OCTOBER TO DECEMBER 2006 NEWS AND VIEWS OF DAVID RISSTROM: 2004 VICTORIAN GREENS No 1 SENATE CANDIDATE
David Risstrom keeps a watching brief on news, ideas, issues and policies. If there are issues you think need to be discussed, please contact David at email@example.com. David last updated this site on 28 December 2006.
28 DECEMBER 2006
WATERBIRDS SAFE FROM MINDLESS SHOOTING IN 2007
Ducks can rest slightly easier in 2007, with the announcement that their will be no 2007 Victorian duck season. Having had a loaded gun pointed at me while observing on the opening day of the 2006 duck season, both the ducks and I can rest safer next year. It was an interesting experience for me, though not the first, and enlightening having details taken for my prosecution while an almost complete indifference shown to my claims about the actions of the shooter.
Below is an email forwarded today by long standing campaigner Laurie Levi, who has led the charge of volunteers against the barbaric practice of duck shooting.
Dear duck rescuers,
There will be no Victorian duck season in 2007.
We end 2006 with two exciting victories. Three Greens voted into Victoria’s Upper House and a moratorium called for the 2007 season.
South Australia has also declared a moratorium. Tasmania is yet to make a decision; however, if a season does go ahead we will send a rescue team down to help the Tasmanian rescuers.
Thank you for the hard work and commitment you have put into helping native waterbirds during this long, hard-fought year. We go into 2007 invigorated; yet knowing it will still be a tough battle to win the issue in Victoria.
In the lead-up to this year’s state election, shooting organisations placed full-page advertisements in newspapers naming politicians in the Bracks Government and the Liberal and National Parties who supported hunting in this state, confirming what we already knew.
Even when the government announced the moratorium, half of its media release was used to praise the state’s duck shooters and to brag about how many millions of dollars Bracks has allocated to facilitate hunting in Victoria.
This very special relationship between the Bracks Government and the shooters is now out in the open, with even the government Media Unit being used to provide publicity for shooters. This is a desperate attempt by the Bracks Government to salvage a dying activity.
The moratorium will allow us time to consolidate our position in 2007. And with the Greens now in parliament, we are within reach of seeing the recreational shooting of native waterbirds banned, forever.
But in getting there, we still need your help!
Laurie, Lynn and Dave.
25 DECEMBER 2006
Have a Happy Xmas and a Fantastic 2007. May it be good to us all.
David Risstrom, Carolynne, four legged friends and all the dogs in space.
20 DECEMBER 2006
GREENS MAKE INAUGURAL SPEECH IN VICTORIAN PARLIAMENT
I had the good fortune to hear the three new Green members of the Victorian Legislative Council give their inaugural speeches today.
Greg Barber, Colleen Hartland and Sue Pennicuik made great speeches refastening their personal history and commitments to making Victoria a better and Greener place. With the speeches being approximately 30 minutes each, it was a joy to have the time to listen to three people who have worked so hard for so long for the common good finally speak from a position where they can influence the future of Victoria.
I will post copies of the speeches on this site when they become available.
18 DECEMBER 2006
DAVID RISSTROM HAS NOMINATED FOR VICTORIAN GREENS SENATE PRESELECTION
I lodged my nomination today for preselection with the Victorian Greens for the 2007 Senate election.
David was the Victorian Greens No. 1 Senate Candidate for the 2004 Federal election, where the Victorian Greens Senate vote increased by 30%, with David receiving the highest personal vote of any Victorian Senate candidate.
Complete information of David's preselection nomination is posted at the following webpage: David Risstrom's Senate Nomination 2007. Preselection is ultimately decided by a postal vote of all Victorian members.
My 1000 word nomination statement is reproduced below.
Most of you will know me. I was the person we worked so hard to get elected to the Senate in 2004. But for Family First I would be your Senator, and we would be electing another Green to join me in this election.
That was not to be, but it doesn’t mean that we ran a bad campaign. We were cheated by the backroom deals of the ALP and the Democrats. Together you and I and thousands of others achieved a 30% increase in our Senate primary vote. We did that by hard work. I drove thousands of kilometres, and visited many communities that had never been visited by a Green Senate Candidate before, in working for that increase. I committed myself 100% for the year leading up to election day, and will do the same again, if I gain the support of people like yourself to go for it again.
We have unfinished business in this campaign. We must ensure that never again do the parties on our side of politics cheat both us and the people of Victoria who believe in our vision of a better world out of a Senator they voted for.
Why am I the person to represent you?
I have a strong commitment to the environment, social justice and ethics, having devoted my life to them as a way of contributing to a fairer society.
A member since 1993, I was Victoria’s first elected Green. Elected to Melbourne City Council in 1999 I served for 5 years, until I resigned in 2004 to campaign for the Senate. While elected, my Greens vote more than doubled.
As International Vice President of the International Council for Local Environment Initiatives and Greens Melbourne City Councillor, I have local and international experience as an elected Green, chairperson, director and activist.
After successfully campaigning in Parliament to create the Victorian Alpine National Park, I completed a first class Science honours degree in climate change, first class Arts degree in politics and social theory and a law degree focussing on environmental regulation.
My forte is my integrity, and failing overwork. As Melbourne City Greens Councillor, I worked with councillors of disparate political and social beliefs, gaining support to implement over 130 initiatives, including:
- Australia’s most ambitious water (40%) and greenhouse gas (30%) reductions targets.
- A 2020 Zero Net Greenhouse Gas Emissions Target, personally gaining endorsement from APEC to provide this to Asia Pacific cities (comprising half the world’s population).
- A $5M Sustainable Melbourne Fund.
- Triple Bottom Line governance, factoring environmental, social and economics into government decisions.
- Melbourne’s ‘Growing Green’ 50 year open space program.
- A $1M social housing trust and Melbourne Affordable Housing Company.
- An Australia wide government green purchasing program.
- Securing Council policy welcoming refugees and opposing mandatory detention.
- Overseeing the 2002 Johannesburg World Summit Local Government Conference.
- Delivering a City Centre Lending Library.
- Negotiating for Melbourne City to enter a treaty and indigenous land use agreement.
I have worked in the Australian Senate as Senior Researcher on Superannuation for Women and Same Sex Couples, as Electoral Educator in Canberra, Environmental Consultant to the Commonwealth EPA and run my own small business.
With a personal charter to work for disadvantaged people, I have provided extensive pro bono legal services to the Environment Defenders Office, Fitzroy and Eastern Suburbs Legal Services and Springvale Domestic Violence Service.
I am respected within the environment movement, being elected twice as ACF Councillor, and am a member of over 20 environment and community groups. I am also a Vincent Fairfax Ethics Fellow, completing an 18 month ethics and leadership fellowship, travelling in Burma and promoting ethics in Australia.
Since last election, I have worked as a barrister, as 2004 and 2005 Victorian Greens Local Government Campaign Coordinator, as Monash University Law and Business examiner, as Lighthouse Experts Bureau Speaker, taught environmental law and accepted a post on the Mental Health Review Board.
Over 13 years, I have served on Greens Executive and Council, in various local government capacities, in local, state and federal policy development and as mentor.
Other offices I have served as an elected Green include:
- MCC Environment, Community and Cultural Development Committee Chairperson.
- Metropolitan Transport Forum Chairperson.
- Metropolitan Environment Forum Convenor.
- MCC Aboriginal Consultative Committee Chairperson.
- ICLEI International Executive and Management Committee Member.
- Director: Yarra-Melbourne Library, MAPS and Western Regional Waste Management Group.
I established and maintain an ~300 page website promoting the Greens, receiving over half a million hits and nearly two hundred thousand visits. The website at www.davidrisstrom.org hosts news, commentary, 200 policies, 760 progressive internet links and Senate Watch on current inquiries.
As 2004 Senate candidate, I established a regional and metropolitan profile, an important attribute for future campaigns. Unscathed by other parties’ campaign tricks to tarnish their opponents, I have recognition and support across our organisation and within the Victorian community.
The 2007 campaign will be crucial. We need Greens with the skills and experience in public office to deliver the policies the planet desperately needs.
With nine years experience as a barrister, election twice by international ballot to ICLEI, and dedication to the Greens, my elected and academic experience will prove useful for the climate change focus sure to be central to the 2007 Federal election.
Whatever its other roles, the Senate is a law-making body. The first business of parliamentarians is to draft, debate, amend, reject and pass legislation. The Victorian Greens need Senators in 2007 and beyond with the skills, knowledge and experience to influence the legislative process.
Having dedicated my life to the environment, social justice, and honing the legal and political skills needed to make a difference, I am asking for your support to use that experience as a member of our Greens parliamentary team.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and for your support.
Please visit www.davidrisstrom.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0418 502 713 if you want to know more.
Barrister-at-law, LLB, BA, BSc(Hons)
2 DECEMBER 2006
DAVID RISSTROM IS NOMINATING FOR VICTORIAN GREENS SENATE PRESELECTION
I am confirming that I am nominating for preselection with the Victorian Greens for the 2007 Senate election.
David was the Victorian Greens No. 1 Senate Candidate for the 2004 Federal election, where the Victorian Greens Senate vote increased by 30%, with David receiving the highest personal vote of any Victorian Senate candidate.
The ALP's preferencing of Family First, with one fifth of the Greens vote was the only thing that stopped Victorian's electing David as their first Victorian Green Senator.
Since 2004 David has kept extremely busy as a practising barrister, Greens Local Government Campaign Co-ordinator in 2004 and 2005, teaching environmental law and marking law and business and economic exams for Monash University, serving as an ACF Councillor and even featuring a mention in Andrew Bolt’s latest book.
Further information of David's preselection nomination will be posted as they become available at the following webpage: David Risstrom's Senate Nomination 2007.
28 NOVEMBER 2006
JOHN HOWARD AND HIS GOVERNMENT'S WHEAT FOR WEAPONS RESPONSIBILITY: COLONEL KLINK IN ACTION: "I KNOW NUFFIN'K"
The Howard Government has mastered the prepubescent skill of seeking credit for other's efforts and complete innocence for their failures.
The recent AWB 'wheat for weapons' scandal may not be so significant if it weren't for a history of claiming contemporaneous amnesia for a variety of public disgraces including the 'children overboard' affair, the death of hundreds of people in the SEIVX sinking, knowingly misleading the public over the presence of 'weapons of mass destruction' in Iraq.
The limited scope fo the Cole inquiry that the Howard Government and its ministers were not directly implicated in the wheat for weapons affair were never likely to implicate a government comatose at the wheel when it comes to accountability.
An unanswered question for me is, "How could a government commit its troops to a internationally illegal invasion of Iraq on the grounds that its human rights abuses during the period we supported and armed its leader as a political ally against Iran were unconscionable, and to do so without evidence, on false grounds that many objective analysts would likely increase the threat of the terrorism it is claiming to fight?
In a post State election mailbox clean out, I found this poem forwarded onto me some months ago. Its observations are apposite, given the recent release of the Cole Commission, the ALP infighting that has clouded its interrogation, and an Australian population left exposed to the next Colonel Klondike defence when a comprehensive lack of ethical and moral leadership leads us to another breach of trust that right minded people did not believe possible.
HOWARD OF THE OVERFLOW
I had written him a letter, which I had, for want of better
Knowledge, sent to where I met him at the Wheat Board, years ago.
He was chairman when I knew him, so I sent the letter to him
Just on spec, to make the point that "Howard doesn't want to know".
And an e-mail came directed, not entirely unexpected
(And I think the same was written in some Middle Eastern bar).
'Twas his CEO who wrote it, and verbatim I will quote it:
"Trevor Flugge's gone to Baghdad, and we don't know where he are.
But when he left Australia, he was going to meet with Alia,
A trucking mob in Jordan, who were keen to grease the wheels.
For 10 percent commission, they could swing Saddam's permission
To get our wheat accepted; it's the mother of all deals.
But I guarantee, Prime Minister, that there's nothing at all sinister.
The chaps at DFAT told us that the sums looked quite okay.
When you're selling wheat in billions, what's a quick 300 million?
If it keeps the Nationals happy, it's a tiny price to pay."
Sitting here at Kirribilli, I've been thinking, willy-nilly,
That it's somehow reminiscent of the children overboard:
But I can handle Rudd and Beazley, as I always do, quite easily
By endlessly protesting that there's nothing untoward.
I'll tell Bush next time I meet him at The White House, when I greet him,
That I'm sure he'll understand about the Wheat Board's quid pro quo.
He'll forgive this minor error in the global war on terror
When I look him in the eye and tell him .... Howard didn't know!
23 NOVEMBER 2006
INTEGRITY IN CAMPAIGNING - LETTER TO THE EDITOR
I wrote the following letter to the editor in response to false and misleading campaigning attributed to the Liberal and Labour Party ahead of the Victorian State election. A 20 Kb word version of the letter can be downloaded by clicking on the title: Integrity in campaigning - Letter to the Editor.
Integrity in campaigning
Elections are an infrequent and invaluable opportunity to choose our politicians and the values they carry.
Victoria faces major challenges from global warming induced drought and water shortages, and the social and economic disruption they will bring to our homes and families.
What politicians and their parties do matters. Their actions during elections are a window to the values and ethics they carry between elections.
As 2004 Victorian Green Senate Candidate, it was little surprise that after Labour’s preferences elected Family First and delivered conservative control of the Senate, that the onslaught on working people, students and women would slice through many of the progressive values both Labour and Liberal once stood for.
With many misleading claims about preferences being made from those who should, and probably do, know better, it is vital that voters realise how important their vote is in deciding who they elect.
Voters should not be fooled by new found promises of those claiming to be green, while having acted anything but. If candidates and political parties cannot retain integrity during their election campaign, their election will invariably deliver disappointment to Victorians needing and deserving better.
David Risstrom, BSc(Hons), LLB, BA, Ross St, Northcote, Victoria.
11 NOVEMBER 2006
GREENS HAVING FUN
I have been to two great Green fundraisers in the last two days, which while leaving my head a little bit sorry for the organic beer I drunk, reminded me of how great it is to be amongst Greens.
Friday night's function at Carlton's Cafe Italia was a 100+ people dinner with many of Green candidates and the occasional out of towner such as Greens Senator Bob Brown. The night was fun, with good food, good people and good cheer amongst a group of people and their supporters doing what they can to make the world a better place.
Saturday night was consumed by a Darebin trivia night fundraiser at Cafe Umut in High St. Preston. With pop culture and sports questions far too much for a boy such as me that tends to turn to the opinion pages before finding out how people's hamstrings are travelling, I spent much of the night talking to old friends and trying my best to bid up the silent auctions. Well, having scored a wonderful bag of organic cosmetics, a slab of 'Avant' beer (minus one complimentary bottle to someone) and a haircut!
With the wonderful Pat and Paul Mackle of Avant Card fame popping into the house to discover me updating my website at midnight sans clothing!, with a cordial or two, the night continued on somewhere to around 3 in the morning.
Politics can be a torrid arena to make a difference. For some people it is a career that involves import nat policy outcomes being secondary to keeping the job. A certain recent Prime Minister comes to mind in that utilitarian exercise of office. While not being elected to the Australian Senate in 2004 was a great disappointment, weekends such as this one remind me how good the people in and around the Greens can be. I'll continue to do what I can amidst what is a pretty difficult environmental scenario to be aware of, but whatever may come of the future one thing will remain a constant. Being a Green is not only extremely worthwhile, it can also be great fun.
10 NOVEMBER 2006
VICTORIAN GREENS OFFERING REAL GREEN CHOICES IN THIS STATE ELECTION
The following media release issued by the Victorian Greens confirms that voters across Victoria will have a choice to vote Green, rather than parties who every election try to mimic the Greens, while attacking the Greens and doing next to nothing to secure Victoria's long term future.
A Full Slate of Candidates For The Victorian Election
"This is a first for the Greens," said Alex Schlotzer, the Greens Victorian Convenor. "In this election, every Victorian voter will get a chance to vote for a Greens candidate. This is a big achievement for a small party."
"The full slate of Greens candidates will give Victorians their best chance yet to vote Greens - right across the state," said Alex Schlotzer. "The Greens are committed to Victoria and we are a serious contender in Saturday fortnight's election."
For more information and comment, please contact: Alex Schlotzer on 0434 856 429 or Dave Lane on 0419 156 213.
Background: the 2006 State election nominations can be found at www.vec.vic.gov.au/statecandidates
TIME TO END MELBOURNE'S PRIVATISED TRAM AND TRAIN SYSTEM
The Victorian Greens media release below reminds us it is time for Victoria to make education to the priority it for all of us.
A campaign called LinkUp Melbourne is pursuing the same goals ahead of the 2007 State Government decision as to whether to continue the highly expensive private transport franchises, or return them to public ownership and control.
It's time to end Melbourne's privatised tram and train system
Renewed calls for Melbourne's trains and trams to revert to public ownership resonate deeply with the city's long suffering commuters and other public transport users, say the Greens.
"When Melbourne's public transport is put to the test - it falls over every time," said Bill Pemberton, the Greens Transport and Planning Integration spokesperson "And it doesn't take a Melbourne cup crowd to tip the system over the edge."
"Public Transport is a key state election issue and it's a top priority for the Greens," said Bill Pemberton. " Fast, frequent, well-connected public transport is what Melbourne needs and this is the promise of the Victorian Greens Planning and Transport policy."
"It is extraordinary that 60 per cent of Melbournians can't leave the car at home, because there is no reliable, safe or convenient public transport in their neighbourhood." said Bill Pemberton. "This just shows that Melbourne’s privatised public transport experiment is a failure."
"Transport and Planning need to be integrated, to fix the system," said Bill Pemberton. "And that's why the Greens say we need a Minister responsible for 'Planning and Transport' and an integrated planning authority established."
”The Greens in Parliament will push to have train and tram contracts lapse when they expire in 2008, and a public agency established to oversee the operation of Victoria's trams, trains and buses,” said Bill Pemberton. "The current system is a mess because private ownership hasn’t worked – even its architect, former premier Jeff Kennett, says so.”
For more information, please contact: Bill Pemberton on (mob) 0428 636 316 or Dave Lane on (mob) 0419 156 213
LEARN FROM OUR PAST TO BUILD TO BETTER FUTURE - EDUCATION A GREEN PRIORITY
Greens value education for all the potential it brings us as individuals and as a society. The Victorian Greens media release below reminds us it is time for Victoria to make education to the priority it for all of us.
Bring education funding up to par with the other states
Matthew Billman, the Greens candidate for Oakleigh, says it's not good enough that Victoria spends less on education than any other state per student.
"Oakleigh remains the only electoral district in the state that does not offer public secondary school education," said Matthew Billman.
“These are shameful facts and our children deserve better,” said Matthew Billman, “An immediate decision needs to be taken to fix this funding failure.”
“The ALP has had seven years to properly fund our education system and bring it up to par with other states, but they have failed,” said Matthew Billman. “Their election policy on education will ensure that Victoria will continue to fail the good education test - and continue to lag behind the rest of the country.”
Matthew Billman says the Greens have developed policies to guarantee a decent education for today's students and those in the future.
“The Greens are thinking long term on education,” said Matthew Billman. “We are committed to revitalising Victoria's education system and increase essential funding.”
“The Greens will work to rebuild run-down school buildings, make sure our public schools stay in public hands and provide a free preschool year for Victorian children,” said Matthew Billman.
“We will also make teaching a more rewarding career by raising teachers' pay and conditions to match other states.”
For more information and comment please contact: Matthew Billman on 0402 620 321 or Dave Lane on 0419 156 213.
7 NOVEMBER 2006
IF GLOBAL WARMING WERE A CRIME - LETTER TO THE EDITOR
I wrote the following letter to the editor in letter on Melbourne Cup Day about the Federal Government’s water summit. A 20 Kb word version of the letter can be downloaded by clicking on the title: If global warming were a crime- Letter to the Editor.
If global warming were a crime
The Cup Day Water Summit was necessary because the responses needed to avoid long-term droughts have been avoided by politicians for years.
If failing to act on climate change became an international crime, leading to one of our current leaders being arrested and detained on such charges, would we seek their repatriation with the same lack of enthusiasm we have shown for Mr. Hicks and other Australian citizens?
For more than one fine day in November, political inaction on global warming will mean many of our cup’s, rather than runneth over, may well run dry.
David Risstrom, BSc(Hons), LLB, BA, Ross St, Northcote, Victoria.
1 NOVEMBER 2006
INHABITED - PHOTOS AND STORIES FROM REMOTE AUSTRALIA
Cam Walker of Friends of the Earth Australia forwarded the following information on what appears to be a very interesting and timely exhibition. The exhibition at Gasworks Arts Park is open Mon-Fri: 9am-5pm from 14 November - 13th December, 21 Graham St, Albert Park, Victoria. (and 6 - 8 pm on Wed 15 Nov)
Inhabited - An exhibition of photographs and stories from remote communities that are affected by uranium mining and the nuclear industry in Australia.
‘Inhabited’ brings to life people and places from remote Australia whose lives have been deeply affected by the nuclear developments. ‘Inhabited’ is a photographic exhibition of landscapes and life size portraits accompanied by audio stories from the people who are directly impacted by the nuclear industry in Australia.
Photo-artist Jessie Boylan and radio show producer Bilbo Taylor have been gathering images and recording personal accounts of experiences with the nuclear industry in Australia over a series of journeys organised by Friends of the Earth.
“Visiting these remote landscapes and meeting the local people revealed a rich culture and vibrant country. I wanted to take these powerful stories from the communities wishing to protect their country and culture from the imposition of uranium mines and radioactive waste dumps and bring them to the city” said Ms. Boylan.
‘Inhabited’ is launched to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the British atomic tests in Australia. It brings together stories of people whose lives have been affected by the atomic tests in the 1950’s with those experiencing recent nuclear developments such as uranium mining and proposals to dump radioactive waste in the Northern Territory.
Portraits include Yami Lester who was blinded by the fallout of the British atomic test in the 1950’s, Goldman Environmental Prize winner Mrs. Eileen Wingfield, a Kokatha woman on whose land Olympic Dam uranium mine is operated and Mitch who’s country is currently proposed for the siting of a national radioactive waste dump.
In 2005 Federal government minister Brendan Nelson announced the federal governments decision to establish a nuclear waste dump in the Northern
Territory. At he time he said “Why shouldn’t people living in the middle of nowhere have a radioactive waste dump on their land?”
Inhabited reveals the myth of uninhabited and lifeless places that is created by politicians and industry promoting nuclear activity in Australia.
Traditional owners and Indigenous communities suffer most directly the impacts of the nuclear industry but their voices are the least heard. With the current nuclear debate the wishes of the inhabitants are too easily dismissed.
Contact: Jessie Boylan, (photo-artist), 0408 448 493, email@example.com
Michaela Stubbs, (Friends of the Earth), 0429 136 935, firstname.lastname@example.org
30 SEPTEMBER 2006
THE HEAT IS ON - LETTER TO THE EDITOR
I wrote the following letter to the editor in letter ahead of the release of the UK Stern report, whose conclusions confirm what I and others have campaigned on for years: That climate change will cause more damage than our economy and the planet can bear. A 24 Kb word version of the letter can be downloaded by clicking on the title: The Heat Is On - Letter to the Editor.
The Heat Is On
Climate change is the greatest threat to our safety, our economy and our future that we have faced in our lifetimes.
As a scientist, former Green Councillor and Green Senate candidate, the most extreme threat to Australians has been our government’s denial and inaction on the conclusions the UK Stern report is drawing again this week.
David Risstrom, BSc(Hons), LLB, BA, Ross St, Northcote, Victoria.
Our political leaders’ lack of guts to own up to our global responsibilities, and the opportunities they could create, are not salved by a ‘born again global warming denying’ Government.
Our national response to global warming, and the droughts, storms and water shortages it brings, is the most important thing many of us will witness in our lifetime. In fairness to all, if those able to lead have shown they are not up to the task, it is time we asked them to move on.
24 SEPTEMBER 2006
EXCEPTIONAL CIRCUMSTANCES: AUSTRALIA'S GLOBAL WARMING NEGLIGENCE - LETTER TO THE EDITOR
I wrote the following letter to the editor in letter declarations of exceptional circumstances in response to the global warming induced drought hitting Australia and its farmers. A 20 Kb word version of the letter can be downloaded by clicking on the title: Exceptional circumstances: Australia's global warming negligence - Letter to the Editor.
Exceptional circumstances: Australia’s global warming negligence
One exceptional circumstance farmers face is a government than has chosen to mislead Australians about the reality of global warming.
Landowners are beginning to understand that they have been let down. The consequences of increased drought, less water and more severe weather patterns may well be a permanent part of our future.
Elected Greens such as myself have worked hard to avoid these hardships by introducing water, energy and climate change programs at the international and local government level. Federal action for the last 10 years has been like a puddle drying in the sun.
Australians, as citizens of one of only two advanced industrial nations in global warming denial, should ask their leaders why they have risked the environmental, social and economic future of our rural sector and all who rely on them.
Federal Government led inaction means ordinary Australians will pay for the damage to our communities and the land.
The time to avoid unnecessary risk passed many years ago, when the warming warning signals were clear. Further inaction is further negligence.
Doing something about global warming is like stopping smoking. It may not fix everything, but it does improve your odds.
David Risstrom, BSc(Hons), LLB, BA, Ross St, Northcote, Victoria.
18 OCTOBER 2006
CHANNEL NINE PARTIAL SALE SIGNALS THE DECLINE OF AUSTRALIAN QUALITY MEDIA
With the House Of Representatives hot even having passed the Government's media changes, the landscape of Australian media had already changed. With a much vaunted equity fund purchase of half of Channel Nine, the media deck chairs are already on the move. Or more accurately for senior journalists interested in quality journalism, they could easily describe the deck chairs as being packed away.
Other reports also suggest that Channel Seven owner, Mr Stokes, appears set to purchase The West Australian newspaper. One of the most significant likely changes for progressive Australians will be the changes that may occur to Fairfax. As publishers of the Melbourne Age and Sydney Morning Herald, the fate of the two quality broadsheet mass circulation dailies will be something concerned readers will be very concerned about.
Australia is a liberal democracy, for which market forces have an obvious and welcome capacity for distributing goods and services, including media services. But given Australia has one of the most concentrated media ownership in the first world prior to these changes, and the future likely to favour greater consolidation, diversity is the last thing served by the Governments' Family First backed media mangle. Australians are best described as second last served.
OLD PARTIES FAIL ON CLIMATE CHANGE ACTION AND POLICY
The following Victorian Greens media release confirms what many voters know: the old parties aren't fair dinkum about climate change, and are having difficulty admitting they are out of their depth.
The old parties fail the policy and action test on climate change
"Climate change is set to eclipse all other issues in the upcoming state election and the Greens are critical of the old parties for not addressing the biggest issue for the region.
“Climate change is the greatest threat to our way of life and the future of our children,” said Michele Harvie, the Greens candidate for Ballarat East. “None of the old parties have even bothered to release energy policies or serious policies on climate change.”
“The Bracks Government has a plan to continue using brown coal for the next 100 years, but no targets for cuts in greenhouse emissions or long term vision for energy efficiency and renewable energy,” said Mrs Harvie.
“We are facing the worst drought on record, our earliest bushfire season and an agricultural recession,” said Mrs Harvie. “Changes in climate threaten our economy and our wellbeing, with country Victorians facing some really tough times.”
“Climate change is an opportunity as well as a threat and the Greens have been pushing to seize this opportunity for years,” said Mrs Harvie. “Rather than being the worst polluters in the world, the Greens want Victoria to lead the world in renewable energy, energy efficient technologies, efficient water use and water recycling.”
In Parliament after November 25, the Greens will work to:
- reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2015 and 80% by 2050,
- tighten the 5-star housing standard and extend it to government and commercial buildings, and major renovations of existing buildings,
- mandate the installation of solar hot water units or equivalent electric heat pump system in all new buildings and replacement units in existing buildings,
- install smart meters with real time communications technology and information display for all electricity consumers by 2010,
- introduce a carbon levy to fund new efficiency and renewable energy projects
- shut down Hazelwood, our worst polluting power plant, by 2015 and phase out brown coal altogether in the longer term,
- assist rural and regional Victorians to implement energy efficiency and small scale renewable energy generation,
- support independent fuel distributors and assist the development of markets for alternative fuels such as ethanol, methanol and waste stream biodiesel.
“Climate change is real and it's happening, but there are solutions – it's time the old parties got their act together,” said Mrs Harvie. "Our challenge to them is - show us your policies!”
For more information and comment, please contact: Michele Harvie via Jon Stanger on (mob) 0415 755 181 or Dave Lane on (mob) 0419 156 213.
STATE GOVERNMENT DUCKS WATER CATCHMENT FIGURES SAY THE GREENS
A Victorian Greens media release below describes what many informed conservationists know: Victoria's policy of logging our water catchments is making the Victorian Government the biggest Wally in the State.
State Government Ducks Water Catchment Figures Says The Greens
"A desperate act from a Government failing to come to grips with the state’s water crisis." That's the reaction from the Greens to today's reports that the state government has decided to delay the release of information about the impact of clearfell logging on the state’s water catchments.
“There is no doubt what so ever that water catchment logging has had an negative impact, and continued logging will just make it worse,” said Marcus Ward, the Greens Forests spokesperson.
“I know of no refereed paper or study over the past 30 years that has said anything other than logging wet forests drastically reduces stream flows, by up to 50%," said Marcus Ward. "Studies also indicate it takes between 100 and 200 years for the stream flows to return to pre-logging flows.”
“The continued clearfell logging of our water catchments is not in the public interest," said Marcus Ward. "We will fight the government every step of the way on this."
"We’ve pleaded with governments for a decade to halt logging in water catchments. We can’t redress the foolish mistakes of the past, but we can act now to stop further unnecessary losses,” said Marcus Ward.
For more information and comment please call: Marcus Ward on (tel) 54235254 0r (mob) 0427 235 254 or Dave Lane on (mob) 0419 156 213
Background: There have been dozens of studies on the impact of logging on water catchments - from 1954 to this year. The most comprehensive study was done in 1992 for the Kennett Government (Read/Sturgess). This concluded the net dollar loss from logging versus water loss in the Thompson Catchment was $147 million.
Latest reports (consistent with earlier Read-Sturgess report) show the water losses caused by logging in Melbourne catchments to be 60,000 ML of water a year. This is the equivalent of water for 250,000 households for one year, 10 per cent of Melbourne's total annual domestic water usage and equates to 1,000 litres of water lost every second. These are conservative calculations.
The Sinclair Knight Mertz report on the Otways (2000) concluded that by 2100, Warrnambool’s Greater Arkins catchment would have a 27.6 per cent increase in available water if logging stopped immediately.
12 OCTOBER 2006
FAMILY FIRST AND THE GOVERNMENT JOIN TO DISMANTLE MEDIA DIVERSITY
Family First Senator, Steve Fielding, has joined with the government in the Senate to pass the current raft of media laws changes that is certain to see a significant shuffling of Australian media ownership and control and and inevitable reduction in media diversity. Supporting a ridiculous formula that allow for a minimum of five voices in a major Australian city, the Government's law changes can rightly been seen as being both, indifferent to the inevitable reduction in high quality media analysis with the loss of experienced and local journalistic input, and secondly, as a sop to media owners who can make or break a government surfing a wave of populism rather than national building.
Steve Fielding, for whatever totally unconvincing reasons he has provided, in supporting the legislation in the Senate, also achieved the double punch by taking the leverage out of the improvements Queensland Nationals Senator Barnaby Joyce was able to achieve as one of until then, deciding votes.
According to Senator Fielding, "The arguments against this Bill are not so strong that we (Family First) will support it." Well Senator Fielding, the arguments are strong. Your understanding of this Bill on Australia's future are not. And it is decent Australians who will pay for your lack of understanding.
The Greens have fought hard for media quality and diversity. as have the Democrats and some other independents. Unfortunately, due to the willingness of some parliamentarians to fail to develop policy, their lack of decisiveness or conviction on important issues allows them to be perceived as the one's whose votes are the only important ones. In reality, what is important is that political parties work hard to develop policy, face election based on those policies and principles and stand true to then following their election. The Greens are known for remaining principled and firm and will strive to continue to wherever they can. It is disappointing, particularly on issues as significant as the future of media diversity in Australia, that not all elected officials display the same commitment to policy development and conviction to fight for that view when it counts.
URGENT REPAIRS NEEDED FOR NORTHCOTE PUBLIC HOUSING
Northcote Greens candidate, Alex Bhatal, issued the following media release on the parlous state of public housing in our State.
Urgent Repairs Needed For Public Housing
Greens candidate for Northcote, Alex Bhathal, has called for urgent repairs to public housing properties throughout the Northcote District.
“Repairs made to public housing estates in the Northcote District are completely inadequate to ensure they remain safe or comfortable,” said Alex Bhathal. “These homes are not insulated, resulting in oven-like temperatures in the summer and freezing conditions the in winter.”
Alex Bhathal said the 1950s concrete-slab homes, so prevalent in the Northcote public housing estates, also have fibre-cement (FC) sheeting that contains asbestos.
“The Greens are very concerned that people are at risk from exposure to asbestos in broken FC sheets,” said Alex Bhathal. “Tenants need to be told of the risks of asbestos and how to identify any exposed asbestos materials.”
Alex Bhathal called for the Bracks Government to follow the guidelines of its own Sustainable Energy Authority and insulate the houses with external cladding.
“External cladding isolates the thermal mass of the concrete and is relatively inexpensive,” said Alex Bhathal. “It would also eliminate heat loss in winter and dramatically improve the energy efficiency of the property.”
For more information and comment please contact: Alex Bhathal: 0431 933 546 or Dave Lane on (mob) 0419 156 213
6 OCTOBER 2006
GREENS NATIONAL POLICY CONFERENCE A GREAT SUCCESS
As a Victorian delegate to the Greens National Policy Conference in Canberra this weekend, I sound like a real 'policy wonk' to admit I really enjoyed it. The conference is the conclusion of a very long process of grass roots and community consultation for Federal policy formulation to take to the 2007 Federal election. With some final changes to be endorsed at the Greens National Conference I am attending in Adelaide on 27-29 October, the Greens are ready to deliver the much needed Green policies Australians need.
As a practical aside, a group of four of us travelled from Melbourne to Canberra in my hybrid electric-petrol car, running on 10% ethanol fuel, and achieving about 5.5 litres per 100 km, meaning our greenhouse gas emissions were about one tenth of an equivalent car, and many times less than anyone flying. Not a single kangaroo nor wombat was compromised in the 1300 km plus journey. Thankfully!
1 OCTOBER 2006
PAST NEWS AND VIEWS
This page provides my news and views from October 1 to December 31 2006. The previous edition of current news and views are available by clicking here: David Risstrom's News and Views: Jul-Sep 2006: David.