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www.livingwiththebush.org tries to stop Brumby's new suburban land-clearing laws

The Brumby government has, even before the results of the bushfire commission, jumped in and passed draconian legislation with less than one day's notice, which allows unprecedented clearing of bushlands and gardens, on the pretext that it will prevent fires. The removal of vegetation is the primary factor connected with warming of the earth and loss of rainfall. It not only releases huge amounts of carbon gases from the organisms in the soil as they die, but it removes shade, decreases humidity, dries out the earth and affects winds and rainfall, including rainfall inland. This law is ecologically insane and very very stupid. Victorians should be frightened by the ignorance of their government and they should also be suspicious of its motives, since it is virtually a commercial property development corporation in its own right, thus an advocate of moonscaping. Website - http://livingwiththebush.org/dp/

A New look at Citizens' Initiated Referenda in Australia & elsewhere

Many ordinary people and committed activists are despairing of parliamentary democracy in its current form but say “What else can we do?” So many things just happen without us feeling that we have had any say at all or that our concerns have been completely ignored. Many of our friends are deeply disheartened. We say the community can no longer rely on our elected representatives to make objective and reasonable decisions on our behalf and we have to do something different. (This is not about the “People’s Mandate” idea, which aims to collect signatures from over 50% of eligible persons to then invoke powers which have purportedly existed since Magna Carta. Blue Wedges sought legal opinion on the People’s Mandate and were advised, by the now President of the Court of Appeal that the People’s Mandate has no legal standing)

REPCO Rally injunction raced through court up blind alley

"We knew we were gone when the Judge said,
'Time's up, you’ve got one more issue you can raise.' We hadn’t even started. We had only just got past the argument where she dismissed both our ecologists’ reports." Before it has even been run, the REPCO car race has damaged local democracy with impacts far exceeding local boundaries. Environment and democracy, go hand in hand. Environmental destruction and corruption follow closely behind destruction of democracy through unbridled commerce. We think that all judges in the land should be concerned about this.

See also: Repco Rally route - the calm before the storm of 26 Aug 09, URGENT! Contact Peter Garrett re Injunction to stop Repco Rally of 29 Aug 09, Removing Environ laws results in violence"of Sep 5, 09.

What can happen to community groups when they brave VCAT


This interesting letter about the experience of a citizen representing a group's appeal at VCAT vindicates the citizen, educates others about the VCAT attitude, and shows VCAT up.

The Vanishing of Bees - film

Among many frightening problems posed by the scale of industrialisation and mass production in the world is "bee colony collapse" syndrome (BCC). This condition where bee populations suddenly die off in massive numbers, endangers a large part of world food production, both large and small-scale. As such it literally threatens 'life as we know it'. A bee-less planet would be nearly unrecognisable, with the disappearance from the earth of many familiar kinds of trees, fruits, flowers and vegetables and the birds and other animals that depend on them. Now there is a new film out, made by apiarists, the humans first in line to suffer when bees do. The syndrome has been linked to particular pesticides. There is a comprehensive trailer available here.

See also :
"Trouble with bees", ABC Radio National's Background Briefing of 29 Jul 07, including transcript and link to 22Mb MP3 file.

Joe Toscano - Your local anarchist on podcast; antidote to the Jon Faine & Madonna Kings of the airwaves

Tired, angry, frightened by your government and big business? Surrounded by hysterical idiots? ABC and the shockjocks make you grind your teeth? Don't know where to turn? Need to get a grip? - Look for the Joe Toscano anarchist pod-casts on 3CR Victoria. You can download his soothing but relevant political counsel every week. It's all about relocalise, energy, population, democracy and land-tenure. It's called anarchism, and Joe is the only person I've ever heard talk about it coherently and simply.

Rees 'State Plan' an edict of fascist exploitation of the NSW environment

The NSW Government 'State Plan' to which all of NSW Government policy hinges, reflects a fettish for short term economic stimulation. To the incumbent Premier Rees, 'jobs, jobs, jobs' can only be good, irrespective of which unsustainable industry they are in, or how short term they may be. The State Plan is all about jobs at all costs. The triple bottom line has gone out the door. Rees' Plan ranks the environment a priority level 4 and deems native forests only valuable for exploitation and utility benefit to humans.

Lights out for democracy - privatisation of essential services in Victoria

Victoria is outsourcing its essential services for competitive profit and marketing taxpayer-funded 'gifts' to taxpayers as if they were 'free'. The activities of the sector are to be monitored - but only economically - by a new body calledThe Essential Services Commission - which apparently approves of these 'free' gifts. Would you trust people with so little concern for democracy? A concerned citizen expresses her disgust at the whole scammy system, marketed by naive young people cold-calling customers at home. Comment inside from Essential Services Commission

African Elephants - still slaughtered for tusk ('ivory') trinkets by backward Japanese and Chinese

After the elephant tusk (ivory) trade had decimated the African Elephant population from 1.3 million to 625,000, finally in 1989 the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) imposed a ban on this international elephant tusk (ivory) trade, mainly on Japan and China.
Ten years later, Zimbabwean dictator, Robert Mugabe, lifted the ban along with Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa and legalised the sale of elephant tusks from elephants they claimed (a) had died naturally or (b) been shot because they were violently aggressive or for 'problem-animal' control.

This article further explores the plight of this magnificent animal following the disturbing news article on 28-Jul-09 posted on CanDoBetter by Vivienne Ortega Robert Borsak - Australia's Sarah Palin? Do you want him in your Parliament?

Tweed Council gag a corruption threat

Sylvia Hale, NSW Greens MP and Local Government spokesperson has slammed Tweed Council for imposing a ban on its Councillors disclosing information to the media.

Bogeyman of racism a useful decoy for the Growth Lobby

Our primary concern should not be about how people in our lifeboat treat each other, where they are from or how they look, but how many damn passengers the boat can carry sustainably past the tumultuous storms of peak oil, peak water and peak everything that loom over the horizon.

Important Radio Interview:Ian Douglas on U.N. &Oz Water Rights, Royal Commission & State of Emergency

Tune in to this ABC Radio interview with Ian Douglas, National Coordinator of Fair Water Use about the role of private reserves in the disappearance of water in the Darling River today, 28-7-2009. Dr Douglas's comments go beyond the immediate condition of the Darling River, into Australians' human rights and our right to change laws. It explains why the UN backs the need for a Royal Commission. Publicity is being given to this interview because of the dire need Australia has of spokespeople able to form appropriate concepts and priorities on this matter.

Secretive Private water increase MAIN cause of Darling R. crisis - NOT drought - UN supports Emergency Enquiry

Listen to interview.
New data shows that the effect of the rapid increase in privately-held water in the Darling Basin on the volumes of water available for essential public and environmental use is the main cause of the water crisis, not the drought. The Senior water advisor to the United Nations supports a call for declaration of a State of Emergency and the establishment of a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the management of the water of the Murray-Darling Basin.

Wildlife Research in Australia

Can research benefit wildlife? Can research contribute to its survival? Can research engender respect for the intrinsic value of wildlife? Or will an overriding profit motive drive all wildlife to extinction?

ALP Kelvin Thomson MP says Five Million is too many; Melbourne should control population growth

"Everything that makes our city the great place to live, work and raise a family, is potentially under threat if population growth and urban sprawl continue at the current rate. We must implement a strategy to control population growth, urban expansion and development. Our way of life, open spaces and infrastructure cannot be sacrificed on the altar of ever expanding population. We have a responsibility to secure our city’s future through thorough, thoughtful and detailed planning. This planning should not include an expanding Melbourne waistline." (Kelvin Thomson MP, Federal Member for Wills, "Five Million is too many: Securing the Social and Environmental Future of Melbourne: Submission to the Urban Growth Boundary Review, July 2009)

Cyrius01 Video: Nation building

Cyrius01 has made another great comic video about Australia's national economic policy choices in the face of recession and climate change. Click on the link inside to see the video.

Yet more problems for persecuted cockatoos - West Australia

“I have personally given all my energy and strength to bring the plight of these birds to every Australian and beyond. I have at times put the birds before my family..." Glenn Dewhurst, Black Cockatoo Conservation Team, West Australia. Now, however, the team feels that it is under attack and stonewalled by government. How long can these wildlife warriors personally sustain the unreasonable pressure on them to desist from preventing the West Australian Cockatoo from dying out? See also http://blackcockatoorescue.com, Threatened West Aust Black Cockatoo gets help and Help save West Australian black cockatoo from extinction, phone Glen on 0417 988 872.

One more Australian every 2 minutes: Rapid population growth a disgrace, says expert

Australia needs to stem population growth to address climate change - expert warns. “Australia is a disgrace. We have one of the highest rates of population growth of any developed country. What are we going to do about it?” says Professor Roger Short, Melbourne University.
Australia's population is increasing by about one person every two minutes. [Apologies from Editor: we have just changed the title to reflect the real speed of pop growth -i.e. not two more people every minute, but one more person every two minutes.]

Tax-deductibility, Environmental Groups & NGOs

A few years ago the government overhauled its definition of tax-deductible groups and effectively outlawed independent political activism in tax-deductible environmental (and other) groups. What the government was saying was, 'We are not going to fund our potential enemies' political campaigns.'

This was the point where a lot of organisations should probably have decided to ditch their tax-deductibility status because our environment and wildlife protection are so threatened by government-supported corporate development that environmental activism generally requires opposition to most government programs.

FGA Hunters used stolen water to draw ducks to slaughter

“As Field and Game Australia entered into a partnership to purchase the property with the Hugh Williamson Trust, the West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority (WGCMA) and environment group, Watermark, it remains to be seen whether these highly reputable organisations will risk their credibility by remaining in partnership with FGA." (Laurie Levy)

NSW MP Moyes speech for the people against Motor Sport (World Rally Championship) Bill 2009

The psychological condition of "solistalgia" is now widespread in the North Coast area [where REPCO rally push is]. Solistalgia is defined as "the deep distress induced by environmental change, which is exacerbated by the sense of powerlessness and loss of control over the changes that are occurring". "I do not approve of anything that can be construed as a misuse of power and, therefore, I will not support any bill that allows large-scale events unwanted by the people who would have to host them."
Note that Dr Moyes was actually initially physically locked out of the room where this bill was being debated. You can read about that Which MPs voted for and against the REPCO Rally law in NSW Parliament?

Which MPs voted for and against the REPCO Rally law in NSW Parliament?

Hansard, the Parliamentary report publication, beats The Australian, The Courier Mail, The Age and any number of newspapers any day. Tuesday 26 June in NSW Parliament was a bumper issue, with a parliamentarian beating on locked doors and chaotic debating worthy of Lewis Carol's Alice In Wonderland's "Caucus Race". But the issues were serious and, although the majority voted the Repco rally facilitating bill in, that doesn't mean that justice was done or that democracy was served.

Urban Democracy & Environment movement stops rotten DACs law - Victoria, Australia

Another success for the urban democracy and environment movement. The day after the "Restore Residents Rights" rally at parliament house on June 10, which was attended by about 600 people, Victoria's upper house rejected changes to the Planning and Environment Act that would have introduced Development Assessment Committees [DACs] to the State.

Channel Deepening: Auditor General Report figures in question

Port of Melbourne Corporation (PoMC) admitted that only 4% of ships cannot enter or leave Port Phillip Bay fully loaded. (Supplementary EES statement process and the hearings, and Report on Channel Deepening by the Standing Committee on Finance and Public Administration released last September) The Auditor General's report relied on a figure of 50% which he told Greens Parliamentarian that he was given by PoMC. Elsewhere the report recommends that the Port of Melbourne Corporation start to collect figures on this.

Westernport & Peninsula threatened by most massive industrial development ever in Australia

Social and environmental damage of unprecedented proportions looms over Westernport and will spearhead the suffocation of natural environment and democratic community on the Mornington Peninsula if projects on the drawing board continue to exert a heavy influence on local and state government and actually find funding. Report from Southern Victoria Community Action Group (SVCAG). SVCAG is an independent expert in its own right on these developments and should represent the regions' citizens, vote on reference groups and give advice. It has, however, been kept off the Port of Hastings Corp Community Reference Group. It is unacceptable to shut out citizens' groups from significant developments.

Human Rights and Water

FairWaterUse: "The right to water will be declared an essential human right as a global commons. Under this definition, the right to water will be given precedence and advantage, in international and local law, over any other interests. Access to water will not be subject to market forces or to private or corporate interests. The precautionary principle of ecosystem protection must take precedence over commercial demands on water." The closing date for submissions to the Human Rights Consultation process established by the Federal Government is June 15th 2009.

Threatened West Aust Black Cockatoo gets help

The Black Cockatoo Conservation Team has just pulled off a remarkable rescue of wildlife habitat. One West Australian Black Cockatoo colony has been saved from the developers, in the nick of time, but the species is still not out of danger. Video-link inside article.

See also: “Help save West Australian black cockatoo from extinction”, blackcockatoorescue.com.

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State Government intervenes on behalf of Repco Rally Australia

The NSW state government has taken the decision about planning approval for the proposed Repco Rally Australia leg of the World Rally Championships away from local councils by announcing that it would prepare special events legislation to ensure the rally goes ahead despite growing local opposition. The minister responsible is Ian MacDonald, Minister for State Development, Energy, Primary Industries, and mineral resources (pictured left).

Frosty Wooldridge reviews 'Overloading Australia'

In his review of "Overloading Australia" by Mark O'Connor and William Lines, Frosty Wooldridge author of America on the brink who has cycled 100,000 miles across six continents in the past 25 years, refutes commonly held misconceptions that the Australian continent is underpopulated.

Also published on Australia.to News and in American Chronicle as part 1 and part 2.
See also: www.frostywooldridge.com.

Prosperity without Growth? Can we build a steady state sustainable economy for our future?

In March 2009 the UK Government’s Sustainable Development Commission, published a groundbreaking report that questions the 'relentless pursuit of growth' by governments. It argued that the pursuit of economic growth is one of the root causes of the current global financial crisis, as well contributing to a growing environmental crisis. It seems Gordon Brown and other world leaders weren’t listening as they spend billions they haven’t got “to restore growth,” in a world of rapidly depleting resources.

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