Monthly Archives: November 2009

Climate change conspiracy theories – oh really!

Climate change image of polluting chimney stacks

Climate change deniers see red in their conspiracy theories

Here’s the latest rubbish from the mad right of politics – climate change is driven by the far left who see it as a way of achieving what they have always wanted, the de-industrialisation of the West.

According to Senator Nick Minchin as shown on a recent Four Corners program (ABC television), ’the collapse of communism was a disaster for the left and, really, they embraced environment as their new religion’.

The coalition have the mad monk, Tony Abbott, but this lunacy would be funny in a sick sort of way if it weren’t so mad and if Senator Minchin wasn’t such a senior member of the Liberal Party.

The idea that scientists around the world who study the effect of climate change in all its manifestations are part of some extensive conspiracy to do in capitalism is patently ludicrous. Even more so is the way that many of the politicians in Australia’s conservative parties bury their heads in the proverbial sand (and there’s likely to be a lot more of it), and deny that climate change is a reality.

Why are they? is the question. If the Emissions Trading Bill only requires a handful of conservative senators to say ‘yes’ to the bill to get it passed, then perhaps the brouhaha is more about a leadership change than climate change. It’s the time in the political cycle when leaders of oppositions are dethroned. Think Kevin Rudd in the December of 2006.

I still think the climate change deniers are off their rockers.

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Sale of Sydney ferries still up for grabs

It seems that the Labor Conference last weekend did not resolve the issue of whether Sydney ferries will be sold by this state’s Labor Government to a private operator. There is huge resistance to such a sale as most Sydneysiders understand that a public transport service is not about making money but about providing a safe, efficient means of transport that happens to take pressure off the roads.

At the conference, delegates passed a resolution that demanded any proposal to privatise or franchise the ferries would need to be approved by the party and not just by the cabinet.

However, it is not sure that the Rees Government will abide by the resolution. According to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald (16 November 2009), a spokeswoman said that the  ‘market-testing’ process (read, steps to privatise) would go ahead as planned for a final decision later this year.

However, it is not just the Maritime and other unions that are determined to ensure that Sydney Ferries stays a part of the public and publicly-owned transport system. From the meeting at the Balmain Town Hall recently, there is huge community support for the campaign to keep Sydney ferries in public hands.

Watch this space!

Good news of goverment action on climate change

High rise buildings in Sydney city with Centre Point Tower on the left

City council mayors unite to combat greenhouse gas emissions

Congratulations to the Council of Capital City Lord Mayors who met recently and committed to a seven-point plan to reduce carbon emissions by 57 megatonnes every year by 2020. Part of the scheme is to change all urban lighting to high efficiency LED lighting, retrofit buildings and reduce commercial floor space of employees by 20 per cent.

It’s an example of how combating climate change needs many different prongs all working together to make the big difference. Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore, made the point that the targets could only be achieved if governments and industry partner the city councils’ plans.

The scheme has the support of the NSW Climate Change and the Environment Minister John Robertson and the Green Building Council of Australia.

The capital city majors have set an example for regional and rural councils, state governments and the federal government.

Climate change issue heats up

The majority of the voting Australian public want strong action by the federal government on climate change now

The majority of Australians want strong action on climate change

Last night, Bill and I joined other like-minded volunteers to continue the campaign of letting our politicians know that we want strong action on climate change right now.

With the Carbon Pollution Reduction issue being voted on in the Senate soon prior to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen from 7 December to 18 December this year, we believe it is now that we need to let our elected representatives know that this is something that the majority of Australians want.

So last night, we telephoned many NSW senators and our local house of reps member to let them all know that we want our federal government to take strong action on climate change right now. What else do we want?

We want our government, as our representatives, to lead the world on this issue. We are a first world nation, a high polluting country that exports brown (dirty) energy around the world. We need to change this and to be a leading nation for the creation of a green economy that will provide many thousands of green jobs and a massive economic boom with clean energy exports. This is the future of the world and we can’t pretend that coal and other non-renewable energy sources are going to be the source of a burgeoning economy in future years.

We want our country to join the clean-energy boom and we want a cleaner future for our children and grandchildren.

Even if you are someone who doesn’t believe humans are contributing to climate change – the so-called climate change skeptics – taking action now that will lead to a less-polluted world must be the way to go.

And if you want a cleaner future for your children and grandchildren, tell your local federal member. Call or email. You can find members’ details at www.aph.gov.au. There is no time to waste.

Some websites of interest

Climate change action groups
www.climatemovement.org.au/groups/

Balmain Rozelle climate change group
www.climatechangebr.org

GetUp
www.getup.org.au

Australian Conservation Foundation
www.acf.online.org.au

Get motivated, get active and GetUp

GetUp is an independent (of political party) politics that is a grass roots community organisation that gives every Australian voter a greater opportunity to participate in the political process.

With powerful industry lobby groups spending millions of dollars to make sure their agenda is achieved, GetUp gives voting Australians the chance to hold our politicians to account for their actions and to let them know what issues Australians care about. It is a grass-roots counterweight to the power of the industry lobby groups.

Like many Australians, I want a cleaner, greener Australia starting right now. Changing to eco-friendly cleaning products is one small way we can each make a difference. Reducing power consumption is another that we can make some difference but the real difference will come from our governments championing strong action on climate change, to invest in renewable energy options that can be put in place at a macro and micro-level.

The GetUp message on climate change is ‘cutting emissions creates jobs’. The upside for the economy is that we will have a planet (simply that) and we’ll have fewer brown-energy jobs and far more green-energy jobs that will ensure our planet’s sustainability. Even if politicians don’t think that we humans are contributing to climate change, let’s start moving towards a cleaner, greener future.

Our politicians are paid by us; they are our representatives and we have an obligation to tell them about what is important to us. So get motivated, get active and join GetUp.

Want to know more about the ReEnergise Australia campaign?
www.GetUp.org.au/campaign/ReEnergise
www.cleanEnergyJobs.com.au

A tribute to Don Lane

The Don Lane Memorial Service at South Sydney Junior Rugby League Club 5 November 2009

Once more the band plays for Don Lane

As all Australians know, Don Lane passed away recently at the age of 75. We were all sorry to hear the news. He seemed too young. On Thursday 5 November, a tribute was held at South Sydney Juniors League Club.  It was billed as a memorial service but it was so much more. The entertainment industry came out in force to honour his life and work. And the fans came in droves too.

I saw him perform only a few years ago and he looked fit, as lanky as ever, and healthy – no signs of Alzheimers then. Bill, my husband, worked with Don on many gigs as a bass guitarist in the band. The places were always packed and Don didn’t disappoint. What a consummate entertainer he was. Television, radio, cabaret: Don did it all and with style. As his son, PJ, said yesterday, ‘he transformed the entertainment industry in Australia’.

We Aussies gladly adopted Don when he made Australia his home in the ’70s and we loved him for it. Don Lane was ours – at least we Australians thought so. He entertained us, laughed with us, sang and danced his way into our hearts. We will remember him well.

SOS campaign to save our Sydney ferries

SOS campaign to save our Sydney ferries and keep them in public hands

SOS campaign wins support in Balmain

The meeting at the Balmain Town Hall on Saturday 7 November was packed to the rafters with concerned citizens who want to make sure that Sydney Ferries stays in public ownership. I estimated that over 500 people turned up to hear what our State member for Balmain, Verity Firth, had to say. From where I sat, the people were not impressed with her corporate speak about hopefully reaching the right decision through a market valuation process.

Leichhardt Mayor Jamie Parker was more clear, ‘We need to make sure that Sydney Ferries remains in public hands for the public good. A private operator has one consideration only: profit. What about service, maintenance and safety of passengers and crew, the environment, expanding Sydney Ferries to take the pressure off our roads? All these things matter but in the private realm, they will not.

The ferry service is a public service that, now and in the future, will be able to make a serious contribution to our public transport system by continuing to take the burden off our clogged road systems providing it remains a public service and is not privatised. The vote at the meeting to keep the ferries in public hands was carried unanimously.

Find out more about the SOS campaign to save our ferries. Join the campaign. Find out what you can do to help. Send your SOS message to the premier and state ministers to save our Sydney ferries.

Get the latest news from SOS save our Sydney ferries campaign. Contact NSW members of parliament. A complete list of members’ details is available on www.parliament.nsw.gov.au.

Keep Sydney Ferries in public hands

Sydney Ferry on its way to Circular Quay

Sydney ferry on its way to Circular Quay

A meeting at the Balmain Town Hall today at 3pm will bring together people who want to make sure that Sydney Ferries remains a part of the Sydney landscape.

The New South Wales Government’s plan to privatise Sydney Ferries has the potential to severely impact on our ferry services, its affordability and the future of this means of public transport that takes vehicles off already clogged roads.

Speakers at the meeting today include legendary activist, Jack Mundey, concerned Sydney Ferry employees and local commuters.

If you love our ferries and want to be a part of the Save or Sydney Ferries movement, come along to the Balmain Town Hall at 3pm on Saturday 7 November 2009 – that’s today!

Get the latest news from SOS save our Sydney ferries campaign. Contact NSW members of parliament. A complete list of members’ details is available on www.parliament.nsw.gov.au.

Balmain as it was – trams

A tram on Darling Street East Balmain circa 1950

A tram makes its way on Darling Street to the East Balmain ferry wharf, circa 1950

Balmain residents furious over Minister Keneally’s rushed approvals

White Bay industrial site for proposed refuelling depot

White Bay industrial site for redevelopment could look worse than this or better …

The Planning Minister, Kristina Keneally MP, has approved a refuelling depot and international cruise ship terminal in the White Bay area without a skerrick of consultation with the local council or the people of Balmain.

The refuelling depot is smack in the middle of a residential area yet the Minister chose not to consult with any locals despite a commitment from the NSW Premier that there would be an extensive consultation period to develop a master plan for the White Bay redevelopment.

The Joint Subcommittee to the Bays Precinct Consultation Group has proposed a far more appropriate redevelopment plan that will enhance the residential nature and the heritage value of the Balmain peninsula.

From the submission

Parklands and trees in East Balmain

This is how it could be: trees and parkland for White Bay redevelopment

As White Bay is part of the Balmain Peninsula it has the potential to enhance the very significant heritage on the peninsula.

Being on the inner-city foreshores, the Bays Precinct offers the opportunity to complement the CBD environs in a way that will showcase the inner-harbour and set out a visionary plan for the next century rather than the next decade.

Our community wants a balance of social, environmental and economic elements that will encourage community interaction including:

  • parkland and open space
  • recreational, community and sporting amenities
  • childrens play areas and facilities
  • café/kiosk
  • using the power station for wider benefit
  • increased transport services (ferry, buses, light rail, bike tracks & walking tracks).

Public access to the harbour foreshores is essential and 24/7 industrial/commercial operations are unacceptable. If there is any land that deserves the best planning focus and outcomes it is the foreshores of Sydney Harbour.

The locals are fighting back

The Leichhardt Council has launched a legal challenge to the approval of the refuelling depot on the basis that Minister Keneally’s approval completely disregards a commitment made by the NSW Premier for a new master plan for White Bay. In addition, both Sylvia Hale (Greens MLA) and Cr John Stamolis (Leichhardt Council) were advised last year that a decision on the refuelling depot would not be made before the Bays Precinct consultation occurred. Minister Keneally has shown complete disregard for process by approving the proposal without any consultation.

If you want to voice your objection to the refuelling depot and cruise ship terminal in favour of parklands, recreational and sporting amenities, and other social and environmental enhancements, contact the Minister, Kristina Keneally, The Premier, Nathan Rees and other members of the NSW parliament.