Sunday, 31 October 2010

The Australian Workers Union (AWU) - the power behind the Gillard throne?

Paul Howes has said this afternoon on Twitter that he has just got this,
During the leadership coup, Bill Shorten and Paul Howes 
of the Australian Workers Union got all the press coverage.

Will we find out the roles of the following:
Wayne Swan, leading light in Queensland's AWU faction
Craig Emerson, Qld AWU faction member and former AWU employee.

Their role in the Rudd-Gillard leadership change has not yet been told.
It cannot all have been down to Shorten and Howes.

Rally 4 Sanity and or Fear, Washington DC: John Stewart: Stephen Colbert

Any Night-Owl Networkers out there.
The Rally for Sanity and/or Fear has started in Washington DC
Just music so far and lots of Tweeps Tweeting in the Twitterverse.
Crowds beyond number.
If you Twitter, read the Tweets at #rally4sanity.
More stuff here.
Go here for an amazing picture of crowds 
from atop the Washington Monument.

From Sane Clown Posse
For their slide show, please go here.
More pictures here

I went to bed with my eyeballs hanging out before the conclusion -
so some stuff is not recorded.
I am therefore reliant on a transcript for Jon Stewart's serious 'sincerity' speech.
I think - with a few different proper nouns - the same speech could be applicable
to and in  the Land of Oz.

Networkers - please, please, go here to read Jon Stewart's speech plus
the Rolling Stone version.
The dominant voice can bust up our community while it gets its own way.
It is the coming together with respect for differing and different voices -
that's what is the thing.
Coming together! Listening to each other!
In all our glorious diversity.
That's what really, truly matters.
As Jon says,

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Saturday, 30 October 2010

Let there be light: 50 watt equivalent in a bottle of water!

Thanks to @erlandh over at Twitter
I discovered this.

Victorian Election: tools for the campaign trail

Networkers in Victoria, the Victorian election campaign for the election on Saturday 27 November is about to begin in earnest in the coming week and already opinion polls are invading our lives (g-r-o-a-n).  So here is some stuff to get you going.  After all, we don't want you not to know an election is imminent, do we (s-m-i-l-e)!

BTW, Networkers, please advise.

  • Is there one commentator or pollster you favour above others?  
  • Perhaps it is someone that makes you laugh or someone who is more authoritative?  
Please advise.

Good Crikey article here on election research

World Bank and the Environment: Valuation: Australian water forum: Data


Prime River Real Estate
River Frontage in four states and one territory
of the driest inhabited continent on Earth.
Has been allowed to run down in recent times
but has been refurbished periodically.
Owners currently discussing proposed 21st century refurbishment.
Pre-sale inspection is strongly advised
along with the phrase Caveat Emptor.
Well treed - but not so much as it used to be
and some trees are in poor condition.
Significant wildlife but many species
have long since departed.
Subject to periodic bushfire.
Some parts of the property have heritage/RAMSAR listing
and maintenance of these sections of the property 
must comply with regulations.

Well, Networkers, you get my drift.  This is just to point out that the President of the World Bank, Robert Zoelleck, said in Nagoya where the Biodiversity summit has just concluded:
"The natural wealth of nations should be a capital asset valued in combination with its financial capital, manufactured capital and human capital" 
While I agree with Zoelleck's sentiments on the environment as part of a nation's natural wealth, what will it mean when we give our natural assets a dollar value?

Living with Climate Change
Washington DC, USA
31 January 2011

The World Bank estimates that the economic value of farmland, forests, minerals and energy worldwide exceeds $44 trillion.  In that statement no mention is made of water, oceans, marine parks, national parks and reserves.  No mention is made of the value of air, polluted or clean. In faction, no mention of the cost/devaluation price of pollution or despoilation at all.  No mention is made of how natural assets might be devalued through invasive predators and pests; misapplication of science; and negligence.
  • Is dollar valuation the one thing that will save our environment from the despoilers?  
  • Will dollar valuations force governments and corporations to be alert to the value of competing resources i.e. mining v. agriculture v. tourism v. development v. environment? 
  • Will giving natural assets a value, something like a real market value, make them more vulnerable?  
  • Will our natural assets become commodified in a manner similar to the way water has become commodified and is now traded?

Friday, 29 October 2010

Choosing preferences carefully in the Victorian elelction.

Saturday 27 November is election day in Victoria.  The system of voting in the Legislative Assembly - the Lower House - is Preferential.  The Greens political fortunes give every impression of being on the rise in the inner metropolitan area of Melbourne.  They have just gained their first seat in the House of Representatives in the Federal Parliament - from the inner metropolitan area of Melbourne.  Together with the hung Federal Parliament, the Brumby Labor Government is very nervous about the outcome of the Victorian election.  

Meanwhile, my friend Maria - the indefatigible Water Warrior (and boy did she get what she wanted to say in at the Murray Darling Basin Authority community engagement event yesterday!) - has written this begging letter to The Greens:
‹ Newer 14 of 5020 Older ›

please do NOT prefence Labor-URGENT =we need to talk about this

"Brown, Bob (Senator)" ,
"Hanson-Young, Sarah (Senator)" ,
"Siewert, Rachel (Senator)"
date29 October 2010 08:58
subjectplease do NOT prefence Labor-URGENT =we need to talk about this

Dear Mr Barber,

I saw you at the MDBA meeting at Sofitel yesterday but you were gone before I could talk with you. I implore you NOT to preference the Labor party! They have broken every promise they made with regards to water, power, old growth forests and rural areas, transport and fires. This is unacceptable.

The coalition has promised not to use the pipe (75GL) and I ask that you find out which party will be prepared to sell this 75GL back to the Cth for environmental flows lessening the demand on irrigators! Melbourne has other options and these have never been considered. This action of selling it back INTO the system is a sign of faith and support for rural people because it means that they will have less water to give up!

I need to have a positive response from you otherwise I will not be able to support the Greens because they are not focused on ensuring that their vote make a difference to ecological sustainability in Victoria. We need a change, and we need to work together and put politics aside because politics created the problems in the first place.

Please respond to my concerns.


Kind regards


I believe in protecting the environment but I believe ALL users must play their part! Also permanent water restrictions must apply everywhere.

Transparency and Corruption: being accountable, inclusive, and public

Further to the post above, Networkers, I just want to give you some links to follow up on the subject of Transparency:

As you can see, Australia has come in eighth position.  Don't think that this is a matter for great pride seeing Switzerland is right behind - and when one thinks of what one hears about the Swiss banking industry!  Another thing to take into account is the size of an economy - the bigger the economy the more room for corruption, perhaps.  And there we are, BEHIND Canada and The Netherlands.  Again, that hardly covers us in glory.  If you check the document below, you will find that Australia is third in the Asia-Pacific region - behind New Zealand and Singapore.  Australia, there is no room for complacency. 

Let's shine the light in 
the dark places of business, politics, governance!

Related reading:
Fighting corruption in a global economy: transparency initiatives in the oil and gas industry.: 
An article from: Houston Journal of International Law

Global Corruption Report 2008: Corruption in the Water Sector (Transparency International Global Corruption Reports)
Global Corruption Report 2008: Corruption in the Water Sector 
(Transparency International Global Corruption Reports)

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Kerry Arabena makes things plain in the 2010 Charles Perkins Memorial Oration

Kerry Arabena - Picture from here

I do love to hear intelligent women getting up on their hind horse and telling things as they are.  Kerry Arabena did just that last night in delivering the 2010 Charles Perkins Memorial Oration.  In fact, she gave it to a few blokes - even more fun.  And I reckon that no one would have approved of that more than the outspoken Charlie Perkins himself.

Best wishes Kerry in your role leading the National Congress of Australia's First Peoples.  May your work and the work of the congress strengthen the lives and well-being of the First Nations in this land.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Water for Red Gum Parks Forum - Bendigo - 28 October 2010

Dear Networkers,

This was posted a couple of weeks ago - but I wanted to do two things: give everyone in Bendigo and who can get there a reminder; and the letter below has just come into my email and you can make up your own minds, individually and collectively, what you think of it.  Victorians, undoubtedly, will include this in their information when making up their mind on how they will vote on November 24.


Thursday 28 October 2010


The Capital Performing Arts Centre,
50 View St, Bendigo

Victoria's magnificent red gum forests are unique wetlands and home to a huge variety of plants and animals. While they are now protected in a series of parks, they are still in grave danger. Without a secure and reliable water supply they will not survive.

Come and hear about these wonderful forests, 
why they need water and how we can get if for them.

Speakers inc:
·                      Dr Terry Hillman, former CEO of Murray-Darling Freshwater Research Centre (TBC).
·                      Prof Henry Atkinson, Monash University and Yorta Yorta elder.
·                      Dr Paul Sinclair, Australian Conservation Foundation.
·                      Kim Chalmers, Chalmers Wines.

Hosted by Environment Victoria in assoc with ACF, FoE, TWS and VNPA.
Info and to RSVP: or 9341 8100

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Victorian Govt is giving the Yarra a drink - after a long wait and a big thirst

Yarra Riverkeepers
Working together to protect and enjoy the Yarra
Announcement ends long wait for the Yarra
Sunday’s (24/10/10) announcement by the State Government to return environmental water to the Yarra River has been welcomed by the Yarra Riverkeeper Association.
Yarra Riverkeeper and association spokesperson, Ian Penrose, said “Following announcements earlier this year to return some water, the Government has at long last honoured its promise, made four years ago, to provide the Yarra with needed environmental flows.”
In 2005 a government-sponsored scientific study found that the health of the Yarra and the plants and animals it supports were suffering from poor river flows because Melbourne sources most of its water from the Yarra catchment.  The study showed, firstly, that the river was receiving 60% of the natural run-off (the rest taken for water supply) and secondly, that the altered pattern of flows was damaging the river’s health. 
To tackle the unhealthy flow pattern, the study recommended minimum passing flows plus an environment entitlement (of 17 billion litres per year) for release to simulate, for example a “fresh” in a dry summer.  The scientists stated that these were minimum requirements for a healthy river. 
Prior to the 2006 state election the Government announced with much fanfare that the Yarra would get these environmental flows.  
But a year later it deferred them and lowered the minimum flows by another 20 billion litres per year resulting in a total loss of 37 billion litres annually to the ailing Yarra.
Mr Penrose said, “The Yarra Riverkeeper Association objected strongly to these decisions and the threat they posed to the river’s health, and has campaigned vigorously ever since for the promised and needed environmental flows”.
“Today’s announcement is unquestionably good news”, Mr Penrose explained, “but they amount to only a few percent of the river’s natural flow, and the amount of water being taken from the Yarra is still of grave concern.  In each of the last three years, 2007-9, excessive water extraction has left the river with only 30% of the natural run-off – the lowest on record – and only half the 60% share used as a basis for the 2005 study.”  Refer to graph below.
“Our Yarra has shrunk drastically.  It has been hit doubly hard; by the dry decade and by the disproportionate amount of water extracted from it.”
Melbourne must reduce its over-exploitation of the Yarra and aim to source most of its water supply from recycling and capturing urban stormwater.  In that way, the Yarra can retain 60% of its natural run-off.  Anything less is inconsistent with the true meaning of living sustainably.”
For enquiries, 
please contact us on 0409 510 766,

Who We Are
We are a not-for-profit community organisation formed in 2004 by a group of citizens who love the Yarra River, and care for its future. Our aim is to protect and restore the Yarra River and its tributaries, from source to mouth, for current and future generations. We are a member of the growing and successful international Waterkeeper movement of community groups around the world caring for their local waterways.
What We Do
We tell the river’s “story”, highlighting its wonders and its challenges. We monitor its health and activities affecting it. We run educational events, river tours and give informative presentations to schools, community groups, the authorities and businesses. We work closely with numerous government bodies and NGO’s and advocate directly and through the news media for river care.
What We’ve Achieved
Established the first regular boat patrol of the Yarra
Instrumental in the state government’s decisions to cap the amount of water extracted from the river and provide it with environmental flows
Provided on-water inspection tours to over 200 community and business leaders and politicians
Delivered over 300 presentations and lectures
Spoken up for the Yarra in over 200 TV, radio and print media articles
Earned the reputation of being the pre-eminent voice of the Yarra River
Our Riverkeeper Ian Penrose won the City of Melbourne’s “2010 Melbourne Award” for contribution to the environment.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

It's only words and words are all I have...Stephen Fry on language & fonts

Stephen Fry - language and fonts
From our beloved BeeGees:
It's only words ...
...and words are all I have to take your heart away.

These words, found in the classic BeeGees song Words, are at the heart of this blog. I can't make big donations to politicians or political parties; the body has to think twice before participating in a good ol' fashioned demo or trotting off to yet another meeting; and I'm not Oprah or a talk back radio host.  All I have to influence is the blog and its words...and words are all I have to influence, to coax, to take, dear Networkers, your hearts away.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Burke Ministerial release: Murray Darling Basin - Interpretation of Water Act 2007

National Day of Protest Against the NT Intervention and the compromised Racial Discrimination Act

Melbourne: Jobs with Justice: 5.30pm 29 October
State Library
Sydney: Jobs with Justice: 12 noon 29 October
Sydney Town Hall
Alice Springs: Jobs with Justice: 12.30pm (CST) 29 October
Court House Lawns, Mparntwe - Alice Springs


This comes to The Network from Georgina Gartland of 'concerned Australians'.
The Racial Discrimination Act was reinstated on June 21 June 2010 to be effective from Dec 31st 2010.  However, this version of the RDA is heavily compromised, due to other legislation passed at the  very same moment!. (See attachments below).   The United Nations said there must be changes to this new package of legislation, see RDA flyer attached, blurb below, and Committee for Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) 'concluding observations' (particularly look at no. 10 &16) , available at More than half the recommendation pertains to Australia's treatment of Australia's Indigneous peoples.
On Friday 22nd Oct, I was amongst a FULL HOUSE  at the Capitol theatre in Swanston street, and attended a new movie, 'Our Generation' ;a fantastic and very powerful movie around  Aboriginal rights which looked at the impacts of  NT Intervention on Aboriginal peoples. It also showed how mining rights have increased dramatically whilst Aboriginal peoples'  'land rights' and their 'say' are increasingly being eroded.  Policies to move Aboriginal people away from their homelands were discussed in length in th movie. Attachment 3  adds to issues around this, the winding back of the Aboriginal land Right's Act of 1976 , in the lead up to the Intervention from 2004.  Damien Short explains and defines what is happening under the NT Intervention in terms of cultural genocide! Though the essay is a  bit heavy to start, I found it worth persisting.  All Ausralians should read it. If you missed 'our generation' do watch the 'trailor at  The DVD can be piurchased through the same site.  The Mercy's have placed a direct link to this with an excellent article at . It woud be great if all oganisations could to do similar and spread the word about the DVD and this RDA action Please note: The Network first published the trailer a month ago and it can be found here.
Dr. Rev. Dyiyinni Gondarra OAM who featured in the film was also present on Friday night.  He asked us all present to become actively involved.
'concerned Australian's need help in immediate action.
We are asking people to help with the Racial Discrimination Act action and spread  as widely as possible through family, peers and wider networks. 

Plug the Pipe: Melbourne should give water back to the Murray Darling Basin for environmental flows

The latest from Plug the Pipe and Jan Beer:

PLUG the PIPE Supporters are asked to assemble at 12.00pm at the Sofitel, 25 Collins St, Thursday, 28th Oct 2010 - Bring Signage.

Stand with Jan Beer and Plug the Pipe at the Murray Daling Basin Authorities Community Information Session in MELBOURNE
The simple message to the MDB Authority is the Brumby Government are sucking environmental water out of the Goulburn. PUT A PLUG IN THE PIPE and don't take 75 billion litres of water from the Murray Darling Basin.
Venue: Sofitel Melbourne on Collins, 25 Collins Street
Time : 2pm-5pm, Thursday 28th October 2010 for information session. 12.00pm for PTP gathering.
Contact Jan Beer if you are attending 0407 144 777


17th October 2010

The Brumby Government last week quietly removed a further 10 billion litres of environmental water from the Murray Darling Basin for Melbourne’s future use. This water was part of the super high security Water Quality Reserve kept as emergency water in Eildon Weir in case of blue-green algae outbreak, fish kills or sewerage spills.

On 13th October Premier Brumby re-badged this water as now being allocated to Sugarloaf Reservoir for Melbourne’s usage via the North-South Pipeline. This effectively removes a further 10 billion litres of water from the Murray Darling Basin system.

The Victorian Government doggedly stated intention is to remove 75 billion litres of Goulburn water each and every year to Melbourne from the Murray Darling Basin.

At precisely the same time of this latest allocation of Goulburn water for Melbourne, the Guide to the Murray Darling Basin Plan was released calling for the restoration of health to our river systems by reducing irrigation water used for food production by up to 45%.

The frightened communities of the Basin should be outraged and incensed at the continued extraction of this environmental water as several of Melbourne’s water storages are full and overflowing and have been for months.
Maroondah Reservoir is full and spilling over 125 million litres per day, O’Shannassy is full and currently spilling 220 million litres per day and Sugarloaf Reservoir is as full to capacity as it can go, while a flood warning was issued for the Yarra River late Saturday.

The volume lost to Melbourne’s water supply will increase by a further 3-4 billion litres in the next couple of days due to the spillage from Maroondah and O’Shannassy Dams, the inability of the Yering Gorge pumps to capture the latest stormwater due to the inadequate storage capacity of Sugarloaf resulting from the 24.1 billion litres of Goulburn water already pumped from the North-South pipeline.

This volume lost is on top of the 60 GL that could have been captured from the Yarra into Sugarloaf in the last 2½ months for Melbourne’s water supply with an additional set of 1,200 ML/day capacity pumps at Yering Gorge. This amount of harvestable water would still have allowed a similar amount of water to continue downstream as environmental flow, equivalent to a mean daily flow around 800 million litres per day over those 2½ months, more than four times the minimum environmental flow.

While all this is going on the Victorian Water Minister Tim Holding in The Weekly Times 13th October 2010 (Cuts Won’t Wash) called for an end to simply stripping basin communities of their most valuable asset.

This is hypocrisy of the highest order, considering the Minister is personally ordering water to be sucked out of the Goulburn River via the North-South Pipeline. And even worse every drop that he has already extracted was environmental water previously destined for the health of the Murray Darling Basin.

I call on Mr. Hardman, local member for the Seymour electorate, which contains the North-South Pipeline to stand up to his boss, and protest against this outrage on behalf of the people he represents and for the benefit of all rural communities and the health of the Murray Darling Basin.

Jan Beer : 0417 144 777

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