Miscellaneous comments from 24 October 2013

Comments made on the previous Miscellaneous comments page from 15 Sep 2013 can be found . If you have anything you would like to raise, which is likely to be of interest to our site's visitors, which is not addressed in other articles, please add your comments .


Try to follow the logic in Matthew Guy's argument.

From in the Melbourne Age of 21 Oct 2013 :

  1. Debate about overseas migration and population growth is ridiculous because Victoria has embraced faster growth in the past, Planning Minister Matthew Guy said.
  2. ''This country was growing faster on a percentage basis, Victoria was growing much faster on a percentage basis, in the 1950s and '60s … it was managed in a spirit of co-operation and as a positive challenge and one that this country and in particular the state of Victoria accommodated without a great deal of fuss,'' [Matthew Guy] said.
  3. ''If we ended all overseas migration tomorrow, Melbourne would still add the population of Adelaide [1.2 million people] through natural increase in that period alone,'' Mr Guy told a Property Council of Australia growth summit in Melbourne.
  4. [Matthew Guy] said ''the issue of managing population increase with services and infrastructure and planning'' would be ongoing.

Given the gridlocked peak hour traffic and lack of public transport and other services to many new belts of Melbourne's urban sprawl, I would have thought it self-evident that neither Matthew Guy's Government nor any previous Victorian state government had managed "infrastructure and planning." So why should we expect any better from him from now on?

Thanks Geoff for drawing attention to Guy's comments. My responses: 1. It is obvious that town planning has failed us in the past. It is just too difficult. 2. Even if the percentage growth rates are down, it is the absolute growth that is relevant because of supply constraints, especially the availability of land - and infrastructure provision due to time lags and costs. The "spirit of co-operation" would certainly apply to the property industry and some other industries and professions with a vested interest in growth. " . . . without a great deal of fuss" - does Mathew live in a cocoon? 3. A nonsensical argument. 4. In other words, a continuing shambles.

Moreton Bay's waterways will die within 20 years if more isn't done to protect the health of the bay, from a sea grass to an algae environment, a leading Australian water scientist has warned. Mud is flowing downstream from the Lockyer Valley, and from constructions sites around Brisbane into Moreton Bay. Moreton Bay is home to the largest population of dugongs but more than 80 per cent of Moreton Bay's seagrass beds were lost in some areas after sediment flowed into the bay in 2011. The 2011 Brisbane floods brought thousands of tonnes of silt, which settled in Moreton Bay, and that silt is laced with all the pollutants of agricultural and urban development. The Lockyer Valley is rated among the top ten most fertile farming areas in the world. The area is under heavy urban pressure for housing developments. Cyclones and floods are part of the climatic landscape, but human impacts have a multiplying effect on disturbances to soils, on the amount of concrete and hard surfaces, and output of pollutants washed into the waterways. By 2031 the region’s population is estimated to grow to over 585,000 from around 390,000 new, and be the third largest growth area after Brisbane and the Gold Coast. "Some" innovative developers controlling erosion is inadequate! Urban planning needs to consider deadly environmental impacts, and planners need to include the word "no" into their vocabulary where it's inappropriate.

Red-neck drought-ridden Queensland farmers will be able to get "relief" from the "plagues" of kangaroos eating grass. They have received some reprieve with the State Government agreeing to relax regulations around the "culling" of macropods. Landowners will now be able to apply for a damage mitigation permit (DMP) to cull up to 1000 kangaroos, rather than the previous limit of 500 kangaroos. The Queensland outback will become kangaroo-killing fields, without sympathy or limits. There is no evidence macropods are doing "damage". It's simply a commercially driven bid to allow cattle to maximise the amount of grass they get. There will also be no limitation on the number of DMPs that a landholder can submit in a calendar year and applications for DMPs will be processed within seven days of lodgement. It's about streamlining processes, to make killing permits quicker and less justified. Graziers claim they are are losing up to half their carrying capacity to kangaroos in some areas. Native animals are being scape-goated for their numbers, despite their indigenous rights to exist in their own territories. Farmers are struggling with drought and the impact of kangaroos on country they are trying to spell is devastating. Who are the real culprits? There's the implications of the live export industry, of the promises of wealth and industry by providing red meat for Asia, as part of the Asian Century. Anthropogenic climate change, exacerbated by hard-hoofed cattle, greenhouse emissions and land clearing, will cause more droughts and lower livestock "carrying capacity". Kangaroos have no economic or political powers in their favour, and are thus being targeted for "damage mitigation"!

The following is one of 28 English language Daily Newscasts of Syrian TV on the YouTube Channel. Links to other Youtube broadcasts are listed below. The English speaking presenters are composed, calm and show remarkably good humour given the appalling bloodshed suffered by their fellow Syrians these past two and a half years.

Earlier daily Newscasts of Syrian TV

September: .

The death toll is estimated at above 100,000 and much of Syria's infrastructure has been destroyed. But, as this broadcast shows, the terrorists have been made to pay for their crimes by the Syrian Army.

But no country can endure indifinitely the trials that have been imposed upon . The governments of countries like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United States and France, who are waging proxy war against Syria using the terrorists must be held to account by their people. On 12 October, that Tunisians protested in defence of the Syrian Government and against their government's support of the terrorists. More should follow the Tunisian protestors' example.

This petition is directed to the Federal Government asking to re-classify the dingo in Australia and to have a National Dingo Plan, and to end the cruel management (FIDRMS) now still in place on the Fraser Island dingoes, and to Cease Baiting 1080 and ALL poison baiting .. This is the biggest campaign we've ever run our target is to gain thousands of signatures from all over Australia and Internationally. The government is going to see that we must protect this native Australia's only top predator and change the legislation and the laws that stand now on the dingoes of Australia who are not recognised as a native species and are classified as a pest on the same level as a cane toad.. Small crop and banana farmers say turkeys are stripping crops and they want the Government to reduce dingo baiting to allow wildlife balance to be restored. An Australian Banana Growers Council spokeswoman said Sunshine Coast growers had reported substantial damage. *Many Indigenous Tribes across Australia hold the Dingo as Sacred Totem. It is apart of the Dreamtime. *Dingoes are the top land Predator and hold the Ecosystem in balance ref: Wallach and O'Neill. *Dingoes keep the Fox and Cat in tow along with the Goat and Pig and maintain a balance in the Kangaroo and Rabbit population. *What does it take for people in this country to get off their behinds and demand this travesty is stopped? *If it was the Japanese killing Whales there would be thousands marching and chanting big mouthed antics against that nation! *Wake up Aussies before it is too late'. *If we lose the dingo then the fox will become the top Australian predator an introduced animal for the settlers to use for fox hunting. *Why is it so important that we as a nation should voice loud and clear to save our dingoes *when we do this for animals far away from these shores, yet we condone the extinction of the Dingo an agenda our Government delivers every day in their focus of the extinction of our iconic unique dingo! *Something must be done as this is a travesty of massive proportion.

What do the Australian Mining and Minerals Association, the Business Council of Australia, the Master Builders Association and the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry have in common? They all think that their members, including large multinational companies, shouldn't have to advertise local jobs to Australian workers. They claim that they can’t find "skilled" workers locally. But how do they know if they don't even bother looking? And whatever happened to training workers and putting on apprentices? We ran a campaign which got the previous Federal Government to pass legislation that made it obligatory for employers to advertise jobs and prove no qualified Australian workers were available, before 457 visa workers can be approved. But the big end of town is now calling on the new Coalition Government to repeal this legislation, despite the fact that unemployment is rising. There are 714,100 people currently looking for work and our youth unemployment rate is at 12.6 per cent, its highest since 2002. Despite this, the Minister for Immigration, Scott Morrison has signalled he will consider removing this legal requirement, siding with big business instead of the hundreds of thousands of Australians looking for work. Join with CFMEU and tell Scott Morrison employers should have to advertise jobs to Australian workers first and get 457 visa workers only if they prove they can’t find a suitable Australian candidate.

I received the following from Jill Quirk:

Dear SPA member,

You may wish to listen to this program (see below) early tomorrow morning and you can ring in with your own view point.


Jill Quirk
, Victoria and Tasmanian branch

Tomorrow morning Thursday 31st October at 420am on ABC Radio with Michael Pavlich, Kelvin Thomson will be doing an extended interview on the issue of global population and Australia’s population growth. The interview will then be followed by talkback callers with questions and discussion for Kelvin. We understand the interview will be broadcast nationally and can also be listened to online. Details are as follows:

— Tune in to your LOCAL ABC Radio frequency (eg in Melbourne 774am) to hear the interview

— Or stream online and follow the prompts at

— Talkback calls will be taken at 1300 800 222

— Send in texts during the interview at 0437 774 774

Animals Australia video footage was gathered during the Eid al-Adha, or Festival of Sacrifice, in Jordan in mid October. It has been sent to the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and shows sheep being dragged along the ground, thrown into car boots and carved open at the throat. In one scene, four dying sheep lie twitching in an open street alongside the still body of a fifth. Thousands of sheep have been released outside the ESCAS supply chain system that makes exporters responsible for them up to the point of slaughter. However, Federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce has ruled out stopping live exports to Jordan, saying such a move would only end up hurting Australian producers. There's more interest in the financial welfare of producers than the animals! Prime Minister Tony Abbott has described graphic footage of Australian sheep being brutally slaughtered in Jordan as "disturbing", but he has defended live exports as a "good system." We must wonder what a "bad system" for animals really would be like? How can it get any worse? When there's a lack of human rights, there's even more reason animals can be abused. Amnesty International has particular concerns about the application of the death penalty in Jordan because there is a pattern of death sentences, and sometimes executions, occurring as a result of unfair trials where confessions extracted under torture are used as evidence against the defendants. How are animals to be protected in such brutish regimes? When animals are concerned, industries can't simply brush aside ethics. These callous politicians have blood on their hands, and show how truly shallow their character are when they can over-look brutality and grotesque treatment of sentient animals.

Yesterday I wrote to the Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce. The electronic copy has been lost but I made the following points to him. Whilst the government allows the live animal export trade, knowing that the result can well be very inhumane treatment, in fact bloodthirsty sadistic torture the government is a party to the end result. Whilst Mr. Joyce has acknowledged that the treatment is not too good therefore can be assumed not to condone it, it is really even worse if he does not condone it but allows this trade to continue. He is turning a blind eye! The answer to this moral question would have been obvious to me when I was in primary school. I would hope it would still be clear to primary school children but with examples like Mr. Joyce in parliament how long can our ethical standards endure? Mr. Joyce said he cannot police what goes in the rest of the world. That is true, therefore he needs to keep things within is area of control. The other aspect of the harm inflicted by this industry is the effect on Australians hearing about, knowing and seeing what happens to these animals, knowing that our own government is a party to it and that it is intransigent on the issue. I would consider this to be traumatizing. It traumatizes me every time I hear about it. I cannot watch the footage of suffering animals but I get the picture from reading about it and knowing that there is footage. Maintaining the live animal export industry is doing us all harm as well as the poor animals. It has to be debasing our psyche.

A STATEMENT ON LATEST ANIMAL CRUELTY REVELATIONS The Independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, will discuss the latest revelation of cruelty in Australia’s live animal export trade, this time the live sheep trade to Jordan. WHEN: 12.30pm 31 October WHERE: Parliament House Lawns Hobart “I’m beyond asking how many more episodes of animal cruelty are needed before the Australian Government shuts down the live export trade,” Mr Wilkie said. “The Government simply doesn’t care about the trade being systemically cruel, not being in Australia’s economic self-interest and lacking popular support. “The latest episode in Jordan shows again the cruelty routinely metered out to Australian livestock sent overseas. It joins a very long list of exposé?s by Animal Australia and others in countries as diverse as Turkey, Israel, Egypt, Pakistan and of course repeatedly in Indonesia. “In this case the Government must identify the Australian exporter and come down on it like a ton of bricks. “To allow the trade to continue in the full knowledge that it is systemically cruel makes the Australian Government every bit as guilty as any individual found guilty in Australia of cruelty to animals. “I remain committed to progress a Private Member’s Bill in the new Parliament to wind up the trade.” AT least Andrew Wilkie is very concerned about the ongoing animal cruelty and will continue to campaign to end live animal exports. To this end he will be introducing a Private Member’s Bill to the Parliament when it resumes.

Dear Andrew I strongly support your efforts to stop the live animal export trade. I have just sent an email to Sen Barnaby Joyce in support of your efforts. Please know that thinking Australians do want this cruel trade to end. The animals have no say in what happens to them and it is up to us to ensure they are treated as live, sentient beings, deserving of respect. Please continue, in spite of the opposition you find in parliament. I find it hard to believe that any educated, thinking person could possibly think that sending live animals on long sea trips to slaughter houses in countries where there is no respect for animals, is an OK idea. It is obviously money that is talking. Bribery and corruption tends to be inherent in the countries of destination. Our society in Australia needs to show the world that we act on our principles and follow through with what we believe, rather than kow-towing to others' beliefs. Yours sincerely Helen B Carter

UNESCO, which oversees the world heritage status of the Great Barrier Reef, has already voiced concern that the port developments might put the area on its ''endangered'' list. While their report has given some weight to the role dredging and port developments play in the state of the reef, it highlighted more urgent concerns from nutrient run-off, climate change and the crown of thorns starfish. No port developments should be permitted outside the existing major port areas, it said. Queensland Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney said it was important for decisions about the reef to be based on scientific facts, not "alarmist claims" by environmental groups that can't be verified. Environmental groups remain concerned about the impact of proposed dredging projects near the reef, including the Abbot Point proposal due for a decision next month. Environment Minister Mr Hunt said he was encouraged by ''new science'' that could prove more effective in combating the crown-of-thorns starfish infestations that were killing coral. New programs to stop run-off from farms would also make a difference, he said. His "new science" sounds more like a denial of traditional science, based on observation, empirical evidence and obvious conclusions. This "new science" what our present day politicians are committed to and is the attitude towards climate change! Crown-of-thorns starfish are responsible for 42 per cent of the coral damage. Storms account for 48 per cent of the degradation and bleaching accounts for the remainder. The assessment found seagrass meadows had also been affected, hurting populations of dugongs and turtles. If Abbot point goes ahead as planned it will be the largest coal export port on the planet, and if Mackay goes ahead it will be the second biggest port coal on the planet. And the Whitsundays lie in the middle. The $6.2 billion expansion of the coal port would see four additional coal terminals built; which would provide an extra annual capacity of 120 million tonnes and would support the developments in the Bowen, Surat, and Galilee Basins of Queensland. Tourists don't want to see destroyed coasts and bygone natural treasures, and marine wildlife will be killed or turned away. This generation shouldn't bear the guilt of having destroyed an world-heritage area, and future generations will be condemning us in retrospect. There's little compatibility between capitalistic economic growth, and long term conservation. There's no ultimate point of having a thriving and successful coal-mining industry if we lose a world-heritage natural treasure- worth more than any billions from dirty coal extraction and export.

A PROPOSAL to reduce the amount of dredging at the controversial $2 billion Abbot Point coal port from 3 million cubic metres to just 500,000 cubic metres has been rejected by the State Government. A departmental briefing to Environment Minister Andrew Powell which was uncovered in a Right to Information search says the port could go ahead with less dredging if the two jetties to be built were extended from 2.8km to 4km. The idea would likely have meant that dredge spoil could have been dumped onshore instead of in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. An assessment of the Reef released on Friday blamed agricultural and urban run-off rather than dredging for most damage. Population growth and increased urban run-off, and the "Asian Century", will ensure the threats continue to increase. The heavy dredging will simply put the nails in the coffin of the Great Barrier Reef's integrity. The briefing warns that dredge spoil material is moving much further and in much greater volumes than previously thought. If Abbot Point dredging was approved this year, it would enable supporting mine and rail developments to proceed, making coal export possible by 2017. Governments couldn't consciously be exporting coal if they accepted the science of climate change. "Science" is acceptable if it remains static and abstract, in journals and academic communities. If it impinges on our government's growth plans, and exports, then it becomes controversial and inconvenient - and must be denied!

Ivory and other body parts from African wildlife, and other parts of the world, means animals are being brutally hacked, killed and threatened by poachers. The new trend, to the delight of some graziers who resent the presence of native kangaroos, is that kangaroo testicles are considered an aphrodisiac! Kangaroo testicles are bound for China as a sex drug branded as a new aphrodisiac. According to popular online shopping websites, China has gone nuts over the tonic which sells for between $30-$150 for a bottle of 100 capsules. There's no scientific or rational basis for this belief, or no empirical evidence. Australian medical experts warn the drug, based on testosterone, is untested and without scientific data to support its claims of a super-sexed libido. Like rhino horns that's simply cartilage, like human fingernails, there's no evidence of it being medicinal in value. One label says that "the male kangaroo may mate with 40 female kangaroos and produces twice as much semen as a bull. Essence of Kangaroo is extremely potent as it is rich in natural hormones, proteins, zinc and iron, which are able to increase physical strength and enhance the sexual energy.'' If true, that doesn't mean this potency can be consumed! The myth that kangaroo breed in "plague" proportions is being propagated, when their joey death rate is very high. The kangaroo killing commercial industry won't refute the science, or evidence to the contrary, if they are making money from the body parts of kangaroos - our nation's icon!

In an another attack on democracy, the Victorian Government has announced a major crackdown on opponents of duck hunting and logging. Our governments are becoming increasingly authoritian, and autocratic. Protesters in duck shooting areas will have their fines increased to a massive $8500, instead of $1400. It used to be $100 under Labor. If hunters are "harassed", there could be a fine of $3,500. The new highly protected species isn't the native waterbirds, but their human predators. They are highly valued Liberal voters, obviously! Duck rescuers are to stay 25 meters from hunters, for their "safety". Wearing bright gear, they are more safe than the hunters in their camouflage clothing. Similarly, the Government has also created new offences for breaching an exclusion order in logging zones, with similar penalties. Loggers are to be prized species, with higher protection than the native, and threatened, species they are eliminating. These "crackdowns" are more evidence that democracy and transparency are being eroded as our economic model of perpetual growth means whittling away of natural resources, and those who do it need more and more heavy-handed and draconian protection and support. The new "criminals" are the conservationists and animal activists - those who care about the environment, and native species.

The Warsaw climate summit is the first major round of United Nations climate change negotiations since the Abbott government took office. Countries are normally represented by ministers in the second week of major climate meetings. However, our government will not be represented by any senior member. The United Nations Framework convention on climate change will try to hammer out a new international agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions. It's unclear if the diplomats attending from Australia will be given a mandate for the meeting, to negotiate. The Australian climate change ambassador Dr Justin Lee will lead the delegation. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has denied 25 years of climate change research and accused a UN executive secretary of the Framework Convention on Climate Change of "talking through her hat." Environment Minister Mr Hunt said he "looked up what Wikipedia" had written about bushfires and based his statements there. He said it was clear from Wikipedia that Australia's bushfires were "normal and frequent events". Former prime minister John Howard has poured scorn on the "alarmist" scientific consensus on global warming in a speech to a gathering of British climate skeptics, comparing those calling for action on climate change to religious zealots. No lay person would question peer-reviewed advancements in medical science, paleontology, archeology, zoology, or have the grounds to be highly dismissive and skeptical of new research findings and trends, but when it comes to climate science, it's too abstract, and can be dismissed with impunity as a religious belief without foundation? No wonder no politician will be at the UN climate change conference. Australia is locked into the economic-model of perpetual growth, and the "business as usual" drive of big population, high volume capitalistic markets, and the cornucopia myth of never-ending benefits for humanity! It's a pseudo-religion, one the defies empirical evidence. The "god" of human advancement, of benevolent Mother Nature, and human advancements technology will "save" humanity from any climatic hostility, scarcities, overpopulation and the planet's degradation, and Australia can continue to grow its population to up to 60 million people by 2050, and enjoy prosperity despite the constraints of climate change!

To add injury to insult, the Coalition government is to "streamline" government spending by axing 600 jobs at the CSIRO. The anti-science brigade will compromise their ability to manage bushfires, staff say. Acting Opposition Leader Ms Plibersek says the staff reduction is another blow for research and technology in Australia after the Government failed to appoint a science minister. If the government really wanted to cut back on public service staff, it should be by streamlining governments, and the number of overlapping politicians and the three tiers of government. All the anti-science flies in the face of the chronic "skills shortage", and the justification for mass immigration, that's undemocratically imposed on our nation.

Victorian Planning Minister Matthew Guy has set out new rules for three zones into which each local council must divide their area. ''Residential growth'' zones enable the highest levels of new housing growth near train lines, shopping strips and the like. ''General residential'' zones are to be used in most residential areas to preserve urban character while enabling moderate housing growth. Finally, ''neighbourhood residential'' zones tightly restrict housing growth. Fortunately, Glen Eira and Boroondara councils have got in early, exploiting this weakness, or loophole in the legislation, to declare that they don't want all this growth! Glen Eira council has zoned about 80 per cent of residential land to restrict growth in housing. Similarly, Boroondara is seeking approval to restrict growth in about 80 per cent of residential land. Only 1 per cent of residential land in Boroondara is proposed for the residential growth zone, and just 19 per cent for the general residential zone, despite state government guidance that this should be used in most residential areas. Why should they have their suburbs re-engineered to lose their neighborhood character, and amentiies, and welcome more people? The article assumes that Melbourne's ridiculously high rate of growth is inevitable, and will continue. It assumes that the rebel councils want the growth to go elsewhere - ie are NIMBYs. If this pattern of councils locking down most of their neighbourhoods continues, along with our third-world levels of population growth, nearly all new housing will be built in Melbourne's outer suburbs and on the urban fringe. Previous Grattan Institute research (Cities: who decides?) shows early, sustained involvement of residents in decision-making makes it possible to satisfy most people. Well, this is the result of the residents, and councils' decision - to avoid growth that's not in the interests of residents or Melbourne. There's nothing in the article about agreements on immigration levels, or that 60% or more of our population growth is from record levels of immigration- and thus not inevitable. It assumes that growth is "good" and desirable. Property development has become a major industry in Victoria, but the trailing costs of population growth far outweigh the economic benefits of the industry. Our economy needs to diversity, and rely more on quality, training, education, invention, innovation and skills rather than on quantity of people. The costs of population growth are compromising our living standards, locking young people out of housing, and the industry has far too much political power and support. The more we accommodate this socially-engineered population growth, due to unrealistic levels of immigration, the more the Federal government will turn on the immigration tap! The best athletes are the finely-tuned, well rehearsed and those not carrying too much excess baggage, such as body fat and slack muscles. What's needed for the challenges of the future is a finely-tunes, fit and educated and skilled population, not one that carrying excess "fat"- or an economy that's has population growth un-sustainably built-into it. There must be a circuit-breaker somewhere, and at least Councils are making headway in democracy.

Video released by animal rights group Animals Australia shows bulls exported from Australia to Mauritius being dragged head-first off trucks on to concrete and being kicked and trussed before having their throats slit in the street. The footage shows bulls being roped at the neck and pulled off a small livestock truck without a ramp, then dragged on the ground of a feedlot by more than seven men during the festival of sacrifice in October. One bull's horn was broken when it was forced off the truck while another had water thrown over it to make it stand up. The bulls were hog-tied, including one that had its two front legs stamped on before six men held it down while another slaughtered the bull after two attempts to slash its throat. The exporter responsible is already under investigation for breaches of the live export supply chain assurance scheme, for cruelty in Kuwait. In an act of defiance and cruelty, Federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce is planning to actually water down live export rules put in place after the live export ban to Indonesia in 2011. The WA Liberals are also set to vote on a motion at their State conference at the weekend to remove "red tape" from the live export system. Removing inhibiting "red tape" would free-up the supply chain, and allow more atrocities. Rather than dieting to lose morbid obesity, it's a denial of reality by actually loosening the belt! More animals will be cruelly sent to third world countries, ostensibly to help their "food security", and suffer in the hand of barbarians and savages! Animals Australia said the latest incident was evidence that the live export system should not be weakened. How much blood do our politicians have on their hands? Rather than patches, they will be knee-deep in the filth!

The Napthine government is facing intense pressure to open Victoria to onshore gas exploration, despite CSG mining being incompatible with agriculture. It would mean ignoring farming communities to give preference to mining companies. Such are the manipulative lobbying powers of gigantic and financially-powerful corporations that they are able to pressure governments for their own financial advantage - contrary to the welfare and concerns of local communities. The LNG industry claims to be Australia's fastest growing export sector. Companies are refusing to profitably sell gas in domestic markets today so that the gas can be reserved, or hoarded, for sale in 15 or 20 years as LNG for the export market. In Queensland, Australian industry gas users such as Orica and Alcoa have called for governments to reserve gas supplies for domestic use before the $70 billion suite of LNG export projects. Western Australia - the only state that forces gas developers to set aside reserves -drove a 10 per cent jump in prices compared to a year ago. In another industry push, they say that Australia can avoid gas supply shortages by expanding operations at offshore and coal seam gas fields, according to the Australian Pipeline Industry Association. However, it won't make the gas any cheaper. Hoarding supplies guarantees higher prices! Now, the industry claims that Australia can avoid gas supply shortages by expanding operations offshore, and through coal seam gas fields. Instead of providing much needed cheap natural gas to Australian homes and industry, the industry is giving preference to overseas markets, and higher prices. Nationals leader Peter Ryan has warned that he will oppose onshore gas production if it impacts negatively on the rural environment, water supply and agricultural production. Despite having one of the largest gas production booms in the country, we could end up with a "shortage" of natural gas - and be forced to explore coal seam gas sources!

The extraordinarily detailed information on negotiating positions released by WikiLeaks shows Australia repeatedly backing the interests of the US against the objections of countries including Canada, New Zealand, Japan, Singapore and Vietnam on questions involving intellectual property. The Trans Pacific Partnership is the largest-ever economic treaty, encompassing nations representing more than 40 per cent of the world’s GDP. Details of secret trade negotiations that could leave Australians paying more for drugs and medicines, movies, computer games and software, and be placed under surveillance as part of a US-led crackdown on internet piracy. Intellectual property experts are critical of the draft treaty, which they say would help the multinational movie and music industries, software giants and pharmaceutical manufacturers to maintain and increase prices by reinforcing the rights of copyright. It would cause online "piracy" to challenge corporate rights to music and software, and block the sales of generic medicine. It's about accumulating the corporate powers globally, and overwhelming the rights of governments, individual choices, and our sovereignty. Canada and seven other countries want to make it clear that internet providers such as Australia's iiNet cannot be held legally responsible for copyright infringement on their networks. In 2012 iiNet went to the High Court to enforce that right. But Australia and the US are listed in the negotiating document as opposing it. The TPP is the forerunner to the equally secret US-EU pact TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership), for which President Obama initiated US-EU negotiations in January 2013. Together, the TPP and TTIP will cover more than 60 per cent of global GDP.

Kevin Rudd resigned from parliament, with his apology to the Stolen Generations as the highlight of his prime-ministership, predictably saying it was time he gave something back to his family. Mr Rudd said that as prime minister he navigated Australia through the great financial crisis without a recession or mass unemployment, and maintained the nation's AAA credit rating. His population growth drive probably was the band-aid that plastered over the cracks in our economy. It's a no-brainer, quick-fix to economic stimulus, if one ignores the ongoing costs of growth. The Kyoto Protocol on climate change was ratified, WorkChoices overhauled, the so-called Pacific solution dismantled and an apology issued to the Stolen Generations. He staged stimulus that worked very well in the face of the GFC. Although many observers have a philosophical objection to giving away cash, households spent it with abandon. Kevin Rudd's 2010 declaration of support of a "Big Australia" followed the federal Treasury's Intergenerational Report that "predicted" Australia's population would rise from about 22 million to 35.9 million in 2050. Rather than "predict", Rudd actually planned to engineer it. Thanks to his no-apologetic support for "big Australia", Labor privileged housing markets as a protected asset class, and used it as mechanism for economic reform, and support for the privileged. The demand for housing ensured that prices sky-rocketed, and the number of homeless overwhelmed shelters - despite Rudd's time as homeless himself as a child. The rush to property speculation which prevents the RBA from lowering interest rates enough to bring down the dollar. Rudd's popularity dipped dramatically in 2009 and 2010, and caucus elected Julia Gillard in his place. She assured the public that she didn't want Australia to rush into "big Australia", but a sustainable one. She appointed Tony Burke as Minister for Sustainable population. She later back-flipped and promoted ongoing high rates of growth! ''I support a population that our environment, our water, our soil, our roads and freeways, our buses, our trains and our services can sustain.'' Tony Abbott had warned in the 2010 debate that Australian cities were ''choking'' and that population was growing ''in an out-of-control and unsustainable way''. We are yet to hear of a broader immigration policy from Abbott. Kevin Rudd pursued his climate change agenda with the original CPRS legislation. Rudd claimed that climate change was not just an environmental challenge. Climate change he described as an economic challenge, a social challenge, and actually represents a big challenge on the overall question of national security. His government ratified the Kyoto protocol on climate change, and promised overhauls of health funding and industrial relations. However, Rudd failed to allow the then climate change minister Penny Wong to bring a proper discussion to the full cabinet at Copenhagen conference. There's no way of hiding the link between rising greenhouse gas emissions, and anthropogenic climate change! Kevin Rudd's most enduring legacy was the rise and rise of vested interests, which was not in the national interest but not in certain sectional interests. With heightened immigration rates, the rush to form bogus "colleges" to gain PR meant that overnight we had "skills shortages" of hair dressers, cooks, chefs and a sundry array of other lesser skilled jobs. At present growth rates of close to 2%, Australia’s population will reach 42 million by 2050, six million more than the Federal government’s 2010 Intergenerational Report’s projection, and is a policy he publicly supported in the last weeks of Rudd’s Prime Ministership.

The Age reveals that first home buyers made up a record low 12.2 per cent of new housing loan commitments in Victoria in September, a sharp fall from the peak of 31.6 per cent in May 2009. ''I can see the difficulties for young and first home buyers of getting into the market,'' said shadow treasurer Chris Bowen, who labelled the affordability crisis a serious national issue. It's interesting that we now have a Shadow Treasurer, the previous minister for Immigration under Labor, commenting on the blowout of the housing bubble, who is seeing the evidence of high rates of immigration - and loose borders that allow foreign investors to strangle the real estate market. Economist Saul Eslake, a member of the National Housing Supply Council, said vested interests from property owners and politicians meant policies that could support first home buyers - such as the abolishment of negative gearing and lower costs for new developments - were unlikely to ever see the light of day. The housing Ponzi scheme is being driven and manipulated by investors, who create and guarantee their portfolios delivered by high rates of population growth and heavy support for domestic and foreign investors. All Ponzi schemes eventually collapse. Back in February 2012, Deakin University’s Philip Soos said that the only thing that prevented Australian house prices from crashing during the 2008 GFC was the first-home owners’ boost, who believes the sector is now operating like a Ponzi scheme. According to Soos, the tipping point for the mark will come when “the household sector is so overloaded with debt there exist no more ‘greater fools’ willing to commit to a lifetime of debt serfdom to purchase property”. Sooner or later you run out of unsuspecting new investors and the whole thing collapses. The end of the housing bubble will hurt our economy, but it's time to make the transition to a real and productive economy, rather than the predatory one of mortgages, accumulating more and more potential buyers (victims) into the scheme, and the strangle-hold property developers.

Government negotiators and observers reacted with dismay at Japan's announcement that it will aim for a 3.8-percent cut in emissions by 2020 from 2005 levels, replacing a more ambitious goal to slash them by 25 percent from 1990 levels. Japan's new target amounts to a 3 per cent rise from 1990 levels, a sharp reversal from the 25 per cent reduction target. Hiroshi Minami, Japan's chief negotiator at UN climate change talks in Warsaw, says the nuclear shutdown has forced the country to lower its "ambition level." Japan takes 39.3% of Australia’s black coal exports – the largest share, with a total of 115.3 million tonnes exported last financial year. The majority of Australia's thermal coal exports, mainly used for power generation, go to Japan. Australia can hardly be surprised by this revelation! Australia is actively promoting and exporting climate change! Coal mining for export is causing significant local and regional environmental impacts and increasing greenhouse gas emissions. Australia will eventually compete with Qatar as the largest LNG exporter by 2020 as two-thirds of global investments in liquefied natural gas will all be placed in the country. Energy-related greenhouse gas emission is predicted to reach a 20 per cent increase to 37.2 gigatonnes by 2035. ''Some people talk about the 'green growth' in Asia. several Asian countries so far have been impressive and replicable and the region's commitment to low-carbon green growth represents a move away from the old economic thinking of "grow first and clean later." However, emerging Asia's carbon emissions remain high and failure to act swiftly could increase mitigation costs by two to five times and lock in a high-carbon footprint for decades to come. "Green" and "growth" are contradictions in terms! World Energy Outlook 2011 warns that by 2017 all CO2 emissions permitted for the world to meet the Cancun Agreement's two degree warming goal will be already "locked-in" by existing power plants, factories and buildings. Japan's environment-friendly technological advances, and slow economic growth, indicates that the country may still emerge as a world leader in reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. Thanks to its ageing population, it’s CO2 output will reduce automatically without targets.

As the 50th anniversary of JFK's murder on 22 November approached, the mainstream media (msm) and phony alternate media, could no longer, with any credibility, continue to ignore the late President John Fitzgerald Kennedy. In 1991 Oliver Stone, for a while, awakened interest from the broader public in Kennedy with his epic movie JFK starring Kevin Costner. Costner played Jim Garrison (1921-1992) the District Attorney of Orleans Parish, who tried to bring the murderers of JFK to justice and, upon whose book, On the Trail of the Assassins, JFK is based.

Since then, the msm recommenced its disappearance of President Kennedy, who if nothing else, was handsome, glamorous, witty and charming. At 43 years of age upon his inauguration in January 1962, he was the youngest ever President of the United States. Any other former President with those qualities and nothing else, would have been written about extensively in the msm in past decades. Instead, his story was forgotten except for the occasional sensationalised reporting of alleged sexual indiscretions by Kennedy.

In recent weeks, a supposed 'commemoration' of the approaching 50th anniversary has begun by amongst others, Australia's television, consisting mostly of 'documentaries' which conceal most of the important facts about him and his murder. Instead, they focus on his romance with Jacqueline and trivial controversies. One such 'controversy' is Australian detective that the fatal shot came from a car directly behind the President. His 192 page book, which addresses not one of the other controversies of the day nor anything else about President Kennedy, contains no section of other works on the assassination of Kennedy. Why the SBS considers credible any 'researcher' who has not referred to the many other published works on Kennedy's assassination is not clear.

To the contrary, published in a country, which was three times saved from the devastation of nuclear war by President Kennedy's courage, have begun to make known the true significance of JFK and the conspiracy to murder him. The article is of 18 Nov 2013 by former BBC journalist Tony Gosling.

One other site on which credible reporting of the 50th anniversary is to be found is (GR) although I feel that the issue deserves more prominence by GR. The republished of James Douglass's excellent JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters is most helpful.

The single biggest contributing factor to the increase in devastation brought by natural disasters in recent years is the rapid growth of the world’s population. Particularly in developing countries such as the Philippines, urban areas are hugely overpopulated meaning more people are naturally in the ‘firing zone’ when disasters strike. Global population is set to rise to 8 or 9 billion by 2050, and more people will be living in crowded and cramped housing in more extreme places, vulnerable to climate change and weather extremes. Scientists largely agree that it appears that storms will become more powerful as the climate changes. The problems of Philippines are poor urban planning, an exploding population, climate change and systemic poverty – all contributing factors to the death and destruction left in the super typhoon's wake. The population was very high where the storm made landfall so with those two facts alone would create a potential for a disaster. Not surprising is the little in the media about the role massive overpopulation, and that plays in this disaster--too many people in too small an area with limited resources is a huge reason contributing to the loss of life. Mangrove regeneration in Northern Samar, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) north of the worst-hit Philippine city of Tacloban, helped minimise damage from the Nov. 8 storm, according to the Trowel Development Foundation, which oversaw the plantings. According to the WWF, Mangrove forests are one of the world’s most threatened tropical ecosystems. More than 35% of the world’s mangroves are already gone. The figure is as high as 50% in countries such as India, the Philippines, and Vietnam, while in the Americas they are being cleared at a rate faster than tropical rainforests.

The scale of suffering in after the Philippines typhoon has been worsened by the fivefold increase in the population since 1950, from less than 19 million then to almost 100 million today - many of them living in vulnerable coastal zones. One hectare of mangroves in the Philippines can yield 400 kilos of fish, shrimps, crabmeat, molluscs and sea cucumbers annually, and help feed a further 400 kilos of fish and 75 kilos of shrimps that mature elsewhere. Mangroves of Bangladesh remain largely unaffected over the years. On the contrary, Pakistan, Thailand, Myanmar, and Philippines continued to suffer the loss of mangroves. With a disappearing rate of more than 2% per year, particularly mangroves in Pakistan and Myanmar remain critically threatened. The unmet need for voluntary family planning among the Philippines' poor has been high, leading many women and adolescents to become pregnant earlier and more often than they intend. On average, the country's poorest women have two more children than they say they want. The fertility rates among the poor are nearly three times higher than among the country's rich, who have for years enjoyed access to family planning through private providers. Philippine President Benigno Aquino late last year signed the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012. To poor women in the Philippines, this means that government health centers will have to make reproductive health education, maternal health care and contraceptives available to everyone. It is a life-saving measure that will help end the cycle of poverty in this Southeast Asia island nation. The good news is that more Filipino couples are now practicing family planning, therefore slowing the growth rate of the country's population, an official of the Commission on Population (PopCom) said. The PopCom support the implementation of the reproductive health (RH) law will further slow down the country's population growth rate.

This appalling industry has continued, despite public outcry of the extreme cruelty, and many exposures of the inability of the industry to self-regulate. The Indonesian government knows that our government is in the pockets of livestock exporters who desperately want this trade to continue. What a perfect "revenge" for the spying allegations against our government? Federal Agricultural minister Barnaby Joyce called off his trip to Indonesia, to talk about the live export trade. Australia's live cattle exports which is estimated to be worth around $174 million a year. It used to be quoted as worth $1 billion! Australia's reputation as an honest nation, with high standards of diplomacy, democracy, trade and animal welfare, is being torn apart by this atrocious trade. How can live animals be abandoned to Third World abattoirs, where workers have no standards, animals are hacked and sawed at without being stunned. After the 2011 ban, Indonesia was embarrassed, and retaliated by claiming that they would strive to be "self-sufficient" in red meat! This is not a "threat" but would be a victory for humane treatment of animals, and a sign that the live export industry is not economically, politically, environmentally or morally sustainable. To add to the revenge, a senior Indonesian immigration official says he will no longer take measures to stop asylum seekers attempting to take boats to Australia as the spying fallout continues. Indonesia can hardly take the high moral ground! Their atrocities and invasions of East Timor, West Papua and appalling human rights record hardly gives then this authority. Indonesia’s vibrant media routinely reports on crucial social and political issues including corruption, environmental destruction, and violence against religious minorities. But a rising climate of religious intolerance and an infrastructure of discriminatory national and local laws deny freedom of expression to Indonesia’s religious minorities. Upon arrival in Indonesia, cattle are offloaded in a country with no enforceable animal welfare laws. They are held in feedlots for further fattening. Some cattle will be stunned prior to slaughter. Some will be slaughtered by having their throat cut, while fully conscious. They may be killed in ways that would be illegal in Australia. Exporting live animals for slaughter is cruel.

After a strong start, signing has slowed. We know, based on polling, that 50% or more of people are concerned about population management. This means either the petition isn't reaching enough people or the message is not convincing them. Any thoughts? Please sign the petition and forward to friends and colleagues.

The latest projections from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows Australia's population will double in the next 60 years, driven by strong increases in Victoria and New South Wales. The bureau is projecting the population will soar from just under 23 million people to 46 million by 2075. This growth is not a natural trend, due to confidence in our economy, healthy fertility levels and a bright future for humanity and the planet. This growth is socially-engineered by our open-border approach to economic growth - at all costs. The built-in growth that's evolved to be part of our economy is driving up our numbers, at a time people are worried about their futures and the welfare of our planet. Australia has the highest rate of species extinctions, and this human growth will be the death-knell for many more, trying to hold out from deadly human impacts. Socially and environmentally, it will multiply our greenhouse gas emissions, and exacerbate the economic and social problems with have now. Jobs are failing to keep abreast with population growth, and housing is already unaffordable. More people will be permanently denied home ownership, and our infrastructure will bear double the load by 2075 that's already not able to cope. Where's the money coming from to provide for all these people, at a time when global resources are dwindling? Australia is increasingly relying on overseas supplies of liquid fuel, and gas is plentiful, but it's an export market. Our desert and semi-desert nation will be overloaded, at a time when climate change will have acted heavily on our ecosystems, and our "carrying capacity" will be reduced. This growth madness has never been a more serious problem, especially on the background of global over-population. We pay our politicians healthy salary packages to be our leaders, not make simplistic and naive one-dimensional decisions for "growth" at all costs! Policy-making should involve casting the net widely to gather information and data, and summarise trends, through consultation with government and non-government organisations, experts, scientists, and the public - the voters. There is no grounds for increasing our population to such dangerous levels - except to increase the size of our GDP - and force it up through brute-force!

Palm oil companies in Peru are seeking permission to clear 100,000 hectares of rainforest. Dear friends of the rainforests, Environmentalists working in the Amazon rainforest in Peru have written to us to express their deep concern: palm oil companies and international speculators are buying vast tracts of rainforest from the government – even though clearing primary forest is illegal. Around 10,000 hectares of rainforest have already been felled illicitly to make room for oil palm monocultures. Initially, the Peruvian government ignored protests by local residents. It was not until environmental activists informed the local press and put the illegal activities on the front pages that the authorities responded, sending the police and state prosecutor to investigate. It has since come to light that plantation owners in Peru have requested permission to clear 100,000 hectares of Amazon rainforest for oil palms. And this appears to be just the beginning – millions of hectares are already being earmarked behind the scenes. It’s not too late, however. Resistance is taking shape, but at great personal risk – environmental activists and the state prosecutor have received death threats. Yet the local residents want to preserve the Amazon rainforest and refuse to be intimidated. Please help us support them and sign our petition to the Peruvian government to protest the destruction of this unique ecosystem for a sprawling oil palm monoculture.

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