Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Traditional Owners and WWF to sign new conservation partnership

Traditional Owners and WWF to sign new conservation partnership

An agreement between Traditional Owners in North Queensland and WWF will be signed today at Airlie Beach marking the start of an Indigenous conservation program that will see greater protection for the region's marine turtles, dugongs and inshore dolphins.
The agreement between the Gudjuda Reference Group and WWF will create a spirit of collaboration between the two organisations and advance the capacity of Traditional Owners to conserve and protect their land and sea resources.
The Gudjuda Reference Group represents Traditional Owners from the Bindal, Ngaro and Juru nations on the Great Barrier Reef coast. Their region covers an area from the Whitsunday Islands up to Townsville.
"This agreement acknowledges the shared desire to conserve wildlife and habitats in this naturally abundant part of the country, as well as the recognition that the Gudjuda Reference Group are the key stewards of their lands and seas," said WWF's Conservation on Country Policy Manager Cliff Cobbo.
The partnership will focus on the conservation of marine turtles, dugongs and inshore dolphins among other things. This will include generating greater awareness in traditional communities of the protection and conservation of these species, greater support for Indigenous turtle tagging and dugong monitoring programs, and the establishment of Indigenous Protected Areas in important turtle, dugong and inshore dolphin habitats.
"At the heart of this agreement is belief that the earth's natural systems, resources and life forms should be conserved for their intrinsic value and for the benefit of future generations," said Gudjuda Chairman Eddie Smallwood.
"But the agreement also recognises that the Gudjuda Traditonal Owners have the right to improve the quality of their lives and to benefit directly and equitably from the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources in our traditional lands and seas."
In addition to the promotion of conservation activities in the region, the partnership aims to provide greater access for Traditional Owners to their traditional lands and seas and create opportunities through direct funding for activities such as the creation of ranger groups.
The Memorandum of Understanding will be signed at 1pm on Saturday December 12 in Airlie Beach today.

More information

Charlie StevensMedia Manager – Queensland, WWF-Australia,
Mobile: 0424 649 689
Cliff CobboConservation on Country Policy Manager, WWF-Australia,
Mobile: 0406 384 288
Eddie SmallwoodGudjuda Chairman,
Mobile: 0428 996 398


Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Australia Post and your Christmas Cards

Before you post your Christmas mail
without benefit of stamps,
please consider and re-consider
the ethical implications of your actions.

Saturday, 12 December 2009


Dear One and All,

Come to-morrow and ring my chimes!!!

Well, actually the invitation is on behalf of All Saints Anglican Church, Mitcham, who is hosting this Climate Change Bellringing Event.

Here is some information  and here too about the above event being held world wide but, in particular, at All Saints Anglican Church, Whitehorse Road, Mitcham,  Melbourne to-morrow at 3pm.  Coffee and eats will be available.

Church bells will ring 350 times on December 13th, 2009 as part of the largest inter-denominational faith protest of the century. The International Day of Climate Action for Faith Groups event will include churches, synagogues, and mosques from around the world, ringing bells, sounding chimes and beating drums, in a global call for an ambitious and binding agreement in Copenhagen.
“We envisage a chain of chimes and prayers stretching in a time-line from the Fiji Islands in the South Pacific – where the day first begins and where the effects of climate change are already felt today – to northern Europe and across the globe,” explains the World Council of Churches website.
The global event is designed to encourage all faiths to mobilize parishes, congregations and members in a call for urgent action against climate change while creating a global symphony of bells, drums and prayer that will hopefully reach the ears of world politicians.
Bells, chimes and drums will sound 350 times to symbolize the safe upper limit of CO2 in the atmosphere, currently we are at an average of 388ppm and a peak of 390ppm.


All Saints, Mitcham

Location map


Wednesday, 9 December 2009

hUMAN RIGHTS DAY 10 DECEMBER 2009: Rally at Parliament House, Melbourne

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5.30pm Start
Steps of Parliament House, Spring Street Melbourne
protest the loss of our Human Rights 
Workers Rights
Aboriginal Rights
Refugee Rights
which have dominated the Australian political landscape 
under a Howard / Rudd Government.
We all wear some black as a color theme - 
to mourn the loss of our Human Rights
Victorian Trades Hall Ballroom – Speakers - addressing Human Rights Issues. 
Drinks and light refreshments.    
8:30 - Finish


Asia Australia workers Links
VTHC – various Unions –participate in Rally
Various Human Rights Activists – participate in Rally
Various Human Rights Groups – participate in Rally
Extensive discussions have taken place across all groups
Agreement has been reached by all for full participation.


The Parliament of the World's Religions runs from 3-9 December 2009
with dignitaries from international quarters of the World focused on Melbourne.
The Dalai Lama and other leaders will remain 
until Thursday 10 /12/ 09
Aboriginal Camp Sovereignty 
with traditional welcome and smoking ceremony 
will commence proceedings and operate 
from 3 – 10 December  and recognize 10 December. 

Sharon Firebrace – 0401 414 967
Black Rights Action Group
Alliance for Indigenous Self-Determination
Alliance for Aboriginal Rights


Celebrate Human Rights Day. An evening of speakers, panel discussion, food & West African reggae, to celebrate International Human Rights Day. 

Saradha Nathan (Australian Tamil Congress) 
Patrick Emerton (lecturer, Castan Centre for Human Rights Law, Monash University).

Panel discussion on 
'What is the unique role communities play in human rights promotion?' 
Abe W. Ata (Australian Catholic University, Palestinian community), 
Rex Rumakiek (Institute of Papuan Advocacy and Human Rights), 
Alpha Lisimba (Darfur Australia Network), 
Jendrek Hagedorn (Melbourne Anti-Intevention Collective).

4th Floor, Ross House, 247 Flinders Lane, City. 
Presented by the Australia Tamil Congress with Humanitarian Crisis Hub. 
For more info email Crisis Hub.

Environmental rights are weak.
To read more on what could be done
to enhance environmental rights
please read the submission to the
Human Rights Consultation by
Shelini Harris and Brigid Walsh


Tuesday, 8 December 2009


Click to enlarge

Photo from David Millburn of Save Solar Systems.
Taken last night at the corner of Collins Street and Swanston Streets


Organised crime and criminals at Crown Casino, Melbourne.

Click to enlarge
Scene on Southbank near the Crown Casino from here
Always makes me think that this could be a foretaste of the fires of hell?!

So many people seem to like to celebrate with a night out at Crown.  I have been coming and going from this part of Melbourne over the last week as I volunteer at the Parliament of the World's Religions which is being held at the Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre in the heart of Melbourne's entertainment and dining precinct. Across the road is the Crown, operated by the Packer family. At night I can chose to wander home past what I call the 'fires of hell' which, needless to say, put out quite a bit of heat.

It's a pity the heat is not put on Crown Casino by the Victorian Government and the Victorian police.  However our government is a gambling addict and facilitates Crown and appears to give it everything it wants and more.

What I don't understand is why so many people associate Crown Casino with a good night out and so many major functions are held there.  Mixing with organised crime and criminals on a celebratory night out is not my idea of fun.  And, yes, there appear to be admissions that - surprise, surprise - organised crime and criminals are alive and well and at Crown.  Have a Casino and it is my view that you have organised crime.  They are inseparable.  Casinos are the simplest, easiest and quickest way of laundering criminal money and turning it into 'clean' cash.

This report appears in The Age to-day.  I am publishing it here so that it doesn't disappear.

Thousands of crimes at Crown
December 8, 2009
THERE is a lot more that goes on at Melbourne's ''world of entertainment'' Crown casino than roulette and blackjack.
A police report has highlighted money laundering, prostitution, cheating and thousands of other offences, including robbery and assault, over a three-period at Victoria's monopoly casino.
The October 2007 report was part of the review of the Melbourne casino operator's licence and was obtained by The Age under freedom of information.
''There has been an identified need to initiate and actively pursue persons suspected of being involved in organised criminal activities, including money laundering at Crown Casino,'' it said. The report said ''meetings with Crown to formulate a strategy to identify and deal with suspected money laundering and unlicensed money lending problems have been initiated''.
Mark Zirnsak of the InterChurch Gambling Taskforce said the police report ''confirms the taskforce's view that casinos are always going to be magnets for criminal activities''.
The police report also referred to prostitution at the casino. While it said there had been no arrests for prostitution, ''it is reasonable to speculate that escort agency females frequent hotel rooms and accompany persons on to the gaming floor, however, provided these are registered persons no offence is committed''.
The report showed 33 people had been excluded from the casino under the Victoria Police Chief Commissioner's exclusion powers, but added, ''This process is on hold pending the outcome of an appeal by a prominent organised crime figure against his exclusion.''
Police were unable to say last night if the exclusion process was still on hold.
Over a period of three years from mid-2003 to mid-2006 3125 offences were committed within the Crown Casino complex, the report said.
The offences included 445 assaults, two kidnappings or abductions, eight sex offences (not rape), 32 cases of handling stolen goods, 13 weapons offences and 344 cases of theft from cars.
Crown Casino spokesman Gary O'Neill said the Victorian Commission for Gambling Regulation's review of the casino operator's licence said ''the Victoria Police report did not identify any probity issues'' and concluded that there no issues ''that would adversely affect'' its ability ''to continue holding the casino operator's licence''.
Mr O'Neill said: ''A lot of successful prosecution of criminal activity is brought about by the sort of reporting regime that Crown adheres to.'' He said Crown had 45 million visitors in the relevant three-year period.
State Parliament is expected to pass laws this week allowing for the biggest expansion of Crown Casino's gambling capacity in a decade, with a 43 per cent increase in its number of table games.


Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Life is full: retrieving balls and keeping them in the air

An adventure in space ... 
Nike Savvas with her artwork Atomic: Full of Love, Full of Wonder 
at the Art Gallery of NSW yesterday. It took 10 days to install.
Photo: Jon Reid

Miss Eagle is back.  After three weeks in the Northern Territory - in Alice Springs and Tennant Creek - she spent two days and three nights at home before she embarked on GreenFaith Australia's Walking Humbly: a journey to the Murray.  This was a must since your Miss E dreamed up the concept which was then brought to wonderful reality by Elyse Rider and Jamel Kaur Dhillon.  Last night (in spite of having two good sleeps on Sunday and Monday) I slept the clock around and then some.  Clearly a delayed reaction!

However there is so much to do.

COP15 - Copenhagen

  • Supporting my friend, Patricia Corowa, who has only just, in the last few days, been selected to attend that famous conference in Copenhagen.  Please do all you can to help the Pacific Island participants by going to GetUp! and taking the requested action.

  • To-morrow night, I am off to a Public Meeting at 6.30pm under the title of Renewable is do-able: green jobs for Victoria.  The meeting will be held at the Fitzroy Town Hall, 201 Napier Street, Fitzroy.  It is being organised by Save Solar Systems.

  • ...and many emails and phone calls to catch up on.

  • I have much to blog about and many photographs to sort through and edit.  So I might disappear for another day or two..or seven.  But I will be back as soon as I can.  Until then, you will know that I am occupied productively.


    Sunday, 15 November 2009

    In the Northern Territory: intervention but no prevention asserts Ros Pierce

    Received through the Women for Wik and the Working Group on Aboriginal Rights (Australia) about the NT Intervention:
    Hi my name is Ros Pierce. I am a Ngarrindjeri woman and my people are the traditional owners of the land around the Coorong in the upper south-east of South Australia. I am one of the Stolen Generation. I was removed at the age of 5 years and I returned to my people at the age of 18 years. I am now 58 years.

    I have worked within Aboriginal communities most of my life at the grass root level. The areas I've worked in are drug and alcohol, family violence and Aboriginal family support worker. Later in my life, I received my degree in Nursing and continued work as a community nurse in the inner Adelaide area and remote nursing. For the past 10 years I've worked at SHine SA (formerly Family Planning SA) as the Coordinator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healthworker Sexual Health education for the female staff.

    The point I wish to make is as follows:

    The NT Intervention strategy is not focusing on prevention, it is addressing the issues after they have occurred, such as diagnosis of rape and child abuse. The strategy needs to be focusing on early intervention and prevention with the use of an education strategy.

    All Australian children and young people, especially Aboriginal children and young people should have access to comprehensive, age appropriate, relationships and sexual health programs, commencing with personal rights and safety in primary schools and before young people become sexually active.

    Since colonisation, Aboriginal children, young people and women have been denied information about their rights including their sexual health rights, this has been a major cause of "ignorance" that has been a major factor in silencing the rape and sexual abuse of our women and our children.

    I am an advocate for all Aboriginal children, young people and women in having access to comprehensive, age appropriate, relationships and sexual health education program.

    Ros Pierce

    ATSI Women’s Educator

    Workforce Development Team

    Sexual Health information networking & education SA Inc (SHine SA)

    64c Woodville Road Woodville (PO Box 76 Woodville 5011)

    Tel: +61 8300 5324 Email: Fax: +61 8 8300 5399 Website: email:

    Friday, 13 November 2009

    Thrills and spills: communities winning and losing their battles

    The Coal Ash Spill into the Clinch River under the governance of the Tennessee Valley Authority is one of the greatest environmental disasters ever.  The spill is nearly 50 times as big as the famous 1989 Exxon-Valdez spill in Alaska. It occurred around 1am on December 22nd when a wall holding back 80 acres of sludge from the TVA’s Fossil Plant gave way. Eight days later, the TVA has yet to release sampling data from the ash pile, and they’re actually trying to claim that the fly ash is not toxic.

    Now as if all this was not bad enough,

    It makes me wonder, firstly,  how much can human communities bear and how much can our planet bear.  Then, secondly, I wonder about Australia. 

    We have been fortunate in not having disasters of quite the same magnitude as the USA manages to produce.  Is it their larger population - more than ten times the number of Australians?  If so, this has consequences for us as our Prime Minister seems to optimistically encourage and imagine a much larger population for Australia.  His projections are still a long way from the population figures for the USA - but on the driest inhabited continent on earth with scarce arable soils what are the conseqneunces of unchecked population increase for Australia and its people?  Then again is all this part of the USA's weddedness to capitalism, even laissez-fare capitalism as demonstrated by their determination to be the only country in the developed world without a national system of medical insurance?  I doubt that,  The responsible authority is a publicly owned utility.

    What does concern me is the attitudes abroad in Australia from corporate and political and bureaucratic big-wigs to the person in the street.  The Top End of Town likes to be inclusive of its own and often acts to exclude wider interests and the well-being of whole communities.  Although, communities have triumphed twice this week: on the matters of the Traveston Dam in Queensland and poker machines in Romsey, Victoria. Congratulations!  These Australians cared about their communities and their well-being - and they won through.

    Communities and the electorate-at-large have to remain aware and vigilant.  If they don't, they can suffer the same fate as the Clinch River residents - overcome by poor decision making and corporate, political, and bureaucratic complacency.  Better to remain on watch than to be faced with messes that can't be cleaned up and corrected.

    All my sympathies go out to the affected communities and citizens of the Clinch River.  Please God, save Australians from themselves and show them how to emulate the determined citizens who stopped the Traveston Dam and the pokies at Romsey.


    Thursday, 12 November 2009


    A couple of missives have landed in Miss Eagle's mailbox which make her wonder if there's something rotten in the state of Denmark or, to be more precise, the land of privatised utility corporations.

    The first one, dear Networkers, to come across the desk was from those avid Networkers doing their best to save Solar Systems.  Here 'tis:

    From: Chris Breen

    To: Philip Sutton ;;
    Sent: Mon, 9 November, 2009 10:18:01 AM
    Subject: Re: [GRCO] Plans for two new big gas fired power stations for Vic and NSW = continuation or increase of CO2 emissions
    Its also worth pointing out that TRUenergy parent CLP group decided to write off its investment in Solar Systems (they had invested $53 million & decided to write that off as a loss, rather than put more money in without finding co-investors). So they can find $2 billion for a new gas fired power plant, but cant find $200 million or so to build a solar power plant in Mildura.

    The gas plant is also dependent on near tripling of compensation to coal-fired generators from $3 billion to $10 billion. Regardless of the specifics of the gas proposal, this also seems to be part of a play for more compensation under the CPRS.
    The government should ditch all compensation and just directly build renewables - $10 billion could build a lot of renewables.

    Renewables are more expensive than gas, but on the figures below not by a whole lot
    1000 megawatt gas plant costs approx $2 billion
    154 megawatt solar plant costs approx $420 million

    Assuming no efficiencies of scale that would make 1000 megawatt of solar cost $2.7 billion, not out of the ball park compared with gas (& solar can be modular, it doesn't have to be all in the same place or built all at once)

    Next protest for Solar Systems & to build the Mildura solar power plant will be Monday November 16, 12.30pm, 280 King St, City. Protest is at Lindsay Tanner's office (he is minister for Finance & Deregulation & MP in area where Abbosttsford solar factory is), but I think we should march to TRUenergy offices, which are just around the corner in Bourke St and finish our protest there.
    more info here

    Then next came a Media Release from the Australian Conservation Foundation:

    Investigation urged on blackout threat
    Date: 11-Nov-2009

    Environment groups have asked the national energy watchdog to investigate claims by TRUenergy that suggest the company may be about to default on electricity supply contracts.
    Over the past year TRUenergy has repeatedly claimed there was a risk of blackouts if it did not receive more compensation under a national emissions trading scheme.
    Environment Victoria and the Australian Conservation Foundation have today written to the Australian Energy Regulator, asking the regulator to examine the accuracy of TRUenergy’s claims that the company may be about to default on contracts.
    Environment Victoria Campaigns Director Mark Wakeham said: “TRUenergy’s 1.3 million customers deserve to know whether they can rely on TRUenergy to deliver on its contracts and whether the company is crying wolf in an attempt to line its own pockets.
    “Claims that the electricity supply is at risk and that the company has reduced maintenance spending at Yallourn power station should be thoroughly investigated.
    TRUenergy is 100 per cent foreign owned by CLP Power International (formerly China Light and Power). ACF climate campaigner Phil Freeman said he was concerned about windfall profits going offshore with no benefit to Australian households or taxpayers.
    “TRUenergy is already set to receive $738 million worth of free permits in the first five years of the proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme.[1] There is no case for the company to get more handouts from the public purse,” Mr Freeman said.
    “The Government should reject these scare tactics because giving more handouts to big polluters will slow down the transition to a low carbon economy and lessen the environmental effectiveness of the emissions trading scheme.”
    The letter has also been sent to the Australian Energy Market Operator, the Essential Services Commission, the Australian Energy Market Commission and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

    [1] Innovest Research note: The impact of industry assistance measures under the CPRS White Paper update, 16/10/200
    Seems to me, that TRUenergy is not a TRUE friend and that institutional reform in respect of public - not privatised - utilities is called for.
    Don't miss Denis Wilson's comment below.

    Wednesday, 11 November 2009

    Australia allows Islamic ritual slaughter of animals without stunning. Shame!

    I posted recently on the animal cruelty mindset in Australia that has allowed ministers in Australian governments to permit, for Islamic religious reasons, the slaughter of animals for export without the usual pre-slaughter stunning which has been traditional to the Australian slaughter of animals.

    Clearly, there is no shame among governments in Australia and their officials.  They care not a fig for the animals. 

    Further reading:
    Ritual slaughter ruling condemned


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