kelvin Thomson, proposing a complete ban on live exports to Indonesia to be discussed at the next meeting in a fortnight.

Saffin says no more excuses for live exports

Page MP Janelle Saffin says there are no more excuses for industry, governments or anyone to continue supporting the live export trade.

Following last night’s Four Corners program, Agriculture Minister, Senator Joe Ludwig today called for the complete suspension of live animal exports to the Indonesian facilities identified in the footage gathered by Animals Australia.

Ms Saffin today said she approves the suspension of live animal exports to the Indonesian facilities identified in the Four Corners program.

“Along with other Labor MPs, I met with Minister Ludwig on the live exports issue yesterday, and following today’s Caucus meeting, the Minister announced the action.

“And yes, I have put forward the view that we have a cessation of live exports.

“I first raised the issue in Parliament early last year and this year my private members motion calling for the phasing out of live exports and an increase in chilled and frozen meat exports was debated in Parliament.

“I’ve been leading this debate with colleagues for some time, particularly promoting changes within our Labor party, in terms of policy.

“Like so many people, I could barely watch the footage from Animals Australia that was screen on last night’s Four Corners program. 

“There is now a groundswell of support within the Labor Party to change the practices of live export on the humanitarian grounds, and also because it exports jobs.

“There has been an incredible response to the Four Corners program, and I have had farmers contacting me saying that if this is what’s happening, it has to stop.

“We as Australians have a way of treating animals, and if we export animals we expect those standards to prevail.

“I’ve been told by the Meat and Livestock Association and Livecorp that they operate with best practice, but seeing last night’s program put paid to that.

“I don’t have faith that they, as industry bodies, are looking after those they represent, let alone the public interest.

“We have a responsibility to make sure that animals are treated in the same way that we treat them here.

“Some years ago when confronted by the same scenes of cruelty in Egypt, the trade was stopped almost overnight.

“I am pleased that Minister Ludwig has taken the action he took today,” Ms Saffin said.

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator the Hon Joe Ludwig and the Government, have undertaken the following actions:

-       asked the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry to conduct an investigation into the footage

-       announced an independent review to investigate the complete supply chain for live exports up to and including the point of slaughter

-       asked for orders to enforce the suspension of live animal exports to the facilities identified by the evidence provided by RSPCA and Animals Australia

-       the Minister will add further facilities to the list of banned facilities in future, if required

-       Implemented a moratorium on the installation of the restraint boxes, seen being used in the footage. This will apply to the instalment of any new boxes with Commonwealth funds across all global markets and

-       Asked the Chief Veterinary Officer to co-ordinate an independent, scientific assessment of the restraint boxes used in Indonesia.

Media Release, 31 May 2011

Saffin justified over call for more frozen beef exports instead of high level of live exports from Australia

LiveCorp, Meat & Livestock Australia, Cattle Council of Australia and the Dept. of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry have been found severely wanting in their attitude to animal welfare with regard to Australia's live animal export industry, given the ABC Four Corners episode A Bloody Business aired on 30 May 2011.

By the same token; these recent revelations have justified NSW North Coast Federal Labor MP for Page, Janelle Saffin, raising concerns about live exports in her 16 March 2010 House of Representatives motion in support of Halal frozen meat exports.

A motion which saw her publicly attacked at the time by the Nationals for Regional Australia's Senator Fiona Nash.

Those having some oversight of the live animal export industry apparently only began to stir over current welfare concerns once they were approached by the Four Corners investigative team and, the Australian beef industry will have no-one to blame but itself for any negative impacts felt by its members.

Following a report published January this year by industry and government, painting a positive picture of conditions in Indonesia, animal welfare campaigners took their own cameras into abattoirs to record the conditions for themselves. That footage reveals that Australian training of the slaughtermen in Indonesia has been grossly inadequate. Animals smash their heads repeatedly on concrete as they struggle against ropes, take minutes to die in agony after repeated often clumsy cuts to the throat. In some cases there is abject and horrifying cruelty - kicking, hitting, eye-gouging and tail-breaking - as workers try to force the cattle to go into the slaughter boxes installed by the Australian industry, with Australian Government support. [Excerpt from transcript of A Bloody Business,30 May 2011]

A Bloody Business video on demand*
* Warning this video contains graphic images

A new YAMBA group. Want to join up?

This group is meant for xxxx brothers with a reasonable level of fitness, where they can be involved in active team sports, like basketball, soccer, flag football, etc.

YAMBA says, "There is clearly a need for a social association for xxxx brothers to simply get out and be active in somewhat high numbers amongst one another on a regular basis, so here it is.

"The group is open to non-xxxx's as well, just don't expect any "beer kickball" games to be scheduled :)"

Read more details of YAMBA here.

Australian Liberal Party supporting the tobacco industry?

British American Tobacco website on 27 May 2011:

We have a clear policy and compliance procedures on political donations, set out in our Group-wide Standards of Business Conduct. Contributions from our companies to political parties and organisations, their officers, elected politicians and candidates for elective office are generally not encouraged.

Such payments can only be made for the purpose of influencing the debate on issues affecting the company or Group and not to achieve any improper business or other advantage (such as to secure a government contract), must not be intended personally to benefit the recipient or his or her family, friends, associates or acquaintances and must be permissible under all applicable laws….

We collate information centrally on contributions to political parties and to individual politicians that are made for the benefit of their party. Payments in 2010 were as follows:

Where there's smoke there's money (2004) in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine in December 2004:

Voting records of 527 members of the 106th U.S. Congress were obtained for 49 tobacco-related bills between 1997 and 2000. Tobacco industry political action committee (PAC) contributions for each member were summed from 1993 to 2000. A cross-sectional, multilevel model was constructed that predicts voting behavior based on amount of contributions, political party, home state, and amount of state tobacco agriculture. The data were analyzed in 2002, 2003, and 2004.....

A total of $6,827,763 was received by the legislators from 17 tobacco industry PACs, an average of $12,956 per member. Senate Republicans received the most money (mean $22,004), while Senate Democrats received the least ($6,057). Republicans voted pro-tobacco 73% of the time and Democrats voted pro-tobacco only 23% of the time (p <0.001). Pro-tobacco voting percentage varied significantly by state (intraclass correlation coefficient=0.27, p <0.001). The amount of PAC money received by a member of Congress was positively associated with voting pro-tobacco (p <0.01), even after controlling for political party, state, and state tobacco farming. For Democrats in Congress who voted pro-tobacco, for every $10,000 contribution they received, they were 9.8% more likely to do so. On the other hand, for Republicans who voted pro-tobacco, for every $10,000 received, they were only 3.5% more likely to do so....

Tobacco industry contributions, political party, and state-level factors influence the voting behavior of Congress members. In the 106th Congress, Republicans voted pro-tobacco over three times as often as Democrats. However, for those Democrats who voted pro-tobacco, the relationship between receiving tobacco industry PAC money and a pro-tobacco vote was stronger than it was for Republicans.

Tobacco funding: time to quit (2010) in The Drum in May 2010:

The Australian Electoral Commission website reports that in recent years both the Philip Morris company and British American Tobacco have been generous donors to the Liberal Party and the National Party. During the year 2008/9 Philip Morris contributed $158,000 to the Liberal and National parties around Australia.o:p>

Tobacco industry donations to the Liberal Party of Australia at national level in 2009-10 according to the Australian Electoral Commission:

British American Tobacco $19,800
Phillip Morris Limited $15,000 and $16,500

Tony Abbott:

2009 - I was a child that was regularly imprisoned in a car with heavy smokers. My parents both smoked heavily when I was a kid. Now has it done me any harm? Well, yes, you be the judge, you be the judge. I mean maybe but for that I would have been six foot six, and I would have had much greater intelligence, who knows.

2010 -

2011 - Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has defended his anti-smoking credentials amid criticism that the Liberal and National parties were influenced by donations from tobacco companies.

The federal government says the fact 97 per cent of British American Tobacco's political donations worldwide last year went to the Liberal and National parties proved the Coalition "on the drip".

Mr Abbott said tobacco companies "wasted their money" if they thought it would influence the Liberal Party and said when he was health minister he helped reduce smoking rates.

Mr Abbott, a former health minister who beefed up the health warnings on cigarette packets, says he is not convinced the plain green packets with graphic health warnings will help reduce smoking. Other Liberals argue tobacco is a legal product and the companies have intellectual rights over their brands.

Obama acting like Nixon - how disappointing

“Two weeks ago, a grand jury meeting in a courtroom in the Eastern District Court of Virginia heard testimony for at least two days from at least three people subpoenaed by federal prosecutors, several sources tell The Huffington Post. The jury has been convened to consider whether to approve the prosecution of WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange. A subpoena delivered to a Manning associate in the Boston area says that prosecutors are investigating "possible violations of federal criminal law involving, but not necessarily limited to, conspiracy to communicate or transmit national defence information in violation of" the Espionage Act, as first reported by Salon's Glenn Greenwald.…… "To the extent that we can find anybody involved in breaking American law who has put at risk the assets and the people that I have described ... they will be held responsible," Attorney General Eric Holder said last November. "They will be held accountable."……The potential prosecution of WikiLeaks and Assange alarms First Amendment advocates, who say that though it might be common for government leakers to be prosecuted, it would be unprecedented for a recipient of classified information to be indicted for espionage……The Nixon administration's effort to halt the New York Times from publishing the Pentagon Papers, for example, led to a landmark Supreme Court ruling that affirmed First Amendment rights. More recently, two lobbyists for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee were charged with violating the Espionage Act after a Pentagon analyst gave them classified military information about potential attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq, but the charges were later dismissed.” {HuffPost Politics on 26th May 2011}

Monday 30 May 2011

Moggy Musings [Archived material from Boy the Wonder Cat]


An it defies understanding musing: For a few months now a North Coast resident has been busy pretending to be a well-known former NSW Police Commissioner. A couple of my four-legged friends say their owners have received copies of some of his strange epistles which allege wrongdoing on the part of the Local Court. Yuk.

An I swear it's true musing: I was reading over my house slave's shoulder the other day and had to chuckle at one EEFector email displayed on the monitor which made me suspect someone in Frisco had been nibbling on catnip at the end of another long day fighting guvminn intrusion into teh internetz - EFF filed an amicus brief supporting online free speech today, asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourteenth Circuit to affirm a permanent injunction blocking a federal law that would violate the First Amendment by imposing penalties on website operators that publish indecent material without also using technological measures to block access by kittens. The Kitten Internet Protection Act of 2008 (KIPA) was passed after the Supreme Court struck down its predecessors, the Child Online Protection Act of 1998 (COPA) and the Communications Decency Act of 1996 (CDA). The government had argued that narrowing the law's scope to young felines would make the restrictive law pass constitutional muster. In the district court, EFF successfully argued that the law unduly restricted websites, and that supervision of online activities was best left to Ceiling Cat, not the government.

A Maccas musing: My little canine friend Veronica Lake tells me that McDonalds in Yamba is making itself even more unpopular in that small town by beginning to throw its money around in an effort to squeeze its fast food competitors out of Treelands Drive. Trouble is the other fast food chain franchise it is targeting happens to be run by a young and popular local family. The Westlawn Group doesn't come off too well in this scenario either, as it bumped Subway off its 'Yamba Fair' main road signage in favour of Maccas which isn't even a tenant in its shopping complex. Typical!

A loitering in the halls musing: With prosecution evidence in some disarray in an ongoing Clarence Valley trial, I had to laugh when I heard that one cocky defense barrister solicitor has been heard quietly singing during proceedings; "10 green bottles sitting on the wall and if one green bottle should accidently  fall ..."

Memo from a local pensioner: Onya, Cate & Mick!

I’m a pensioner who barely scrapes by when compared with the ruling elite in this Lucky Country. I don’t smoke, drink or gamble on lottery tickets anymore. But as all I have is my pension I can’t do much more than cover rent, food and utility bills every fortnight anyway.

The Murdoch press tells me that I’m upset with Cate Blanchett and Michael Caton because they have come out in support of a carbon price: Cate Blanchett has sparked outrage in the community with her decision to front an advertising campaign promoting the Federal Government's controversial carbon tax.
The millionaire Hollywood actor has been accused of being out of touch by spruiking the benefits of the tax that she can afford to pay, unlike many already hard-up Australians.

WRONG! I fully support carbon pricing even though it will bite into my income in much the same way as the GST does. At least Gillard is offering to compensate me. Howard gave me not so much as a brass farthing when he introduced the “never ever” GST.

Upriver Bill
Northern Rivers

Guest Speak is a North Coast Voices segment allowing serious or satirical comment from NSW Northern Rivers residents. Email ncvguestpeak at gmail dot com to submit comment for consideration.

No wonder the Americans are annoyed with Pakistan

When a U.S. combat team entered Pakistan and assassinated Osama bin Laden, the long-held suspicion that the Al Qaeda leader had been hiding in that country was confirmed.

After having given literally billions to the Pakistan Government to fight terrorism (and with millions unaccounted for) it must have been galling for the Obama Administration to suspect that members of either this government or its military knew where he was all along.

All that money goes some way to explaining America’s sense of entitlement when it unlawfully breached Pakistan sovereignty and lessens the impact of Pakistan’s outrage.

From Wikileaks Cablegate a U.S. diplomatic cable dated 14 December 2007 and originally sent from a building approximately 49kms from Abbottabad:


E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/14/2017 TAGS: PINR PK PREL PTERSUBJECT: PAKISTAN: FIXING COALITION SUPPORT FUNDING REF: A. ISLAMABAD 4817 ¶B. ISLAMABAD 4369 Classified By: Anne W. Patterson, Reasons 1.4 (b), (d) ¶1. (U) This is an action request, see Para 12. ¶2. (C)

SUMMARY. Since 2002, the USG has reimbursed Pakistan over 5.3 billion USD for support to U.S. operations using Coalition Support Funds (CSF). When pending claims are processed, that figure will likely exceed 5.6 billion USD. The CSF authorizing legislation was written soon after 9/11; six years down the road, we need Pakistan to more vigorously engage in the war on terror, but CSF is not working the way it should. CSF is not reaching those parts of the GoP that are shouldering the load in GWOT operations. Two clear examples of the problem are helicopter readiness and medical support to the Frontier Corps. The readiness of Pakistan's helicopter fleet is poor. Despite giving the GoP 55 USD million for helicopter operations over seven months, only 2 to 6 Pakistani Cobras are fully mission capable at a time they desperately need air power to fight spreading militancy. Additionally, we have processed or will process reimbursement requests for 100 million USD over the year to support medical operations, but the Frontier Corps still does not receive basic medevac support. Another consequence of the current system is political. It fuels the internal argument that the USG is "paying" Pakistan to fight a U.S. war - this at a time when the Pakistanis need to accept the direct threat to their own security and sovereignty posed by al-Qaida, Taliban and extremist forces.

¶3. (C) Post has worked extensively with the GoP to increase GoP transparency and accountability. What we have discovered is that we are receiving reimbursement requests for barbed wire and air defense radar systems that have no or marginal impact on the GWOT. We recognize the legal and political sensitivities involved in developing a new approach, but the program, as it is currently being implemented, simply is not meeting U.S. or Pakistan counter-terrorism objectives. This message outlines several ways forward. In the meantime, DOD or CENTCOM should undertake an audit or program review of CSF. END SUMMARY. TARGETING CSF FUNDING TOWARD PAKISTAN AND U.S. STRATEGIC GOALS

¶4. (C) U.S. Public Law 109-289 (2206) authorizes CSF to reimburse Pakistan for logistical, military and other support provided to U.S. military operations. Under this authorization, the U.S. has reimbursed Pakistan 5.3 billion USD since 2002. When pending claims are processed, the total CSF reimbursement to Pakistan will exceed 5.6 billion USD. Pakistan receives nearly 90 percent of total CSF worldwide. While the December 8, 2003 guidance provided by the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) on parameters for reimbursements is broad, there have been multiple instances in which Post is confident funds have been diverted and that reimbursed claims figures have been seriously inflated. A few examples: -- HELICOPTER READINESS. Pakistan received 55 million USD for helicopter operations from July 2006 to February 2007; however, Post estimates that as few as 3 Cobra Helicopters were fully mission capable as recently as 10 weeks ago. Post is confident Army Aviation Command never received the 55 million. -- MEDEVAC ASSISTANCE TO FRONTIER CORPS. The Pakistan Army claimed 99 million USD over past 12 months for medical operations and the U.S. has paid or is in process of paying all/all submitted medical claims. Yet, despite providing this plus fully funding 235 million USD CSF lease assistance for 26 new Bell 412 helicopters, the Inspector General of the Frontier Corps has repeatedly requested U.S. assistance in providing assets for medevac, obviously unaware of the resources the U.S. has provided. --RADAR MAINTENANCE: Between August 2006 and July 2007, Pakistan submitted claims for almost 70 million USD in ADA Radar Maintenance, although there is no enemy air threat related to the war on terror. --BARBED WIRE: Between August 2006 and July 2007, we received a claim for 26 million USD in barbed wire and pickets. While these items are no doubt helpful in protecting outposts, the claim figures are highly suspect.

¶5. (C) Ambassador, the Office of Defense Representative and DOD officials have repeatedly raised CSF disbursement and other problems with the Prime Minister, Ministry of Finance and key military officials but have not received satisfactory responses. In fact, recent correspondence from Pakistan leadership argues for additional funding to support increased operations.

¶6. (C) CSF reimbursement funds go directly into Pakistan,s general treasury -- from there we have no visibility on their final destination or application. And we are not alone - based on our conversations with GoP officials, from President Musharraf down to the average Pakistani private, no one in Pakistan seems to have a clear grasp of the amount of US military reimbursement assistance actually provided.

¶7. (C) The CSF authorization legislation was drafted soon after 9/11. Six years down the road, we still need Pakistan to engage more vigorously in the fight against extremism, but it is clear we also need to do a better job of making sure our monies are targeted to meet our counter-terrorism objectives. POTENTIAL APPROACHES TO CSF REFORM

¶8. (C) Potential options to address CSF issues include the following: (1) Stop approving Pakistan's CSF reimbursement requests until we receive adequate assurances on disbursement; (2) Earmark CSF monies for specific areas: maintenance, support, etc.; (3) Create a CSF "trust fund" that would allow the USG to control reimbursement and to obligate some funds for specific needs; or (4) Convert CSF into a direct cash transfer program.

¶9. (C) Option 1 would lead to a major political clash and damage our military to military relationship, just as we have the potential for greater cooperation under Chief of Army Staff General Kayani's leadership. This would undermine the very purpose of CSF--to encourage the GoP to continue fighting militant extremism. The Taliban, al Qaida and Islamic extremists represent a clear and growing danger to U.S. and Pakistani security and to regional stability. As allies with forces in the region, we have a responsibility to strengthen and focus our assistance to improve their security forces' capabilities.

¶10. (C) We understand DOD has determined Options 2, 3 and 4 would require asking Congress to amend the authorizing legislation. Post could attempt to persuade Pakistan to concur with establishment of some form of "trust" mechanism - pointing out the alternative may be a severe reduction or loss of funding if Congress continues to see insufficient transparency and accountability. In any event, a new approach is urgently required. We believe some variation of Options 3 and 4, which allow the USG to earmark at least some CSF monies for those Pakistani military elements of vital interest to us (helicopters, special forces and Frontier Corps), is the most logical and efficient approach. CSF AUDIT/PROGRAM REVIEW

¶11. (C) Post repeats that we do not have visibility over the destination of CSF funds. Accordingly, Post would welcome an audit or program review of the CSF process by CENTCOM or by DOD. ACTION REQUEST

¶12. (C) Action Request: Post would appreciate a front-channel response to the options proposed in para 8 and the proposal for an audit/review. PATTERSON

Road testing Australia's healthcare professionals

Whitecoat Launching late June 2011

"nib are developing a new online service called Whitecoat. It lets you find and compare healthcare specialists in your local area. There are nib customer reviews, and ratings for service and value. Whitecoat will feature over 250,000 healthcare specialists including dentists, physiotherapists, chiropractors, optometrists, podiatrists, osteopaths, remedial massage therapists, acupuncturists, speech therapists, occupational therapists, dietitians, nutritionists, naturopaths, herbalists, homeopathists, myotherapists and bowen therapists. Whitecoat is particularly useful for people who have moved to a new area, need treatment for a specialist service for the first time or just want to check out their own healthcare specialist on Whitecoat. So if you need a dentist, physio, chiro or remedial massage therapist who's been road-tested, go to whitecoat.com.au It's powered by nib for all Australians.”

This may get interesting – an insurance company about to publish a league table of Australian healthcare professionals and the Federal Health Minister along with heathcare workers are not amused. Apparently it’s OK for them to access data concerning consumers but consumers are not expected to return the compliment.

Sunday 29 May 2011

"Say Yes Australia" Week May 30 - June 5 Second carbon price television advertisement launched tonight (video)

Blanchett fronts carbon tax campaign

Quote of the week


“If Reuters is the best newswire, then Twitter is Reuters on acid, crack and cocaine”

Neal Mann quoted on news: rewired 27 May 2011


When are Australian lawyers going to advise clients that the Streisand Effect may render threats of legal action ineffective?

Unfortunately for the sender the following legal letter appeared to have no effect, as versions of the offending content were reposted on at least six other sites and display there to date. Perhaps Mr. T Snr should have a word with his son concerning Internet reality, as even Google Inc is obviously not taking him seriously.

From the files of Chilling Effects:

NoticeID=50864: Defamation re 434u scam social networking site

November 24, 2010

Sender Information:
Sent by: redacted
redacted NSW, redacted Australia

Recipient Information:

Sent via: Via email
Re: Cease and Desist

I act for [Client Name Redacted] and 434u Corporation (Australia) Pty Ltd. Our client has instructed us that you have extensively published false, misleading, malicious and defamatory material across the internet at http://community.livejournal.com/434u. In addition to being highly defamatory, the publication of the Offending Material constitutes the tort of Injurious Falsehood and is being undertaken with the sole intention of causing loss and damage to my clients. As you are well aware, the statements and publications contained in the Offending Material are utterly without basis in fact.

The publication of the Offending Material has already caused loss and damage to my client and related entities, and will continue to do so unless the offending material is immediately removed and deleted from all locations in which it is published and displayed. We are in the process of contacting all sources we are able to identify and strongly suggest that you take immediate and decisive action yourself to remove all instances of the Offending Material.
We require that you immediately undertake to remove all of the Offending Material and that you confirm by direct response when you have done so.

My client is taking this matter extremely seriously and will take all necessary steps to hold you accountable for the loss and damage that your conduct has caused and will continue to cause whilst the Offending Material is being published and displayed. We reserve our clients rights against you in all respects and will instruct lawyers in to pursue you directly should we not receive a satisfactory response to this demand.



Posted at E46Fanatics forum on 3 August 2010:

from Lawrence Connor
to Karl Scott ,
Lawrence Connor
date Mon, Mar 8, 2010 at 11:06 PM
subject Re: 434u.com
mailed-by gmail.com
hide details 11:06 PM (27 minutes ago)

Dear Mr. Karl Scott,

Take whatever actions as you see fit. I am not changing what I have published.
Mr. Tidy has made his choices, and your assertion that what I have expressed is false is mere empty gesturing and posturing. it will be upon you to prove anything in a court.
Your next communication to me is either to tell me what next step you take, or I hear no further from you.
I have received your missive, and you also now have received my reply. Take it for action as you will.
I stand by my right to publish. Nothing other results from your having contacted me at this time.


Lawrence A. Connor
- Show quoted text -

Lawrence Albert Connor

EDO NSW: Coal Seam Gas Seminar at Murwillumbah on 9 June 2011

FREE Environmental Defender’s Office (EDO) seminar on Coal seam gas

Three companies are currently exploring for coal seam gas (CSG) and conventional gas in the Clarence Moreton Basin , which covers much of the Northern Rivers. Metgasco Limited already has approval for a gas-fired power station near Casino and is currently seeking planning approval for a gas pipeline from Casino over the Border Ranges to Ipswich . There is already one Petroleum Exploration Licence over part of the Tweed Valley , and Macquarie Energy is currently seeking another.

Various environmental and legal concerns have been raised about CSG by affected communities. The EDO is holding a public seminar to provide information about what is happening in NSW and the region generally and the Tweed Valley in particular; discuss some of the potential environmental impacts; explain the approval processes; and inform the community about their legal rights.

Where : CWA Hall, 20 Queen St, Murwillumbah
When : Thursday 9 June 2011, 6-8 pm

No need to book.


1/71 Molesworth St NSW 2480
PO Box 212, Lismore NSW 2480
Telephone: 1300 369 791
Fax: (02) 6621 3355

Australia is an international wonder, but...............

“That Australia is successful is not in doubt. It has a prospering economy, a harmonious and egalitarian society, an ability to accommodate immigrants, an excellent civil service, an independent central bank, a good balance of personal freedom and limited government, sensible pension arrangements, sporting prowess and a fine cuisine. There is no underclass, no permanently depressed area, no significant group of citizens who challenge the values of its society. Its cities do have pockets of despair, but neither slums nor ghettos. It is a flourishing democracy, one of the oldest in the world, with a long history of pioneering reform: when America got round to introducing the secret vote in 1872 it was known as the Australian ballot, because the Aussies had had it since the 1850s.”;

But……..see rest of The Economist article here.

Saturday 28 May 2011

O'Farrell Government dons its jackboots and strides forth

The O’Farrell Government seems intent on striding across the News South Wales landscape with the destructive intent of a blitzkrieg aktion and this time its blind rage against the notion of a fair go and an egalitarian society is directed at around 400,000 public sector workers.

This NSW government intends to reserve the sole right to itself of setting wages and conditions in this sector:

Industrial Relations Amendment (Public Sector Conditions of Employment) Bill 2011 [Member with Carriage: Pearce, Gregory Notice of Motion: Tue 24 May 2011 Introduced: Tue 24 May 2011 First Reading: Tue 24 May 2011 Ministers 2R Speech: Tue 24 May 2011]

146C Commission to give effect to certain aspects of government policy on public sector employment

(1) The Commission must, when making or varying any award or order, give effect to any policy on conditions of employment of public sector employees:

(a) that is declared by the regulations to be an aspect of government policy that is required to be given effect to by the Commission, and

(b) that applies to the matter to which the award or order relates.

(2) Any such regulation may declare a policy by setting out the policy in the regulation or by adopting a policy set out in a relevant document referred to in the regulation.

(3) An award or order of the Commission does not have effect to the extent that it is inconsistent with the obligation of the Commission under this section.

(4) This section extends to appeals or references to the Full Bench of the Commission.

(5) This section does not apply to the Commission in Court Session.

(6) This section extends to proceedings that are pending in the Commission on the commencement of this section. A regulation made under this section extends to proceedings that are pending in the Commission on the commencement of the regulation, unless the regulation otherwise provides.

(7) This section has effect despite section 10 or 146 or any other provision of this or any other Act.

Have passport will travel? Habib should note what the Australian Government did to another citizen it found uncomfortable


Habib cleared, gets passport back {The Sydney Morning Herald 27th May 2011}

“Former Guantanamo Bay detainee Mamdouh Habib has been cleared of being a national security threat and has had his Australian passport returned.

The Sun-Herald can reveal the Australian government has agreed he is not a terrorism suspect and delivered his passport by courier to his western Sydney home.

After years of fighting to clear his name, the father of four said he "cried" when he received the document yesterday.”


Holt Acts To Block Passports {The Sydney Morning Herald 15th November 1950}

The Minister for Immigration, Mr. H. E. Holt, has cancelled provisions in the passports belonging to Mrs. Jessie Street and Dr. Thomas Kaiser which would have allowed them to travel to Poland to attend the "World Peace Congress."....

"However, the Minister has discretionary power to cancel the passport, and further disciplinary action can be taken by the Government by withholding travel facilities if not already arranged,"

Secret cablegram, Immigration to High Commission, 16 November 1950
Threatening Australian citizens travelling overseas with passport cancellation
From National Archives of Australia

Anyone old enough to remember "Red Jessie" will know that an Australian passport is only as good as the government holding office allows it to be.

As good an explanation as any.........

…..for the state of political discourse in Australia this century.

Insanity in individuals is something rare - but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule. Friedrich Nietzsche German philosopher (1844 - 1900)

Friday 27 May 2011

Abbott the Unbelievable

Federal Nats MP for Cowper on the NSW North Coast and Deputy Manager of Opposition Business Luke Hartsuyker may have joined Malcolm Turnbull, Ian Macfarlane, Alby Schultz and John Forrest in a very public pollie sin bin for missing votes in the Parliament - in an email signed by Hon. Warren Entsch, Chief Opposition Whip, Patrick Secker, Nola Marino, Mark Coulton and Paul Neville and seemingly approved of by Tony Abbott.
But it's Opposition Leader Abbott the Unbelievable who comes out with egg on his face for repeatedly saying during radio interviews that the sin bin email which he approved "was not about any particular individual, it was about the principle that every one of the Coalition MPs has got to be there for every division."
At the same time studiously avoiding answering a direct question about his prior approval of this unusual email.

Parts of that email directly read into the Hansard record on 26th May 2011 by Labor's Anthony Albanese.
Last night we lost a division because the following five Coalition Members failed to support their colleagues:
Malcolm Turnbull (5 missed divisions)—margin 14.86%....
This behaviour is totally unacceptable and shows great disrespect to their colleagues and the Coalition as a whole.
As a result of the absence of these Members, the following Members missed an opportunity to raise issues important to their electorates....
It is an interesting point to note that all the Members who missed the division occupy safe seats, while, of the Members prevented from speaking in the adjournment debate three are first term Members and all occupy marginal or key seats.....
Members are elected to Parliament to represent their constituents. That includes being present when the Parliament divides on a question.

The Australian and Sheridan create a ranting LOL

This is what The Australian says in About Greg Sheridan……….

Greg Sheridan, The Australian's foreign editor, is the most influential foreign affairs analyst in Australian journalism.
After 25 years in the field, he is a veteran of international affairs who has interviewed leaders all over the Asia Pacific and America.

This is what Greg Sheridan writes in Fraser's unreliable memoirs rewrite history on 26 May 2011…….

Snapshot taken 26 May 2011

But even Henderson's splendid industry omits many of Fraser's howlers. Fraser claims the neo-conservatives wielded great influence in the Bush administration of the 90s. But George W. Bush was not even elected until November 2000.

Now 25 years in the field takes Sheridan the journalist back to around 1986. Surely that’s long enough for him to have formed a memory of the Forty-First U.S. President George H. W. Bush (term of office January 1989 - January 1993) who in 1991 sent 425,000 American troops into Kuwait as part of the multinational force taking part in Desert Storm, which resulted in the rout of Saddam Hussein’s military forces and their retreat back into Iraq.
Sheridan post-rant might even recall the that neo-conservatives existed prior to November 2000.

Karl 'The Terminator' Bitar finds another target

Not content with scuttling the future electoral chances of Federal and NSW Labor, Karl Bitar goes on to chance his hand with Crown Casino. Let the good bad ugly times roll!

24 May 2011

Crown Limited (ASX: CWN) today announced that Mr Karl Bitar has been appointed to head up Government Affairs at Crown Limited, subject to usual probity approvals.

Mr Bitar will be responsible for managing Crown’s relationship with the Federal Government across a broad range of issues including tourism, infrastructure development and responsible gaming.
The Chief Executive Officer of Crown Limited, Mr Rowen Craigie said, “All of us at Crown are looking forward to working with Mr Bitar.”


Thursday 26 May 2011

Help Jack fight the Polluter Giants

Fund Solutions Not Pollution

The big polluters don't need to pocket windfall profits from a carbon price - some of their profits are almost as large as the entire revenue itself! But still they lobby against our clean future.

The Government needs to invest at least $2 billion each year of the pollution price revenue on renewable energy and innovation to build a clean energy future. We know this can be done. The Australia Institute's reseach paper, commissioned thanks to GetUp members' donations and released today, shows just how easily that money can be found by cutting subsidies to the worst polluters.

This ad needs to start playing this week if we're going to strengthen the renewable industry's arm in these negotiations. With $100,000 we can buy out all the remaining Canberra TV spots for the fortnight. That's a good start - another $60,000 and we can buy out the last minute spots in several target rural electorates. Chip in so we can give the media buyers the go ahead.

Make a donation to this advertisement here.

If you're happy and you know it clap your hands

Since he became Leader of the Opposition Tones the Terrible has been so unrelentingly negative about Australia’s present and future if he doesn’t get to lead the nation, that I’ve almost come to believe we’re all in a bad way
Then along comes the OECD’s
Better Life Index which puts Oz into global perspective.
Seems Tony Abbott has a very jaundiced view. Because on the housing, income, jobs, community, education, environment, governance, health, life satisfaction, safety, and work-life balance fronts we are doing very nicely thankyou when compared to the other 33 OECD countries.
In fact - overall Oz leads the bluddy world.

Click on graph to enlarge

Wednesday 25 May 2011

When social media goes wrong: Does Glaxo Smith Kline know where their anti-smoking campaign is turning up on Facebook?

We’re encouraging Aussies to Pledge to Quit smoking for World No Tobacco Day on the 31 May. Take our pledge and share it with your friends, maybe we’ll even set an Australian record for Pledge to Quit! states Glaxo Smith Kline’s Nicabate Pledge to Quit team on Facebook.

Unfortunately one of the Facebook accounts which advertises the pledge campaign is Grafton Goss (online since 12 May 2011) which carries what has been described by The Daily Examiner as “vile” gossip.

Snapshot taken 25 May 2011

In fact unsubstantiated allegations made concerning the sexual activity of named young people are so unpleasant and language employed so crudely graphic that I have omitted a direct link.

This webpage will soon come undone as Grafton Goss’ creator is not as anonymous as first appearance suggests.

In the meantime Facebook users can make Zuckerberg live up to his social media site’s undertakings regarding privacy and appropriate content by going to the Help page and following the prompts to report Grafton Goss and its posts.

Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd to speak at The Red Dove international aid forum in Lismore on Saturday 28 May

Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd to attend aid forum in Lismore

Page MP Janelle Saffin has announced that Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd has accepted her invitation to visit the Page electorate for a forum on overseas aid.

“In this region there are a number of local organisations as well as many dedicated individuals who work to reduce world poverty by their involvement in overseas aid projects.

“I’m delighted to be able to invite them to this forum with the Foreign Minister to hear firsthand about Australia’s international aid program, where the big challenges are, and what is being achieved.

“It is a horrifying statistic that around the world 23,000 children die of preventable starvation or related sickness every day and globally about one billion people are living in extreme poverty.

“More than ten years ago Australia and 188 other countries joined the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and agreed to increase aid with the core focus of reducing world poverty.” Ms Saffin said.

Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd says he looks forward to visiting Lismore and discussing Australia’s aid program.

“Lismore is a great place and Janelle is a great local member. I have visited Lismore many times over the years at Janelle’s invitation and this next visit is long overdue”

“I look forward to discussing with the community the Australian Government’s aid program and our responsibility is to ensure that this program gets real results”

“With one billion people living in abject poverty, we must not forget that we are talking about people who are part of our common humanity, people for whom each day is a struggle to survive.”

“Australians have a great reputation as being givers, and being volunteers and we should be proud that we are responding to the challenge of world poverty by being a real contributor to global development.” Mr Rudd said.

Mr Rudd will speak at an international aid forum The Red Dove in Lismore on Saturday 28 May. Details are available from Janelle Saffin’s office: 66219909.

Janelle Saffin MP, Media Release, 23 May 2011

NEWS FLASH: Penbo's head swells alarmingly!

Poor Penbo! His delusions of grandeur are showing – he clearly believes that every reader (including casual online readers like myself) actually vote for his own personal political opinions and those of Teh Great Rupert by perusing the tripe regurgitated daily by www.news.com.au:

“What these people fail to understand, and what Brown doesn’t get, is that newspapers have constituencies in the same way that political parties have constituencies.” {David Penberthy, Editor-in-Chief of News.com.au in The Punch on 23rd May 2011}


Tuesday 24 May 2011

Monster Twister Hits Joplin, Missouri, May 2011 (video)

Hardly a building was left standing in Joplin, 240km south of Kansas City after the tornado, reported to be 1.5km wide, hit late in the afternoon.

"I would say 75 per cent of the town is virtually gone," Kathy Dennis of the American Red Cross told CNN.

By nightfall local time, the death toll had risen to 24 and was expected to climb further.

The worst-hit building was the multi-storey St John's Hospital, where TV images showed nearly every window to be blown out. There were reports that debris from the building had been found 75km away, and local television reported fires throughout the building amid fears that broken gas lines in the hospital could cause an explosion.

The tornado was part of a series of severe weather patterns that hit the midwest, including in Minneapolis where a twister was blamed for the death of a 59-year-old man. A number of others were injured after tornadoes hit parts of Minnesota.

But Joplin and its population of 174,000 took a "direct hit" according to National Weather Service meteorologist Mike Griffin. "It went right through the centre of town," he told the Springfield News-Leader.

A man living almost 75km away from the hospital said that debris from the building, including medical supplies and X-rays, was found in his yard.

Jeff Lehr, a reporter for the Joplin Globe, was upstairs in his home when the storm hit but was able to make his way to a basement closet. "There was a loud huffing noise, my windows started popping. I had to get downstairs, glass was flying. I opened a closet and pulled myself into it," he said.

"Then you could hear everything go. It tore the roof off my house, everybody's house. I came outside and there was nothing left. There were people wandering the streets, all mud-covered.

"I'm talking to them, asking if they knew where their family is. Some of them didn't know, and weren't sure where they were."

The tornado struck less than a month after another tornado outbreak left 354 dead across seven US states.

[The Australian, Tornado 1.5km wide kills 24 in US midwest, 24 May 2011]

Images found at National Geographic and The Australian

The novel O'Farrell approach to the solar bonus scheme leaves this blogger cold

So the O'Farrell Government wants to abandon the principles of contractual law in relation to the Solar Bonus Scheme and introduce retrospective legislation to make its clawback superficially legal – all on the basis that it drastically needs to rein in the state's budget outlays due to massive black holes.

However, all is not as Premier O'Farrell would have us believe.
Besides ignoring the fact that the Solar Bonus Scheme take-up rate indicates that NSW was well on its way to meeting its obligations in relation to a particular national climate change target, it is closing-off the scheme in preference to making the energy industry adequately pay for renewable energy they receive from this source and, are misrepresenting the state of the economy to achieve its aims.

Firstly, NSW Government finances and the lies told.

Analysis and Advice on the Details of the "Report on Variance between Mid Year(December 2010) and March 2011 Update" prepared for the NSW Premier and Treasurer by the acting Secretary to the NSW Treasury, Michael Lambert, and Analysis and Advice on Claims in the Associated Media Release of 27 April 2011,"Black Hole Blows Out Further" by the NSW Premier, The Hon Barry O'Farrell states:

Moreover, the size of the accumulated budget deficit from 2010‐11 to 2014‐15, $4,384 million, even if it were to eventuate, would not itself imperil the state's finances or its AAA credit rating. That accumulated deficit estimate is less than 75 basis points of the revenues and expenses for the five years. And the government should be aware that, even if it took no remedial action, further parameter changes which will inevitably arise in the coming months and years will as likely improve the budget outlook as weaken it. Moreover, the general government's current net debt and unfunded superannuation level is about $8 billion below the level which might lead to a review of the AAA credit rating and there are few sub‐sovereign entities outside of Australia which enjoy a AAA credit rating……
A claim is also made that the "failure to take the additional budget impact of the Solar Bonus Scheme into account could only have occurred if Treasury advice on the scheme's impact was not sought or simply ignored". This is a speculative conclusion and the alternatives offered are not the only feasible options……
During the preparation of this briefing, the Energy Minister, the Hon Chris Hartcher, announced that the Solar Bonus Scheme had been placed on hold pending legislation to close the Scheme to new applicants……
The media release offers other claims of "gross economic incompetence". Insofar as fiscal policy is concerned, the state's AAA status does not support this claim. A fear that the budget deficit "could grow even further" is merely an assertion made without evidence. A claim that "Labor had 'cooked the books' to distort the true state of NSW's finances" is not supported either by the report issued by Mr Lambert or by this Office's examination of available data.

Secondly, the NSW Coalition's history of supporting a residential solar power scheme.

This is Google's cache of http://www.barryofarrell.com.au/protect-our-local-environment/the-nsw-liberals-nationals-will-introduce-a-renewable-energy-buy-back-scheme.html. It is a snapshot of the page as it appeared on 10 May 2011 04:35:50 GMT. This page no longer appears directly on the O'Farrell website.The following clearly shows that the NSW Liberal Party and O'Farrell supported a solar bonus scheme.

Effective action on environmental issues requires sensible policies that deliver practical and real improvements.

The NSW Liberals & Nationals will introduce market mechanisms that will encourage people to use renewable energy.

We will introduce a renewable energy buy-back scheme – sometimes known as a feed-in tariff.

The scheme will:

be a credit or payment to households, institutions or businesses for the renewable power they produce. This will include small-scale solar power from household rooftops; and

encourage households to make decisions that save energy bills over the medium term.

The NSW Liberals & Nationals policy for a gross feed-in tariff was first announced in October 2008. The Labor Government mimicked the policy when it adopted a Solar Bonus Scheme in November 2009 for small solar photovoltaic installations.

Despite this, the government has excluded many renewable and innovative energy sources, as well as involvement from many commercial energy users who are best positioned to take up decentralised generation.

It is estimated that if 5,000 households take advantage of the scheme, the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions is the equivalent of taking 16,250 cars off the road.

Decentralised generation can reduce demand for costly generation and transmission infrastructure, and can reduce the peak price of electricity.

The NSW Liberal & Nationals policy will ensure that NSW leads Australia in establishing a decentralised energy sector, by honouring the State Government's current commitments and improving the scheme to make it more effective. A comprehensive scheme could cut NSW's emissions by around 1 per cent per annum.

Thirdly, IPART's position on the existing Solar Bonus Scheme and electricity retailers.

From the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal Electricity Draft Report April 2011:

The current gross rate of 20 c/kWh is lower than the price that some customers are paying for electricity....
The Solar Bonus Scheme is currently structured so that retailers receive a financial benefit. This is because although they earn revenue from customers for gross consumption, they pay the market operator, AEMO, on a net consumption basis (that is after netting off energy supplied by the solar panels). The NSW Government’s proposed Solar Summit aims to identify opportunities for reducing the costs of the Solar Bonus Scheme. One option for achieving this aim is for Government to require retailers to transfer some of the financial benefit they receive under the scheme to distributors (who pay the feed in tariff to the customer).
This would reduce the amount of funds required to be recovered from customers, or foregone by taxpayers, to pay for the scheme.
We note that the other gross feed in tariff scheme in Australia, the ACT Scheme, requires retailers to contribute 6c/kWh towards the cost of the scheme.
We recommend that the NSW Government, as part of its Solar Summit, consider requiring retailers to contribute to the cost of the gross feed in tariff, whether or not it terminates the current scheme......

Finally, this.

This is Google's cache of http://www.nsw.liberal.org.au/policies/cost-of-living/plan-for-an-affordable-and-sustainable-energy-industry.html. It is a snapshot of the page as it appeared on 16 May 2011 02:01:02 GMT. In which O'Farrell seems to admit that he intends not only dipping into the pockets of residential suppliers of renewable energy and but into state funds as well.

"We will also ensure that households do not have to pay for Labor's failed solar scheme by redirecting uncommitted funds from the NSW Climate Change Fund to cover the cost of the Labor's failed NSW Solar Bonus Scheme," Mr O'Farrell said.

That national embarrassment is at it again....

Caricature from The Sydney Morning Herald

Australian Roman Catholic Cardinal George Pell is taking his right-wing arsehattery onto the world stage preaching to contrarian converts - thus confirming to the English their enduring belief that Aussies are by and large the intellectually degenerate offspring of either 18th Century criminals or whores and ensuring that a pope will never come from the Antipodes in our lifetime.

The Global Warming Policy Foundation is pleased to announce that the second Annual GWPF Lecture will be delivered by

His Eminence Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney

Title: One Christian Perspective On Climate Change

When: 26 October 2011, 7pm

Where: Westminster Cathedral Hall, 42 Francis Street, London SW1P 1QW

Attendance at the lecture is by invitation only.

The Global Warming Policy Foundation: Founded in November 2009, the Global Warming Policy Foundation is an all-party and non-party think tank and a registered educational charity. Its main purpose is to bring reason, integrity and balance to the climate debate. It seeks to inform the media, politicians and the public on the subject in general and on the misinformation to which they are all too frequently being subjected.”

Here’s its latest report:
Lord Turnbull: The Really Inconvenient Truth
Monday, 16 May 2011
Former Cabinet Secretary Questions Blind Faith In Climate Alarmism
For the full report click here