Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers
Sunday, 31 March 2013
Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers
Hard work pays off
A few years back a large beer truck lost its load in the Tweed River just outside the main business area of Murwillumbah. The river was, as a result of this accident, full of imported bottles of beer.
Now the good citizens of Murwillumbah will always help and on this occasion they went out in force to help – themselves – to the booty that lay on the sandy floor of the river. They came in wet suits and with boats. They spent hours under water retrieving the loot and as night fell it was party time in them tha hills.
On hearing of this major rescue operation the insurance company for the truck wanted the beer back. No chance. Even the local police (allegedly) had a stash in the lock up!
ABC PM program covered The great beer salvage on 17 April 2001.
Saturday, 30 March 2013
To: George W. Bush and Dick Cheney
From: Tomas Young
I write this letter on the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War on behalf of my fellow Iraq War veterans. I write this letter on behalf of the 4,488 soldiers and Marines who died in Iraq. I write this letter on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of veterans who have been wounded and on behalf of those whose wounds, physical and psychological, have destroyed their lives. I am one of those gravely wounded. I was paralyzed in an insurgent ambush in 2004 in Sadr City. My life is coming to an end. I am living under hospice care.
I write this letter on behalf of husbands and wives who have lost spouses, on behalf of children who have lost a parent, on behalf of the fathers and mothers who have lost sons and daughters and on behalf of those who care for the many thousands of my fellow veterans who have brain injuries. I write this letter on behalf of those veterans whose trauma and self-revulsion for what they have witnessed, endured and done in Iraq have led to suicide and on behalf of the active-duty soldiers and Marines who commit, on average, a suicide a day. I write this letter on behalf of the some 1 million Iraqi dead and on behalf of the countless Iraqi wounded. I write this letter on behalf of us all—the human detritus your war has left behind, those who will spend their lives in unending pain and grief.
I write this letter, my last letter, to you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney. I write not because I think you grasp the terrible human and moral consequences of your lies, manipulation and thirst for wealth and power. I write this letter because, before my own death, I want to make it clear that I, and hundreds of thousands of my fellow veterans, along with millions of my fellow citizens, along with hundreds of millions more in Iraq and the Middle East, know fully who you are and what you have done. You may evade justice but in our eyes you are each guilty of egregious war crimes, of plunder and, finally, of murder, including the murder of thousands of young Americans—my fellow veterans—whose future you stole.
Your positions of authority, your millions of dollars of personal wealth, your public relations consultants, your privilege and your power cannot mask the hollowness of your character. You sent us to fight and die in Iraq after you, Mr. Cheney, dodged the draft in Vietnam, and you, Mr. Bush, went AWOL from your National Guard unit. Your cowardice and selfishness were established decades ago. You were not willing to risk yourselves for our nation but you sent hundreds of thousands of young men and women to be sacrificed in a senseless war with no more thought than it takes to put out the garbage.
I joined the Army two days after the 9/11 attacks. I joined the Army because our country had been attacked. I wanted to strike back at those who had killed some 3,000 of my fellow citizens. I did not join the Army to go to Iraq, a country that had no part in the September 2001 attacks and did not pose a threat to its neighbors, much less to the United States. I did not join the Army to “liberate” Iraqis or to shut down mythical weapons-of-mass-destruction facilities or to implant what you cynically called “democracy” in Baghdad and the Middle East. I did not join the Army to rebuild Iraq, which at the time you told us could be paid for by Iraq’s oil revenues. Instead, this war has cost the United States over $3 trillion. I especially did not join the Army to carry out pre-emptive war. Pre-emptive war is illegal under international law. And as a soldier in Iraq I was, I now know, abetting your idiocy and your crimes. The Iraq War is the largest strategic blunder in U.S. history. It obliterated the balance of power in the Middle East. It installed a corrupt and brutal pro-Iranian government in Baghdad, one cemented in power through the use of torture, death squads and terror. And it has left Iran as the dominant force in the region. On every level—moral, strategic, military and economic—Iraq was a failure. And it was you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney, who started this war. It is you who should pay the consequences.
I would not be writing this letter if I had been wounded fighting in Afghanistan against those forces that carried out the attacks of 9/11. Had I been wounded there I would still be miserable because of my physical deterioration and imminent death, but I would at least have the comfort of knowing that my injuries were a consequence of my own decision to defend the country I love. I would not have to lie in my bed, my body filled with painkillers, my life ebbing away, and deal with the fact that hundreds of thousands of human beings, including children, including myself, were sacrificed by you for little more than the greed of oil companies, for your alliance with the oil sheiks in Saudi Arabia, and your insane visions of empire.
I have, like many other disabled veterans, suffered from the inadequate and often inept care provided by the Veterans Administration. I have, like many other disabled veterans, come to realize that our mental and physical wounds are of no interest to you, perhaps of no interest to any politician. We were used. We were betrayed. And we have been abandoned. You, Mr. Bush, make much pretense of being a Christian. But isn’t lying a sin? Isn’t murder a sin? Aren’t theft and selfish ambition sins? I am not a Christian. But I believe in the Christian ideal. I believe that what you do to the least of your brothers you finally do to yourself, to your own soul.
My day of reckoning is upon me. Yours will come. I hope you will be put on trial. But mostly I hope, for your sakes, that you find the moral courage to face what you have done to me and to many, many others who deserved to live. I hope that before your time on earth ends, as mine is now ending, you will find the strength of character to stand before the American public and the world, and in particular the Iraqi people, and beg for forgiveness.
Friday, 29 March 2013
If this is what several hundred coal seam gas wells would leave behind in Pilliga, what would Metgasco's 1,000 wells do to the Northern Rivers?
Metgasco’s preliminary plans for Casino in the Northern Rivers in 2012: Metgasco says it needs about 1000 wells to make the money it predicts in a recent economic forecast report.
Thursday, 28 March 2013
Foreign worker EMAs
Wednesday, 27 March 2013
Former Member for New England and Nationals candidate in the 2013 federal election has home raided by ICAC
The Coffs Coast Advocate 27 March 2013:
FORMER Northern Tablelands MP Richard Torbay was believed to be lying low at a property near Coffs Harbour today as ICAC officers reportedly performed a search of his Armidale home this morning.
The lads at the table of knowledge at the local watering hole had a rib tickling session yesterday. The main topic on the session's agenda was local MP Chris Gulaptis's bit about who would have the honour of presenting the trophy to the owners of the winner of the 100th Grafton Gallops Cup this year. On Monday Gulaptis told State Parliament the Premier had been invited to present the trophy but the Premier would be otherwise engaged on the day so has had to rsvp with an inability card.
Gulaptis went on to say, "Unfortunately, I cannot see anyone (else) of sufficient standing to present the trophy to the 100th Grafton Cup winner this year."
So, there you have it! No Barry, ... , no one up to his standing, ...
Does that mean the cup will have to be abandoned?
In March 2013 the O’Farrell Government placed a draft State Environmental Planning Policy on public exhibition which purports to create exclusion zones wherein coal seam gas exploration and mining cannot take place in future.
If Federal Labor retains the Page electorate in September 2013 it will be due to the almost universal respect won by the sitting member Janelle Saffin
Only the most rusted on of Liberal or Nationals supporters dispute the assertion that Labor's Janelle Saffin is a respected and hardworking advocate for her electorate.
This is a typical view.......
Tuesday, 26 March 2013
Northern NSW newspapers, including The Northern Star and The Daily Examiner, are carrying reports about the latest 'happening' associated with disgraced former Member for Clarence Steve Cansdell.
Smith won't pressure DPP to charge MP Steve Cansdell
Source: The Northern Star and The Daily Examiner.
A yet to be Leader of the Opposition Tony Abbott writing to BA Santamaria when he was considering entering politics and Santamaria was advising him to join the Liberals:
The Liberal Pary is without soul, direction or inspiring leadership.
Abbott during Question Time on 21 March 2013:
Abbott in an Address to the Victoria Liberal Party State Council on 28 April 2012:
And we, my fellow Liberals, are fundamentally a party of values and of principles.
Monday, 25 March 2013
Note: transcript appears to have been amended by author since first publication
The emotions in the room were palpable. Gillard used the word illegal, which we were hoping for. Mum desperately needed to hear that word...
When Abbott started speaking, immediately the tone of the room and the elated atmosphere disintegrated rapidly. Abbott obviously had not consulted with anyone. He didn’t understand the findings of the Senate inquiry and didn’t understand that language is so important when we’re talking about forced adoption. He spoke about "relinquishment" not "forced adoption". We were there for a national apology on forced adoption, not relinquishment. My mother did not relinquish me, I was taken.
He also used the term "birth mothers". For the majority, the mothers and fathers consider themselves parents, period. That’s when the heckling occurred, when he used the term birth parents. For my mother, it echoed the judgemental and insensitive practices of the past.
Everything that Gillard achieved in terms of validating all the mothers, fathers, sons and daughters was completely eroded by Abbott’s speech. One of the recommendations was to bring broader public awareness around the coercive and illegal practices that occurred. If our Opposition Leader couldn’t even understand what happened and use the appropriate words, then what hope do we have of the broader community understanding?
Sunday, 24 March 2013
ESA and the Planck Collaboration
The anisotropies of the Cosmic microwave background (CMB) as observed by Planck. The CMB is a snapshot of the oldest light in our Universe, imprinted on the sky when the Universe was just 380 000 years old. It shows tiny temperature fluctuations that correspond to regions of slightly different densities, representing the seeds of all future structure: the stars and galaxies of today
Saturday, 23 March 2013
Friday, 22 March 2013
Want to have your say on the latest O'Farrell Government attempt to force CSG mining on reluctant communities?
What the advertisement currently appearing in selected local papers on the NSW North Coast doesn't say is that this change will also give local councils the right to override proposed CSG mining exclusion zones provisions to allow for exploration and mining: