Tuesday, 30 September 2014

'NOT CSG FREE' - NSW Labor Opposition Leader John Robertson cravenly betrays the Clarence Valley


At the NSW Labor State Conference in July 2014 the following urgency motion was passed by the political wing of the party:

That Conference:
1. Notes:
a) on the NSW North Coast there is overwhelming community opposition to Coal Seam Gas and Unconventional Gas mining and mining operations;
b) the community's concern relates to the harmful effects of CSG mining on water quality, farm lands, the environment, communities, residents' health and tourism;
c) the CSG industry has no social license to operate on the NSW North Coast;
d) the NSW North Coast has unique environmental qualities; and
e) CSG mining is incompatible with the NSW North Coast's important employment sectors including tourism and agriculture;
2. Condemns the NSW Liberal/National Party Government's pro-CSG fracking, drilling and expansion agenda on the NSW North Coast; and
3. Calls on the NSW Labor Party to:
a) support an immediate moratorium on all CSG activities and licences within the boundaries of the State Parliamentary seats of Lismore, Ballina, Clarence, and Tweed on the NSW North Coast; and
b) support a declaration that the State Parliamentary seats of Lismore, Ballina, Clarence and Tweed be 'CSG Free' and therefore be off limits to the Coal Seam Gas and Unconventional Gas industries.
[Janelle Saffin & Justine Elliot Federal Labor MP for Richmond]

On 30 September 2014 the parliamentary wing of the NSW Labor Party announced that it had incorporated a ‘CSG Free’ Northern Rivers into the policies it is taking to the March 2015 state election.

Robertson, Spooner, Smith and Goodman Media Release 29 September 2014:

The Northern Rivers region is unique.
It is one of Australia’s most biologically diverse areas supporting a variety of significant habitats. Many parts of the Northern Rivers have been given World Heritage recognition, and the region is also home to key industries like tourism, manufacturing and agriculture which support thousands of local jobs.
It is the job of a responsible government to protect the Northern Rivers from activities which threaten the region’s precious environment, local industry, businesses and agricultural land.
Good economic development must support and enhance our environment – and Labor will ensure the risks associated with the expansion of CSG and unconventional gas will not threaten the Northern Rivers.
Yours sincerely
John Robertson

Unfortunately NSW Labor Opposition Leader John Robertson has decided that the Clarence Valley, its vital water catchment, tourism, sugar cane, commercial ocean/estuary fishing, forestry and cattle do not form part of the Northern Rivers and he has excised this region from his pledge to voters:
                                                                                                                         
Labor is committed to ensuring we do not compromise the quality of drinking water supplies by allowing CSG and unconventional gas exploration within the core catchment areas.
Labor will declare a total ban of CSG and unconventional gas in the Northern Rivers of NSW, encompassing the local government areas of Ballina Shire, Byron Shire, Kyogle Shire, Lismore City, Tweed Shire, and Richmond Valley. This region is pristine and stunning with World Heritage listed national parks and recreational areas.
It has a unique quality of life with a blend of lifestyles ranging from alternative to agriculture. It has a mild, sub-tropical climate with a significant elderly and retirement population. The region also has the nation’s most significant internal migration in Australia.
The industries of tourism, cattle, sugar and dairy all rely on the area’s natural values.
The environmental values of the region are internationally significant. The development of the CSG and unconventional gas industry would fundamentally undermine these environmental assets and the economic drivers that rely on them and should not be allowed. [my red bolding]

When I telephoned his Sydney office I was told “at least you have the moratorium”. As if this lesser pledge, to only allow the Clarence Valley to be turned into unconventional gas fields after Labor has ‘explored’ the issue, was a given and not the open-ended election promise that it is:

Moratorium on all Coal Seam Gas:

* Labor will implement an immediate moratorium on Coal Seam Gas across the state. We will suspend all coal seam gas exploration licenses and stop any new extraction licenses being issued.
* Coal seam gas drilling poses clear and present risks to the integrity of our State’s drinking water. It has the potential to damage aquifers, interfere with fragile marine life and compromise our food basin.

Ban CSG from around core drinking water catchments:

* Labor will ban CSG from around core drinking water catchments. This recognises that there are certain no-go zones where coal seam gas extraction should never be allowed.
* In 2013 Labor introduced legislation to ban CSG from drinking water catchments in Sydney and the Illawarra. Labor is committed to exploring similar protections in catchments right across NSW. [Office of the Leader of the Opposition 30 September 2014]

Any Labor candidate standing in the seat of Clarence in 2015 need not bother knocking on my door – he or she has lost my vote from this day forward.

Nor will the Federal Member for Richmond Justine Elliot be receiving any favourable words from me in future, given the part she and the former Federal MP for Page Janelle Saffin played in abandoning the Clarence Valley to an uncertain future at the hands of a rapacious unconventional gas industry, as well as their misleading social and mainstream media statements.

As for Messrs. Spooner, Smith and Goodman standing as Labor candidates in the aforementioned favoured electorates. They were well aware of what they were condoning when they put their names to this betrayal of the southern-most parts of the Northern Rivers. They can expect that I will not be offering them any support either and will be loudly reminding people of their political perfidy during the 2015 state election campaign.

UPDATE

On 29 October 2014 NSW Labor announced that it had decided to include the Clarence Valley in its policy permanently banning coal seam gas/tight gas/unconventional gas exploration, mining and production in the Northern Rivers region.

U.S. Slate Magazine - The Saudi Arabia of the South Pacific: How Australia became the dirtiest polluter in the developed world



Australians like to think of themselves as green. Their island country boasts some 3 million square miles of breathtaking landscape. They were an early global leader in solar power. They’ve had environmental regulations on the books since colonial times. And in 2007 they elected a party and a prime minister running on a “pro-climate” platform, with promises to sign the Kyoto Protocol and pass sweeping environmental reforms. All of which makes sense for a country that is already suffering the early effects of global warming.
And yet, seven years later, Australia has thrown its environmentalism out the window — and into the landfill.
The climate-conscious Labor Party is out, felled by infighting and a bloodthirsty, Rupert Murdoch–dominated press that sows conspiracy theories about climate science. In its place, Australians elected the conservative Liberal Party, led by a prime minister who once declared that “the climate argument is absolute crap.”
In the year since they took office, Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his Liberal-led coalition have already dismantled the country’s key environmental policies. Now they’ve begun systematically ransacking its natural resources. In the process, they’ve transformed Australia from an international innovator on environmental issues into quite possibly the dirtiest country in the developed world. And in a masterful whirl of the spin machine, they’ve managed to upend public debate by painting climate science as superstition and superstition as climate science. (We should note here that one of us grew up in Australia.)
The country’s landmark carbon tax has been repealed. The position of science minister has been eliminated. A man who warns of “global cooling” is now the country’s top business adviser. In November, Australia will host the G-20 economic summit; it plans to use its power as host to keep climate change off the official agenda.
If the environment has become Australia’s enemy, fossil fuels are its best friend once again. Two months after it struck down the carbon tax, the government forged a deal with a fringe party led by a mining tycoon to repeal a tax on mining profits. It appointed a noted climate-change skeptic — yes, another one — to review its renewable energy targets. Surprise: He’s expected to slash them. Independent modeling in a study commissioned by the Climate Institute, Australian Conservation Foundation, and WWF-Australia finds that the cuts to renewable energy won’t reduce Australians’ energy bills. They will, however, gift the country’s coal and gas industry another $8.8 billion U.S.
At a time when solar power is booming worldwide, sunny Australia is rolling back its state-level subsidies (despite domestic success) and canceling major solar projects. Meanwhile, the government has given the go-ahead to build the nation’s largest coal mine, with an eye toward boosting coal exports to India.   
Did we mention that Australians’ per-capita carbon emissions are the highest of any major developed country in the world? Welcome to the Saudi Arabia of the South Pacific. No, Australia isn’t a theocracy, and oil isn’t the source of its fossil-fuel riches. But it is the world’s second-largest exporter of coal and third-largest exporter of liquefied natural gas, and minerals and fuels account for nearly 50 percent of its export revenues. Its per-capita carbon emissions actually exceed those of Saudi Arabia. And its behavior of late is beginning to bear an ugly resemblance to those petro-states whose governments seem to exist chiefly to guarantee the spectacular profits of the fossil-fuel industry…….
Read the full article here.

Excerpt from Pulitzer Prize-winning Inside Climate News article Canada-Australia 'Axis of Carbon' an Obstacle to Climate Pact:

Their prime ministers mince no words in their disdain for putting a price on greenhouse gas emissions to protect their fossil fuel exports….. Official data shows that neither Canada nor Australia can claim to be on track toward meeting their existing greenhouse gas emissions goals, modest as they are….. John Gummer, chairman of the UK Committee on Climate Change, was even more direct as he bashed Canada, and especially Australia, in an interview this summer with Australian television.
“Only Australia and to some extent Canada, but particularly Australia, is actually going backwards,” he said. “Australia now has miserable targets….. way out of line of any other advanced country and that's a very sad thing…. Australia has also been lambasted for attempting to keep climate change off the agenda when the G20 nations meet in Brisbane in November. It’s a tactic that Harper pioneered a few years ago when the G20 met in Toronto, to the considerable irritation of diplomats including Ban Ki-moon.
“Australia has been widely criticised for dropping climate change from the agenda on the basis that it is not an economic issue,” the Centre for Economic Development Australia said in an August report. “Climate change is a G20 litmus test as well as a test of Australia’s role. It is a problem with a global consequence requiring collective action.”…..

Read the full article here.

It is said a picture is worth a thousand words. So if readers are still in any doubt as to how the world now views Australia under an Abbott Government, this was the cold reception Foreign Minister Julie Bishop received at the U.N. Climate Summit on 23 September 2014:


There appears to be at least one realist amongst Metgasco Limited's shareholders


This was on the Hot Copper MEL forum last week:





Monday, 29 September 2014

Aunty gets taken for a ride by Queensland Premier


On 5 December 2013 the Australian mainstream media reported that Qld Premier Campbell Newman had appointed Retired Brigadier William Julian Andrew "Bill" Mellor to control the state government's anti-bikie strategy.

ABC News was one of the media outlets which ran with the story that had apparently come to light after transcripts of Parliamentary Crime and Misconduct Committee (PCMC) hearings were tabled in Parliament in November 2013.

The ABC’s initial reporting revealed the house number and suburb in which Mellor lived. Campbell Newman complained to Prime Minister Abbott about what he called a security breach and, insisted that the Australian Broadcasting Commission should pay for a security upgrade to the Mellor residence.

An upgrade Bill Mellor’s own security consultancy firm has since supplied for an undisclosed sum.

While ABC Managing Director Mark Scott would be Internet savvy enough to realise that it would take a burly bikie with a laptop just minutes to track down Bill Mellor’s home address from information already listed on Google’s search engine before December 2013; Messrs Abbott and Newman either did not know or did not care that Mellor’s full residential address and current telephone number for his home-based business had been placed on a website with which he was connected by the man himself.

While a number of other easily accessible websites*, along with an online newsletter, all list the suburb where Bill Mellor lives. The Sensis online telephone book also gives his current residential 'phone number & address and, Google Images has a link to that webpage with his full residential details.

Campbell Newman also obviously did not remember that in a February 2013 media release he identified Bill Mellor as being connected with the association which owns the main website in question.

So Premier Newman himself would have led any interested bikie straight to Brigadier Mellor (he certainly led me) and Google Earth would have done the rest by supplying an image of the basic layout of the Mellor home and the streets leading into the little 14-house cul-de-sac in which Mellor lives.

However, it seems that no bikies were interested in where Bill Mellor lives, as according to The Courier Mail on 28 September 2014 It is understood that no threats or incidents have materialised.

Perhaps Campbell Newman can complain about another aspect of the ABC’s coverage and get Mr. Mellor enough money to inject some life and colour into his rather tired front garden.

* Even the then Governor-General unwittingly became part of the information overload by publishing Bill Mellor's full residential address at the time he received his Member of the Order of Australia - which was but four mouse clicks away from revealing the amount of money he paid for this house and years later received from its sale, as well as the price paid for his present residence.

The truth about the Australian Prime Minister's address to the United Nations on 25 September 2014


Prime Minister Tony Abbott  addressed  the 69th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on 25 September 2014 during the Opening of the General Debate.

There was the standard set image of his attendance on the UN website:


Other more animated images in the Australian media such as this:


However, there were no long shots of the audience listening to Abbott’s speech.

This is one possible reason why…..

US President Obama speaking during the Opening of the General Debate in front of a packed audience of delegates on 24 September:


This was Tony Abbott speaking during the same Opening of the General Debate with a decidedly sparse audience the next day:


Like the difference in the size of their official audiences, the messages they delivered to the world were starkly different even when both were addressing the situation in Syria and Iraq.

These were President Obama's opening remarks:

Mr. President, Mr. Secretary General, fellow delegates, ladies and gentlemen: we come together at a crossroads between war and peace; between disorder and integration; between fear and hope.
Around the globe, there are signposts of progress. The shadow of World War that existed at the founding of this institution has been lifted; the prospect of war between major powers reduced. The ranks of member states has more than tripled, and more people live under governments they elected. Hundreds of millions of human beings have been freed from the prison of poverty, with the proportion of those living in extreme poverty cut in half. And the world economy continues to strengthen after the worst financial crisis of our lives.

Today, whether you live in downtown New York or in my grandmother’s village more than two hundred miles from Nairobi, you can hold in your hand more information than the world’s greatest libraries. Together, we have learned how to cure disease, and harness the power of the wind and sun. The very existence of this institution is a unique achievement – the people of the world committing to resolve their differences peacefully, and solve their problems together. I often tell young people in the United States that this is the best time in human history to be born, for you are more likely than ever before to be literate, to be healthy, and to be free to pursue your dreams….

While these were Prime Minister Abbott's:

I’m happy to be here at your urging, Mr President. It is the weightiest of matters that brings us together today.
Right now, thousands of misguided people from around the world are joining terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq because they claim Islam is under threat and because they are excited by the prospect of battle.
But whatever they think or say, these terrorists aren’t fighting for God or for religious faith.
At the heart of every terrorist group is an infatuation with death.
What else can explain the beheadings, crucifixions, mass executions, rapes and sexual slavery in every town and city that’s fallen to the terrorist movement now entrenched in eastern Syria and northern Iraq?
A terrorist movement calling itself “Islamic State” insults Islam and mocks the duties of a legitimate state towards its citizens.
And to use this term is to dignify a death cult; a death cult that, in declaring itself a caliphate, has declared war on the world.
So, countries do need to work together to defeat it because about 80 nations have citizens fighting with ISIL and every country is a potential target….

Full transcript of Obama's speech.
Full transcript of Abbott's speech.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Are you satisfied with your violent handiwork, Mr. Abbott?


Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott. Illustration: Sturt Krygsman

Just a few examples of where your one-eyed, far-right, über Christian politics is taking us, Prime Minister…..




The Hoopla 19 September 2014:

There’s a hashtag doing the rounds on Twitter – #wearascarfday – urging people to don a scarf in support of Australia’s Muslims. There’s a perception – and not just amongst well-meaning lefties – that life is about to become very difficult for our Muslim community…..
 for the Muslim community, the majority of which is peaceful and happy to be a member of Tony Abbott’s “Team Australia”, the raids and the rhetoric around them are not so easy to accept.
Many Muslims see themselves as unwanted, viewed with suspicion, the enemy. They see their kids, especially the males, being singled out and watched, along with ridiculously simplistic and offensive media reports about their communities and their way of life and protests about the intended building of mosques as well as arguments mounted by ignorant politicians (well, one in particular) about the need to ban the burqa.
Fear creates intolerance and since 9/11 Muslims have lived with this.
Yet still, when genuinely frightening evidence is offered of a genuinely frightening threat to innocent people, as it was during yesterdays dramatic raids, people ask why young Australian Muslims are so angry they gravitate towards a militant cult masquerading as a religious movement and claiming to be a state. What they don’t do, is tell themselves that the number of these angry young men is very small and that the vast majority of Muslims are peacefully living in the Australian community, as productive and aspirational as the next non-Muslim family.
Nor do they accept that being Muslim, even in largely tolerant Australia, can be a gruelling life experience.  



The Australian 20 September 2014:


Sunshine Coast Daily 20 September:

At one point police were booed as they ordered a protester to get down from a stage as he spoke of beheadings and his fears over a mosque.
Protesters questioned what happened to freedom of speech in Australia.
The crowd cheered as supporters lifted the man onto their shoulders so he could continue speaking.

Among those protesting the mosque were One Nation, Christian bikie gangs, opponents of halal meat certification as well as representatives from some local churches.

The Sydney Morning Herald 21 September 2014:
The Cairns Post 21 September 2014:


Mareeba mayor Tom Gilmore said the mosque had been part of the community since the 1950s and labelled the incident “entirely unacceptable”.
“I don’t think it’s ever been defaced before,” he said.
Cr Gilmore said a large group of “highly respected” Muslims had lived in the community since the 1920s.

The Courier Mail 21 September 2014:

DESPITE pleas for calm from the Queensland Premier and senior police, Muslims – particularly women – have been targeted in a series of hate attacks.
The Sunday Mail can reveal Muslim women are being singled out, including one victim who had coffee thrown in her face while she was stopped at traffic lights south of Brisbane.
The woman said a man in a car pulled up beside her and callously doused her in coffee before driving off along Beenleigh Rd.
“I was terrified,’’ she said. “I feel unsafe. I feel like a stranger in my own country.”
Other Muslim women have been abused and threatened, with one told to take off her headscarf – or hijab – at West End by a man who wanted to burn it.
The women did not want to be identified, and all believe they are “collateral damage” from recent police anti-terrorism raids which have fuelled fear and suspicion across the nation.
Sarah, 30, said she’d been waiting outside a shop in Logan Rd at Underwood with a 12-year-old girl when insults were hurled at her by a man riding past on a pushbike.
“He yelled f--- jihad, f--- off, go back home you c--- and continued to verbally abuse us,’’ she said.
In the next 20 minutes she was abused twice by other men. “It’s quite frightening to hear such vile language and hatred. I was fearful,’’ she said.
Stacey, 27, said she had copped offensive insults online.
“I’m a seventh generation Australian,’’ she said. “My family are as Australian as you can get and I’m scared.”

ABC News 24 September 2014:


Sunshine Coast Daily 24 September 2014:

A CATHOLIC priest has been criticised by some of his own parishioners for his attempts to douse the fires between protesters for and against a mosque in Maroochydore.
Father Joe Duffy, the Maroochydore Parish priest, wrote a letter to the Daily apologising for the "absurd and offensive demonstration" last Saturday outside the Stella Maris Church.
But his heartfelt letter didn't strike a happy chord with some members of his church.
Father Duffy said he had received a letter from one parishioner warning he was inciting further "beheadings" and "chopping nuns' breasts off".


New Matilda 24 September 2014:

As images of the raids are beamed across Australia, far right groups are hoping for a return of the violence against Muslims seen during the Cronulla riots, writes Andy Fleming.
Last week’s police raids on properties in Brisbane and Sydney, reportedly the largest “anti-terror” raids in Australian history, have given anti-Muslim activists in Australia an enormous boost. Understood as representing dramatic confirmation of the threat posed to Australia by Islam, the raids also placed Islamophobic groups in the spotlight, chief among them the Australian Defence League (ADL).
Speaking on ABC’s Q&A on Monday night, one Muslim woman reported having received death and rape threats from members of the ADL….

Sunshine Coast Daily 25 September 2014:


Brisbane Times 25 September 2014:

The Australian Tea Party 25 August 2014:


The Guardian 26 September 2014:

An Islamic school in Sydney’s south-west was targeted by a man wielding a knife.
Police were searching for the man who reportedly entered Al-Faisal college in Minto just after 2pm on Thursday, asked if it was a “Muslim school” and threatened a female teacher and student with a knife.
Primary school students hid under their desks while those from the high school were gathered in a prayer hall as the school went into lockdown, one mother said.
The mother, who did not wish to be named, said she was greeted by a swarm of police when arriving to pick up her children.
“I am still pretty much in shock,” the mother said. “I am keeping my younger two [children] home tomorrow. One doesn’t want to go back there.”
Although most schools are on holidays, classes there finish on Friday and students get an extra week’s holidays later in the year, she said.....

The Daily Telegraph 26 September 2014:

A 19-YEAR-OLD man wrongly identified by Fairfax Media as terrorism suspect Numan Haider says he fears leaving his house.
ABU Bakar Alam, 19, a Year 12 student who works part-time at a fast food restaurant, said the ordeal has turned his life upside down.
"I'm really scared," he told SBS Radio.
"I can't go anywhere. I haven't been out all day. I can't do work, I've cancelled my shift. I don't know when I'll be back at school and work.
"I've had such a good name as a student, as a worker. It's a terrible thing to happen."
Mr Alam said his grandfather moved to Australia from Afghanistan but returned to help rebuild the war-torn nation. He died in a suicide bombing in 2006.
"We came here to have a better life, better future and not be known as terrorists," he said.
Mr Alam said he was shocked, then angered, that Fairfax Media had incorrectly identified him as the man shot dead following an altercation with anti-terror police outside Endeavour Hills police station on Tuesday.

"I told my dad and my whole family was really angry, upset for accusing my family, for the bad image which we've never had."…

The Sydney Morning Herald 26 September 2014:

A member of the Australian Defence Force who told police he was attacked by two men of Middle Eastern appearance outside his north-western Sydney home has now withdrawn his complaint.
NSW Police issued a statement on Friday announcing the "allegation of assault has now been withdrawn".
"NSW Police will continue to examine the circumstances that led to the allegation being brought to their attention," the statement said.
The 41-year-old man told police he was threatened and assaulted by two men while wearing his full uniform at Bella Vista at 6.30am on Thursday.
The man, who suffered minor bruising, reported the matter to police and then attended Kings Cross police station in person later on Thursday.
He described his attackers as being of Middle Eastern appearance.
Defence force chief Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin apologised for the incident.

"On behalf of the Australian Defence Force, I would like to apologise to the Australian community and in particular the Middle Eastern community for any angst this has caused," he told reporters in Canberra.

The Guardian  26 September 2014:

New South Wales police have been moved to reassure Australians that text messages claiming members of Islamic State (Isis) are knocking on people’s doors and marking Christian houses are a hoax, as concerns grow about the threat the extremist group poses.
The text message states: “There are members if Isis going door knocking on homes. They greet you with ‘Salam Alaykom’, and then pretend they are trying to collect money for orphans. They come with a black folder and ask you if you want to donate. I have just had one approach me at home just 2 hours ago. Please - do NOT Talk to them or open for them.”

The message, which references areas in the south-west suburbs of Sydney, exhorts people to “spread the word” and apparently convinced enough people for the police to feel compelled to tell them that there was no truth in it. In a tweet on Friday, the police included a picture of the offending text message with “FALSE” written in bold red letters across it. An accompanying message said: “Don’t be fooled by social media myths exploiting the current political climate.”

In all this Prime Minister Abbott is ably supported by Federal Government senators and MHRs, all of whom became complicit via their parliamentray vote and many by their public silence as the politically-inspired Coalition scare campaign rolls on, and as I write I'm looking straight at you Nationals MP for Page Kevin Hogan.

One of life's little Canberra mysteries


Apparently bohemians are persona non grata in Abbott's Australia, even when endorsed by an apparently chest-beating, weapon-toting attorney-general such as 'Lord Brandis of the Bookshelf' .....


@samdrummond 25 September 2014


This is the club in question:



Welcome to the Melbourne Savage Club

Established in 1894, the Melbourne Savage Club is one of Australia’s oldest and most atmospheric private members clubs.

The clubhouse is an historic 19th century mansion right in the heart of Melbourne.

The club’s name reflects the desire of the founders to encourage a flowering of Bohemian tradition, like the London Savage Club, by taking the name of Richard Savage, a free-spirited 17th century English poet.
 

These origins are expressed today through club members who engage in a broad range of interests across the arts, literature, science and sport.
 

A diverse mix of academics and artists, lawyers and judges, businessmen and journalists is to be found behind the clubhouse’s scarlet doors, enjoying one another’s company amid classic décor and furnishings, fine art and exotic artefacts.
 

Hospitable rooms provide a rare ambience for the many member performances showcasing their musical, theatrical and artistic talents, and for wonderfully eccentric social occasions.
 

Membership is offered to gentlemen only, based upon the criteria of good fellowship and shared interests.


The shared interests of these clubbable males became a Question Time subject for discussion in the Senate at 2.47pm on 25 September. During which the Opposition taunted the Government with this line; Which institution is harder for a woman to get into in 2014: the Savage Club or the Abbott cabinet?

However it appears to have been Labor Senator Doug Cameron's observation that this club had bizarre rituals that require members, when they are greeting a new member or when a new member is being initiated, to make guttural noises and to beat their chests which saw Liberal Senator Bill Heffernan lose his cool and approach his fellow senator too closely:


The Sydney Morning Herald 25 September 2014

The 'discussion' was finally laid to rest with this from Senator Cameron at 3.04pm; The Savage Club has also said that it is 'the more sozzled alternative to the genteel Melbourne Club'. That is why they have got to lift the handrails up! This is really bizarre. It is a club that is based on 'bohemianism, free love, frugality and voluntary poverty'. I will not go into the first point in relation to Senator Brandis but I certainly know that frugality is not one of his main games. And they all have their own titles when they go to the club. Senator Brandis has picked 'Lord Brandis of the Bookshelf'! That is his title when he goes to the club. He will be beating his chest and making guttural noises and making sure women have no place at the Savage Club. What an absolute disgrace from a frontbench minister in this government. 

The mystery of which weapons owned by the Melbourne Savage Club have resulted in its website being blocked remains unanswered.

As does the question of why the club still retains that bizarre and implicitly racist logo/watermark on its website.

The icy wind blowing across Tony Abbott's Australia


This is a mother of three blogging in Abbott’s Australia on 24 September 2014:

I started this blog to vent my anger at the Abbott government. To keep myself sane. To mitigate against the real likelihood of alienating myself from polite company. And to share my thoughts with like-minded Australians in online communities, many of whom are speechless with horror at what we are becoming and grateful for the support in putting that horror into words.

There are many brain-dumps on here. Some are mocking, some are furious, or disgusted. I won’t be deleting anything – we still have an implied freedom of political communication in our liberal democracy – but I am changing my style. Sane people change their behaviour when circumstances around them change. As Einstein observed, to do the same thing repeatedly and expect a different outcome amounts to insanity.

What has changed?

I no longer have trust in my own government. I do not feel that it is safe for me to furiously and hastily say what I think of their actions in the way that the press does to the Muslim community. I am afraid that the brain dump approach will attract the attention of a band of heavily armed men with the legal power to use force against me. If I wrote in haste what I really think of the Abbott government and its latest outbreak of oppressive nonsense, I would be afraid for my children. As many Australians know only too well, particularly the Aboriginal community and now the Muslim community, children are deeply traumatised by heavily armed men breaking down your front door and using legal force against innocent civilians. And yes, they are civilians. They are not members of the armed forces of a nation state. And yes, they are innocent. We have the presumption of innocence in this country. You are innocent until proven guilty in a properly constituted court of law. And so am I.

So.

I have decided to try and make sense of events in Australia on 23-24 September 2014 using evidence-based arguments instead. I would rather scribble off an angry rant about the ugly rhetoric and extreme violence being deployed around Australia on the flimsiest – or absence – of evidence. But that is dangerous now. Here is my thinking on the danger: armed agents of the Australian government are persuaded or deluded about the level of threat to Australians, and impervious to their role in increasing that threat. And because they are probably persuaded and likely deluded and definitely impervious, they might accidently mistake a middle-aged mother of three sitting at her computer for a threat to national security……

Read the rest here.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Tweet of the Week



Quote of the Week


Ms PARKE (Fremantle) (18:24): Last week on Twitter a person called for my execution for treason because I had questioned the government's rapid escalation of our new involvement in Iraq from a purely humanitarian mission to one where we appear to be joining the US in an open-ended fight against IS. A call for my execution may be extreme, but it demonstrates how the beating of the drums of war and the hysteria this generates inevitably prevent the kind of calm, serious and rational discussion that is called for when decisions are being made to commit Australians overseas to kill and potentially to be killed. [House of Representatives, Hansard, Melissa Parke Labor MP for Freemantle, 22 September 2014]

Headline of 2014?


Liberals aim to get beyond ideology [Financial Review 30 August 2014]
               

Friday, 26 September 2014

I'm a young golden-coloured dog who lost my way in Yamba. Do I belong with you?


A young dog, little more than a pup, was found wandering in Gumnut Road, Yamba, in the Clarence Valley NSW.

It is trusting and affectionate and I'm sure just wants to get safely back home.

If this is your dog, email northcoastvoices at gmail dot com to reconnect.

Brake on NSW coal seam gas exploration extended until September 2015


The Hon Anthony Roberts MP 
Minister for Resources and Energy
Special Minister of State

Thursday 25 September 2014

FREEZE EXTENDED ON PETROLEUM EXPLORATION LICENCE APPLICATIONS

Minister for Resources and Energy Anthony Roberts today announced an additional 12 month freeze on NSW Petroleum Exploration Licence Applications (PELAs) and Petroleum Special Prospecting Authority applications (a PSPA is a desktop or geoscientific survey).

The six month freeze announced by the NSW Government on 26 March 2014 will be extended to 26 September 2015.

Mr Roberts said the extended timeframe will allow the Office of Coal Seam Gas (OCSG) to complete its comprehensive examination of current PELAs and allow the Government to further assess the application process for petroleum titles.

“The former Labor Government handed out 39 Petroleum Exploration Licences (PELs) in a careless and clumsy fashion with little oversight. NSW deserved better,” Mr Roberts said.
“The NSW Liberals & Nationals Government has put in place the most comprehensive regulations for the CSG industry in the country.

“These regulations ensure that gas extraction from coal seams is done in a way that is safe and has minimal impacts on the environment and other industries.

“The framework also ensures that companies involved in the NSW gas industry meet the highest standards of technical expertise and financial capability to undertake exploration.”

Mr Roberts said the NSW Government has refused 10 PELAs since March, in regions across the State.

“A number of companies have been asked to provide further information around environment, exploration and production reporting, community consultation and work programs,” he said.

“Petroleum Assessment Leases (PAL) will be available to companies with existing PELs or those who applied before the freeze.

“The NSW Government is committed to increasing our domestic supply of gas and is working to ensure only safe and sustainable gas supply projects proceed,” he said.