“Skyrail” blog coming in a day or two, but first another related issue to cover: How many tracks is best?
Single track can work for very infrequent rail services, but in a suburban setting, with frequent services, causes problems.
Witness the Altona Loop — the single track (with passing loops) severely limits the number of trains that move through — a maximum of three trains per hour in each direction. Even during normal operations, trains have to wait for each other at passing loops (the photo above is at Westona).
Any little delay can quickly escalate, so Metro often have trains bypass this section altogether, leaving 44+ minute gaps in the middle of peak hour. The latest Track Record quarterly report says this happened 393 times in the year to September 2015.
Single track really has no place on a modern suburban train network. Puffing Billy? Sure. But not Metro. Yet it persists on the Altona Loop, and lines to Upfield, Hurstbridge, Lilydale, Belgrave and Cranbourne.
Double track is obviously the default, allowing trains in both directions without causing delays. Express running (including for long distance trains) can be tricky to manage — the Dandenong and Cranbourne lines manage this, but at peak times the V/Line expresses are little faster than the stopping trains.
Three tracks was fashionable in Melbourne up until the 1980s, with prominent examples on the Ringwood and Frankston lines. Expresses can overtake slower trains in one direction only.
The catch is that since the 1990s, the amount of inner-city stabling has been reduced markedly, so all those trains need somewhere to go between peak hour runs. This is problematic with three tracks — in the morning the single outbound track gets congested; this can result in delays and clogged level crossings, and may be problematic when aiming to connect outer suburban centres like Dandenong and Ringwood with express trains (in both directions) from the inner city.
Four tracks is now what they’re moving to when building for extensive express running. Separate track pairs can isolate different lines and/or keep stopping and express trains apart.
City to Footscray expanded from two tracks to four in the 1970s. With Regional Rail Link, it expanded again to six.
So when you look at lines like the Dandenong line, remember: it’s two tracks now (and the “Skyrail” will initially also be two tracks). But planning and provision for future expansion will be for four tracks, not three.
This is commonsense, but fortunately less crude economic methodology than has been pursued hitherto seems to be uncovering it:
A strong tradition in economic history, which primarily relies on qualitative evidence and statistical correlations, has emphasized the importance of patents as a primary driver of innovation. Recent improvements in empirical methodology – through the creation of new data sets and advances in identification – have produced research that challenges this traditional view. The findings of this literature provide a more nuanced view of the effects of intellectual property, and suggest that when patent rights have been too broad or strong, they have actually discouraged innovation. This paper summarizes the major results from this research and presents open questions.
Author: Petra Moser
“I’m one of the greatest artists and greatest thinkers in the Territory. I am. If you don’t like it, well shove it up your arse. That’s all I can fuckin’ say.”
That was Trevor Jenkins, aka “Rubbish Warrior.” speaking to Justice Peter Barr of the Northern Territory Supreme Court in late December 2015. Jenkins is the fellow with the Maccas bag and a sprouting potato perched on his head above. Jenkins delivered that spray to Justice Barr on the second day of the hearing of his appeal against convictions in the Darwin Court of Summary Jurisdiction on a classic Territory trifecta of charges of trespass, assault and resist arrest following his attempt to gatecrash the Northern Territory Literary Awards in May 2014.
Jenkins had lodged an entry for the Awards but it was rejected. After an exchange of emails between Jenkins and the Award’s organiser she formed the view that Jenkins would try to attend the Awards ceremony and disrupt the event. Accordingly, she arranged with security–the Awards ceremony is held in the NT Library within the NT Parliament House precinct–to prevent Jenkins’ entry if he turned up.
Jenkins did indeed turn up and, as recorded by CCTV cameras and examined in excruciating detail by the Court of Summary Jurisdiction and in the Supreme Court on appeal, engaged the security guards in an aggressive series of exchanges. After some minutes, Jenkins managed to evade the guards and entered the ceremony to eat the hors d’oeuvres and mingle with what passes for the literati in Darwin. The Police soon arrived and placed Jenkins under arrest for trespassing, whereupon Jenkins fell to the ground and started yelling “I’m allowed to be here. I’m a fucking poet. I’m a poet. You cunts, I’m a fucking poet. Police brutality. I’m allowed to be here.”
Jenkins was then, as they say in Police-speak, conveyed to the local watch-house, swearing all the while. While being processed in the watch-house he told a female officer at the desk that she was “a fat cunt that eats MacDonalds all the time.”
Jenkins has been a fixture around Darwin’s long grass for the past few years. His biggest claim to fame–thus far–is the series of True Detective-style creations (sculptures?) that he litters around Darwin streets, constructed of stray sticks and palm-fronds and often topped with a Coke can or an iced coffee carton. He has had a series of brushes with the law, including an alleged graffiti attack on the Darwin Magistrates Court in 2013 and an arrest for causing a disturbance at an Australia Day ceremony in 2014.
In 2012 Jenkins ran as a candidate for Mayor of Darwin City Council on a ticket of “Vote 1 – Homeless Bum” and won around 12 per cent of the primary vote. He auditioned for Australia’s Got Talent but didn’t get past the first round. In 2014 Jessie Gohier-Fleet made a quite lovely little film about Jenkins and his art practice that took out the Best Cinematography award at the NT Fistful of Films festival.
Justice Barr’s decision in Trevor Jenkins v Walter Todd  NTSC 4 is not yet available online but I will post a link when it is. The quotes above appear in the written decision of the court.
At first instance in the Court of Summary Jurisdiction the hearing of the charges against Jenkins took six days between December 2014 and March 2015. On appeal in the Supreme Court the matter took another six days, though in neither case does it appear that each appearance took up a whole day of the court’s time on each occasion.
Justice Barr is a careful and patient judge–his judgement runs to 56 pages–and he is well-aware of the difficulties faced by both the court and the appellant when, particularly on appeal, a litigant is unrepresented by counsel.
In his written decision Justice Barr notes the:
… difficulties in assessing, on appeal, the merits of the appellant’s submissions about the facts in evidence and his claims of procedural unfairness in the court below. Where a self-interested advocate has no professional ethical standards, everything said should be taken with caution, yet the possibility of some proper legal ground of appeal cannot be overlooked.
Indeed. Jenkins was successful in his appeal against conviction for resist police, albeit on a technicality.
It helps to be truthful in court. Telling the judge you won’t be back in court the next day because your mother had died and you had to attend her funeral in Sydney, and then eventually confessing that “As far as I know she’s still alive, Mr Barr” doesn’t help your cause much.
It is also useful to remember that the judge has the last say. Here is the first paragraph of Justice Barr’s decision.
This appeal hearing demonstrated the difficulties of doing justice in the case of a self-represented appellant who demands to be tolerated and understood, perhaps even indulged, as a homeless man without resources, but who has an extraordinary sense of entitlement, is obsessed with his perceived artistic and literary greatness, arrogant and unreasonable, extremely disrespectful to the Bench, untruthful in his statements from the Bar table, unreliable and selective in his submissions, and given to vituperative outbursts when questions were asked of him which exposed flaws in his arguments.
Photo: Henry’s Mobile Studio
You’d always hope that governments aim to minimise spending waste, and part of that is forward planning, so for instance you don’t do upgrades to something that is about to be replaced.
Our local station at Bentleigh has received numerous upgrades over the past year or two. Some are part of the $100 million Bayside Rail Upgrade (initiated by the Coalition in May 2013), some are part of bigger rollouts across the rail network.
But in coming months the station will be completely demolished as part of Labor’s level crossing removal, meaning a lot of wasted money on infrastructure with a very short lifespan.
Other stations such as Mckinnon have also been getting similar upgrades, but for the most part they have wisely not installed lots of new upgrades at Ormond (which the Coalition included in their smaller level crossing removal program announced in August 2014).
Here’s a timeline. This lists just the upgrades at Bentleigh station. Many other stations to be demolished have got similar upgrades — and numerous less visible upgrades have occurred that aren’t at stations.
Coalition Premier Denis Napthine and Public Transport Minister Terry Mulder announce funding for the Bayside Rail Upgrade project at Bentleigh Station. (Yes, I gatecrashed.)
PSOs start duty at Bentleigh.
A “rainbow” status board is installed, one of a handful trialled initially ahead of a wider rollout.
Passenger Information Displays (PIDs) installed on platforms 1/2 — very handy; it provides a countdown timer to the next train without having to use the Green Button, and unlike the Button is usable by those with hearing difficulties.
— Daniel Bowen (@danielbowen) May 7, 2014
Coalition announces funding for Ormond (and 3 other crossings) to be grade separated.
Labor pledges to grade separate the Bentleigh crossing if they are elected in November.
Crime Stoppers display installed
Labor is elected.
At this point, there was no firm timeline for grade separation at Bentleigh, other than sometime in the next 8 years — though the smart money was on it being done before the 2018 election, so it was likely that anything added from now on would have a pretty short lifespan.
Pole and shelter installed for a PID on platform 3 — the PID itself has never turned up, so this structure will eventually be removed having never been used. It’s assumed that some works to wire up the PID were also done. Here it is pictured in February 2016, level crossing construction underway.
Extra Myki readers on platform 3, and widened exit gate — this was a bottleneck for years.
New platform markings and tactiles indicating wheelchair boarding places.
And the level crossing got new pedestrian crossing gates — not sure why these changed. Unlike the old ones, the emergency gate buttons can be pressed from outside, which hardly seems ideal. The “Another train coming” and red man signs disappeared, presumably because they had been part of a trial, were non-standard, and had never been rolled-out elsewhere. Here’s how it looked before:
Additional shelter on platforms 1 and 2 — useful for helping people spread along the platform when it’s wet, though the height of the shelter means rain that’s not strictly vertical still tends to get in.
The state budget provided $2.4 billion in funding for Mckinnon and Bentleigh level crossings to be grade separated at the same time as Ormond (as well as funding for others; a total of 17 crossings in all).
From this point, it may have been wise to pause upgrades at Mckinnon and Bentleigh, but they kept coming.
The Bentleigh level crossing got cross-hatching — even Ormond got this, and since then it appears to have popped up on numerous crossings around the network. One would hope it’s now standard on all level crossings, and not too expensive to implement — though it’s not a cure-all for cars queuing on the crossing.
New CCTV monitor in the station waiting room.
What else got upgraded?
Over the last couple of years, other (less visible) changes included upgrades to power/overhead wiring (not that you’d know it today), signalling, station lighting and CCTV, track, and reprogramming of the level crossings (to cope with faster acceleration of X’trapolis trains) — all of these upgrades have occurred right up and down the Frankston, Williamstown and Werribee lines.
The rest will come down in due course. At Mckinnon, platform 3 has already been demolished — including new fencing from earlier in 2015, and extra Myki readers and PIDs added in the last few years. Bentleigh, Mckinnon and Ormond will all be completely demolished by mid-2016 for rebuilding in their cozy new trench.
Apart from those three stations, in the next couple of years, similar Bayside Rail Upgrade changes will be removed as part of grade separations at Carrum, Bonbeach, Edithvale, Mentone, and Cheltenham. (Plenty of other stations expected to be rebuilt have also had recent upgrades, but perhaps not to the same extent as these along the Frankston line.)
I’m told the extra shelters can be fairly easily moved to other stations, which is good. But what of the other changes?
Some of this gear is pretty expensive. For instance you can’t put a conventional TV screen in a public area. It needs to be industrial-strength, so the same design can go into an unstaffed station. The cables can’t run across the floor, they have to be properly secured.
Some equipment needs to be installed outside train operating hours, so you have to pay the staff overnight penalty rates. Or you might need additional staff as lookouts for safety reasons. Some upgrades, particularly to signalling, track and power, need to be done during a planned train service shut down, costing even more money.
How many thousands of dollars worth of improvements, varying from brand new to only a few years old, will be lost during demolition? How many other stations could have had those upgrades instead?
Of course, the timing was such that some of the upgrades happened before it was known when the station would be demolished.
But it underscores that forward planning really isn’t our forte in Victoria. I’m certainly not saying I don’t welcome the level crossing removals — they have a lot of benefits — but it shows how politics intervenes to produce these types of outcomes.
John Lesley (“Les”) Stuart MacFarlane was born in Sydney in 1919 and educated at the Kings School at Parramatta. Little is known of the intervening years but in 1951 he and his family took up the pastoral leasehold at Moroak Station, recently carved out of its massive neighbour, Elsey Station.
It isn’t known how many cattle, if any, MacFarlane moved onto Moroak when he bought the lease but in April 1952 the Sydney Morning Herald reported that MacFarlane hoped to drive 1,000 head of cattle to Kajabbi in western Queensland along a stock-route unused for 60 years and that followed the track–in reverse order–originally cut by Ludwig Leichhardt 100 years before.
MacFarlane would be accompanied by “five native stockmen” and a 45-strong horse plant. Ten years later–in what would be one of the last of the great overland droving trips, he commissioned a young Joe Groves to move more that 1,000 head of Moroak cattle to the Dajarra railhead in western Queensland.
In her 2011 book An Outback Life Mary Groves describes her first meeting with future husband Joe Groves, then working as a stockman and horse breaker at the nearby Mataranka Station. Joe and the local stock and station agent had tied one on the night before at the Mataranka Pub with the help of a quite a few bottles of rum. The sting in Joe’s tail was that between yarns of feats of endurance and derring-do Joe had committed to move 1,000 head of Les MacFarlane’s cattle from Moroak to Dajarra. With a throbbing head Joe drove out to meet MacFarlane and his new charges. MacFarlane, spotting how ragged Joe Groves looked, greeted him with an offer of “a hair of the dog that bit ya”–a huge slug of OP rum with a dash of water.
MacFarlane admitted his cattle were ‘pretty rough’ and that there was no local market for his stock but there was good money for them in Queensland. MacFarlane was apparently in financial strife, telling Joe that “If I can just get them there, I’ll get these bloody banks off me back.”
None of this prepared Joe Groves for the quality and composition of the stock he had committed to spend the next three months taking across country. Mary Groves says that Joe:
… baulked at the poor condition of the stock. It would take more than a stiff rum to have him find these stock acceptable under any circumstances. They were of all ages, mixed sex and some were quite obviously in calf. All in all, this group was a drover’s worst nightmare. ‘You’ve got to be bloody joking mate,’ Joe said incredulously. ‘How the hell do you expect me to get these scrubbers through to Queensland in their condition?’
I can find no records of how many Moroak cattle–and in what condition–made it to Dajarra with Joe Groves.
Why do the life and works of Les MacFarlane matter? He was a small-time pastoralist, a modestly successful politician–MacFarlane never had a ministry for all of his fifteen years as a member of the Territory Parliament–and a racial ideologue and rabble-rouser. But for all this I believe it useful to examine at least some parts of McFarlane’s life and words–particularly in the context of this examination of the politics of land and water in the Mataranka region–because he spanned two important periods in Northern Territory history.
The first of these was a time of remote Territory rule (from Canberra) when a decadent pastoral industry controlled most of the (productive) land outside of the bigger townships and when Aboriginal people were viewed either as savages or as little more than slaves. The second period saw the rise of a local political class, exemplified in the curious but phenomenally successful marriage between the rural-based NT Country Party and the more urbane, though nascent, Liberal Party. The fusion of these two conservative forces spawned the Country Liberal Party that ruled the NT, sometimes as a virtual one-party state, from 1974 through 2001.
During this latter period Canberra remained the convenient villain of choice, particularly after 1972 when Gough Whitlam’s Federal Labor government introduced a range of social reforms, not least the promise of a fair(er) deal for the Territory’s Aboriginal people. Like many in his party MacFarlane, always on the look-out for threats to the pastoral industry, viewed the rise of Aboriginal rights–particularly the reclamation of land through the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976–as an existential threat to the interests of both himself and his (non-Aboriginal) constituents. And at a time and place where the politics of race were being played harder and more overtly than anywhere else in the nation, MacFarlane stood out not only because of the length of his tenure as a local member and his role as Speaker of the Parliament, but also because, unlike any other of his colleagues in the Country Liberal Party, he was the leader of a race-based movement in his electorate.
It is useful at this point to take a brief look at the history of the pastoral industry in the Northern Territory. The title of Edward Ling’s authoritative 2010 PhD thesis–“Blame and Martyrs: The Commonwealth Government’s Administration of the Northern Territory’s Pastoral Industry, 1911-1978” is self-explanatory. In his introduction, Ling says that:
For the Territory’s pastoral mythology to evolve and prosper there needed to be a villain, someone to blame for the perceived woes and hardships of pastoralists. It was a convenient way for them to abrogate their responsibilities. The Commonwealth admirably fitted the occasion, being variously described as parsimonious, apathetic, unsympathetic and weak, however the term ‘failure’ was most commonly used to describe its administration of the industry.
Chief among the local boosters of the NT pastoral industry were the various pastoral associations and later, Northern Territory politicians in the Legislative Council (prior to self-government) and the Legislative Assembly (following the grant of self-government in 1978). Of the pastoralist’s associations Ling notes the claim, made on numerous occasions, “that the Territory (and thus pastoralists), produced high quality cattle”. The reality was very different: “[O]n the whole, the Territory produced very poor quality cattle.”
World War II was a boon for Northern Territory pastoralists, with massively increased demand and prices due to the influx of armed services personnel, exemption from Northern Territory and Commonwealth income tax and added industry support provided by the Commonwealth during the war years.
Ling quotes Angus McKay, the Australian Army’s Chief Veterinary Officer, in response to the claims by the pastoral associations. McKay said that the Territory could–but seldom did–produce prime fat cattle, due to the influence of vested interests–particularly the absentee landlords of the larger cattle stations–that sought to strip the maximum return from hard country in the shortest possible time, a scenario that resonates in some aspects of the massive growth of the south-east asian live cattle trade of recent years.
Citing a 1999 book by Glen McLaren and William Cooper, Ling notes that:
Long after the [Second World] War the quality of meat produced on many stations did not improve, and most of the beef shipped to the USA from the 1950s onwards was low-grade intended primarily for the American hamburger market.
J. H. Kelly, in his 1966 book “Struggle for the North” characterised the northern beef cattle industry–after almost a century of development–as one of:
… primitive animal husbandry; of inefficient, low-investment production on low-rental, inadequately improved leaseholds; of an outmoded open-range system of cattle grazing in some parts to the lasting detriment of the native pasturage and vegetation through overgrazing.
In 1965, while complaining about the hardships faced by Territory pastoralists, Les MacFarlane admitted that he was sending his five sons to his alma mater, the Kings School at Sydney, described by Ling as “one of the most expensive and exclusive schools in the nation.” Others complaining about the supposed incompetent management of the pastoral industry by the Commonwealth included Goff Letts, later majority leader in the NT Legislative Assembly, and George Manuell, a representative in the NT Legislative Assembly from Alice Springs. Of these critics and others Ling says that their claims:
… merely demonstrated a disingenuous desire to ignore the Commonwealth’s achievements or a complete ignorance of the facts … a convenient way for pastoralists and their associations (and supportive politicians) to deflect criticisms against them for their own failures.
In October 1968 Les MacFarlane was elected to the Northern Territory Legislative Council to represent the electoral division of Elsey.
Before we examine his career as a politician, it is useful to note that MacFarlane had close relationships with local Aboriginal stockmen, a significant number of whom moved across from Elsey Station to Moroak, a few miles downriver. In their 2012 study of Indigenous water management and planning along the upper Roper River, Marcus Barber and Sue Jackson interviewed Les MacFarlane’s son Hamish, who told them that relationships between his family and their Aboriginal workers were mutually beneficial.
The workforce that went to Moroak in ’51, they were doing these things [weirs and fishtraps] on Elsey … Aboriginal people … had always blocked and maintained flows into lagoons. As a child we saw them, my father saw them as soon as we got there and we maintained that practice.
Hamish MacFarlane told Barber and Jackson that prior to the 1970’s “good station owners” made major land management decisions on a 50/50 partnership basis with their experienced local workers. Both Aboriginals and pastoralists were content to turn a blind eye to the 1946 NT Supreme Court decision by Justice Wells that banned the use of Aboriginal dams on Elsey Station just upriver.
It is unlikely that Aboriginal workers on Moroak, as was the case on many other pastoral stations in the NT, were paid much more than the minimum cash payments and rations of salt beef, tea, tobacco, flour and sugar.
The Northern Territory Cattle Station Industry Award Case of 1965, in which John Kerr (later Sir John and Governor-General) was lead counsel for the respondent pastoralists, would change life on NT pastoral stations forever. Speaking to the conservative H. R. Nicholls Society in 1986, Sir John reflected on the outcome of the case, which saw Aboriginal pastoral workers entitled to the same wages as their non-Aboriginal co-workers:
There was, inter alia, a mass of evidence to show that the Northern Territory aborigines’ attitude to work, their lack of education and inability to read, write and count, and their cultural background affected their capacity to work in other callings in addition to those in the pastoral industry … The pastoral industry was the only industry which had been able to make a balanced relationship with aborigines who lived on the cattle stations but whose work was in general not as valuable as white workers.
The Whitlam Labor government was elected in December 1972 and its ambitious program to “improve the lot” of Aboriginal people was soon in the sights of pastoralists and the forthright citizens of Katherine and beyond.
As anthropologist and linguist Francesca Merlan notes in her perceptive analysis of Katherine cultural and political history, Caging the Rainbow, government policies towards Aboriginal people had shifted since the early 1970s, from a more coercive and directive project of “assimilation” to one of “self-determination.” She notes the formation of several groups that sought to challenge the emerging push of rights for Aboriginal people. One, initially named Equal Rights for Whites, later changed it’s name to Rights for Territorians, apparently at the behest of the crusading editor of the NT News, Jim Bowditch.
The Little Darwin blog reports that:
Leading figures in the group were Bill and June Tapp of Killarney Station. Mrs Tapp, who was president of the organisation, maintained that government handouts were encouraging Aboriginal people towards crime, drunkenness and laziness. Bowditch took a personal interest in the issue , sensing that it could split the Territory and create racial tension.
[Bowditch] … attended a lively Rights for Whites meeting in Katherine. One of the few Aborigines there was the Gurindji Captain Major. When a white person said that the people of Katherine had experienced tough times during the Depression, Captain Major said Aborigines had been in a depression ever since the arrival of white people in Australia.
In March 1973 Michelle Grattan reported for The Age on a rally in Katherine’s main street that she characterised as but one example of a Australia-wide “white backlash” against the Whitlam government’s policies to get a better deal for Aboriginals.
Recently 600 people from all parts of the Northern Territory packed the hall of the outback town of Katherine to protest against what they saw as discrimination against whites in education, welfare and other services.
The new Government’s rethink on Aboriginal policy–including its policy to grant land rights and its plans for new schemes of “positive discrimination” in favour of Aborigines, such as free legal aid–has crystallised old discontents into public action.
The chairman of the new Rights for Territorians Committee, Northern Territory pastoralist and member of the Legislative Council Mr Les MacFarlane says the movement has no axe to grind with the Aborigines, but is concerned with the policy of the Aboriginal Affairs Department … “The policy of the Department of Aboriginal Affairs has turned the Aborigines into a race of bludgers. It is not their fault–they are being given handouts.”
Grattan editorialised on the “bitter irony” of “NT whites complaining of basic benefits going to a group which they exploited for year by low wages and often appalling conditions.”
These “movements” would morph over the coming years in response to changing circumstances, first into a Land Rights Action Group in 1977 following the introduction of the Commonwealth’s Land Rights legislation, then re-emerging as One Nation, One Law and later the Committee for Community Ownership of the Katherine Gorge National Park during the early 1980s while the court hearings into the Katherine Land Claim were being held in Katherine and nearby Barunga.
During the late 1970s the Northern Territory suffered under a drought that MacFarlane described as “worse than Cyclone Tracy” that demolished Darwin on Christmas Eve, 1974.
In the Queens Birthday awards in June 1979 MacFarlane was appointed a Companion of the Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George (C.M.G.) for parliamentary service and service to primary industry.
Later that year MacFarlane’s inflammatory speeches again attracted the attention of the southern press. In December–by which time MacFarlane had been the member for Elsey for eleven years and Speaker of the NT Parliament for four–the National Times published a selection of Macfarlane’s speeches on race relations in the Legislative Assembly under the title “White mans burden.”
Also in 1979–echoing the views promoted by John Kerr on behalf of the pastoralists in the Northern Territory Cattle Station Industry Award Case 14 years earlier–MacFarlane, as recorded by the late ABC journalist Paul Lyneham, spoke to supporters of a “Rights For Whites” rally in the main street of Katherine of the capacity of Aboriginal people to contribute to the NT economy.
It is well to remember ladies and gentlemen that thirty years ago the total Aboriginal population of the Northern Territory was completely unsophisticated. There were few schools and little contact with the outside world.
Macfarlane, who chaired the meeting, told the crowd that the “main trouble today” was caused by:
… politicians in the populous states who having exterminated Aboriginals down there are making the Northern Territory the collective conscience for the rest of Australia.
One women told the crowd that “I will repeat, ladies and gentlemen, I am not a racist!” Another speaker–unidentified but most likely MacFarlane–told the crowd that racism:
… is the direct result of discriminatory policies adopted by politicians and professional black fellows aided and abetted by the media, and not excluding the ABC.
By early 1980 MacFarlane, who had ignited further Aboriginal ire when he called for the damming of the Katherine Gorge, was again in hot water over a letter he had written to his Aboriginal constituents at Hodgson Downs station, who apparently had exercised their democratic rights and decided not to vote for MacFarlane to his satisfaction at the June 1980 NT general election.
I don’t have a copy of MacFarlane’s letter but the tenor of the outrage it provoked among his constituents is clear from a letter written to then NT Chief Minister Paul Everingham by Les Stonham, Executive Officer of the Yulngu Association, which provided services to many small outstations around Katherine and the hinterland.
Mr MacFarlane could not have found a more pitiful community pick on. The Hodgson Downs Community is one of the most depressed in this area … There has been next to no progress on the matter for a land excision for them, they have the worst water supply of any Community in this area, the worst access roads during the wet season and genuinely believe that the Government has no interest in them whatsoever. Mr MacFarlane has now confirmed this belief … Mr MacFarlane’s response which is intimidatory, arrogant, overbearing and in no way becoming a Member of Parliament. We do not believe that such a man should hold the office of Speaker of Parliament, an office to which the qualities of an unbiased and fairminded character are normally attributed.
Everingham’s response could best be described as polite but dismissive of the concerns raised by Stonham.
By 1982 the ground was shifting under those railing against the rise of Aboriginal rights. In late September that year MacFarlane doffed his Speaker’s wig and took to the floor of the chamber as the Member for Elsey. Priming his parish pump, MacFarlane told the Parliament that “the Aboriginal Land Rights Act is the greatest piece of divisive legislation ever seen and ought to be rammed down [Prime Minister] Mr Fraser’s throat,” a statement that Labor Senator and Shadow Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Susan Ryan described as “outrageous” and “an extreme version of the NT Government’s total and absolute hostility to land rights.”
The next week more than 400 locals marched down the main street of Katherine “carrying placards and babies” as Lindsay Murdoch reported in The Age. MacFarlane, a WWII veteran and perhaps unaware of Samuel Johnson’s quip that patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel, told the crowd that “I fought for a sunburnt country, not six States and a piebald Territory.”
MacFarlane asked the crowd if they thought he was “a racist because I care?” Later in his office, which Lindsay Murdoch noted had recently had a cartoon displayed in its front window depicting a white man on all fours being ridden by a black man wielding a whip, MacFarlane told Murdoch “I hope you don’t think I’m a racist, but oh well, if you do … “
Around this time two senior Jawoyn claimants had shots fired at them in Katherine and We of the Never Never, Jeannie Gunn’s fantasy about life on Elsey Station at the turn of the 20th century, was being turned into a film 100 kilometres south of Katherine at Mataranka. The film was later described by executive Producer Phillip Adams as “a dud.”
Aboriginal actor Tommy Lewis, already a star after his role in The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, played a stockman in We of the Never Never and described one of his interactions with local ringers in the pub to ABC Radio’s Lorena Allam for a Background Briefing program in 1999.
Tom Lewis: Well, look at this nigger, who does he think he is, why are all these white people treating him like this? One day I came out of the restaurant and this idiot walked up to me … and punched me right in the stomach … he came back and hit me a second time, and [fellow actor] John Jarratt had come around the restaurant and picked him up and chucked him against the wall … I knew if I turned around and hit this bloke, I would have gone to jail and the local cop and his little rookies would have got stuck into me
John Jarratt told Lorena Allam that the locals were:
… jealous of Tommy … this uppity black fellow who got too good for himself, a half-caste, you know … The black part totally despised, the white part totally ignored.
Jarratt was dancing with “a lovely Aboriginal girl” when:
This guy walked up to me and said, “You black loving arsehole” … You either hit, or get hit and he was a lot tougher than me so I hit him as hard as I could and just kept hitting him. The locals … got a posse and came back and the film cast and crew had an all-in brawl at Mataranka.
By the time preselection for the 1983 NT general election came around the Country Liberal Party had turned its back on Les MacFarlane after 15 years as the Member for Elsey and, following a bitter pre-selection battle, a new CLP candidate was chosen for the seat. Les MacFarlane sold Moroak Station to his son, Tim and wife, Judy in 1985. Les MacFarlane passed away in early 1986 and was buried at his beloved Moroak Station.
In 1990 the absentee lessee of Elsey Station sold out to the Mangarrayi people. They soon lodged a land claim over the station, an action that had, as the ABC’s Lorena Allam reported in 1999, “the NT Parliament in uproar.”
Four hundred “locals”–no mean feat in the township of Mataranka where the local non-Aboriginal population numbered in the dozens at best–signed a petition to the NT Parliament. The CLP government said the Mangarrayi and Yangman owners of Elsey Station would ruin it as a cattle enterprise, damage the Territory economy and that this “terrifying” escalation of Aboriginal ownership of land would ring the death knell of the pastoral industry.
None of those dire warnings came to pass. The traditional Aboriginal owners won their land claim and Elsey Station was handed back in 2000. Today most of Elsey Station continues to operate as a successful pastoral operation.
Les McFarlane’s legacy lives on in the region and in the Country Liberal Party. While inter-racial politics are far less overt that in McFarlane’s heyday as a politician, Aboriginal people, particularly in small NT towns like Mataranka and Katherine, face less obvious but nonetheless pervasive and persistent racism on a daily basis.
This is the third of a series of articles on the battles for control of land and water along the Northern Territory’s Roper River from the time of first incursion by non-Aboriginal settlers to the current day. You can see the first two parts here and here.
Whose ‘Never Never’? Produced by Lorena Allam. Background Briefing, ABC Radio National, Sunday 12 September 1999.
‘Making People Quiet’ in the Pastoral North: Reminiscences of Elsey Station.’ Francesca Merlan. Aboriginal History, 2: 70. ANU 1978.
Blocks, runs and claims: Mataranka and the Daly, two studies in the history of settlement in the Northern Territory. Jane Gleeson. North Australian Research Unit, in Mataranka and the Daly, Two Studies of the history of settlement in the Northern Territory, 1985.
Indigenous Water Management and Water Planning in the Upper Roper River, Northern Territory: History and Implications for Contemporary Water Planning. Marcus Barber and Sue Jackson, 2012. Report to the National Water Commission and the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities.
‘Nigger Hunts’ in the never never. The battles for land and water on the Roper River, 1870-1945. The Northern Myth, 13 January 2016.
“From time immemorial.” The Mangarrayi law for water and their struggle for land. The Northern Myth, 21 January 2016.
Struggle For The North. Kelly, J. H., Australasian Book Society, 1966.
Caging the Rainbow: Places, Politics, and Aborigines in a North Australian Town. Francesca Merlan. University of Hawaii Press, 1998.
Distance, Drought and Dispossession: A History of the Northern Territory Pastoral Industry. Cooper, W and McLaren, G. Charles Darwin University Press (CDU Press), 2001.
An Outback Life. Mary Groves, Allen & Unwin, 2011.
Blame and Martyrs: The Commonwealth Government’s Administration of the Northern Territory’s Pastoral Industry, 1911–1978. Edward Ling, Charles Darwin University, 2010.
By Renfrey Clarke and Roger Annis
February 7, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The decision by the Crimean people in March 2014 to secede from Ukraine and rejoin Russia sparked fury in right-wing circles worldwide. Urged on by the new ultra-nationalist government in Kyiv, Western leaders made haste to subject Russia to political and economic sanctions.
In commentaries in the Western conservative media, the meme of “Russian imperialism” took firm root. Less predictable, and calling for serious reflection, was the response in another quarter: denunciations of Russian imperialism' were echoed cheerfully by significant sections of the international left.
For many of the leftists concerned, “Russian imperialism” was such an obvious truth that it required no serious explaining. The British weekly Socialist Worker, for example, intoned on 11 March 2014: “It remains imperative to struggle against all sides in the imperialist conflict being fought out in Ukraine.…Russian imperialism has made its move to retain political and economic domination over the country with its takeover of Crimea ‒ this should be unconditionally condemned by all revolutionaries claiming to be anti-imperialist.”
But just what is imperialism, now the stuff of such effortless catch-phrases? Can the term be applied meaningfully to today’s Russian state? This article is an introduction to several longer pieces forthcoming by the authors on the same subject. We will argue that today’s state and economy in Russia fit neither empirical nor Marxian theoretical definitions of imperialism.
I’m still planning on a blog post about level crossing removals / elevated rail — after digesting all the information released today on the Dandenong line crossings.
This is just a quickie to address a specific related topic: Value capture above railway lines, specifically when tracks are dropped below road level, the idea that you can develop above them, and that can pay for the level crossing removal.
I like the idea. It’s great in theory.
There have been lots of proposals to do it, perhaps the most ambitious being “Operation Double Fault“, a plan from ten years ago to deck over the entire inner portion of the Glen Waverley line.
Media House — Source: Wikipedia. I stretched this photo vertically. The original looked too squished to me.
But there are very few recent actual examples in Melbourne:
None of these three included the cost of moving the railway. This was already done (though consolidating rail lines and platforms underneath was done in conjunction with building Federation Square).
The other thing they have in common is that they were all done in inner-city or city centre areas where the cost of land is huge, which may have made them more economically viable.
Construction of the decks for Media House and Federation Square caused impacts to train services. I don’t recall if Chapel Street was the same.
Shops in Nicholson Street, Footscray were built in a similar manner, but that was in the 1920s.
Off the top of my head I can’t think of any other recent examples. Maybe someone can point to some.
So while it’s a great idea, to me it doesn’t seem that the economics stack up, at all, otherwise we’d see far more of it.
People may know of Ray Kurtzweil. I first saw him at a conference in Melbourne where he was introduced as the greatest thing since sliced bread (an introduction he’d clearly had a hand in writing or authorising) and kept talking about how great he was. Anyway, he has some very impressive achievements to his name so good on him.
He’s popularised the ‘law of acellerating returns’ pointing out that for things governed by exponential growth – like Moores Law and the many similar phenomena of exponential growth in technology – a job that looks half done will be nearly finished. If something doubles every x months, decoding 50 percent of the human genome means you’re only x months away from finishing something that may have taken many years.
It’s always seemed to me that this powerful fact is nevertheless not powerful enough to help us make good predictions as to when more complex phenomena based on these technologies will emerge (like if and when we’ll be able to fly around in jet packs or even if and when robots will be able to run on two legs faster than humans) because there are so many emergent phenomena along the road and it’s very hard to anticipate when they’ll emerge. But I’ve never heard him address that in one of his talks. Perhaps he does in his books. (And the successful givers of popular talks seem to know not to address exceptions and caveats. They’re not very entertaining. I think they’re kind of of the essence in these matters, but who am I?)
Anyway I couldn’t help noticing two clangers in this talk – which was quite interesting, but still unsatisfying to me for the reason explained in the preceding para. One is his suggestion that Thomas Hobbes wrote 200 years ago (it’s a wonder he didn’t have a livelier correspondence with Thomas Jefferson) and the other is his quoting of the “Chinese” proverb that you can’t step into the same river twice. (By that well known Chinese sage Heraclitus).
Anyway, since we’ve taken delivery of the latest in Troppo’s fleet of vehicles, now is the time to ask Troppodillians what similar stories of Great Men (and women) with feet of clay they have. The winner will take Bronwyn the new Troppo helicopter to Fairbairn Airbase where they’ll be flown to the Middle East where, once it’s been cleared on the President’s breakfast kill list, they’ll be able to take out the terrorist of their choice from the comfort and safety of Chopper, Troppo’s new drone.
Regulation has a special place in the heart of this blog and superannuation is a particular fave. I’ve offered some connoisseurship of Self Managed Super Fund regulation in the past. I could say that this takes the cake, but really it’s just pretty par for the course. It’s certainl reassuring that the current gov, like the government before it and the one before that and so on back to 1986 are looking for opportunities to reduce red tape. Then again wasn’t the government that set this up looking for such opportunities. Well maybe not, but they told us they were, and they probably thought they were. I wrote to my accountant after waiting until my son duly turned 18 (obviously until he turns 18 he can trust the finance industry far more than he can trust his father to invest money for his retirement). This is what’s required to bring him into the family super fund.
We refer to your recent request for further advice regarding the cost and requirements involved so that the employer contributions pertaining to your son can be contributed to Peach Superannuation Fund.
Currently, Eva and yourself are the trustees of Peach Superannuation Fund. For your son to be able to contribute to the fund, we would recommend the following:
1. Change the trustee of the super fund from individual trustees (being yourself and Eva) to a corporate trustee, subject to the super fund deed. This is done through resignation of the individuals as trustees of the fund and appointment of a company as trustee instead. Your son can then be added as a member of the fund. A variation of the existing superfund deed would be required, which cost $750;
2. For the above to occur, a new company would have to be set up, with Eva, your son and yourself as directors. The set up cost for the company will be approximately $1,150. Our current fee to handle the Annual Company Statement, which is an ASIC requirement, is $319. The ASIC Annual Review fee charged by ASIC is currently $46;
3. There will also be a requirement to update all bank account details and investment holdings to reflect the new trustee structure of the fund.
In a nutshell, the initial set up cost for the above structure would be $1,900 and ongoing annual fees relating to the trustee company of around $365. The above approach is more beneficial in the long term and provides better protection for estate planning purposes.
Before you make your final decision, we would recommend that you incorporate the above approach with your estate planning and advise your solicitor accordingly.
After the mess of the last attempt, and noting the large number of people reading on mobile devices (phones 39%, tablet 10%), I’ve switched to a plain but hopefully more mobile-friendly blog template.
Here is a photo of some people doing geeky things to test the pictures.
I’ll probably do some tweaking, but any feedback on how it looks (particularly on phones and tablets) is very welcome!
Update: Testing a photo from Flickr:
Queensland boy Julian Assange seems set to walk out of the Ecuadorian embassy soon, hoping that the announcement by the UN human rights panel on the arbitrariness of his detention will protect him from being arrested. The baseline scenario is that he walks out, is quickly arrested by the UK authorities, and is then extradited to Sweden, which will go through its own pantomime but which in essence will just send him onto the US, where they will probably successfully convict him in a secret trial.
Julian surely expects the same, so why is he doing this and how will the Australian government react to this baseline scenario?
I understand that the main reason behind Julian’s move is medical: he is apparently in constant pain and needs to be put under an MRI scanner to ascertain the source. That is a treatment that the Equadorian embassy cannot possibly provide and the UK government refused to allow him safe passage to hospital. So his choice was stark: remain in the embassy in constant pain without hope of relief, or accept the wrath of the US secret services whilst at least getting some medical attention that might relieve the pain. He seems to have chosen the second option, maximising the degree to which he has the moral high ground with the UN ruling under his belt.
How will the Australian government react? As I have said when the Wikileaks case broke in 2010, the Australian government has so far backed the US administration and disowned Assange as much as it could. It will probably try to keep doing this (lib or Lab: doesn’t matter), but the groundswell of support for Julian will surely become quite formidable when he is in the US, particularly when Sweden dismisses the somewhat bizarre `rape case’ against him. I say ‘when’ and ‘bizarre’ because Julian is not accused of anything, has already given evidence in Stockholm before, and a previous Swedish prosecutor dismissed the case as baseless. The odds of anything but a second complete exoneration by the Swedish legal authorities seem remote. Still, that wont stop Sweden from sending him onto the US, particularly as Sweden now apparently wants to join Nato, fearful of the Russians.
So when Julian is finally in the US, one would expect a clear face-off between civil rights and the US security apparatus, where one should heavily favour the latter to win. Perhaps the Australian government will be pressured to at least openly object and secure reasonable prison lodgings for Julian, but I don’t expect the Australian government to go all out for him.
The case to me is illustrating the degree to which the US security apparatus is able to co-opt and coerce governments in the West to do its bidding. Already in 2010 I thought Julian would spend the rest of his days in some form of prison, given that small players cannot annoy big beasts without consequences, and this indeed is the scenario that has played out ever since. Sad, but I don’t see how civil society can regain its right to hold governments to account: the loss of free speech at the hands of anonymous agencies who use their discretionary powers as much for their own personal gain as for the defense of our societies, is very popular with voters who simply don’t see their loss. It is quite ironic to see Tea Party adherents in the US, who supposedly mistrust and dislike Big Government, being among the most vociferous opponents of Assange and Snowden. What would the ‘Founders’ in the US think of such open adherence to secrecy and government?
The legal profession, to its credit, is resisting the increased powers of the secret services as best it can, but at the moment it is losing. It needs a far worse scandal than Wikileaks or the Snowden revelations to bring some balance back to the way our society interacts with its secret services.
History does give us a glimpse of how hard it is for societies to bring a large secret service to heel once it has embedded itself and uses every perceived danger to increase its resources and powers. In Germany, it took a devastating 2nd world war and foreign occupation to finally break the hold of the Prussian military establishment over German society (and that war, according to president Eisenhower’s retirement speech, empowered the US military-industrial complex: you get rid of one here, you spawn another one there!). Russia is arguably still run by the secret services set up about 100 years ago. I wonder what might do the trick in Western countries? Any ideas?
This is a guest post by Darwin-based GP Dr Jacqueline Murdoch.
“I’m sorry, it looks like we can’t get you in for another four weeks”. The tears brimming over Sarah’s* eyelashes spill, and she starts to sob. I offer her a tissue from the box perched ready on the desk. “I can’t wait another four weeks for the abortion. I can’t keep any food down, I’m so weak and I just need to get back to work”.
Working in general practice in the Northern Territory, this is a conversation that I have with women all too often. Despite widely available contraception and good uptake, unplanned pregnancies occur, as they do all over the world. Some women choose to abort these pregnancies. They are allowed to do so: abortion in the Northern Territory is legal. But our laws make accessing abortions difficult and women have to endure long waits.
A bill to reform abortion law that will be debated in Territory parliament next week aims to change this.
Unfortunately it doesn’t go far enough.
The law that currently regulates abortion in the Territory is restrictive and outdated. It permits a woman to abort a pregnancy under 14 weeks, but only if she sees two doctors who agree, one of whom must be a specialist gynaecologist.
The abortion must be performed in a hospital. If she is under 16, her parents or guardians must also consent. If a doctor does not believe in abortion, there is no obligation to refer a woman on to someone who will offer this option. In practice, this means that women can only access surgical abortions at Royal Darwin and Alice Springs Hospitals.
Surgical abortions require an operating theatre, staff and a general anaesthetic. These clinics are only held once a week and sometimes there is a waiting list. To accommodate everyone, women like Sarah who are in earlier stages of pregnancy – say 6 weeks along – are deemed less urgent than women whose pregnancies are 13 weeks and approaching the legal cutoff. So they have to wait.
If Sarah and I were down south, there would be a much simpler solution that would mean she could avoid surgery altogether, and get back to work within just a few days. Sarah could get RU486, a medical abortion. Instead of handing her a tissue, I could print a request for an ultrasound and take a blood test.
The results would take a couple of days. If Sarah still wanted to go ahead with the abortion, she could come back and see me, without needing to repeat her story to another doctor. Sarah would take one round pill in my office and take a purple packet home with her. Thirty-six hours later, she would put four hexagonal tablets between her cheek and her gum, letting them dissolve. Shortly afterwards, she would have a miscarriage, in the privacy of her own home.
Since it was approved in 2006, RU486 has been safely prescribed by general practitioners in all jurisdictions in Australia except the NT. In 2013, it was added to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme without fuss or fanfare. For pregnancies under 7 weeks, the drug is 96% effective and serious side effects occur in less than 0.5% of cases.Ninety-two percent of Australian women who have taken RU486 say they would recommend the method to a friend.
Access to RU486 for Territorians was the aim of the bill introduced last November by Kezia Purick, the Independent member for Goyder. Her bill will allow RU486 to be prescribed by GPs who have done additional training, bypassing the need for specialist gynaecologist involvement. It is a good start. (see earlier posts on this subject here and here)
But to truly improve access to abortion for NT women, we need the bill to go further. The requirement for two doctors to agree needs to go (as it has done in all states except South Australia). Women do not have to explain themselves to two doctors for any other medical procedure, including life-threatening ones.
We need legislation that provides safe access zones, to prevent protesting at abortion sites and allow women to access health care without being harassed (like that recently passed in Victoria, ACT and Tasmania). We need legislation that requires doctors who object to abortions to refer women requesting referrals to someone who can help them. And we need to affirm, in the law, that women who have abortions are not guilty of a crime.
Our Territory MLAs have the ability to make amendments to the Ms Purick’s bill to strengthen the legislation. But they will only do it if we ask them to – abortion law reform is a risky issue for politicians.
But for Sarah’s sake, and the sake of all Territory women, I urge you to contact your MLA.
Let them know you want them to vote for Ms Purick’s bill. And let them know you want them to make it even stronger.
Dr Jacqueline Murdoch is a General Practice Registrar and a member of WHAT RU4 NT? She tweets at @JacquiMurdoch.
*Names have been changed
Thursday, February 4, 2016 -- Socialist Alliance (Australia) condemns the murder by the Pakistani military on January 30 of Dr Mannan Baloch, Secretary General of Baloch National Movement (BNM), and four other BNM members. According to eyewitnesses, the military attacked the house where they were staying with mortar fire, then troops entered and shot each of the occupants in the chest and head. The youngest victim was just 19 years old. All the victims were unarmed. The BNM is not an armed organisation. It has been waging a non-violent struggle for the independence of Balochistan, which has suffered partition and occupation by Pakistan and Iran since the 1940s.
BNM activists are routinely victims of violence by the Pakistani state. In April 2009, BNM president Ghulam Mohammed Baloch was kidnapped from a legal office along with two other nationalist leaders. Their mutilated bodies were found five days later.
This forms part of a broader campaign of Pakistani state violence in Balochistan. At least 6000 Baloch civilians were killed by Pakistani forces in the 1970s. Since 2004 about 2000 civilians have been killed. Thousands of others have been arrested or simply disappeared. Civilians displaced by Pakistani state violence number in the hundreds of thousands.
V/Line has been a real mess since January. On Thursday 14/1 it was announced a large number of V/Locity carriages were being pulled out of service due to an issue with wheels.
The result was lots of cancelled or shorter trains, meaning delays and crowding, particularly in peak hour.
Publicly at least, it’s still unclear what the root cause is, but it seems that contributing factors might include:
More serious than any crowding or delay issues is that some shorter V/Locity trains may failing to trigger level crossings. Again, speculation is rife, but it seems to be related to the types of track circuits used on much of the Metro network. This resulted in V/Locity carriages being banned from most Metro tracks, with many V/Line services either terminating on the city fringe, or being replaced by coaches, causing huge disruption for passengers.
Apparently the problem isn’t new — it’s been known about for some years, but rather than spend the money and fix it, it seems running longer trains was seen as a suitable workaround. Until now.
The government reaction is to have announced that axle counters would be installed on the relevant Metro tracks — which is good.
And they announced a period of free travel — which is bad. It’s not helping regular V/Line passengers by having extra people on the trains while they are at reduced capacity.
By the end of the month, V/Line CEO Theo Taifalos had resigned, but of course that doesn’t solve the problem.
Investigations continue into precisely what’s caused the problem, and apparently lubrication is now being applied, and lots of wheels being checked and replaced as needed. Let’s hope they get to the bottom of it quickly.
Apart from any specific technical problem, there’s a sense that V/Line has had some trouble adjusting from being a regional rail operator to being a hybrid regional/commuter rail operator — heavy passenger loads, crowding, and high-frequency train services perhaps are just something they don’t really have the expertise in (though Theo Taifalos would have; he previously worked for Queensland Rail).
For a simple example, witness the mess that is the Geelong service: on weekdays trains run every 20 minutes, but with a myriad of destinations and departure platforms at Southern Cross — this makes it very difficult for a passenger to navigate their way to the platform.
The Age is reporting that the issues really started with cutbacks made in 2010 to Regional Rail Link. The Age has documentation that supports this, something about it doesn’t quite add up.
Firstly, design elements such as re-using the North Melbourne flyover (with its tight curves) were decided well before then.
My notes show that by May 2009 (when the project was funded by the Federal government) it was already planned to use (but modify) the existing flyover, rather than build a new one.
In fact I found this note from 14/5/2009, which pretty much describes precisely what got built: the existing flyover … (will) be expanded or otherwise modified to take some of the regional trains directly into platforms 1-8 without conflicting with metro movements
Once confirmed, PTUA raised concerns about it privately with the Regional Rail Link Authority in mid-2009, because using the existing flyover would mean bypassing North Melbourne station — meaning no interchange for V/Line to/from Loop trains. Discussions at the time confirmed that it had been decided earlier, indeed before RRLA came into being.
(I’ve been told that RRLA and similar authorities such as the Level Crossing Removal Authority are strictly delivery organisations. They build what they’re told to, in the case of RRLA, by the government/Department of Transport.)
PTUA also raised the issue publicly in early 2010.
Around that time, RRLA said they’d review the decision — and apparently they did study some options for a second flyover but ultimately rejected it in 2010. It might be this consideration that was ruled-out, rather than a reduction in the scope of the original design, which never included a new flyover anyway.
Secondly, some seem to be implying that the overpass itself is to blame for V/Line’s wheel crisis.
Speed and interchange issues aside, there should be nothing inherently wrong with having curves on a railway, provided they meet the relevant track design standards, and the train operator agrees to the design.
If subsequently the trains are not maintained in such a condition to use the track, then that’s obviously a problem with the train fleet, not a problem with the track design.
Are we really going to build railways with no sharp curves or turnouts from now on, because V/Line can’t or won’t do wheel lubrication? Somehow I doubt it.
(By the way, the XPT derailment there was actually an issue with a turnout — eg points — rather than the curve itself.)
We still don’t know the full story. And large numbers of V/Line services continue to be replaced by coaches — if you’re hoping to use V/Line, head to their web site and check the service changes for a list.
More important than the blame game is identifying the precise issue and how to fix it permanently.
This is obviously an unfolding story. Hopefully it’s resolved soon.
Update: Correction — The Age FOI document said scope changes happened in 2010, not 2011.
Update 4/2/2016: The government says a “stable” timetable (with about 80% of train services running as normal, and the rest replaced by coaches) will start from Monday. Trains will no longer be free, but train-replacement coaches will be. Fair enough. But it sounds like they still don’t know the root cause.
Update 5/2/2016: With regard to who was responsible for RRL design changes, The Age has published this clarification:
The Age reported on Wednesday that Corey Hannett, former chief executive of the Regional Rail Link Authority, made a series of scope reductions to that project in 2010 that have contributed to the current V/Line rail crisis. Mr Hannett did not make the scope changes. The decision was made by the Department of Transport and approved by V/Line, Metro Trains and the state government. The Age regrets the error.
You’ve probably heard all about this by now.
Guys this is the true crime story of the decade:
Yesterday a friend told me what might well be the best story I’ve ever heard. She had caught the train in from Frankston. And while she was waiting for the train to come, she noticed a man sitting down on the platform with a bag of fish and chips. But he wasn’t really eating them. He was just sort of letting them air.
This attracted a few seagulls, who began to circle the platform. Instead of shooing the birds away, the man offered them a few chips. He’d toss one a foot or so away from him. It was like he was beckoning them to come closer. He kept doing this, eking the chips out slowly, until there was a big group of seagulls in front of him, 15 or 20. A tiny army. He’d throw them a chip every now and then – just enough to keep the birds interested, but not enough to sate them. It was frustrating. They were getting angry. Squawking. It was like he was rearing them up for… something.
Then the train came, and everyone got on. But the man stayed on the ground with his chips. Just when the train was about to leave. It happened.
Right before the doors closed, the man threw the entire bag of the fish and chips into the train. The entire flock of seagulls followed the bag. And the doors closed. Inside the train: pandemonium.
The next train stop was five minutes away.
It’s a great story. And as I recall, there are certainly plenty of seagulls around Frankston station.
You can call me a cynic if you like, but apart from the fact that it’s being told second hand, there are a few holes in this story that leave me doubting it’s true.
I’m prepared to be proven wrong, but I suspect it’s all fictional.
Update 5/2/2016: Well played Metro, well played.
— Metro Trains (@metrotrains) February 5, 2016
I haven’t the time to write this up, right now, though I’d like to, but here’s an mp3 file of my first regular interview of the year with Alex Sloan on Canberra ABC Radio which was a nice rollicking ramble on the question of what we do in the next recession.
Childhood Environment and Gender Gaps in Adulthood
by Raj Chetty, Nathaniel Hendren, Frina Lin, Jeremy Majerovitz, Benjamin Scuderi – #21936 (CH ED LS PE)
We show that differences in childhood environments play an important role in shaping gender gaps in adulthood by documenting three facts using population tax records for children born in the 1980s. First, gender gaps in employment rates, earnings, and college attendance vary substantially across the parental income distribution. Notably, the traditional gender gap in employment rates is reversed for children growing up in poor families: boys in families in the bottom quintile of the income distribution are less likely to work than girls. Second, these gender gaps vary substantially across counties and commuting zones in which children grow up. The degree of variation in outcomes across places is largest for boys growing up in poor, single-parent families. Third, the spatial variation in gender gaps is highly correlated with proxies for neighborhood disadvantage. Low-income boys who grow up in high-poverty, high-minority areas work significantly less than girls. These areas also have higher rates of crime, suggesting that boys growing up in concentrated poverty substitute from formal employment to crime. Together, these findings demonstrate that gender gaps in adulthood have roots in childhood, perhaps because childhood disadvantage is especially harmful for boys.
My forward to Deloitte’s second report on digital money - The future of exchanging value: Cryptocurrencies and the trust economy.
Ice becomes water when warmed. Only familiarity prevents us from marvelling at the mysteriousness of this ‘phase change’, as physicists call it. Nevertheless, we’ve witnessed a similar phase change as the physical hardware that delivered the phone network was repurposed to also deliver a new network – the internet.
And where the phone network depended on point-to-point connections, the internet connects people via packets of information that travel through cyberspace until they arrive at their address.
Initially, the old ‘connect first’ phone network was monopolistically competitive. The upshot of that market structure has produced all manner of frustrations and complexities such as incomprehensible pricing structures and prices way above cost for peripheral services such as texting and international roaming. However, all this is different on the net because of the different market structure produced when each node in the network helps out – redirecting digital packets in return for reciprocal help from other nodes.
Thus, all the transaction costs of the old network melt away. If you have a great product – such as Google, Wikipedia, Salesforce or Xero – you can just put it on the net and it’s there for everyone. And we’ve watched on as this miracle has unfolded, just as astounded as if we were watching ice melt for the first time.
This analogy helps us understand the potential costs of a financial system that looks like the phone system – with complex terms, price gouging, etc. For me to exchange value with, say, an American airline, I’ll pay about 2 per cent commission to a bank to facilitate the cross-currency transaction. That amount vastly exceeds the bank’s cost. Large corporates get the same service for a 20th of that margin!
So the hunt is on for the ‘internet of money’ – a technology and overarching architecture to displace the oligopolistic position of the too-big-to-fail banks.
It’s a reflection of these exciting times that less than four years after the first instalment The future of exchanging value: uncovering new ways of spending, Deloitte is up for a sequel. Exchanging value 2 explores this world pregnant with possibility ranging from the edges of the payments system to its centre and it shows that the architecture of the system is up for grabs.
Read it and try to keep up with our runaway world.
As aficionados will be aware, Troppo funds its entire garage of imaginary vehicles (including the latest acquisition – Bronnie the chopper) from its annual group subscription to Crikey.
This is how it works. You email me on ngruen at Gmail with “Crikey” in the subject heading. (This is a new bit, and without it I don’t think Troppo’s Group Subscription Division could aim to be bought up by Facebook in a few years time with 100 million followers.)
I then send the names and email addresses to Crikey and they get in touch with you with an offer of a very cheap subscription to Crikey. (Illustrating the glories of crowdsourcing, someone will now look up the group discounts available on the Crikey website and post it for others. Anyway, we have for many years got over 50
You get the subscription cheaper than ever thought possible, and then the holding conglomerate Private Media – which runs Crikey, The Mandarin and Fox News – sends Troppo all the imaginary vehicles it needs in the coming year. (Stop Press: Private Media appear to have divested itself of Fox News in favour of News Limited – a nice move, given the rise of Donald Trump – this itself coming on top of Troppo’s endorsement of The Donald)
Covering the last few weeks, which started off pretty quiet, so let’s see how this goes as a monthly post. But I’ll post on V/Line issues and elevated rail separately.
This seems to have been pretty good in the first few weeks.
Overnight/early morning services on the 2nd and 3rd of January reportedly attracted about 10,000 touch-ons, which is about three times the use of Nightrider on a weekend in 2015. So off to a good start, though a long way from where you’d want it to be on an ongoing basis.
The second weekend (9th and 10th of January) the government says 15,000 people used the services, so around five times a Nightrider weekend… bearing in mind the weather in October generally isn’t as nice as in January.
It’s not perfect: some temporary signage is still in place:
— Daniel Bowen (@danielbowen) January 19, 2016
…and it was unclear where Nightbus 978 ran during the closure of North Road for level crossing works, with no information online, no signage up at stops, and the operator apparently unaware it was happening.
Overall though it seems Night Network is off to a good start.
What will be interesting to see is how the government tweaks it to improve the service and its cost-effectiveness.
Extensive works at Port Junction to install platform tram stops (and, it appears, upgrade track and overhead wire along Clarendon Street) ran overtime earlier in the month, with routes 12, 96 and 109 continuing to be replaced by buses for some of their length for an extra day or two.
Apart from running about a day overtime (which as I understand was due to a workplace safety issue), unfortunately what let it down was the bus replacement routes.
I unhappily experienced the tram 96 buses one Friday afternoon, on my way to Albert Park. The tram terminated at Batman Park, just south of the river. From there we had to walk back to Flinders Street, then wait for a bus, which we piled onto. From there it did a U-turn east down Flinders Street, left into King Street, right into Flinders Lane, right into Queen Street, then across Queensbridge, south past the Casino and then right into City Road, then under the tram 96 bridge and left into Ferrars Street and finally able to parallel the tram route from there.
There was heavy traffic, which could be reasonably anticipated on CBD streets, so it probably added half an hour to the journey, which is pretty horrible for a short trip. In retrospect it would have been quicker to walk from Batman Park south to the temporary route 12 tram terminus at City Road and use the 12 from there, but that information was sadly lacking.
It beats me why they came up with such a poor bustitution route, particularly outbound. I’d have thought taking the Charles Grimes Bridge and Montague Street would be much quicker, at the possible expense of missing the City Road stop by a couple of hundred metres.
There’ll be plenty more of this kind of thing as more tram stops get upgraded for level access. They really should do better.
The Greens FOI’d the raw data from the PTV Metro load survey from May 2015, claiming that the government had understated crowding, because figures during cancellations and long delays are filtered out.
The figures perhaps have no real surprises: the strongest train passenger growth is in Melbourne’s growth corridors to the south, southeast, west and northwest.
As for the massaging of data, I think it’s valid to look at the raw data, and the extra attention on crowding issues was welcome, but it’s also important to remember why the load surveys exist in the first place.
They are not to measure crowding for the sake of measuring crowding. They’re to use as a planning tool to work out where and when to schedule extra trains.
We don’t need a survey to tell us that crowding occurs when there’s a cancellation. That’s obvious — and it’s a different problem — one of service reliability (which might be improved by better maintenance, more resilient infrastructure, stabling security, etc).
The primary point of the load survey is to say: when the network is running more-or-less to time, where is there still crowding/unmet demand? Which lines need more services — and thus, investment in fleet, stabling, better signalling, upgraded power supply, and so on?
Punt Road to become a 24 hour clearway.
I suspect it’ll have some short-term traffic flow benefits. Long term? We’ll see. It’s better than widening the road.
Long term a boost to the 246 bus (including bus priority) and nearby routes would help.
The government statement claiming it would improve things for people driving to the footy is a bit odd.
“When you go to the footy finals this year, you’ll no longer be frustrated by being stuck behind a parked car on Punt Road.” — yeah, you’ll be stuck behind a stopped car instead of a parked car. And why would we want to encourage people to drive to the footy?
Also a bit odd is the idea of a 6 week consultation period, after which they’ll go ahead and do what they’ve already announced.
Some readers will be aware of my distaste for costume drama – films about the past without any serious effort to engage with the difference of the past. It’s a crime against Oscar Wilde’s great admonition to Bosie. Shallowness is the supreme vice. Anyway, we have two more crimes of shallowness doing the rounds: Suffragette and The Danish Girl. Though I think they’re duds, I wouldn’t discourage you from seeing them, both are high production values period dramas and they’re both enjoyable to watch, aesthetically and/or just because it’s endlessly beguiling to look and imagine how similar and how different things were just a few decades ago, let alone around a century ago.
The latter film is also a landmark. So go see it by all means. But both suffer from dreadful political correctness. Maud, the chief suffragette in the movie is a working class woman. It’s admirable I guess that the producers went for this angle since it’s a harder sell than the usual middle-class story. The trouble is, she’s just a middle-class person playing a working class person. Carey Mulligan plays the part with a strange accent with working class sounds in it but somehow without conviction. She has a permanent smirkette on her face. Maud lives with her husband and child. You’d expect if they really were living on their own that their home would be tiny. But the film never catches any of the pressure this kind of living would have produced. They’re always comfortably away from the child when they want a chat in the kitchen.
The husband has the sexist attitudes of the time (or more likely the 1950s) but none of the body language of his entitlement as the master of the house. Likewise her relationship with her child is very post stolen generations. She loses custody of her child and this distresses her greatly and she lingers around his school to get a glimpse of him and hold him. But it’s strangely uncompelling. Perhaps that’s because it’s somehow emotionally distant. There’s no truth to the relationship. The kid never gets a clip over the ears, yet it’s hard to imagine kids of almost any class not getting plenty of clips over the ears in the early 1900s. So, to cut a not very long story short, I found it uncompelling.
I went to The Danish Girl with high hopes.
I love Alicia Vikander, but somehow this film seemed so bewildered by transgenderism that it couldn’t go anywhere near it. Here was this man and woman living together as man and wife and then one day he tried on a frock and nothing was ever the same again. Ok, well that’s a caricature but that’s how the funny business started. When the transformation was nearing completion we were told that Einar (the husband in the couple who becomes Lily) had always been like that. I’m no expert, but as I understand it, transgenderism, or the kind of transgender drive that leads to gender reassignment by surgery typically follows many years of the person being utterly identifying with one gender, trapped in the body of the other.
One can get a glimpse of the kind of movie this could have been by watching this marvellous episode of 4 Corners which presents the transgender journey (as we say these days) of three young Australians. It’s a magnificent doco of three magnificent people. As I said a while back on Troppo:
Now it can be a new year’s present to yourself. If you missed it last year, make this Four Corners doco on transgender kids the first doco you watch this year. The kids and one adult interviewed are remarkable people with a straightforwardness and clarity born of the simple courage of having to admit to themselves who they are and confronting the inevitable pain and fear it causes them and those closest to them.
Alas, The Danish Girl, can never bear to really grapple with difference. Sure enough, it seems Einar “was sure he was a woman, born into the wrong body”. (He did live for many years, as depicted in the film as two characters, but presumably, Einar’s risking the gruelling and potentially fatal surgery suggests where his/her fundamental orientation lay.) And just so it doesn’t all seem too ‘out there’ – we’re entertaining the masses here (well the arthouse masses) – the lesbianism of Einar’s actual wife Gerta never gets a look in. Though demure in manner, she’s a strong woman who copes with what Einar has thrown at her (as it were). In fact, their journey to Paris doesn’t just allow Einar and his alter ego Lily to thrive, it allowed Gerta to live openly as a lesbian.
So there you go. This is “Guess who’s Coming to Dinner” or “To Sir with love” for trannies. Difference isn’t really difference. It’s sameness. Underneath we’re all the same. When Sidney Poitier comes to dinner he might be a bit out there that he’s black but (Phew!) he’s studying medicine. He’s really just like us. And trannies just want to get on with being just like us.
In both these films it’s as if people have landed from Planet Normal circa 1999, have quickly alighted from their space capsule, been given a quick briefing on the characters they’re to play and Bob’s your uncle.
By Michalis Spourdalakis
January 27, 2016 -- Socialist Project -- Before turning to the main theme of this article it would be very useful to come to terms with at least the following preliminary observations:
The left in government and especially the radical left in government has never been the subject of easy discussion among leftists. As the project of social transformation was never a peaceful stroll in the park, the debates on the question of in and/or out of government, let alone those about political power, have been very heated. In fact, it is hardly an exaggeration to say that these debates are as old as the left itself. Before, during, and after coming into office, leftist theorists and practitioners have been involved in fierce discussions and heated arguments, often leading to organizational splits and fragmentation. The intense polemical nature of these debates has very rarely led to useful, positive, and practical conclusions for the left.
January 28th, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Red-Green Alliance (Enhedslisten) -- On Tuesday, January 26th, 2016, a broad majority in the Folketing (Danish parliament) passed bill L 87 which introduces a long series of restrictive measures aimed at making it less attractive to seek asylum in Denmark.
Internationally the focus has been directed mainly at the part of the bill that authorizes the police to take jewellery, cash and other valuables from asylum seekers in order to finance the cost of their stay in Denmark during asylum procedures.
The Red-Green Alliance (Enhedslisten), which holds 14 of the 179 seats in the Folketing, is against this part of the bill but does not consider it the most problematic part. In practice it will hardly have any affect, as most asylum seekers arrive without significant valuables. Furthermore the new law excludes jewellery with an emotional value to the asylum seeker. And each asylum seeker (including children) gets to keep the equivalent of DKK 10.000 (EUR 1.340) in cash in those rare cases when asylum seekers arrive with appreciable amounts of money.
By Ethan Earle
January 2016 -- Reposted from Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, New York Office -- I was born in North Carolina, but my parents are from Vermont and I grew up taking long summer road trips up the east coast to visit our family in Burlington, the state’s largest city with just over 40,000 people. It was on one of these trips, sometime in the early 1990s, that I first learned about Bernie Sanders and his uniquely American brand of democratic socialism.
This week marks the first weekday shutdown of the Frankston line for level crossing removal works. It lasts until Sunday, but there will be a lot more later in the year.
And obviously more on various lines as the many level crossing removals take place. Gradually it’ll affect most of Melbourne’s train lines, so I think it’s worth exploring in some detail.
I’ve got a post coming on the bus replacement services themselves, but first I wanted to post this question:
Are they a paid service, or not?
There’s great confusion over this issue.
On Monday morning an Authorised Officer (AO) was at Bentleigh touching-on people’s cards, but he missed me. I touched-on as I boarded the bus.
On the Monday afternoon trip the bus actually had no Myki readers.
During other trips this week, I’ve asked stop staff and bus drivers, and had different answers. Some have said yes, touch-on if you can, others have said no, don’t do it.
One bus driver called out to the whole bus “never touch-on on a replacement bus service! The readers aren’t programmed for train replacement services!”
On a tram replacement bus service recently the bus driver repeatedly told boarding passengers not to touch-on, that it was free (though he also joked that people should feel free to slip him $5.)
Ask Metro and they tell you it’s a paid service.
— Metro Trains (@metrotrains) January 26, 2016
I’ve spoken to some of the Metro people involved in organising the services (hi if you’re reading). They’ve said the expectation is bus Myki readers won’t be used. People would touch-on at a station if their trip started on a train. If the trip started on a bus then transferred to a train, they’d touch-on at the first station they encountered, though in some cases AOs would touch them on at the bus stop. (This is what I saw on Monday morning peak, but they’re not around outside peak.)
That kind of makes sense. If there isn’t a train touch-on before you board the train, then you’d risk getting stuck at a fare gate when reaching the city, as well as a possible fine.
What does the bible, the Fares And Ticketing Manual, say?
Page 14: When replacement vehicles are provided, tickets are valid on the alternative services to the same extent as they applied on the original service.
OK. That makes sense. No problem there.
Page 62: If a replacement vehicle is provided for a train service and the replacement vehicle does not have any myki operating equipment on board, customers using a myki for travel must touch on using a myki reader at the departure railway station and touch off using a myki reader at the destination railway station.
This is nonsensical, particularly in this context.
Some of the buses have working Myki readers, some don’t. You don’t know until you board, and the railway station is up to 600 metres away, so it’s impossible to go and touch your card there. (In fact the stations are fenced off, with staff outside pointing you to the bus stop. You can’t go in.)
Even if the station were adjacent, is this really a sensible answer? If you first checked whether the bus had a working Myki reader, and if not went to use a station reader, you’d either delay the bus or miss it.
(By the way, there’s some fascinating/confusing stuff about Night Buses on page 63 that ticketing nerds might like to have a look at.)
It’s not a good sign that there are completely opposite answers depending on who you ask.
Thank goodness the almost-flat-fares means little chance of problems with default fares triggering overcharges.
So, are we thoroughly confused yet?
I’m no fan of free public transport, but I think it would make sense for all suburban train (and tram) replacement bus services to be free.
It doesn’t make sense to try and collect fares on these services. They might as well be free, and to avoid any doubt, the Myki readers (if installed) should be de-activated on these trips.
And if, as at Caulfield, extra (non-Myki) gates are open for passengers to enter from the buses, AOs should be deployed there to help passengers touch-on their cards as they come through.
Commentary by Captain Paul Watson
I initiated and led the first Greenpeace campaigns against sealing from 1975 until 1977. I really never thought I would see the day when Greenpeace would sell out to the sealing industry.
Jon Burgwald speaking for Greenpeace has announced that Greenpeace supports "sustainable" sealing.
There is no such thing. Seals are threatened by rapidly diminishing fish populations and pollution. Our Ocean is dying and Greenpeace seems to be in abject denial of this reality. We need seals to help maintain a healthy marine eco-system.
Greenpeace is now playing into the hands of the fur industry and the Canadian interest in marketing seal fur to China. The organization is now giving comfort to the seal butchers in supporting one of the most brutal and bloody mass massacres of wildlife on the planet.
As a co-founder of Greenpeace I feel sick and betrayed by this new policy flip-flop by Greenpeace.
How can any compassionate and caring person continue to support Greenpeace after this? What the hell are they thinking?
Greenpeace does not oppose the slaughter of pilot whales in the Faroes or the brutal massacre of dolphins in Taiji, Japan and now this. How long before Greenpeace endorses the illegal whaling operations by Japan which they still raise funds for campaigns that they never actually do? The last time a Greenpeace ship sailed to the Southern Ocean to defend whales was 2007 yet the money begging mail-outs continue to be churned out asking for donations to save the whales.
I have tried to hold my tongue over the last few years with regard to Greenpeace but this, this is a deceitful betrayal of what we created in the Seventies. They have simply spat in the face of their founders like myself, David Garrick and the late Robert Hunter with this shocking revelation that the Greenpeace Foundation is a pro-sealing organization.
We risked our lives to save seals from the clubs of the sealers. I was personally beaten by sealers and jailed for intervening against the seal slaughter. I was dragged through icy waters and across a blood soaked deck through a gauntlet of sealers on a sealing ship in 1977. They kicked and hit me with their clubs, spit on me and pushed my face into the blood and the gore and Greenpeace exploited those images to raise funds at the time and now they dismiss that sacrifice and the hard work and dangerous risks taken by Greenpeacers back then without even the courtesy of an apology to us who carried their banner.
And now Greenpeace refers to seal fur as eco-friendly. What next, an endorsement for Monsanto?
These people calling themselves Greenpeace today never took any risks for the seals, were never arrested, they have never even been to the ice floes to see the brutality with their own eyes.
This makes me both sad and extremely angry, betrayed and frustrated beyond measure.
Shame on you Greenpeace, this is unforgivable and a blatant revelation of just how far Greenpeace has drifted from its roots.
Demonstrations against the global captive dolphin trade responsible for Taiji’s brutal dolphin hunts to take place worldwide.
As another season of dolphin slaughter draws to a close, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is calling on volunteers, supporters and concerned individuals around the world to join with us and our Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians as we show our love for dolphins and call for an end to the captive dolphin trade that funds the slaughter of cetaceans in Taiji’s infamous cove.
On Saturday, February 13, Sea Shepherd will teach the world about the link between captivity and the cove with peaceful World Love for Dolphins Day demonstrations across North America and overseas. Sea Shepherd chapters will host demos at local businesses that profit directly from the dolphin slaughter by trading on their surviving family members and stand in solidarity with Sea Shepherd’s volunteer Cove Guardians currently on the ground in Taiji. On Valentine's weekend, animal lovers across the globe will show the world that there is nothing loving about captivity.
Every year, for the past six years, Sea Shepherd's Cove Guardians have patrolled the Taiji cove, where entire families of cetaceans are driven into the cove and either kidnapped and sold into captivity or ruthlessly killed. The tremendous amount of profit that the Japanese killers are getting for each captured dolphin, is truly the root of the evil that permeates the tiny town of Taiji, Japan. The love and compassion that people around the world have for these amazing creatures is evident in the support for the Sea Shepherd Cove Guardian campaign and their loud voices against captivity.
"Our utmost desire is to see a day when captivity is completely abolished and these beautiful, intelligent beings are allowed to roam free throughout the world's oceans, instead of being put into tiny tanks and forced to perform tricks, just to get their next meal.” said David Hance, Campaign Coordinator for Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. "Please join Sea Shepherd on February 13, as we stand up against captivity and against those companies that help perpetuate this horrific industry," added Hance.
How can you participate in “World Love for Dolphins Day” demonstrations?
1. Demonstrate at a Local Business That Supports the Captive Dolphin Trade
Join Sea Shepherd and Sea Shepherd’s Cove Guardians at these locations to educate the public about the connection between the slaughter and the show and encourage local businesses to stop supporting the dolphin hunt. Download and print a poster, and join us.
If you are interested in organizing a demonstration at a location near you, please email email@example.com to set up your approved event.
Posters (click to download PDF)
Leaflets (click to download PDF)
** More cities to be announced soon! Please stay tuned for updates! **
NORTH AMERICAN DEMONSTRATIONS
click on the city for event details on Facebook
12 PM - 2 PM
225 Baker St. NW
Atlanta, GA 30313
11 AM - 1 PM
501 E Pratt Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21202
12 PM – 2 PM
Liberty Travel - Boston
467 Washington St, Boston, Massachusetts 02111
12 PM - 3 PM
3300 Golf Road
Brookfield, Illinois 60513
12 PM - 2 PM
1200 W Washington Street
Indianapolis, IN 46222
Los Angeles, CA
12 PM - 2 PM
Across from the Beverly Hilton
9925 Wilshire Blvd.
Beverly Hills, CA. 90210
New York, NY
12 PM - 2 PM
Liberty Travel Union Square Mega Shop
25 West 14th Street
New York, NY 10011
1 PM – 3 PM
Liberty Travel Philadelphia
1524 Chestnut St
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103
10 AM – 2 PM
Portland, Maine 04101
San Antonio, TX
11 AM – 1 PM
SeaWorld San Antonio
10500 Sea World Drive
San Antonio, TX 78251
San Diego, CA
10 AM – 12:45 PM (taking place on Feb 14th)
SeaWorld San Diego
399 Sea World Drive
San Diego Ca 92109
San Francisco, CA
12 PM - 4PM
Pier 27 Grand Princess Cruise Terminal. San Francisco
San Francisco, California 94111
11 AM - 1 PM
7007 Sea World Drive
Orlando, Florida 32821
10 AM - 1 PM
1 Dundas Street E
Toronto, ON M5B 2R8
*The only and updated location is above.
1 PM - 3 PM
845 Avison Way
Waikoloa Village, HI
10 AM - 12 PM
Hilton Waikoloa Village
Waikoloa Village, HI 96738
Please note: Any locations outside of North America are to be considered "unofficial” Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) events organized by local volunteers and will NOT involve Sea Shepherd Global or other Sea Shepherd entities outside of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.
12 PM - 2 PM
GPO Steps, Bourke St Mall
Melbourne VIC 3000
10 AM - 12 PM
Corner of James and Lake Streets
Northbridge WA 6003
1 PM - 3 PM
Japanese Embassy Germany
10785 Berlin, Germany
12 PM - 5 PM
Japanese Consulate General - Dusseldorf
Immermannstr . 45 , D-40210
40233 Dusseldorf , Germany
2. Take a “selfie” with one of the posters above and send it to us.
We will post your selfies on our social media pages to proudly display your love for dolphins!
Please email photos to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please send us your photos by February 14, 2015 at midnight EST.
For a staggering six months of each year, from September 1 until March, entire families of dolphins and small whales are driven into Taiji’s killing cove. Once netted within the shallow waters of the cove, their fate is sealed and the members of these doomed pods will face either imprisonment in captivity or brutal slaughter before the eyes of their families. Killers and trainers work side-by-side to select the “prettiest” dolphins and whales for captivity, those without visible scars. The others are mercilessly stabbed with a metal spike inserted into their backs, just behind the blowhole, to sever their spine. The dolphins slowly and painfully bleed to death or drown in the blood of their family—others may die as they are dragged to the butcher house, where the once living and free cetaceans are processed into meat for human consumption. These inhumane killings would not be allowed in any slaughterhouse in the world. Japan refuses to sign on to many protection efforts and regulations for marine mammals, despite most of the world recognizing the need to protect these self-aware, beloved and imperiled animals.
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society first brought the cove to the world’s attention by capturing and releasing now-iconic footage and imagery of the brutal hunts and slaughters in 2003, during which the cove turned a blood-red. Later the Academy Award-winning film The Cove again shone a spotlight on the hunts, bringing worldwide attention to the killings. Many individuals thought the film succeeded in bringing an end to the hunts, but that was not the case. So in 2010, Sea Shepherd established Operation Infinite Patience and our volunteer Cove Guardians took up positions alongside the cove to document, report and live stream these atrocities in the hope of capturing attention to bring pressure to bear to stop these barbaric acts. Sea Shepherd is the only organization to have a team on the ground in Taiji each day throughout the entire six-month killing season, and the only group who live streams every capture and every kill for the world to see. Sea Shepherd’s Cove Guardians will not stop shining a light on this atrocity until the slaughter ends.
site for more information.
Reviewed by Barry Healy
Trotsky and the Problem of Soviet Bureaucracy
January 25, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Leon Trotsky was one of the central leaders of the Russian Revolution. As the organiser and Commissar of the Red Army that saved the Soviet power and leading light of the struggle against Stalinism, he is surely one of the great heroic — and tragic — figures of the Twentieth Century.
Taken together these two books provide an insight into the major theoretical dilemma that emerged from the Russian experience: how a successful revolution could degenerate into a parody of workers’ democracy to the point of becoming a murderous dictatorship.
Because Trotsky’s revolutionary integrity remained untarnished after his murder in 1940 at the hands of a Stalinist assassin it is easy to fall into a deification of his work — something that competing Trotskyist sects have delighted in doing.
Paul Le Blanc steers clear of those rocks in his very fine, short biography. He demonstrates a very clear-eyed and measured approach, combined with an unqualified opposition to Stalinist tyranny.
For the video editors in our family who need to move big files around, apart from internet upload speeds, I was also researching the fastest connection types for portable hard drives.
(USB 3.1 will apparently be up to 1250 MB/s when it’s eventually out there.)
USB hard drive manufacturers even quote the full USB 3 speed on their specs. But these don’t reflect real-life usage when moving data to/from drives.
The bottleneck is the drive itself, and PC Pro found in tests that USB3 and Thunderbolt 2 basically achieved the same speed. Below I’ve put these results together with some MacWorld tests using a 7200 RPM drive.
So the practical speeds are:
MacWorld also found that with SSDs, there was some additional benefit for USB3 and Thunderbolt, with Thunderbolt being between 6% and 35% faster than USB3. Presumably a similar boost would be available on USB3 flash drives.
Why is Thunderbolt so much lower than advertised? Probably because it’s not just designed for storage devices. It can also be used for displays, which need a much faster data transfer rate.
Thunderbolt in drives is much much more expensive than other interfaces: for example for LaCie Rugged 2 TB drives at this place in South Melbourne, you’re looking at A$239 for USB 2/3, A$279 for USB 2/3 and Firewire, or A$389 for USB 2/3 and Thunderbolt. So it’s basically a $150 or 60% premium.
Thunderbolt also severely limits the range of drives you can buy. Most brands aren’t touching it.
My budding video editors have access to machines at uni that do USB 3 and Thunderbolt.
But at home we had neither; our old-but-still-good 2008 vintage “3,1” Mac Pros have USB2 or Firewire 800. They can’t be upgraded to Thunderbolt, but they can be upgraded to USB3 (for about US$60 each plus postage; cheaper than the “Thunderbolt tax” for single a high-capacity drive). So I’ve gone with USB3.
Yeah eventually I’ll have to replace the Mac Pros — they were secondhand when we got them 3 years ago — but they do have a bit of life in them yet… though one seems to be playing up a bit, grrr.
Back to some transport stuff in the next post
David Brin offers a usefully concise means for distinguishing liberalism from what liberalism became within just a few years from Adam Smith’s death - the worship of private property or as Brin puts it “today’s idolatry of personal and family wealth as the fundamental sacrament of economics”. He contrasts that with ”the Enlightenment’s principal tool Reciprocal Accountability. But it really is just another way to say ‘get everybody competing’”.
I don’t think ‘get everyone competing’ is quite right, but what sparked this post was Brin’s generalisation of this idea, his assertion that this ‘decentralise and compete’ formula isn’t just descriptive of the way markets have evolved. It’s also descriptive of their correlative in Western modernisation – government. And it’s also descriptive of another transformational system – science.
Ever since civilization began, nearly all societies were dominated by centralized oligarchies, priesthoods or hierarchies who ruled on policy, resource-allocation and Truth for 4,000 years of general incompetence mixed with brutal oppression.
Today, by sharp contrast, all three of the Enlightenment’s great arenas — democracy, markets and science — feature a revolutionary structure that broke with the oligarchic past. The old, arrogant, top-down approach was replaced with something else. Something that great Pericles described 2,000 years earlier, during the brief Athenian Renaissance.
I have several related responses beyond agreeing with Brin’s suggestion that this way of seeing the world it’s a big deal. It is indeed thrilling once you ‘get’ the way in which systems can work, and can indeed work much better, once they’re no longer directed. This was the big message of Smith, that markets provided order without design and provided the stimulus for Darwin’s ideas (via Thomas Malthus). As former Coalition leader John Hewson put it as soon as you get it ”suddenly you realise that a lot of what you’d thought was wrong.”
It’s this sense of ‘aha’ that, I think lies behind a lot of the instinct that economic policy makers have to make ‘markets’ of things, because they’ve seen the power, indeed the beauty, of decentralised decision making when it works well – and the comparative dumbness of so much decision making by centralised bureaucracies. (As the Chief Economist and Chief Scientist of Google said to us when we went to visit them to discuss Kaggle with them, “In Google we spend a lot of time wondering why, if crowds can be so wise, committees can be so dumb”.)
Still, the instinct that it’s only markets that can do this is an exercise in intellectual impatience I think. And I also think that Brin’s reduction of it all to ‘competition’ is likewise too impatient. Take the separation of powers. This limits the power of any officer or branch of government and that’s well and good. And at the limits of their power, different parts and arms of government ‘compete’ in some sense. They certainly test each other’s limits. But they also co-operate. Local, state and federal governments, departments of state all cooperate with each other. They may not do so very effectively in all sorts of ways, they may serve their own interests too intently, but they are supposed to cooperate in many respects and in many respects they do.
Likewise in science, there’s competition, but it’s within an ethos of norms which consciously make calls on the greater good. So much so that, in a favourite quote of mine John Dewey associates science with cooperation, and indeed that with democracy:
No scientific inquirer can keep what he finds to himself or turn it to merely private account without losing his scientific standing. Everything discovered belongs to the community of workers. Every new idea and theory has to be submitted to this community for confirmation and test. There is an expanding community of cooperative effort and of truth. . . . [T]hese traits are now limited to small groups . . . . But the[ir] existence reveals a possibility of the present. . . . The general adoption of the scientific attitude in human affairs would mean nothing less than a revolutionary change in morals, religion, politics and industry.
So in many areas, a precondition of an open, decentralised order operating well is that, while it creates the prospect of competition (which except in well functioning markets will generally impose costs as well as benefits), it also has resources representing collective interests – through norms and/or coercion to keep competition stable and within the bounds that make it productive rather than harmful to the collective interest.
This leads me to my third point on Brin’s piece. The future lies in finding ways of expanding this realm of decentralised decision making. And it won’t always be competition that we appeal to. Indeed I’d say that our experience on this journey so far is that the prime value we appeal to is cooperation not competition. The establishment of the Toyota production system devolved decision making on many things down from the managers and engineers. And it’s ethos wasn’t competition, but the intrinsic motivation of people operating in teams given all sorts of support from sophisticated statistical control information to ten times as much training as their American counterparts to master and then improve a range of tasks which it was their collective responsibility to optimise.
Our experience of the internet is showing us something similar. As Eric S. Raymond stresses, open source code is typically better than proprietary code because it embodies the efforts of free individuals doing something for its own, rather than the boss’s sake. Of course it’s also true that such people, although they may valorise collaboration, may nevertheless be motivated by ‘glory’, by the esteem of their fellows. And that esteem is to some extent, but only some extent, a competitive thing. Esteem is often positional, and so if people seek it, by definition they compete with others with similar aims. But the ‘market’ for open source coding is not especially competitive. It’s decentralised.
Elsewhere firms have tried to improvise some embrace of these ideas. Intrinsic motivation is something that managers understand (even if government policy makers economics textbooks writers rarely do). And something like Google, 3M’s and Atlassian’s “20 percent time” seeks to dilute the command and control of those at the top and suffuse the organisation with greater capacity for open, decentralised decision making. You can also argue, as I’ve done, that in some ways, we need to find our way back to older craft based approaches to work.
And there’s another crucial way in which we need to pursue decentralised decision making, though we probably know even less of the theory and the practice of it than we do of decentralising decisions within organisations. This is in the area of social services and the rebuilding of social capital where we need to tap into the knowledge of people on the ground and of their communities as for instance with this program. But there are difficulties, because we’re giving stuff away – not selling it. So we have the classic public good problem of valuation. How do we know how much something is wanted if it’s not paid for, how do we tap into the knowledge of those the programs are trying to help, how do we put them in charge and yet ration the program to a level that’s acceptable from the perspective of economics and democratic accountability? We can work up local solutions to these problems, but it’s difficult to do what markets like, which is to roll out solutions at scale.
-Does any living-being have a chance to survive without defending oneself?
Today is a day for taking responsibility for the projects of self-government and for raising one’s voice.
-If there had been barricades in Wan (Van), Sêrt (Sirt) and Qoser (Kızıltepe) would there have been as many extrajudicial executions?
Now a weekend protest makes no contribution to the revolution. However there is no in front of or behind the barricade. There is Kurdistan. There is self-government. Either we will become a new Vietnam or we will experience what happened to the Tamils of Sri Lanka. I am speaking to the youth: There is leadership. There is a party. There is a movement. What are you waiting for?
Not to pre-empt anything, but this year I expect to have two film and television students in the house.
For this, I’m considering upgrading my Internet.
We’re currently on iiNet Naked ADSL2+ costing $69.99 per month (for 1000 Gb of data, of which, to my surprise, we’re using about a quarter). Actually I’m paying an additional $10 for VOIP, but I’m planning to ditch it because we rarely use it, and it seems quite unreliable — the handset frequently can’t get a signal. I don’t know precisely where the problem is, but given everyone in the house has a mobile phone, it seems an unnecessary cost.
Why upgrade the Internet? Well one of the things the boys have highlighted is the relatively slow upload speeds.
This is important for film students, because these days everything is digital, and moving big video files around quickly is important.
Our download speeds are okay. Our upload speeds… aren’t.
Using the iiNet broadband test:
This isn’t good. By my calculations it means that a 50 Mb file (which is not that big by modern video standards) would take 12 minutes, and that’s assuming no other bottlenecks.
A 500 Mb file would take over two hours.
This explainer web page from Optus compares theoretical speeds, and notes that the limit of ADSL2+ upload is 820 Kbps (eg 0.82 Mbps).
The ADSL upload speed is so slow that when Isaac wants to send a big file to Dropbox (or whatever), it’s often quicker to go into campus (about an hour’s trip away) and do it there, then come home again. I suppose it gets him out of the house, but it’s not brilliant, is it.
It’s not just study. He’s starting to do post-production work as a part-time job. This is the kind of agile digital economy PM Turnbull often drones on about.
Cable internet is faster; around 3 times faster for uploads. DOCSIS theoretically allows faster upload, but queries from customers were answered in a vague way by Telstra. The speculation is the Telstra and Optus cable internet networks are set up for cable TV, which are pretty much all download.
If only we had some kind of universal super-fast internet service providing a future-proof fibre connection to everywhere. Some kind of Network of Broadband right across the Nation.
Well, I checked. NBN (especially proper NBN, fibre-to-the-premise/home, but even fibre-to-the-node) would be great, and would improve upload speeds by up to 50 times, but isn’t getting to my area anytime soon.
Given their enlightened social media operative Dan, I’d be more than pleased to sign up for Optus Cable… if they serve my street. This is confusing as their web site variously says Yes or No depending on how I enter the address. I suppose I’m going to have to ring them up.
Also notable: complaints about speed from local Optus cable users.
Telstra cable does serve my street. Theoretically may get me about a threefold increase in upload speeds (around 2.4 Mbps), for $95/month for 500 Gb or $115/month for 1000 Gb — and appears to include a home phone service.
Importantly, with cable there are no guarantees about speed — it depends on network congestion.
I’m sure I’m not the only one in this position. Assuming I don’t want to pay a heap of money for a fibre connection myself, are there any other options?
19 gennaio 2016 – Il 9 gennaio il titolo di prima pagina di La Vanguardia, il quotidiano filo-sistema della Catalogna, diceva: “Insieme Per Il Sì e CUP esauriscono le opzioni di accordo: il fallimento dei negoziati apre la via alle elezioni il 6 marzo”.
I dialoghi all’interno della maggioranza filo-indipendenza del parlamento catalano – composta dalla convenzionale coalizione Insieme Per Il Sì e dall’anticapitalista Candidature Popolari Unite – Appello Costituente (CUP-CC) – erano alla fine crollati dopo più di tre mesi di incontri. Questa maggioranza era emersa dalle elezioni “plebiscitarie” catalane del 27 settembre, convocate come sostituto del referendum in stile scozzese che è sempre stato respinto dai maggiori partiti spagnoli, il Partito Popolare (PP) al governo e il Partito Socialista Spagnolo dei Lavoratori (PSOE).
Nonostante l’intervento all’ultimo minuto delle tre organizzazioni di massa del nazionalismo catalano – il Congresso Nazionale Catalano (ANC), l’Associazione delle Municipalità per l’Indipendenza (AMI) e il movimento per la cultura catalana Omnium Cultural – il CUP-CC continuava a rifiutarsi di accettare il premier pro tempore Artur Mas come capo del primo governo filo-indipendenza della Catalogna.
Tom Anderson and Eliza Egret report from the war-torn city of Kobanê and meet those trying to rebuild what Daesh and US bombs have destroyed
January 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Red Pepper — ‘We have cleared 1.5 million tonnes of rubble,’ Abdo Rrahman Hemo (known as Heval Dostar), head of the Kobanê Reconstruction Board, tells us humbly as we sit in his office in Kobanê city in November 2015. But as we walk through the bombed streets, with collapsed buildings all around us and dust filling our lungs, it's hard to believe that Kobanê could have been any worse. ‘We have estimated that 3.5 billion dollars of damage has been caused,’ he continues.
It's been one year since the US bombing of Kobanê — then partly occupied by Daesh — and most of the buildings are still in tatters. Kobanê is in Rojava (meaning 'West' in Kurdish), a Kurdish majority region in the north of Syria that declared autonomy from the Assad regime in 2012.
The evidence shows that the practice of damming the river by the natives for their own purposes had been going on for many years; that it was, in fact, an “old fellow, black fellow” custom, or, to put it in legal terms, had been in existence from time immemorial.
This brief excerpt from the decision of Justice Wells of the Northern Territory Supreme Court in the 1946 case of Thomas Allison Holt v Harold Eric Thonemann & Harold Stanage Giles (“the Roper River dams case”) lay unreported and ignored in the official records of the court until recovered by researchers in 2012 during research into Aboriginal knowledge and use of water in the country of the Mangarrayi people of the upper reaches of the Roper River in the NT.
Justice Wells’ choice of the words “from time immemorial” was deliberate and drew on that thread of the common law that gives authority to custom as law and would later be recognised as a source of native title rights. The Roper River Dams case concerned the customary practice of the local Mangarrayi Aboriginal owners of the land from which the vast Elsey Station was carved.
The plaintiff Holt was the leaseholder of the downstream Roper Valley station, and defendants Thonemann and Giles the owner and manager respectively of the Elsey Station leasehold straddling the headwaters of the Roper River near Mataranka.
Justice Wells summed up Holt’s claims against Thonemann and Giles in the first paragraph of his judgement.
This is an application for an injunction to restrain the defendants from obstructing or continuing [to] obstruct the natural flow of the Roper River … in such [a way] to infringe the rights of the plaintiff as riparian owner; and for an award of damages for losses of cattle …
As the Australian Law Reform Commission noted in its landmark inquiry into Aboriginal customary laws in 1986, the common law has always:
… allowed that local customs which meet its criteria for recognition could be applied as law. No clear limits seem to have been set to the customs that could be recognised in this way … Briefly, the common law requires that the custom not be inconsistent with any statute or fundamental principle of common law, that it have existed ‘from time immemorial’, that it have been exercised continuously and peaceably, as of right, that it should be sufficiently certain both as to its content and its beneficiaries, and that it be regarded as ‘reasonable’ by the court
In 1971 Justice Blackburn delivered his judgment in Milurrpum’s case, now recognized as the first native title rights litigation. Justice Blackburn dismissed the Yolngu plaintiff’s claim, but did find as a matter of fact the Yolngu of north-east Arnhem land had:
… a subtle and elaborate system of social rules and customs which was highly adapted to the country in which the people led their lives, which provided a stable order of society and was remarkably free from the vagaries of person whim or influence. If ever a system could be called ‘a government of law, and not of men’, it is that shown in the evidence before me.
As noted in the first part of this series, while relationships between non-Aboriginal settlers and Aboriginal people in the pastoral lands of the Northern Territory were fraught with habituated violence and exploitation, relationships between pastoralists—particularly the continuing feuds between neighboring stations like the Roper Valley and Elsey stations, where issues manipulation of water flow had been the source of tension since the 1920s—often came close to open warfare.
Jane Gleeson observed in her 1985 monograph that explored the history of white settlement at Mataranka that civil actions such as Holt’s suit against his neighbours were seen as a last resort in the region.
The first formal complaint was made by [the then owner] J. P. Rogers of Roper Valley in 1926, and Rogers continued to register annual complaints after Harold Giles was appointed manager of Elsey in 1927. In 1934, Roper Valley was sold to a partnership of T. Allison Holt and Roy Chisholm who, after extensive and numerous reports on the dam by police, surveyors, engineers, and even the army, took the issue to court in 1946 … Mary Peterson of Mataranka said that Elsey and Roper Valley were ‘always fighting over anything’, and that ‘Mannion [the Mataranka polceman in the 1930s] had much bigger problems with cattle stations than with Aborigines.
There are no records pointing to good relations between pastoralists though presumably they existed. Available evidence points always to conflict.
Thonemann, mindful perhaps that the feuding with his downstream neighbours may end up in court–and also aware of the import of the phrase “from time immemorial”–had in 1937 conducted a long interview with Dick Badbock, a senior Mangarrayi man who, as confirmed by anthropological research conducted by linguist and anthropologist Francesca Merlan in the 1980s, was “an appropriate successor and primary spokesperson for the Red Lily [lagoon] area.”
As researchers Sue Jackson and Marcus Barber note in their 2012 report into the use of and values the Mangarrayi people accord to water, Thonemann was a man well ahead of his time:
… it is noteworthy that Thonemann frames the issue of indigenous river diversion or regulation (damming) as a water right, many decades before Indigenous legal rights to inland waters were recognized by Australian government.
Notwithstanding Thonemann & Giles’ attempts to run a defence using the Mangarrayi’s customary use of water in the Roper River, Thomas Holt was wholly successful in his suit, with Justice Wells ordering that:
… the defendants forthwith remove all artificial obstructions from the main channel of the Roper River … and from all other channels … they be restrained from erecting or causing to be erected … any dams, weirs or obstructions of any sort whatsoever … and pay to the plaintiff the sum of £350 as damages.
Despite this unequivocal injunction from the court, following the carving up of Elsey Station after World War II, Les MacFarlane and his family–from 1951 the lessee of the newly-excised Moroak Station downstream from Elsey Station–readily adopted the Mangarrayi techniques for water diversion along the Roper River.
In their 2012 paper Jackson and Barber interviewed Les MacFarlane’s son Hamish, who told them that a “significant number” of stockmen—not just Mangarrayi but also members of the Alawa, Yangman and Ritharangu language groups—moved from Elsey Station to Moroak and continued their water management practices there from the time the MacFarlane’s took up Moroak through to the late 1980s.
Hamish MacFarlane told Jackson and Barber that:
Aboriginal people, to our knowledge from the fifties onwards, had always blocked and maintained flows into lagoons … We still did it because we had beliefs, same as they did … that we have responsibilities to land … and sometimes if you have to do the wrong thing to maintain your principles and responsibilities, then that’s what you do.
I will return to the MacFarlane family and their relationships to Aboriginal claims for control of their land and water in future instalments of this series.
In July 1991 the Mangarrayi made application for ownership Elsey Station under the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976. As reported by Lorena Allam in 1999 for the ABC’s Background Briefing program, reaction against the claim from local whitefellas and the NT government was wholly predictable.
Once the news got out, Territory Parliament was in an uproar. The government said the new owners would ruin Elsey as a cattle station and cause untold damage to the Territory economy. Aborigines were taking over the land at a terrifying rate, a sure sign of the imminent death of the cattle industry.
Local opposition wasn’t the only matter of concern to the Mangarrayi in their long wait for their land, and the Commonwealth government’s approach to the hardback of their land to the Mangarrayi was dilatory. Here is Alan Ramsey in the Sydney Morning Herald in April 1999.
The Elsey claim was listed for hearing on September 27, 1993. Oral evidence was completed on February 3, 1994. Written submissions for and against continued until April 13, 1995… Judge Gray’s last act as Aboriginal Land Commissioner was to submit his 125-page report on the Elsey claim to John Howard’s Aboriginal Affairs Minister, John Herron, on November 28, 1997.
Elsey Station was finally handed back to the Mangarrayi traditional owners three years later in March 2000. The Mangarrayi had won their long struggle for the return of their land–but not their water.
That will be the subject of coming installments of this series.
Image: John Herron and John Howard sitting on the Elsey land claim no. 132, and burning the 1976 Northern Territory Land Rights Act, watched by Ian Viner and a group of Aboriginals. Pen and ink drawing by Ward O’Neill April, 1999. National Library of Australia.
This is the second of a series of articles on the battles for control of land and water along the Northern Territory’s Roper River from the time of first incursion by non-Aboriginal settlers to the current day. This second part examines the period from then end of World War II through to the early nineteen-nineties. You can see the first part examining the period from 1870 through to just after World War II here.
Further recommended reading
Whose ‘Never Never’? Produced by Lorena Allam. Background Briefing, ABC Radio National, Sunday 12 September 1999.
‘Making People Quiet’ in the Pastoral North: Reminiscences of Elsey Station. Francesca Merlan. Aboriginal History, 2: 70. ANU 1978.
Blocks, runs and claims : Mataranka and the Daly, two studies in the history of settlement in the Northern Territory, Jane Gleeson. North Australian Research Unit, 1985 in Mataranka and the Daly, Two Studies of the history of settlement in the Northern Territory.
Indigenous Water Management and Water Planning in the Upper Roper River, Northern Territory: History and Implications for Contemporary Water Planning. Marcus Barber and Sue Jackson, 2012. Report to the National Water Commission and the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities.
Remembering ‘the blackfellows’ dam’: Australian Aboriginal water management and settler colonial riparian law in the upper Roper River, Northern Territory. Marcus Barber and Sue Jackson, 2015. In Settler Colonial Studies, Routledge.
Australian Law Reform Commission. Recognition of Aboriginal Customary Laws (ALRC Report 31). 1986. Australian Government.
‘Nigger Hunts’ in the never never. The battles for land and water on the Roper River, 1870-1945. The Northern Myth, 13 January 2016.
Opposition presidential candidate Henrique Capriles donned indigenous hearwear and declared 'I will demarcate all indigenous lands' during his 2012 presidential election campaign
By Luis F. Angosto-Ferrández
January 18, 2016 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Progress in Political Economy – Venezuelans balloted last month – again. Nothing exceptional in a country where citizens have cast their votes in twenty different nationwide elections over the past 17 years – more than once annually, if one draws an average. Yet elections in the Bolivarian republic generate an extraordinary level of international attention and a flurry of commentary ever since the late Hugo Chávez was elected in 1998. That is what happens when people in an oil-rich country suddenly reveal themselves as rich in political resources too, and furthermore decide that neither their oil nor their politics should be managed in the interest of national and international elites: the latter rapidly deploy the best of their political repertoire (and their media) to make sure that everyone around the world realises how wrong those people in the oil-rich country are.
Well folks after a gruelling (if largely imaginary) 24 hour period haggling with other Troppmeisters, I’m pleased to announce Troppo’s unanimous support for The Donald for President of the Greatest Country on Earth. We were locked in disagreement until we had it summed up by Sarah Palin in the video above. Essentially the whole group agreed that we need a leader who can kick ISIS’s arse. Is that asking too much? I mean they’re ripping our guys heads off for Chrissake.
And Donald Trump doesn’t just talk about it. He’s had a TV program in which he’s said “you’re fired” on numerous occasions. Capiche? It’s not theoretical, its real world experience. As you’ll see in the video, Mr Trump also backs up those tough words with real actions. When he says “you’re fired” he points his finger. I mean the only thing he doesn’t do is lift it to his mouth and blow off the smoke – but that’s because it would be imaginary smoke, and Donald Trump is a real world kind of guy. Imaginary smoke is for wusses.
Meanwhile as the Australian informs us
Earlier on Tuesday, Mr Trump received an endorsement from the daughter of movie star John Wayne. Standing in front of a life-size, rifle-toting model of the actor in full cowboy gear, Mr Trump accepted the endorsement of Aissa Wayne at the John Wayne Birthplace Museum in Winterset, Iowa. “America needs help and we need a strong leader and we need someone like Mr. Trump with leadership qualities, someone with courage, someone that’s strong, like John Wayne,” she said.
So, as Sarah Palin put it, “help is on the way”.
Marta Harnecker (pictured) will be one of the keynote speakers at Socialism for the 21st century: Moving beyond capitalism, learning from global struggles being held in Sydney on May 13-15.
By Marta Harnecker, translated by Richard Fidler
January 2016 — Monthly Review, reposted on Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission — In recent years a major debate has emerged over the role that new social movements should adopt in relation to the progressive governments that have inspired hope in many Latin American nations. Before addressing this subject directly, though, I want to develop a few ideas.
The situation in the 1980s and ’90s in Latin America was comparable in some respects to the experience of pre-revolutionary Russia in the early twentieth century. The destructive impact on Russia of the imperialist First World War and its horrors was paralleled in Latin America by neoliberalism and its horrors: greater hunger and poverty, an increasingly unequal distribution of wealth, unemployment, the destruction of nature, and the erosion of sovereignty.
Double for Nothing? Experimental Evidence on the Impact of an Unconditional Teacher Salary Increase on Student Performance in Indonesia
by Joppe de Ree, Karthik Muralidharan, Menno Pradhan, Halsey Rogers – #21806 (CH DEV ED LS PE)
How does a large unconditional increase in salary affect employee performance in the public sector? We present the first experimental evidence on this question to date in the context of a unique policy change in Indonesia that led to a permanent doubling of base teacher salaries. Using a large-scale randomized experiment across a representative sample of Indonesian schools that affected more than 3,000 teachers and 80,000 students, we find that the doubling of pay significantly improved teacher satisfaction with their income, reduced the incidence of teachers holding outside jobs, and reduced self-reported financial stress. Nevertheless, after two and three years, the doubling in pay led to no improvements in measures of teacher effort or student learning outcomes, suggesting that the salary increase was a transfer to teachers with no discernible impact on student outcomes. Thus, contrary to the predictions of various efficiency wage models of employee behavior (including gift-exchange, reciprocity, and reduced shirking), as well as those of a model where effort on pro-social tasks is a normal good with a positive income elasticity, we find that unconditional increases in salaries of incumbent teachers had no meaningful positive impact on student learning.
Continuing my series of posts of ten year old photos…
New Year’s Eve 2005/06 was the second year of all-night trains, and I sampled them for myself.
Flinders Street station at about 1am was pretty busy. Still some crowds outside, very much a party atmosphere as I recall. The platforms and trains were pretty packed, but moving well. The smaller photos are from some video I shot. The last (bottom-right) photo is after getting off the train at Footscray.
At Footscray, people were waiting for the 82 tram, which wasn’t running all night. This seems to happen every year. Perhaps they ought to simply run every tram route all night on NYE?
The redevelopment of Spencer Street/Southern Cross Station was nearing completion, but wasn’t quite finished yet. The renaming (throwing away 146 years of brand recognition) had taken place in December 2005. No sign of The Age building, which was built some years later.
(View it on Flickr)
Mid-January, Sorrento Beach
(View it on Flickr)
Old desk, old computers at home. I think this was snapped for listing the desk on eBay.
In 2006, some signage at loop stations still indicated trains to Mornington (closed in 1981) and suburban trains to Warragul (electric trains last ran there in 1998)
Melbourne’s landmark Nylex clock had been restored in 2005, but had failed again by early 2006.
Eureka Tower under construction. It was completed in June 2006.
By Susan George, Yanis Varoufakis, Ada Colau, Zoe Konstantopoulou, Ken Loach, Noam Chomsky, et. al
January 19, 2016 - Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Plan B Europa - In July 2015, we witnessed a financial coup d’état carried out by the European Union and its institutions against the Greek Government, condemning the Greek population to continue suffering the austerity policies that had been rejected on two occasions in the polls. This coup has intensified the debate over the power of the EU, and by extension it’s institutions, its incompatibility with democracy, and its role as guarantor of the basic human rights demanded by European citizens.
We know that there are alternatives to austerity. Manifestos such as “For a Plan B in Europe“, “Austerexit” or DiEM25 (Democracy in Europe Movement 2025) denounce the blackmail of the third memorandum of understanding imposed against Greece, the catastrophe that it would cause and the antidemocratic nature of the EU. The President of the European Commission no less, Jean -Claude Juncker, said : ” There can be no democratic decision against European treaties “.
The office of intelligence in every problem that either a person or a community meets is to effect a working connection between old habits, customs, institutions, beliefs, and new conditions.
John Dewey, Liberalism and Social Action, 1935
As I’ve argued before, our engagement with the digital world is suffering horribly from a metaphor hangover. We deploy the policy language articulated for micro-economic reform – the project of ridding ourselves of the tired and corrupt detritus of a century of political favouritism and relying where possible on market competition instead. It’s always worth continuing to ask such questions but, as we’ve learned to our cost, there are lots of areas where simple deregulation and market forces don’t work well and though it may not be easy to work out what the best strategy is, the reasons to be suspicious of simple market solutions are obvious enough. (Thus for example, and with the greatest respect for the authors of the report, why government decided to throw the commissioning of human services at the Harper Review into competition is an example of the problem. As far as I know none of the members of the review had much background in the area.
As I’ve argued, one of the exciting things about the digital world is that the relation between public and private goods is almost always different there. Often it makes sense to ignore this and just watch the market do its thing. But always and everywhere, a digital artefact is a potential public good. Indeed most of the new public goods that have evolved so far in the 21st century have been privately built. Google, Facebook, Twitter and Wikipedia.
For that reason I was intrigued to see a paper from Policy Network – which styles itself as “promoting the best progressive thinking on the major social and economic challenges of the 21st century” entitled “A Digital Progressive Project“. Alas it’s the usual two step – refashion the welfare net for our new age of insecurity – end those pesky ‘one size fits all’ entitlements. And unleash digital technology to improve the productivity of human services like education and health.
Citizens should be as empowered in their dealings with the government, just as they are as customers – casting a ballot from the comfort of their own living room, filing income tax returns in just five minutes, signing a legally-binding contract over the Internet from anywhere in the world via a mobile phone, registering new businesses in as little as 20 minutes. For example, in Kansas City, Missouri, new business owners use an online tool to help navigate complex regulations and approval processes in place of the old system in which business owners were expected to identify which permits they would need and work with multiple departments.
Well who could argue with any of that? (OK – well I don’t much like citizens as customers, and lowering the transactions costs of voting, may do more harm than good, but we’ll leave that to one side.) Still somehow, the article doesn’t get to grips with the possibilities – with the way in which the digital world should be reconfiguring the way we think about the provision of public goods, and what a gift to the left this should be.
Meanwhile PM&C has recently published a paper on public sector management of data. It’s yet another go at the open data and data linkage agenda that’s been bubbling along since the Government 2.0 Taskforce or earlier but which has failed to get much traction owing to lack of support from the top of either the political or bureaucratic layers of government. I may be excessively cynical, but it’s a most unusual report from the public service, because it’s quite candidly critical of the way in which government has not implemented policies it adopted - to open up data. From a position of something like equality in 2010, as the report says
Australia lags the United States (US) and United Kingdom (UK) in releasing public data for business, and lags New Zealand (NZ) in the application of data to policy design. All three countries made an upfront investment to drive data policy with a top-down mandate from Ministers. . . . Data.gov.au is a central point of access to data from across governments. It currently links to 6,700 datasets, compared to 25,461 in the UK and 132,865 in the US. Notably:
Most agencies do not release data via data.gov.au as a matter of course. In consultations, many said it simply does not enter their mind to do so. Consultations indicated that data.gov.au had been under resourced (although some agencies such as DHS also have staff who prepare data for publication on data.gov.au).
So it’s all good. Now, back on page 7, the report specifies the three things it’s trying to achieve. The first two are to Improve service delivery and Develop more effective government. That’s good too. The third objective isn’t the overarching one of improving lives or even improving economic outcomes. Instead the frame is mercantilist. It’s to “Drive the digital economy: Public sector data is available to support private sector innovation and productivity.” Sigh.
Meanwhile the ALP recently called for National Information Policy.
A National Information Policy would follow the model of the Keating Government’s National Competition Policy and systematically scan institutions (public, private and community), policies and regulations to identify obstacles to optimal data generation, protection, access and use.
Just as we did with National Competition Policy we should systematically trawl through our markets and indeed other social institutions, asking how well informed they are, and what can be done to improve information flows. The economic and human benefits could be immense. The costs minimal.
So I’m naturally very pleased with this initiative. This is the itemisation of the agenda in the ALP’s policy statement.
The National Information Policy reform agenda will cover multiple fronts, over an extended period of time, while also delivering short term dividends to maintain momentum for reform. It could potentially pursue issues like:
All of this is worthwhile. The second item is focused on data for public good research which is well and good. And it’s all about government doing its job better – and government is pretty much axiomatically producing public goods or goods with public good characteristics. So I can’t complain. Yet it’s notable that every one of the seven points relates to the latest hot trend – data. And the flavour is managerial and mercantilist. The state becomes a joint venturer with the private sector in growing wealth. Consumer benefits – which one might have thought is the essential point of production, is downplayed.
More importantly, there’s a whole agenda that’s not covered – and it has ‘progressive’ or left-of-centre written all over it. Because if knowledge and digital artefacts are always and everywhere a potential public good, you’d expect that expressing the collective interest in that fact would lead to a role for collective institutions (not necessarily government) representing the public interest as a countervailing force against private interests. As Robert Kuttner argues, an identifying idea of progressives since the turn of the 20th century if not before that capital needs a counterweight – in the state and other collective institutions. An obvious agenda is IP, which is becoming progressively more unbalanced towards the interests of private IP holders (Will Mickey ever go free?). Likewise arrangements for the creation of knowledge about drugs is a big mess, incredibly poorly suited to the interests of lower income countries but also to economic efficiency more broadly. Here’s (pdf) Dean Baker’s sketch of how to fix things. These would be worthy subjects of a systematic trawl through our institutions for creating or importing and disseminating knowledge. Note that action in both these areas is likely to both improve economic efficiency and equity as monopolistic rents will be funded from relatively flat taxes on consumers and go to the disproportionately wealthier owners of capital.
Now I can understand why, if it had thought of such things, an Opposition might want to steer clear of such politically thorny subjects. But our current institutional arrangements regarding information are full of these kinds of problems, many of which would not present very difficult political obstacles. So in the next instalment, I’ll explain another defining characteristic of ‘markets’ for information – that in addition to being a potential public good, all informational artefacts embody public goods in their very makeup and I’ll offer two striking cases that call for ‘information policy’ which, if it was well prosecuted could make major and enduring improvements to knowledge formation and dissemination promoting simultaneously promoting equity while making a growing contribution to productivity. And they’d have little electoral downside.
Artur Mas announced he would be stepping down from the role of premier of Catalonia on January 9 in order to help pave the way for the formation of the region's first pro-independence government
By Dick Nichols
January 14, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — On January 9, the front-page headline of La Vanguardia, Catalonia's establishment daily read: “Together For Yes and the CUP exhaust options for agreement — failure of negotiations opens the way for elections on March 6.”
Talks within the pro-independence majority in the Catalan parliament — composed of the mainstream Together For Yes coalition and the anti-capitalist People's Unity Candidacies-Constituent Call (CUP-CC) — had finally collapsed after over three months of meetings. This majority had emerged from Catalonia's September 27 “plebiscitary” elections, called as a substitute for the Scottish-style referendum that has always been refused by Spain's major parties, the ruling People's Party (PP) and the opposition Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE).
Despite the last-minute intervention of the three mass organisations of Catalan nationalism — the Catalan National Congress (ANC), the Association of Municipalities for Independence (AMI) and the movement for Catalan culture Omnium Cultural—the CUP-CC was still refusing to accept acting premier Artur Mas as head of Catalonia's first pro-independence government.
Victor Serge (left), Benjamin Péret, Remedios Varo, and André Breton
By Doug Enaa Greene
January 18, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, reposted from Red Wedge with the author's permission — In 1941, reflecting on his own life, which spanned several revolutions, exile, and prison, Victor Serge commented:
On January 15, 2016, the crew of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's vessel the M/V Farley Mowat removed an illegal gillnet in the Gulf of California's vaquita porpoise habitat. This is the first gillnet recovered during Operation Milagro II since the Mexican government authorized Sea Shepherd Conservation Society to remove gillnets and other illegal fishing gear.
Sea Shepherd launched Operation Milagro II in November 2015 with the objective of stopping the extinction of the endangered vaquita porpoise. For the past seven weeks, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's research vessel the R/V Martin Sheen has patrolled the vaquita habitat to stop poachers from deploying gillnets that are known to indiscriminatingly catch any species of fish or shark and drown marine animals and birds. The M/V Farley Mowat just arrived in the Gulf of California to assist the R/V Martin Sheen.
The vaquita are the smallest of cetaceans and only inhabit the northernmost part of the Gulf of California. They are one of the most endangered marine mammals. Scientists estimate that there are less than 97 surviving vaquita. Although all gillnets are dangerous for vaquita, the greatest threats to vaquita are the gillnets used to catch the totoaba fish due to the size of the opening of the mesh of the nets. As a similar sized animal, vaquita who swim into these gillnets become entangled and drown. Both the totoaba and vaquita are listed as endangered and protected in Mexico. However, the black market trade in the totoaba's fish bladder drives the poaching of the fish and is driving the extinction of the vaquita. In an effort to save the vaquita, in April 2015, the Mexican government enacted a two year ban on the use of gillnets in a 13,000 square kilometer area covering the entire northern part of the Gulf of California
The M/V Farley Mowat spotted the illegal gillnets on its first day patrolling the vaquita habitat. A former United States Coast Guard Cutter, the M/V Farley Mowat is a fast interceptor ship, designed for coastal patrols and capable of quickly locating and approaching with speed. The ship is also equipped with a small rigid inflatable speed boat, a crane, and a newly constructed net removal device.
“With my experience chasing poaching vessels in the Southern Ocean and Mediterranean Sea, as well as patrolling the Gulf of California in early 2015, I am confident that the R/V Martin Sheen and the M/V Farley Mowat would be able to patrol the gillnet-free zone to help ensure that gillnets are not used,” commented Campaign leader Captain Oona Layolle, captain of the M/V Farley Mowat.
Upon spotting the gillnet, the crew of the M/V Farley Mowat immediately began retrieving it and the Mexican Navy was notified. For more than six hours, the crew of the M/V Farley Mowat worked alongside the Mexican Navy to retrieve the nets.
Captain Layolle continued, “With the help of the Mexican Navy, we were able to remove approximately one and a half miles of gillnets and release twelve dogfish sharks. Unfortunately, the gillnet was in the water for at least several days and killed approximately sixty dogfish sharks, as well as three species of juvenile sharks, including two species of protected hammerhead sharks. Sea lions were also seen eating totoaba from the gillnet.”
Despite the two year ban on the use of gillnets, enforcement in such a large area is difficult. With its two vessels patrolling the Gulf of California, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society hopes for the miracle of the survival of the vaquita porpoise.
Operation Milagro II
site for more information.
President Nicolás Maduro addresses Chavista supporters on December 7, following election defeat the previous day.
By Richard Fidler
January 13, 2016 - Life on the Left, reposted on Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with author’s permission - Seventeen years after Hugo Chávez was elected Venezuela’s President for the first time, the supporters of his Bolivarian Revolution, now led by President Nicolás Maduro, suffered their first major defeat in a national election in the December 6 elections to the country’s parliament, the National Assembly.
Coming only two weeks after the victory of right-wing candidate Mauricio Macri in Argentina’s presidential election, it was a stunning setback to the “process of change” in Latin America that Chávez had spearheaded until his premature death from cancer in 2013. The opposition majority in the new parliament threatens to undo some of the country’s major social and economic advances of recent years as well as Venezuela’s vital support to revolutionary Cuba and other neighboring countries through innovative solidarity programs like PetroCaribe and the ALBA fair-trade alliance.
So, now we know which train is which…
If you’re a regular on Melbourne’s trains, particularly in the southern and western lines, you’d have noticed the recent changes to seat layouts, but the process of reducing the number of seats on metropolitan trains actually started some time ago, during the huge patronage growth of last decade.
Back in 2008, it was flagged that the second major order of X’Trapolis trains would have fewer seats, with a wider aisle, and more handholds. Further X’Trapolis trains ordered have been of the same design, and subsequently the older trains of that type were altered to also have 2 x 2 seating.
This made a lot of sense. In blocks of three seats, it’s common to see people failing to fill all three (the middle seat in particular is very cramped), choosing to stand instead, and the narrow aisle made it difficult for crowds to circulate around the carriage, especially when there aren’t many places to hold onto.
In 2009, then-operator Connex showed off a trial Comeng train design, which cut about 15 seats from each carriage. As of a few months ago you’d still see these three carriages around on the network.
In 2012, it emerged there was a proposal to modify the entire train fleet along these lines, and amend the load standard. This is confirmed by a Metro operations document which came to light last year.
Currently the load standard is 133 per carriage, or 798 per 6 carriage train.
It’s worth re-iterating that the load standard is NOT a maximum capacity; it’s a measurement of crowding. It originated in the 1999 privatisation contracts — if trains carried more than 798 people, it was meant to trigger action to add more capacity, such as adding extra services. (In practice it rarely seemed to trigger anything.)
The proposal is that the load standard be increased to a nice round 900, or 150 per carriage.
If one accepts that seats should be moderately reduced in number, making more space for standees, this actually makes sense — there’s no question that the new designs increase the capacity of each carriage.
Fast forward to 2016. In the past year, current operator Metro has made modifications to many Comeng and Siemens carriages, basically removing all of the seats closest to the doors.
This was done firstly on the Alstom Comeng fleet (which are recognisable from their green poles, handles and seat backs) and now similar modifications are being rolled-out on the EDI Comeng fleet (yellow poles, handles, seat backs). The latter are a bit different — because the closest remaining seats face the doorways, metal barriers have been installed as well, so people sitting have some space from standees.
Increasing numbers of Siemens carriages also have similar modifications, and their changes appear to be being done while replacing the horrible old plain blue seat cushions.
It varies by train type. My rough counts (NOT verified):
In the Siemens trains, it’s a removal of about 16 seats per carriage, or in a 6-car train a total of 96 out of 528, or 18.2%.
In the Alstom Comeng fleet, about 12 removed per carriage, for a total of 72 removed out of 536 (13.4%).
In the EDI Comeng fleet, I think it’s 17-24 per carriage, a total (if I’ve got my sums right) of 116 out of 556 (20.9%)
In the X’Trapolis trains, it was 12 removed, or 72 out of 528 (13.7%).
(By comparison, recent B-class tram changes reduced seats by over 30%, though that was partly countered by “bum-racks”… which ultimately don’t save much if any space, I reckon.)
The new design isn’t ideal. Clearly it’s a compromise between providing more standing space and making a modification that’s cheap and quick and easy to do — in many cases, whole 2-3 seat units are removed, rather than trying to chop up existing units, so aisles are still narrow on the Comengs. Door positions are not modified — that would be very expensive.
In the Comeng and Siemens trains there still aren’t enough handholds, so while there’s now more space around the doorways, the bulk of standees still remain around the doors.
(Why aren’t there enough handholds? I was told repeatedly during late 2000s that it was due to a fear of vandals swinging on them to kick out windows. It’s unclear if that ever actually happened, or if it was some paranoid fantasy from some desk-bound risk assessor. Either way, the change in X’Trapolis design indicates it’s no longer feared.)
For a while in the reconfigured Comeng and Siemens carriages, there were now virtually no Priority (disabled) seats. Almost all of them are the seats that have been removed. As this blog post points out, this is a big problem for some users, such as the vision-impaired. Apparently part of the issue was they ran out of stickers! New stickers are appearing now, though of course these seats are now farther from the doors.
A recent legislation change means that able-bodied passengers must now give up any seat to those with special needs. But this change hasn’t been communicated at all, and the wording is ambiguous, saying that it:
applies if all designated special needs seats to which a person with special needs has reasonable access in the bus, tram, carriage of a train or premises are already occupied by persons with special needs.
What if the carriage in question has no designated special needs seats? This has been the case for some carriages while the stickers are sorted out.
What if the only priority seats are unoccupied, but are at the opposite end of the carriage — some Comeng “M” carriages now have them only adjacent the driver’s cab (though perhaps that’s temporary) — and the person can’t easily get there?
Some people really like the new design. If you’re resigned to having to stand anyway, this provides more space in which to do so. I overheard one person exclaim “ooh, spacious!” when boarding, just after the new designs started to be introduced.
Of course, some are miffed about reduced seats, particularly those having to make long trips on busy lines. In the PM peak they might have to wait for longer for a seat to become available. There are tales, for instance, of people having to stand from the City Loop all the way out to Dandenong.
Is it good, is it bad? There’s no one right answer — different people have different views, and different needs.
I’ve certainly seen cases (typically after cancellations) where trains have been so crowded that with the old design, people would have been left behind on the platform.
But the issue of Priority Seats clearly needs to be resolved.
And ultimately the question is whether it reduces dwell times, allowing more trains to run, which can help counter the reduction in seats in each train.
When will the load standard change take effect? Not sure — some carriages haven’t been converted yet, but I’m guessing this year.
Greenpeace activists during a protest in Paris at the COP21 United Nations climate change conference in November.
By James Jordan
January 13, 2016 - Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal - It has been a month since the UN climate summit in Paris, aka COP 21. One might expect the kind of ebb and flow we often see in popular movements. Interest in climate issues, the cause of the day during the summit, might be expected to wane and move to the back burner of public discourse until such time as another development pushes it forward again.
However, climate change is fundamentally different. It is going to get worse — we will be getting slapped in the face with this one for a long, long time, even under the best scenarios. Only a few weeks after COP 21, the world experienced a wave of floods and extreme weather exacerbated by global warming. In the US, there were record-setting floods along the Mississippi River. In South America, floods caused the evacuation of 180,000 persons. In Scotland, floods cut across class lines to threaten a historic castle neighboring the Queen's Balmoral residence, its foundation being eaten away by the swollen Dee river. Meanwhile, oil wars and drought continue to drive an immigration crisis in Syria and throughout the Middle East and Northern Africa. The issue of climate is not the “struggle du jour” - it is going to be the main course for quite a while.
This is the first of a series of articles on the battles for control of land and water along the Northern Territory’s Roper River from the time of first incursion by non-Aboriginal settlers to the current day. This first part examines the period from about 1870 through to just after World War II.
‘A Nigger Hunt’ was the original title of a long-excised chapter in Jeannie Gunn’s largely fictional 1908 autobiography, We of the Never Never. There Gunn described an expedition that she, her husband Aeneas and the stockmen at Elsey Station undertook in pursuit of local Aboriginals that had been ‘interfering with’ their cattle.
A black fellow kills cattle because he is hungry and must be fed with food, having been trained in a school that for generations has acknowledged catch-who- catch-can among its commandments. And until the long arm of the law interfered, white men killed the black fellow because they were hungry with a hunger that must be fed with gold, having been trained in a school that for generations has acknowledged ‘Thou shalt not kill’ among its commandments.
And yet men speak of the superiority of the white race, and speaking, forget to ask who of us would go hungry if the situation were reversed. But condemn the black fellow as a mild thief (piously quoting now it suits them) from those commandments that men must not steal, in the same breath referring to the white man’s crime when it finds them out, as getting into trouble over some shooting affairs with blacks. Truly, we British-born have reason to brag of our inborn sense of justice.
Elsey Station–a few miles east of the small town of Mataranka 400 kilometres south of Darwin and now much reduced in size than in Gunn’s time, straddles the headwaters of the Roper River. The Roper is not called “Big River country” for nothing, with a catchment of over 80,000 square kilometres it is the second-largest river catchment in the Territory and runs for 1,000 kilometres from its headwaters to the Gulf of Carpentaria.
Today Gunn’s book—and the 1981 film of the same name–which Executive Producer Phillip Adams described as a ‘Disneyfied … distortion of a distortion’–are viewed by many as flawed portrayals of a Territory history that in reality never existed.
Gunn’s book has rarely been out of print and you can still see the ‘Disneyfied’ version of life in the Never Never on a loop at the bar of the Mataranka Homestead resort just before you take a dip into the local hot springs or a wander around the fake homestead.
In 1999 Northern Territory historian Mickey Dewar told the ABC’s Lorena Allam that We of The Never Never represented a construction of:
… the wise paternalistic society, the embattled little woman who’s virtuous and who brings virtue to Elsey Station and the surrounding area, because of course she’s writing at a time when we’re well aware that most of the European men who are out in the pastoral area are engaged in sexual relations with the Aboriginal women, and Jeannie comes in and she describes a much purer territory, where all the white stockmen are good blokes, sensitive blokes who have a great deal of respect for the white woman, and this issue of inter-racial sexuality is never mentioned.
Violence towards Aboriginal people is not mentioned either.
‘Nigger Hunts’, ‘punitive expeditions’, ‘a picnic with the natives’–all describe a brutal reality that We of The Never Never couldn’t reveal. The early settler society of the Northern Territory saw violence towards Aboriginal people as a necessary incident to ensure access to and control of lands and water needed to run cattle, which, apart from small cropping, was the only land use regarded as economically viable at that time.
Linguist and anthropologist Francesca Merlan describes this period as one of guerrilla warfare that began at the time of the construction of the north-south telegraph line and intensified as more country was taken up by pastoralists.
Tony Roberts has written extensively on the violence that followed the early European settler invasion of the central regions of the NT.
The following is from his 2009 essay in The Monthly, The Brutal Truth.
In 1881, a massive pastoral boom commenced in the top half of the Northern Territory, administered by the colonial government in Adelaide. Elsey Station on the Roper River – romanticised in Jeannie Gunn’s We of the Never Never – was the first to be established. These were huge stations, with an average size of almost 16,000 square kilometres.
At least 600 men, women, children and babies, or about one-sixth of the population, were killed in the Gulf Country to 1910. The death toll could easily be as high as seven or eight hundred.
Roberts tells of one ‘punitive expedition’ against the Mangarrayi, the traditional owners of the land at Elsey Station and along parts of the Roper River to the east that he says was ordered directly by Northern Territory Police Inspector Paul Foelsche and that “would have been” authorized by the South Australian Premier Sir James Penn Boucaut.
On 30 June 1875 at the Roper River, a telegraph worker from Daly Waters had been killed, and his two mates badly wounded, probably by Mangarrayi men. As a consequence, Aboriginals along the length of the river were slaughtered by a massive party of police and civilians for four weeks solid in August 1875.
Foelsche issued these cryptic, but sinister, instructions: “I cannot give you orders to shoot all natives you come across, but circum-stances may occur for which I cannot provide definite instructions.” Roper River blacks had to be “punished” … He boasted in a letter to a friend, John Lewis, that he had sent his second-in-command, Corporal George Montagu, down to the Roper to “have a picnic with the natives”.
Roberts credits Foelsche as the mastermind of many of the massacres in the Northern Territory. He was “cunning, devious and merciless with Aboriginal” people but was supported by every South Australian government from 1870, when Darwin was established, through to his retirement in 1904, at which time King Edward VII presented him with the Imperial Service Order.
This state-sanctioned slaughter continued throughout the NT’s Roper and Gulf regions for thirty years until the Commonwealth—reluctantly—assumed control of the Northern Territory from South Australia in 1911.
Notwithstanding that Commonwealth control of the Northern Territory ushered in somewhat more benign relationships between Aboriginal people and European settler society—particularly in relation to access to and control over land and water–lingering tensions remained just below the surface.
The Northern Territory was then–as it remains in the imagination of a dwindling few now–the last Australian frontier. Those early frontier battles for land and water in the north came later than elsewhere in Australia.
In her 1995 monograph, The Black War in Arnhem Land Northern Territory historian Mickey Dewar notes that:
The process of land alienation underlies the history of Aboriginal-European contact in nineteenth century Australia. As European settlement spread throughout the continent, the preoccupation of identifying technological advancement as synonymous with progress allowed no reflection on the possibility that Aborigines had a prior right to the land. Arnhem Land is significant because, in a sense, it became a twentieth century allegory for Aboriginal-European interaction of the nineteenth century.
The failure to recognise the prior rights of Aboriginal people persisted across the pastoral north until the last quarter of the twentieth century, with the introduction of land rights legislation in the NT and later litigation, the success of which resulted in the recognition of native title rights and interests in the NT and elsewhere.
Pastoral expansion and development along the Roper River in the early years of the twentieth century could best be described as a series of overly enthusiastic fits, tentative starts and manifest, frequent and expensive failures. Government policy of ‘closer settlement’ along the Roper and elsewhere saw a number of large stations created only to be abandoned or amalgamated soon after. Other grand schemes—peanuts, cattle, sheep, small holdings—all failed miserably due to a combination of tropical torpor, a lack of markets and skilled labour, poor political vision and insufficient funding and, during the late nineteen twenties and early nineteen thirties, the disastrous effects of the great depression.
Mataranka-–established by the quixotic NT administrator Dr J A Gilruth in 191–was envisioned as the inland capital of a thriving Northern Territory but failed to thrive and withered, then as now little more that a small hard-scrabble piss-stop of a country town.
As the north became more settled local Aboriginal groups shifted from violent resistance to begrudging acceptance of the economic and political force of the invaders, with many realising access to country and ceremony was an acceptable compromise. Jane Gleeson notes that:
When Aboriginal camps were set up on the stations in the 1890s … [c]amping on the stations solved problems for both sides. Aborigines did not have to hunt so often for food, since the station occasionally provided beef, flour, sugar, tea and tobacco. Pastoralists had cheap labour …
Notwithstanding this apparent amelioration of inter-racial tension, violent competition for land, as Jane Gleeson points out, continued to underpin relationships between Aboriginal and European outside of the Territory’s major townships.
… sporadic violence continued until World War II, when the presence of army camps bought a new economic relationship and reduced the power of pastoralists over Aborigines. In the intervening period, possibilities for mutual exploitation blurred the hitherto distinct cultural divisions in Roper society … It was not simply a matter of changing sides in a continuing battle; rather, it represented a drastic alteration in the nature of the battle.
As the pastoral stations became more established, and many operated as private fiefdoms beyond the reach of the law the focus of violence and disputes shifted from between pastoralist and Aboriginal to inter-pastoralist disputes over access to water and land and ownership of their herds. Most of these stations clung precariously to existence: they still relied on feral ‘scrubber’ herds, were unfenced, barely economic and were poorly developed runs dependent upon their Aboriginal labour force for their economic and operational survival.
The small NT police force—stretched thin across the vastness of the Top End—was reluctant to become involved in inter-pastoralist disputes, regarding them as civil matters. Gleeson reports that:
Disputes tended to develop into full-scale feuds before civil action was taken as a last resort … There are no records pointing to good relations between pastoralists though presumably they existed. Available evidence points always to conflict.
Gleeson describes one dispute that will be the subject of closer analysis in the next part of this series.
One such feud concerned the damming of Red Lilly lagoon, on Elsey Station, which, according to successive lessees of Roper Valley Station, reduced the amount of water flowing down the Roper River to that station. For many years it had been an Aboriginal custom partially to dam the lagoon with small sticks for the purpose of conserving fish and attracting ducks during the latter part of the dry season
The first formal complaint was made by J W Rogers of Roper Valley in 1926, and Rogers continued to register annual complaints after Harold Giles was appointed manager of Elsey [Station] in 1927.
While relations between pastoralists were, as they were with Aboriginal people, frequently violent, there are several examples of cooperation between Aboriginal groups and local pastoralists–mutual self-interest is always a strong agent for change and compromise. Such arrangements though were rarely evenly balanced and often exploitative but there are several examples from the Roper River country that serve as useful case studies of the value of local indigenous knowledge of and about local land and water resources.
Much of this change was driven by the lingering effects of the equanimity–if not equality–shown to Aboriginal people by the armed forces of both Australia and the United States in the course of the armed forces occupation of the Top End of the Northern Territory during the latter part of World War II. After the World War, life on the Roper would never return to any pre-war “normal” state.
The politics and practices of life on the pastoral runs along the Big River were changing–albeit slowly–forever.
Photo: Elsey Station homestead, 1907.
Further recommended reading
Whose ‘Never Never’? Produced by Lorena Allam. Background Briefing, ABC Radio National, Sunday 12 September 1999.
The Brutal Truth: What happened in the gulf country. Tony Roberts. The Monthly Essays, November 2009.
Frontier Justice: A History Of The Gulf Country To 1900. Tony Roberts, UQP, 2005.
‘Making People Quiet’ in the Pastoral North: Reminiscences of Elsey Station. Francesca Merlan. Aboriginal History, 2: 70. ANU 1978.
The Black War in Arnhem Land: Missionaries and the Yolngu 1908-1940. Mickey Dewar, North Australian Research Unit, 1999.
Blocks, runs and claims : Mataranka and the Daly, two studies in the history of settlement in the Northern Territory, Gleeson, Jane, and Richards Michaela in three settlements in the Upper Roper River district, 1911-1942, by Jane Gleeson, North Australian Research Unit, 1985 in Mataranka and the Daly, Two Studies of the history of settlement in the Northern Territory. NT 1985.
This is a guest post by Tony Haritos.*
Darwin. December 1972. Population 25,000. Nearest city 3,000 kilometres away. Saturday morning. We’re 17 year olds sitting in a mate’s air-conditioned lounge room. It’s stinking hot and humid outside, with thick Cumulonimbus clouds brooding and grumbling ominously.
In an hour we’ll wander down to Waratah Oval and play a game of footy in the dripping, relentless lunatic heat.
But before we venture out let’s play Ziggy Stardust one more time.
The first time I came across Bowie was at a party near a college in Adelaide where I was boarding. I was 16 and would stay with family friends around the corner.
They were an oldish couple, Stan and Betty; the mother had a beautiful head of thick white hair who would cook my favourite at the time, steamed chicken and coleslaw, to the chicken I would add a light dripping of soy … can’t take Darwin out of the boy. Stan was very old world, he would sit in his office all day with his radio on and a ticker tape of the stock market rattling away. He was a millionaire and drove a large Rolls Royce Silver Ghost. He would be delivered one large and one small bottle of Southwarks beer, plus a glass, on a silver tray, at 5 pm every day by Betty. They were very kind to me.
Stan would often pick me up from Adelaide airport when I returned from Darwin. They had spent a lot of time there as well, although I am not sure if they had lived there. After I passed my driving license Stan picked me up at the airport and just outside of the Adelaide airport gates he pulled over, opened the door and said: “Tony, you drive.” I was terrified. This huge immaculate Roller! And everything he had was immaculate and certainly without any dent incurred by some fumbling 16 year old. I took up the challenge and slowly drove through the city to Hackney.
Anyway their daughter Helen was at university and living elsewhere and one weekend with the parents away while I was staying in the front room she had a party. Man Who Sold the World was played, and I remember picking up the cover and looking at the long-haired blond lying on the couch looking at the camera. The album was played amongst the noise of the party so I didn’t really absorb it but the cover certainly struck me. Hunky Dory with its charismatic cover was there as well.
Then back in Darwin during Christmas holidays 1972 my friend Fred McCue had returned from London holidays with his family early and we hung around in the blessed aircon and smoked pot. On the first morning back from London he walked out of his bedroom and threw some albums on the table.
“These are big in London,” he said. They were Ziggy Stardust, Hunky Dory, Man Who Sold the World and Space Oddity, the latter two having revamped covers. It was a little disappointing, I had liked the original of Man. Also Gary Glitter’s album and a couple others.
Gary got one play and was never seen again, possibly even meeting its fate by being frisbeed off the Fannie Bay cliffs, however Ziggy, Dory and Man copped a thrashing.
I’ve been reading this last day about Ziggy and the effect Bowie’s androgyny had on young men’s perception of and the threat to their own sexuality. Yet I don’t recall being threatened. Maybe we were so detached from that London scene it didn’t connect.
If Londoners thought he came from another planet, try Darwin. With Bowie the androgyny worked, because while it was ‘Glam Rock’ it was clearly a part of him. He wore the cloak well, if you will. Essentially though it was new, fresh, different music.
Some of the lyrics were derided, Moonage Daydream being described by Fred as some of the silliest he had heard. “’I’m an Alligator, I’m a mama-papa coming for you’, I mean for fucks sake,” he said.
The brooding nature of some of the songs on Man got me and I could relate.
Day after day
They send my friends away
To mansions cold and grey
To the far side of town
Where the thin men stalk the streets
While the sane stay underground.
All 17 year olds can surely relate to this take on social alienation. There were the mock psychopath lyrics of Running Gun Blues with its thrashing guitar riff, the atmospheric Man Who Sold the World, on Ziggy the agonizing wait on Suicide and on Hunky Dory the wonderful melodies and lyrical quirkiness of those first couple of songs followed by the brooding menace of Bewlay Brothers and Quicksand, then the first few seconds of the intro to Queen Bitch.
What added to his cred was he was clearly taking an artistic risk. Here was a pop musician desperately reaching for stardom, yet singing lines in an almost Dickensian Fagin – certainly strong English – accent, “Lay me place and bake me pie, I’m starving for me gravy.” This wasn’t just a pop musician. Even as a 17 year old you could sense this guy was more. Bewlay was a serious if somewhat indecipherable tome completed by a piece of humorous flick-away, except it was central to the song, it’s end.
The next lines are “Leave my shoes and door unlocked, I might just slip away, just for the Day.” A friend posted on Facebook those lines of his yesterday but did not include “ … just for the Day” ending with “slip away”, saddened he had ‘indeed slipped away’.
My take is the opposite. He did slip away, indeed, but ‘… just for the Day.” Indeed he’s back with us all again, alive and well.
When my father died suddenly four years ago a family friend said, “He’s not gone, he’ll always be there with you, you will have conversations with him every day.” And so I reckon some of those I observe outpouring grief over the planet actually feel Bowie is there with them even more now than ever.
And what he is saying is, “It’s alright, do what you wanna be, be what you wanna be, extend your boundaries, it doesn’t matter a fig because you will go my mortal way in the end, but I beg you please please don’t spend your life rolled up in a fearful ball, it’s just a waste.”
It’s the message he personified as well as any … enlightening. It seems no one I am reading believed Bowie would ever die because they thought he wasn’t one of us. In fact, the uplifting part was that while he was ultimately mortal he transcended it in people’s mind.
I discovered Bowies 1993 ‘Buddha in Suburbia” a few years back and got a kick from the title track.
With great expectations I change all my clothes,
Mustn’t grumble at silver and gold,
Screaming about Central London,
Never born, so I’ll never get old.
That last line … was that him?
Maybe that’s how he saw himself, never quite born into the human race so therefore immortal and could never grow old.
Bowie lived the last decade of his life in the shadow of death. I read he had seven heart attacks in that time. We also know now he battled cancer for 18 months. That is one very mortal decade to live and die with. However the true artist hid it all along.
“Never born, so I’ll never get old.” David Bowie.
Live on, forever young, forever keeping us young.
Including those in Darwin, hiding from yet another hot, humid, brooding, wet season day.
Top picture: Waratah Colts, 1973-74 Grand Final winners.
Second picture: Fred McCue, Tim Baldwin, Jamie Gallacher, Kenny Wallace and Tony Haritos (front)
* Tony Haritos is Darwin born and lives between there and south-east asia.
You can read Tony’s earlier posts, Six blokes and an old boat with a nice arse. The ‘Selamat Dua’ and “I’m not English … I don’t feel Greek … I’m not a ‘Territorian’ … I am Darwin.” by following the links.
What can you buy for $1?
You certainly can’t buy a newspaper. The Herald Sun costs $1.40 on weekdays; The Age costs $2.50; The Australian is $2.70.
So I’m finding it difficult to be too outraged at standard stamps going up to $1. In fact this letter in Saturday’s Age perfectly sums up how I feel about it:
For $1, I can send a letter from the most out-of-the-way PO in the local store in Victoria for delivery to the most remote location in the Kimberley. What else can I buy for $1? Not much. Can a competitor deliver a letter from one side of Sunbury to the other for $1? No. People still use mail when it is the appropriate method. We long ago switched to fax then email where appropriate, including because they are cheaper and quicker. The price increase from hardly anything to not much will not change most decisions. Please, public, stop complaining about this trivial price increase.
Don Hampshire, Sunbury
Granted, it’s a jump from the old price of 70 cents.
Notably, concession stamps are available for concession card holders — up to 50 per year, at 60 cents each, so hopefully those on lower incomes (including seniors) who still send a lot of letters won’t feel a huge impact.
But for most of us, technology means regular letters are just not something we send as often as we used to. I still send a few Christmas cards in December, but I probably receive more parcels (via online shopping) than I send letters.
On the occasion that I do send letters, a dollar (or even $1.50 for “Priority”) for transporting physical paper, whether it’s across the city or across the country, still feels like a bargain to me.
Introduced and translated by Richard Fidler, article original published in Spanish in La Llamarada
July 14, 2013 -- Life on the Left, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Two recent events — the second-round victory on November 22 of right-wing candidate Mauricio Macri in Argentina’s presidential election, and the December 6 victory of the right-wing Democratic Unity Roundtable, winning two thirds of the seats in Venezuela’s National Assembly elections — have radically altered the political map in South America. In the following interview, Argentine Marxist Claudio Katz discusses what these setbacks for the left mean for the progressive “process of change” that has unfolded on the continent over the last 10-15 years. My translation from the Spanish.
Katz is a professor of economics at the University of Buenos Aires, a researcher with the National Council of Science and Technology, and a member of Economists of the Left.
Here are a few blog stats from 2015…
Posts: 166 — more than I thought, but I suppose there’s been a post every few days.
Top ten commenters:
The following are from Google Analytics…
Across the year: 470,650 page views / 347,223 sessions
Per day that’s an average of 1289 page views per day, up from 986 the year before. More than I’d expect.
Busiest day of 2015 was March 24th: 13,754 sessions (15,123 page views), with 11,000 of them coming from Social Media — and almost as high for each of the following two days. It appears I got a lot of hits from Facebook that day onto the Hidden message in train seats post… I assume the post got linked from somewhere popular. (It currently has 1100 Likes in Facebook)
English language users: 95.71%
Countries: Australia 86.12%, USA 3.88%, UK 2.21%
Cities: Melbourne 68.23%, Sydney 8.60%, Brisbane 2.92%, followed by Perth, Adelaide, London, Canberra
— that seems to indicate a huge number of users on mobile, which reminds me that I need to fix the quirks in my small screen blog template.
In fact, Google Analytics also tells me that desktop is 51.14%, mobile is 38.85%, tablet is 10.01%.
The most popular 2015 posts were the one with detail on the Bentleigh area grade separations 1.32% (6,226 page views) and the one with detail about the next generation High Capacity Metro Trains 1.01% (4,776 page views) and the updated list of current Melbourne train types 0.84% (3,962 page views).
Search engine referrals:
Social media referrals:
— wow, this really says something about the relative use of Google+, doesn’t it… though of course it’d be higher if I posted links there more often.
I’d love to pull some stats on which categorie(s) of posts are the most popular, but attempts to work that out via the number of comments in each post category had me baffled — WordPress has changed the database design around to make it quite difficult. I’ll keep researching. Certainly in terms of page views, the transport-related posts dominated, but they seem to be most of my posts these days…
What other metrics are worth noting?
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society welcomed fashion designer, Dame Vivienne Westwood, along with design partner and husband Andreas Kronthaler, to the Crossroads Kitchen in West Hollywood on Friday, January 8th at an event hosted by film producer James Costa and co-hosted by Sea Shepherd Chairwoman, Pamela Anderson.
Vivienne Westwood partnered with Sea Shepherd’s initiative to bring people from diverse backgrounds and experiences to address solutions to protect oceanic biodiversity, removing plastic from the sea and finding ways to mitigate the threat of climate change. Sea Shepherd is dedicated to defending oceanic ecosystems and promoting the understanding that it is a priority to allow the ocean to repair itself from damage caused by human activities like over-fishing, illegal fishing and chemical, sonar, plastic and radiation pollution.
"This is the year of the vegan," said Pamela Anderson. "We are very excited at Sea Shepherd to have Vivienne Westwood join the advisory board. And I am grateful to James Costa for hosting us at my favorite restaurant," she continued.
The year 2016 presents great challenges for Sea Shepherd. Some of the organization's ongoing campaigns include fighting to save the endangered vaquita porpoise in the Gulf of California, while also protecting sea turtles in Costa Rica, Honduras and Florida. Sea Shepherd is additionally focused on opposing the slaughter of dolphins in Taiji, Japan, the slaughter of pilot whales in the Danish Faroe Islands, defending the Galapagos Marine Reserve from poachers and removing ghost nets and plastic from the ocean.
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is drawing on ideas, imagination, skills and passion from creative communities to help impact Sea Shepherd's work. Just like any ecosystem, the strength of any movement is in diversity. The organization's new Chair, Pamela Anderson welcomed Vivienne Westwood and Andreas Kronthaler into this diverse movement on Friday, to unveil Sea Shepherd's hopes and ideas, campaigns and challenges for 2016.