Observations and reflections of a suburban tree

My first memories are of when I was a tiny sapling amongst my contemporaries bordering the fence line of a sprawling four bedroom house, a house which was the height of fashion in architecture back then in 1912. It was a lovely environment for me to grow up in as it was for the children who lived in the house. They used to spend a lot of time with us outside, especially in the warmer months. They had a swing suspended with ropes from a branch of one of the larger trees. Mostly they took it in turns, but occasionally they would quarrel over whose turn it was next. One of the children built a tree house in that same tree and used to sit up on high, higher than I was, reading his favourite books and eating biscuits.

Bluestone toilet blocks Seaford Foreshore battle with Council

We publish here correspondence with Frankston Council over residents' objections to unilateral replacement for bluestone toilet blocks with inferior and costly new ones. The bluestone bricks were not recycled within the council and it is not yet known where they have gone or who may have finished up with them. This toilet inquiry by locals has shown its use in focusing on a small but important unit and asking simple questions, which may yet educate a public more or less overwhelmed by the scale of the ongoing dismantling of Melbourne. The photographs show how well the toilet unit fits into the natural environment, because of the use of natural, almost unprocessed, materials.

23 May 2018 - Public hearings on environmental water, Parliament House, Canberra

The House Standing Committee on the Environment and Energy will hold a public hearing tomorrow for its inquiry into the management and use of Commonwealth environmental water.

The Committee will hear from the National Farmers’ Federation and the National Irrigators’ Council.

The inquiry is focused on the role of the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder, including how environmental water is being used, the outcomes achieved and options for improving community engagement.

Further information about the inquiry can be found on the inquiry website at www.aph.gov.au/environmentalwater.

Public hearing details:
Time: 9.50am – 11.10am
Date: Wednesday 23 May 2018
Location: Committee Room 1R1, Parliament House, Canberra

In Praise of climate deniers (not)

Well not really praise as such but, bear with me, while I justify wandering into this absurdity. I know it's difficult to say nice things about MP Craig Kelly, who claimed that people would die because renewables were raising electricity prices. He was perhaps unaware that the World Health Organisation in 2008 calculated that coal particulate pollution caused one million deaths across the world. And Tony Abbott who, between mouthfuls of onion, told us that coal was good for humanity - which was in opposition to both the Pope and the British Royal family's position - the two institutes he holds dear to his heart. Those are just two of 34 confirmed deniers in the LNP, although the Institute of Public Affairs claims half of the LNP members are supporters of their position.

Wildlife Carer sounds alert on Andrews Government signals against wildlife

"In an irresponsible and callous move and buried in the discussion paper of the Authority To Control Wildlife Review, the Daniel Andrews’ Government has signalled interest in adopting a policy that will see ALL sick, injured and orphaned kangaroos, wombats, possums and cockatoos KILLED instead of rescued and rehabilitated. This short-sighted and catastrophic policy may act to drive wildlife carers underground and will see members of the public refusing to hand over animals to vets and shelters in the fear that joeys and saveable animals will be automatically killed, resulting in horrendous and widespread animal suffering." (Helen Round, Wildlife carer, Macedon Ranges, Victoria.)

China-backed Sumatran dam threatens the rarest ape in the world

A plan to build a massive hydropower dam in Sumatra as part of China’s immense Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) threatens the habitat of the rarest ape in the world, which has only 800 remaining members. It is time for a clarion call for greater caution. While led by China, the BRI will also involve large financial commitments from more than 60 nations that are parties to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, including Australia and many other Western nations. (Article republished from https://theconversation.com/china-backed-sumatran-dam-threatens-the-rarest-ape-in-the-world-95874 at The Conversation.)

Kangaroo - A love Hate Story - Mornington Peninsula screening May 25, 2018

Greensbush Association is screening the new international film about Kangaroos in Australia at 5.30pm May 25th at Main Ridge Community Hall, Main Creek Road, Main Ridge, (Mornington Peninsular) Victoria. This film has been screened and reviewed widely around the world to stunned reviews and I have not found any negative ones. It is not so well known in Australia, of course, because it challenges what governments and corporate press have to say about kangaroos. The Association screening this film is named after Greensbush Mornington Peninsular National Park, which is one of few places where kangaroos might now dwell in comparative safety, were it not for people on neighboring properties who treat them like pests and the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning which encourages this redneck approach to wildlife. Victorians will be concerned to hear that this film tells how the West Australian Commercial Kangaroo Meat industry is running out of kangaroos and planning to open up in Victoria. Of course the grubby Victorian Government is looking for any excuse to get rid of our wildlife. Turn up to this film-screening and maybe you can network with fellow wildlife warriors. The kangaroos need all the help they can get. If you doubt this, check the film out. Donations to cover the cost of the film and venue hire. All welcome! Map to venue at end of article. You can hire this film, host a screening, from kangaroothemovie.com.

Julian Assange Is In Immense Danger - By James Cogan

Julian Assange is in immense danger. Remarks made this week by Ecuador’s foreign minister suggest that her government may be preparing to renege on the political asylum it granted to the WikiLeaks editor in 2012 and hand him over to British and then American authorities. On March 28, under immense pressure from the governments in the US, Britain and other powers, Ecuador imposed a complete ban on Assange having any Internet or phone contact with the outside world, and blocked his friends and supporters from physically visiting him. For 45 days, he has not been heard from. [Article first Published May 13, 2018 at "Information Clearing House"]

The REAL Middle East Nuclear Threat - Corbett Report video & transcript

There is in fact a Middle Eastern nation that is in fact in control of a vast, undeclared stockpile of nuclear weapons. This nation does have the capability of deploying those weapons anywhere in the region. It is not a signatory to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and its arsenal has never been inspected by any international agency. But this nation is not Iran. It's Israel. (James Corbett)

The Left Has Been Highjacked

The left has been hijacked by unwitting servants of the neo-liberal agenda.

I was talking to a friend the other day explaining how I always considered myself left wing, but now apparently I wasn’t. I explained why and she declared that the left has been hijacked.

And it struck me: she is right, it totally has. Remember when the left was about worker’s rights? It was about preventing the rich giving themselves privileges whilst denying ordinary people both rights and access to resources. It was, in large part, about protecting people and the environment from the rapacious appetites of the elite rich. In short, the left was about ensuring that everyone had a level of human dignity and the ability to raise a healthy, happy and educated family.

The immigration “compact” is mere propaganda - Article by Gunnamatta

We had an A grade example of the type of parallel universe Australia’s mainstream media has descended into late last week.  A completely false story given prominence in the national media by The Australian, which was then picked up by various other Rupert Murdoch papers, but which sadly even made it beyond that – all without a single shred of fact, and all without anybody thinking to check, or even think about, the main line of the story being reported.

Video with map: Update of Geopolitics of war in Syria by Kevork Almassian

Kevork Almassian shows us on a coloured map with symbols who is occupying what in Syria at the moment, and discusses the Syrian Government's policy.

AWPC call for VicRoads to cease clearing plans on the Mornington Peninsula

The cover photo is of one of the 13 ringtail possums brought into care at stage 1 of VicRoads' clearing. (See "VicRoads mulch wildlife on Mornington Peninsula -AWPC intervention".) She had a deep facial injury which eventually recovered; she has since been released back into the wild. She was one of the lucky ones, many animals were mulched alive or run over by the heavy machinery that VicRoads used. Autumn has arrived and re-planting of the cleared median strip has not commenced, I would assume that it’s because they haven’t yet finished installing the safety barriers. This begs the question why did they go ahead and clear in spring, if they were going to take this long to complete the barriers? They could have left nesting birds to fledge.

VicRoads highway barriers declared unsafe in Europe - why sacrifice wildlife for them?

An article appeared in the Irish Times in 2007 about the danger that the wire safety barriers cause to motorcyclists. Back then, some countries were considering removing these types of barriers from their roads. VicRoads, in the meantime, has razed vegetation and mulched wildlife recently in order to install these barriers with their dubious safety record. (See "VicRoads mulch wildlife on the Mornington Peninsula.") No doubt someone is making a lot of money out of selling them to VicRoads. But that's no justification for clearing vegetation and injuring, killing and orphaning protected wildlife. All the less so if they may need to remove the barriers in the future because they are unsafe. The illustration in the article is taken from the Times Record News reporting a 2017 incident in Vernon Texas where a motorcyclist received near-fatal injuries on this kind of barrier. This article is based on part of one called "AWPC call for VicRoads to cease clearing plans on the Mornington Peninsula", by Eve Kelly of the Australian Wildlife Protection Council.

One day we may have a public debate about immigration

It is likely to be just as nasty as the one on same sex marriage with all sorts of accusations that target people rather than immigration policies. There will be a rash of claims made against Asians, Muslim, Middle East, and African migrants matched in venom by attacks on the WASP (White, Anglo Saxon Protestant) Rednecks who dared to question their suitability to be citizens. Just like the SSM debate very few people will be persuaded by the opposing claims and instead will only be entrenched further in their own beliefs.

Protesting railway workers force through Macron political party office door in Paris

Railway workers, protesting against changes to the French National Railways [Société nationale des chemins de fer - SNCF], forced their way into the Paris offices of Macron's political party, the Republic on the Move (la Republique en Marche (LREM)) on Friday 4th of May in the afternoon. The economic rationalist French government has used the Orwellian term 'reforms' to describe these changes, which roll back hard won twentieth century gains to workers in France, whilst supporting tax reductions for the super rich.

The ABC, Population Growth and A Big Australia: Official Complaint

During the week commencing 12 March 2018 the Australian Broadcasting Corporation aired a number of programs on a Big Australia — the phrase used to encapsulate debates about the desirability of Australia’s rapid immigration-fuelled population growth. The specific programs included episodes of 4 Corners and QandA. Subsequently I submitted an official editorial complaint as per the ABC’s complaint-handling process. In the complaint I took care to refer in detail to the ABC’s own documented editorial standards. The ABC has acknowledged receipt of the complaint and will respond in writing in due course.

Victorian State Library 6pm tonight: Hands off Syria Vigil - please come and show your support!

Let's avoid World War Three and bring justice, light and humanity to reporting on Syria and stop the lying deeds of US-NATO.

Time: 6:30pm
Place: State Library of Victoria
Date: 30th April 2018
Organisers: Hands Off Syria (Sydney) is coordinating with a group of activists and Syrians to organise a rally in Melbourne.

Things are Desperate - a Last Chance at Change Through Politics


Hi Everyone,

This is a call to arms. The science and other evidence is now without doubt - we are in the final days of our civilisation, whatever it might be called by history; it is hardly Western Civilisation anymore, since the destruction of nature (and I would argue human values, and quite possibly humans) has extended now across the globe.

We have environmentalists who, mostly in small groups, have been fighting the enslaught against nature since industrialism began. They have had their successes, but the rate of destruction is too fast and vicious, and their efforts are overwhelmed.

There is one example that has recently prompted me to post this call. At Stanley one company (with more soon to join) are buying farmland and mining the water i.e extracting the water which is supposed to be for farming and selling it as though it is their own private property. This is not like mining gold, extracting water in this way extracts it from all the neighbours as well. And now more companies/selfish individuals look likely to join the extraction, adding to the problem.

Property Council's Sally Capp & conflict of interest if Lord Mayor of Melbourne

Today Mary Drost, of Planning Backlash, went to a Forum in South Yarra to meet the 14 candidates for Lord Mayor of Melbourne. She says, "We need a good Lord Mayor and not one who will overdevelop and wreck our city even more. These last few years have been terrible. Go and take a look. If you use a search engine to check the population of cities in North America and Western Europe, you will find that Melbourne and Sydney are bigger than all cities except New York, Toronto, London, Paris and Berlin, and add Singapore as that is first world also. We are increasing much too fast - it is wrong."

Soros's Foundation to Exit Hungary Amid Crackdown, Presse Says - Critique

Newly re-elected Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has declared Open Society Foundations, organisations funded by billionaire international currency speculator, George Soros, unwelcome in Hungary. I think he is right. Soros funds, in tens of billions of dollars, lots of Non Government Organisations (NGOs) around the world, many of them through his Open Society Foundations (OSF). Although these NGOs usually identify as 'charities' or 'grass roots' movements, all have in common the political aims of open borders and identity politics, a form of balkanisation. Backed by billions, not millions of dollars, this is the opposite of democracy. In Australia GetUp, which has links to the Australian Greens and the Labor Party, is one of the best known of Soros-linked foundations. (See "Australian democracy swiss-cheesed by George Soros Open Societies Foundations.") GetUp collects your information and resells it or uses it for its own political ends, employing 'organisers' to find and interact with likely prospects for influencing Australian politics the GetUp way (and they don't like population restraint). GetUp has also been running very expensive campaigns to prevent their being obliged to declare themselves as political lobbyists, although they describe this as campaigning for democracy. (See GetUp vid about 'attack on democracy'.) Interesting problem, isn't it? See John Bentley here: "Diversionary tactics, smokescreens and the Electoral Funding and Disclosure Bill 2017.") Soros also funds the 350.org, which has empowered the Shoalhaven Greens to fight the Adani Coal Mine in Queensland, driving down its share prices. Sounds good to you? But, meanwhile, Mr Soros massively invested in coal and fossil fuels as the share price fell. You could say, well, Mr Soros is profiting from bad to fund good - except that he is funding coal, anyway. A number of writers in the Australian Independent Media Network (AIMN) defend Soros when people criticise him, which makes me think that AIMN isn't all that independent. The financial press, such as Bloomberg and investing.com defend Soros like some kind of white knight. See, for instance, https://m.investing.com/news/world-news/civil-organizations-in-hungary-brace-for-government-crackdown-on-ngos-1413683?ampMode=1.

Statement on population numbers by Jack Roach, Boroondara Residents' Action Group (BRAG)

We have noticed many more letters to the local newspapers raising the issue of high population growth mainly due to immigration. A recent survey conducted by The Australian Population Research Institute (TAPRIS) has reported that “74% of voters thought that Australia does not need more people”. The following points set out some of the reasons why we should be demanding better immigration controls by our governments:

These developers just won't give up - come and support Kew Cottages Coalition

Incredibly, Heritage Victoria's second formal Permit refusal to allow a developer's plans to build within the tree lined avenue approach to the former Willsmere Hospital is set to be reviewed by Heritage Council Victoria. (See Herald Sun / Progress Leader 31 Oct 2017.) The Heritage Council will hold a Public Hearing commencing on the 18th June 2018 to review Heritage Victoria's rejection of Walker's application to build private apartments on the parkland.

National Trust 'toolkit' launch invitation -16 May

The National Trust of Australia (Victoria) and the Royal Historical Society of Victoria invite you to attend the launch of the National Trust’s Advocacy Toolkit. This free online resource, supported by the Victoria Law Foundation, will [try to] provide communities across Victoria with the tools they need to protect their natural and cultural heritage. Wednesday 16 May, 12.45pm at Royal Historical Society of Victoria, 239 A'Becket Street, Melbourne.

Why is Victoria’s Agriculture Minister ignoring the law on cruelty to caged birds?

Thousands of pet birds in Victoria will be subjected to totally unnecessary, inexcusable and inhumane stress after Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford rubber-stamped a request from bird keepers to ignore Victorian law relating to the sale of non-native birds, warns Animal Justice Party president, Bruce Poon. According to Victorian law, bird species which originated outside Australia cannot legally be sold in Victoria except from pet shops and private residences.

Exclusive emails show how the White Helmets tried to recruit Roger Waters with Saudi Money to engage in anti-Syria propaganda

During a Barcelona concert on April 13, Roger Waters denounced the Syrian White Helmets as “a fake organization that exists only to create propaganda for jihadists and terrorists.” Warning that the groups’ unverified claims about chemical weapons attacks across insurgent-held territory were aimed at triggering Western military intervention, Waters cautioned his audience, “If we were to listen to the propaganda of the White Helmets and others, we would encourage our governments to start dropping bombs on people in Syria. This would be a mistake of monumental proportions for us as human beings.”

In fact, Waters had first hand experience with the powerful pro-war PR operation behind the White Helmets. Back in October 2016, a public relations firm representing the White Helmets called The Syria Campaign attempted to recruit Waters by inviting him to a lavish dinner organized by a Saudi-British billionaire, Hani Farsi. The rock legend and renowned activist was told that by signing on to the organization’s mission, he could help “elevate the voices of Syria’s peaceful heroes”

[This article, by Max Blumenthal, is republished in part from Gray Zone.]

Mmbrs of European Parliament protest Syria strikes during Macron’s call for EU unity (PHOTOS)

A group of MEPs held placards reading “Hands off Syria!” during Emmanuel Macron’s address before the European parliament on Tuesday, overshadowing the French president’s call for greater European unity on security issues. (First published time: 17 Apr, 2018 14:11n at https://www.rt.com/news/424390-parliament-macron-protest-syria/)

Another stupid F****** war! Paul Joseph Watson

This video will make you feel better about thinking, in a world where being programmed seems easier.

Pink Floyd's Roger Waters outs the White Helmet fraudsters

Filmed by Dima Aboud in Spain. Roger Waters exposes NATO-member-state White Helmets as a multi million dollar funded propaganda construct for terrorist factions inside Syria.

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