JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).



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Investigative journalists work hard to… protect the government from the people?

We would hope that The Australian would stand up for … Australians. Instead our National masthead is not investigating the claims of an Australian farmer against our government, they’re not interviewing constitutional law experts, they’re interviewing his brother.

Peter Spencer is on Day 47 of a hunger strike and trying to get compensation for all farmers whose land was effectively expropriated. Journalist, Paul Maley could have investigated the veracity of the $10 billion dollar claim, but instead he tries to assess Peter’s mental health and personal finances. While these might be a relevant part of the big picture, the big-picture itself is missing.

“Family Financial dispute helped send hunger striker Peter Spencer Up Pole”

The Australian sub-heading is: “SERIOUS doubts have emerged about the case of Peter Spencer”,… but the serious doubts amount to a 40 year old story, and the fact that Peter owes money to his family, rather than to the banks. Serious? Not on the scale of billion dollar carbon commitments.

The story goes that way back in 1970, Peter Spencer was married to the daughter of diplomats, and they were taking her out of the country. Apparently he took a gun, and was involved in a stand-off with police, threatened to hurt himself and demanded they stop the plane and ask her if she wanted to go. She did.

Passionate circumstances no doubt. He should not have done what he did, but seriously, is this more relevant than interviewing other farmers who have been caught by this legislation? Is it more useful than quizzing legal experts about just how much money Australia would owe to a foreign committee if the farmers had not been forced to hold unpaid carbon sinks?

Was Peter Spencer just a passionately disappointed Romeo 40 years ago, or is he a bit unhinged? It was his wife, and it’s been a long time for other incidents to surface. If we’d had saturation coverage of his claims, then it might be understandable to rush to fill in all the details.

As for the family loan, presumably that’s how Peter Spencer stopped the foreclosure he says he faced back in 2006. The banks would have taken the farm then, and it’s a credit to the family for helping him out. But in the end, that doesn’t change the value of the carbon credits, or the serious consequences of international agreements. It doesn’t change the effect of the native title legislation.

In an article from Monday the pattern was the same. The story could have been about Peter Spencer and the grave injustice he suffered, and all the farmers he speaks for. Instead, the headline was Bill Heffernan: “Bill Heffernan Demands End To Hunger Strike“. It’s another “orbit” story — one that runs rings around the main issue without ever crossing it.

The Australian quotes Senator Heffernans opinion on the state of Spencer’s mental health.  Heffernan, recall, helped set up the legislation that Spencer fights. Heffernan possibly, is a biased pop psychologist:

Senator Heffernan, a farmer who has met with Mr Spencer’s family, said if his claims were true they posed real questions about his emotional, as well as his physical, well-being.

If Peter Spencers claims are true they pose real questions indeed, but not about Peter Spencer so much as about the health of our Australian constitution. That’s the elephant in the kitchen. It could be that the only thing afflicting Spencer is an unfailing sense of justice and dodged determination. After being shredded by successive governments and failed by our legal system and our media, Peter Spencer’s actions are justifiably desperate and very sane. It may seem like an extraordinarily risky gamble to the rest of us in safe-house-suburbia, but remember this man has been left with nothing to show for 30 years of work, robbed by the people who are supposed to protect him, and left without dignity or a home. His choice of a rock and a hard place means there was enough of an optimist in him to hope that this last desperate move might pay off somehow. If he had no hope at all, presumably he would have grabbed a gun like others have and disappeared into an ABS statistic.

Even if Spencer does not always have the best judgment, ponder what Justice Rothman said of Spencers case in October 2008 as he found against him:

‘…the overall effect of the different pieces of legislation seems grossly unfair and unconscionable”

The Australian did at least capture the essence of Barnaby Joyce’s comment.

“Outspoken Nationals Senator Barnaby Joyce said Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was more interested in writing nursery rhymes and international problems than domestic issues.

“Your responsibility is not to the people of Copenhagen, it’s not to the people of some massive conference … your responsibility is to the people of this country,” he yelled.”

And Peter if you read this somehow, please know the you have got our attention and made a powerful point. You could serve the people of Australia so much more by staying alive. Would you consider running for the Senate? The people of Australia could use another good man in government, one who will stand up for principles and other ordinary citizens.

UPDATE1; PROTEST TODAY (Friday)

Peter Spencer needs our support and encouragement to come down and continue the fight without risking his life.

A rally is being staged at his property “SAARAHNLEE” at Shannon’s Flat via Cooma in NSW on Monday 11th January between 10am and 3pm.

Please come along and show Peter that you care.

The rally is being widely promoted on Radio 2GB in Sydney, and information can be found on their website.

ACCESS TO PETER’S PROPERTY IS BY 4WD ONLY.

PLEASE BRING A PICNIC LUNCH. ………………………….. Thanks to Bunny for the update.

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53 comments to Investigative journalists work hard to… protect the government from the people?

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    MadJak

    Ok,

    So that’s the Sydney Morning Herald, the Age and the Australian permanently and irrevocably on my list of propaganda publications which I will never buy again.

    Let’s start a list of the media which is tarnished with this sort of thing, so people know if they’re paying money to get the party line or whether they’re paying for some real journalistic work.

    The Hippies have been doing this sort of blacklist thing for a while, so why don’t we?


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    It’s plain the MSM would rather not be reporting on Peter Spencer at all. But, since they’ve been dragged to the story – largely by the efforts of people like yourself, Jo – their policy is to undermine him.


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    Henry chance

    So the state has unlimited liberty if they can denigrate a citizen? You would think they would look out for Spencer’s protection.


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    Albert

    P Gosselin,
    Many thanks for the link above. The letter to the U.N. Secretary General from so many Phd Scientists expresses what most of us believe.
    Can you imagine the Prime Minister and Penny Wong telling this group of Scientists that the science is settled?


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    pat

    first heard about this article on abc radio’s ‘nightlife’ last nite, during the ‘what the papers say’ segment. the person from ‘the australian’said the brother claimed peter spencer’s argument with the govt about the land issue is a ‘recent’ thing.
    how could spencer be engaged in a court battle for years, with the matter now reaching the high court, and this be a ‘recent’ thing? btw the word ‘recent’ does not appear in the article which anyway is full of ambiguous statements, surrounded by ambiguous comments by the ‘journo’.
    the article does not mention the court case, does not say when the family made the loan or began attempting to get it back.
    the article does not allow for comments.
    is there no court case?
    didn’t a rudd spokesperson reference the legal case?
    until we understand that all political parties are part of the attempt to inflate a ‘green bubble’, to replace the imploded housing bubble, we will get nowhere.
    it’s tragic that tony abbott became leader of the opposition in part due to allegedly 400,000 emails from the public who were against the ETS, yet his statements almost immediately afterwards were that he believed in AGW and wanted to reduce carbon emissions, but at less cost!

    Paul Sheehan: Copenhagen backlash hits a government in denial
    When I wrote last week that more than 400,000 emails had been sent to Coalition members urging them to vote down the ETS, some people commented that this was a bogus number and a bogus campaign, driven by the technology of mass emailing.
    This, too, is wishful thinking. As the Liberal senator Cory Bernardi explained: ”These are not spam emails. They are not like the junk mail campaigns that the Greens run and Get Up! run. These are real people writing about their personal situations.” Coalition members have been logging the email traffic because it is a precious electoral resource, and most of the emails are individually written, not group mail. I’ve looked at hundreds of them.
    ”I’ve never seen any like it,” Bernardi said. ”My office has received more than 10,000 emails. When I put an online petition against the ETS on my website last month I got 4818 responses in about 60 hours. Most of my colleagues have seen traffic like this.”..
    http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/opinion/politics/copenhagen-backlash-hits-a-government-in-denial-20091206-kcsu.html

    and here is Abbott yesterday, still sounding ambiguous:

    bigpond: Coalition to release climate plans
    Speaking to the ABC last night Mr Abbott repeated his earlier stance that the science on climate change is not nearly as settled as its supporters say and that more information is needed.
    While opposing the government’s emissions trading scheme the opposition leader says his party wants to take direct action but admits it will come at a price.
    Calling himself an environmentalist Mr Abbott told the ABC the opposition’s policy won’t be cost-free but there’s a lot that can be done to reduce emissions and improve the environment that will fund itself.
    http://bigpondnews.com/articles/Environment/2010/01/07/Coalition_to_release_climate_plans_414901.html

    perhaps a little less ambiguous when reading the transcript of 7.30 report:
    7.30 report: Tony Abbott joins Chris Uhlmann
    CHRIS UHLMANN: Do you still think the science on climate change is crap?
    TONY ABBOTT: That’s not quite what I said. Certainly the science is not nearly as settled as the wild zealots say. But, look, we will be releasing a strong and effective climate change policy in just a few weeks and I’ll ask you to restrain your impatience and wait and see what we come up with.
    CHRIS UHLMANN: But do you believe that man-made global warming is a factor? Is it actually a fact?
    TONY ABBOTT: In the end this is not a question of belief, it’s a question of fact. Now I keep saying that we need more facts and less faith in this whole argument. We should take prudent precautions against credible threats. What we shouldn’t do is impose a great big tax on the necessities of daily life, that in the absence of comparable action from other countries will be entirely futile.
    And that’s why our policy will make sense in a way that the Government’s policy doesn’t.
    CHRIS UHLMANN: But it won’t be cost free.
    TONY ABBOTT: Of course it won’t be cost free but nevertheless there is a lot that you can do to reduce emission and improve the environment that will fund itself.
    CHRIS UHLMANN: So it won’t be a great big tax, it might be a medium sized tax or perhaps a tax that you can’t put a number on?
    TONY ABBOTT: Well what we will do is fund sensible action, direct action on the environment from the budget in the ordinary way.
    CHRIS UHLMANN: But that might mean that you might need to change some regulations in order to force change and that will impose costs on business and that’ll be passed onto people.
    TONY ABBOTT: But what we’re not going to do is impose a great big tax on daily life that won’t actually improve the environment.
    CHRIS UHLMANN: Do you think that you will be credible on climate change? Clearly the electorate wants something done about this.
    TONY ABBOTT: And I think that the Coalition in government, both under Mr Howard and Mr Fraser, were very credible in practical terms on the environment and I intend to maintain a strong record in practical environmentalism.
    I regard myself as an environmentalist. My first action in government was to create the Green Corps which mobilised thousands of young people for practical environmental restoration work and the interesting thing about the Rudd Government is that it’s basically wasted its first two years when it comes to environmental problems here in Australia that we can actually make a difference to because of its preoccupation with climate change.
    http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2010/s2786905.htm

    somehow we need another 400,000 emails/calls whatever to express public anger at the entire hoax of AGW and the politicians/media refusal to take climategate seriously.


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    J.Hansford

    Good Headline Jo…. How right that is. “Investigative journalists work hard to… protect the government from the people.”

    The Media are smearing Peter Spencer in order to discredit him…. The Government’s journalistic special branch, is performing its job admirably it would seem…. Pathetic scum that they be.


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    bunny

    Peter Spencer needs our support and encouragement to come down and continue the fight without risking his life.

    A rally is being staged at his property “SAARAHNLEE” at Shannon’s Flat via Cooma in NSW on Monday 11th January between 10am and 3pm.

    Please come along and show Peter that you care.

    The rally is being widely promoted on Radio 2GB in Sydney, and information can be found on their website.

    ACCESS TO PETER’S PROPERTY IS BY 4WD ONLY.

    PLEASE BRING A PICNIC LUNCH.


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    Robyn

    The more I reasearch Peter Spencer’s plight, the more I realise that his efforts to have a Royal Commission established will require more effort from the ordinary people of Australia.

    Why would Rudd agree to a Royal Commission which could expose collusion at the very least and possible corruption at all levels of government, the legal system and big business over the past decade?

    Why hasn’t Rudd or any of his many staffers had the decency to respond to Peter Spencer’s letters? Why, because ignoring Peter Spencer is his way of bullying him into non-existance. I remain concerned for Peter Spencer’s life and offer my support.


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    J.Hansford

    Reading that forty year old story does give a bit of background to Peter, beneath all the media jibes and inuendo…. It shows he is a passionate man, with lots of energy and emotion… Nothing wrong with that if it is directed constructively.

    He would also seem to be a guy with the energy to have several irons in the fire when it comes to business. He is also a man who recognizes early, the deliberate blocks that are placed before him and he objects strenuously to them, often before many people even realize that bureacracy has slated them for social redistribution.

    I’m sure Peter is no shining saint of a man. There is always someone who can find fault…. and I am not interested.

    What I am interested in, is his very valid point that Native Vegetation laws are anti Australian and anti Constitutional… They are a blight on the rights of all property owners…. That’s all we need to know about Peter. His cause is just. His methods are desperate. His grievance is real.


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    Phil

    I don’t buy The Australian because it’s a rag, although I occasionally read it with my bulldust detectors turned up high. It’s just one of a few fictional newspapers I know of but I don’t let it’s lack of standards bother me.

    But Jo, whatever it is that you think The Australian ought to be investigating and you say isn’t; why don’t you investigate it and accurately report the results of your investigation here. At the risk of sounding like Rupert Murdoch, I think it’s a bit too easy for bloggers to offer up opinion and hearsay reports and then hide behind the harlot’s prerogative – all power, no responsibility. Get in there, get to the sources, get some dirt under your fingernails and get the story out rather than whinging that someone else isn’t doing it for you.

    I’ve read the two principal court judgments on Peter Spencer’s claims. The Federal Court found at first instance and on appeal there is no connection between Mr Spencer’s predicament and his claims for compensation and Australia’s Kyoto Protocol obligations. But Justice Rothman of the NSW Supreme Court found there is a strong connection between his predicament and the NSW land clearing laws, notwithstanding that the relevant agencies had correctly and properly applied these laws.

    Justice Rothman made these comments at the end of his judgment:

    “For the foregoing reasons, the remedies for judicial review of administrative action and for misleading and deceptive conduct or unconscionable conduct have not been made out. However, it is an extremely disheartening and sad occasion that a person, whose life and resources have been placed into rural property for the purposes of conducting a grazing and farming business, has been required to resort to this action.

    “Governments, not courts, make judgments about political policy relating to what, within reason, is for the benefit of the community. Mr Spencer does not dispute that the objects of the conservation policies adopted in the agreement between the Commonwealth and New South Wales are, at one level, for the benefit of the community. The Federal and State Governments have entered into a scheme to improve the environment and, in so doing, improve the lot of other rural and other proprietors. Nevertheless, they have done so at the expense of Mr Spencer.

    “While all members of society must accept that there will be restrictions on their activities for the “greater good of society”, when those restrictions prevent or prohibit a business activity that was hitherto legitimate, because of the area in which it is operating, and assistance is offered which does not fully compensate for the restrictions imposed, society is asking Mr Spencer, and people in his position, to pay for its benefit.

    “Nothing in the foregoing is intended as a criticism of either the current State or current Federal Government. These schemes were implemented by previous Governments both Federal and State, with bipartisan support. Nevertheless, it is a most unfortunate aspect of the operation of the scheme that a person in Mr Spencer’s position is effectively denied proper compensation for the restrictions imposed upon him by a scheme implemented for the public good. As earlier stated, ultimately that is a matter for government.” [2008] NSWSC 1059

    My worry is that the anti-ETS/anti-climate change science mob will chew this bloke up and spit him out in their search for a political martyr for their cause.

    Perhaps Bill Heffernan was right to chastise people who seem content to stand around speculating on how long it’ll be before Mr Spencer will die for their cause, rather than focusing their attention on shortcomings in the native vegetation laws and looking to a political and ultimately, a legislative solution to those. Now that would really help Mr Spencer.


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    J.Hansford

    Phil:
    January 8th, 2010 at 11:02 am ………. In what way will the,”anti-ETS/anti-climate change science mob chew this bloke up and spit him out in their search for a political martyr for their cause?”

    … As for the Federal Judge’s ruling. Of course he would rule as he did… He isn’t allowed to speculate on the motives of the States using the Federal legislation to abuse the spirit of the constitution… or he isn’t brave enough to.

    ….That’s just my opinion. I might be wrong on what judges are and aren’t allowed.


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    Macha

    In reference to hunger, this is a refreshing look at the priorities to be taken on by WESTERN soceities….tackle poverty before restrictng CO2 emissions.

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/beat-poverty-first-then-tackle-emissions/story-e6frg6zo-1225817130035

    Good stuff Jo…I gave you a plug on 6PR moring radio the other day.
    Cheers


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    Baa Humbug

    Phil

    When an established journalist contacts a govt. dept. he/she may get a response. Do you think they would respond to Jo? Do you think she has a better chance of getting access than MSM journos? How does one get their fingernails dirty under these circumstances? How is pointing out that the MSM aren’t doing their job whinging?

    “hide behind the harlot’s prerogative – all power, no responsibility.”

    What in your opinion is Jo’s responsibility regards this issue?
    What knowledge do you have about her “other” responsibilities?

    People like Jo rallied people like us to pressure our politicians, resulting in the huge change in the Liberal party. How is this “hiding behind the harlots prerogative”?
    How is this current saga regards Peter Spencer any different?

    Show us the dirt under your fingernails. So far all you’ve done is “whinge” on a blogg. Get in there and get to the sources Phil, then comeback here and get the story out.


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    J.Hansford

    Just putting my view of the situation into words as I understand the situation between Peter Spencer, the State and the Federal Governments and Constitutions.

    The Australian constitution dictates that there will be compensation for resumed land…

    The Howard Government enacted legislation that allowed vegetation to be used as carbon sinks, thus offsetting Carbon dioxide emissions from industry, agriculture, etc….

    The states, using the excuse of CO2 emission controls have resumed land with no compensation as is legal within all/some State constitutions, thus, in my view, breaking the spirit of the Australian Constitution, as the CO2 issue was a Federal implementation of legislation pertaining specifically to Kyoto.

    So the argument could be, whether the States have resumed and/or control all land use for CO2 emission control….. or for bio diversity ….?

    Considering the Federal government by default, includes the vegetation as a carbon sink, this would override the states jurisdiction anyway… Because where a state and federal law are in opposition to one another…. The Federal shall have precedence. (COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA CONSTITUTION ACT:The States:109. When a law of a State is inconsistent with a law of the Commonwealth,
    the latter shall prevail, and the former shall, to the extent of the
    inconsistency, be invalid.
    )

    Anyway, that’s how I see the argument…


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    Phil

    J.Hansford:
    January 8th, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    Just putting my view of the situation into words as I understand the situation between Peter Spencer, the State and the Federal Governments and Constitutions.

    The Australian constitution dictates that there will be compensation for resumed land…

    The Howard Government enacted legislation that allowed vegetation to be used as carbon sinks, thus offsetting Carbon dioxide emissions from industry, agriculture, etc….

    The states, using the excuse of CO2 emission controls have resumed land with no compensation as is legal within all/some State constitutions, thus, in my view, breaking the spirit of the Australian Constitution, as the CO2 issue was a Federal implementation of legislation pertaining specifically to Kyoto.

    So the argument could be, whether the States have resumed and/or control all land use for CO2 emission control….. or for bio diversity ….?

    Considering the Federal government by default, includes the vegetation as a carbon sink, this would override the states jurisdiction anyway… Because where a state and federal law are in opposition to one another…. The Federal shall have precedence. (COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA CONSTITUTION ACT:The States:109. When a law of a State is inconsistent with a law of the Commonwealth,
    the latter shall prevail, and the former shall, to the extent of the
    inconsistency, be invalid.)

    Anyway, that’s how I see the argument…

    If you are interested in the factual basis of Mr. Spencer’s claims and the legal position in relation to them rather than engaging in amateur constitutional lawyerdom, read the judgment of Justice Emmett of the Federal Court here and the judgment of the Full Court on the appeal against Justice Emmett’s judgment here. These judgements deal with the claims for compensation on just terms for land appropriated as a result of Australia’s Kyoto Protocol obligations. They and the claim for interloutory relief were dismissed on all grounds.

    You can read the judgement of Justice Rothman of the Supreme Court of NSW here. This case deals with the claims concerning a number of laws dealing with land clearing and native vegetation which appears to be central to the debate and hence, Mr. Spencer’s predicament; rather than the conflation of land clearing restrictions under state native vegetation laws with a general distaste for carbon sinks, emissions trading and Kevin Rudd; which to me seems a bit futile.


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    LINDA

    The good citizens in WA where not worthy of the Channel 7 follow up with the poll results on TT lastnight.Nor was there any mention in our very informative West Australian newspaper.

    The mention of poverty on another post, brings to mind a question i have been asked many times.
    How much taxpayers money from the inseption of the environment policy schemes has cost each person.
    While we constantly hear the elderly and unfortunate citizens, some of which gave life and limb for the freedom we did have.The government keeps them all on a tight shoestring budget, but for a cane toad or other critters Government have long pockets for these projects.
    Would it be that we have declined dramatically in the poverty area because the money is all going to the evironment movement, of which it appears to be unproven science now.
    This is just a portion of doing what is the best for us , what is really in our food and water from those that know what is good for the people.
    Getting back to the subject TO DATE WHAT IS THE COMPLETE TOTAL COST of every cent spent on the environment in every Government department nation wide.
    Maybe a uni student would find this a great project, and post the findings on a site of good repute such as this.
    Peter you would be a great Senator i would vote for you, elections are coming up.
    PETER FOR THE PEOPLE


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    Dave Trimble

    Since plants use CO2 to build themselves, I propose growing more plants to consume the rampaging levels of Carbon dioxide. Nature’s method of hit and miss weeds doesn’t quite cut it.

    If grains, wheat, rye, barley, oats, etc, were grown on the land and the resulting straw were bailed and stored in the form of walls for housing, yes it is done look up straw bail homes. All of that carbon would be gathered up and locked away. Now, that would be a real offset.

    Don’t look to politicians for solutions. They are only interested in things that will make them look good and keep them elected.

    Dave


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    But Jo, whatever it is that you think The Australian ought to be investigating and you say isn’t; why don’t you investigate it and accurately report the results of your investigation here. At the risk of sounding like Rupert Murdoch, I think it’s a bit too easy for bloggers to offer up opinion and hearsay reports and then hide behind the harlot’s prerogative – all power, no responsibility. Get in there, get to the sources, get some dirt under your fingernails and get the story out rather than whinging that someone else isn’t doing it for you.

    Phil, what you’re saying is a fair comment, except that my budget is not even remotely in the league of The Australian’s (I’m unpaid except for donations). My expertise is in science, not law. (I do read the science papers myself). And as it is I spent hours working yesterday to arrange for cheaper bandwidth to reduce the $700 site cost from December, and wrote that piece above in response to The Australian from 1am-3.30am. I don’t think lawyers would have felt like answering my calls at that time of day…

    The irony is that I pay hundreds to The Australian so they can do that kind of research.


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    Phil

    “Joanne Nova:
    January 8th, 2010 at 2:57 pm
    Phil, what you’re saying is a fair comment, except that my budget is not even remotely in the league of The Australian’s (I’m unpaid except for donations). My expertise is in science, not law. (I do read the science papers myself). And as it is I spent hours working yesterday to arrange for cheaper bandwidth to reduce the $700 site cost from December, and wrote that piece above in response to The Australian from 1am-3.30am. I don’t think lawyers would have felt like answering my calls at that time of day…

    Jo, I think you’ve probably summed up why I don’t blog. Without some resources (ie. dollars and time) behind you it’s tough finding and maintaining sources, checking facts and then actually producing stories day after day. But my concern is really to point to the dangers of blog articles (not just yours, but generally) where it isn’t possible to adequately fact check and do the necessary research in the kind of incendiary atmosphere that seems to be engulfing Peter Spencer.

    I’ve only just read the Australian article in question here and while I can understand that it could be seen by his supporters as attacking Mr. Spencer’s motives, it is still largely missing the point.

    That point being that despite some of the hyperbole to the contrary, we have a robust legal system and a robust political system in this country that is quite capable of dealing with the substance of Mr. Spencer’s claims as long as people with other agendas don’t start exploiting his predicament for their own ends. So let’s put aside all this nonsense about people being un-Australian or communists or fascists or greenies or whatever other epithets are being thrown around and focus on what can be done to end Mr. Spencer’s hunger strike and then deal calmly and rationally with the issues he has so graphically raised. I’m a non-lawyer by the way, although I have a pretty sound grasp of legal principles, and reading the judgements linked to in my earlier post has helped in understanding what this is really all about. One thing it is not about is climate change and whether or not it is happening or whether it is anthropogenic or not. It is irrelevant but unfortunately some have sought to conflate it with climate change policy and greenhouse gas abatement.

    And Jo, if you are paying hundreds of dollars to The Australian in the expectation you will get unbiased, factual news that is well researched and fact checked, you have my deepest sympathy. Cheers and keep well.


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    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by johnnyA99, GORE LIED and BJ McCormick, ClimateGate_RT. ClimateGate_RT said: JoNova: Investigative journalists work hard to… protect the government from the people? http://bit.ly/7hW357 #climategate [...]


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    Tel

    But my concern is really to point to the dangers of blog articles (not just yours, but generally) where it isn’t possible to adequately fact check and do the necessary research in the kind of incendiary atmosphere that seems to be engulfing Peter Spencer.

    What a crock!

    Peter Spencer has presented his case in public, in many places. If you follow the various links on this blog you can read the issues first hand. For people who can’t read there are multiple audio interviews. How difficult is it? As pointed out above, the court judgements are also available for you to read, so what sort of “fact checking” do you expect? If someone does discover an additional item, they post a link right here were you and I are posting.

    So what has Bill Heffernan brought to the table here? Condemnation, dismissal of the problem and smug self superiority are all the Bill Heffernan has offered so far and somehow I don’t see those producing an outcome favourable to Peter nor to Australia.

    As for the “shortcomings” of this ban on regrowth, it’s been covered a thousand times, but I might as well repeat it… there is no way that a committee of shiny bum bureaucrats teamed up with some big city arts students and greeny theorists are going to make quality custodians of the land. History has demonstrated again and again that by far the best results are achieved when the people who own the land, and the people who work the land, and the people who live on the land, make decisions about that land and profit or loss from the produce are all one and the same.

    If you have people making decisions and those decision-makers have poor knowledge about the subject, and the outcome of their decision makes no difference to their own personal position, then what you have is a disaster. It may not look like a disaster on day one but there’s only one way it can go.

    The land clearing laws are bad for Australia, the thinking behind those laws is wrong-headed and likely to lead to more bad laws and this is not a problem than can be solved in a week or two weeks. The very best any of us can do is bring people’s attention to the problem and let them think about the implications.


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    J.Hansford

    Phil….. I have read those rulings by the judge that you linked… In short, it is still a ruling using bad legislation. It doesn’t make the ruling right. Judges have to rule as the law directs… I’ve heard said the expression, “The law is an ass.”… Sums it up.

    Which reveals a rather unpalatable fact in which a landholder in Australia is not in control of their own private property as it pertains to the vegetation that grows on their property… That is the issue.

    It is why Peter is up a pole refusing to eat. His character flaws as alluded to by the ‘Australian’ newspaper article don’t negate his point, that he is unable to use his land to his vision of its potential, whether those aspirations are realistic or not, is not our concern. A Landowner paying rates on the land they can no longer use, is also wrong.

    Peter Spencer has become a victim of bad environmental policy on many fronts, as will many farmers and landowners. AGW is a political agenda with environmentalist roots, as is land clearing and the consequent Native Vegetation Act…Both are political attacks on farmers/land owners.

    Whether you like to acknowledge it or not Phil, the environmental imposition on land holders is communistic. It is an erosion of individual rights for the benefit of the collective…. Stalin collectivized Ukrainian farmers lands using laws. Stalin also used laws to make land owners class enemies of the state… Our laws seek to make land owners enemies of the environment.

    At present, it would seem that trees in Australia have more rights than do People, and most especially people whom make their livings from farming. In essence, it places humans inferior to the environment and the individual inferior to the collective….By law. That’s not the Australia I grew up in.

    Finally. Peter must end his hunger strike… He has achieved his objective of focusing attention. His energies are better spent advancing the cause of repealing these onerous Native Vegetation laws.


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    P Gosselin

    Jo,
    Please fill us in on how the rally goes on Monday.
    Best wishes from Europe!


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    BJM

    Phil:
    January 8th, 2010 at 3:59 pm.

    Yes, you are correct on the matters raised, re – Mr Spencer. However, this is as much about our elected Government, signing agreements with organizations such as the United Nations vis a vis the Kyoto Protocol,
    I know of no person that – at the ‘ballot box’ – sanctioned for any member of our elected Parliament to go to a foreign body such as the UN, to sign away our nations identity or, in some respects, our independence, the way it has been happening under both sides of politics in the last forty years.

    “That point being that despite some of the hyperbole to the contrary, we have a robust legal system and a robust political system in this country that is quite capable of dealing with the substance of Mr. Spencer’s claims as long as people with other agendas don’t start exploiting his predicament for their own ends. So let’s put aside all this nonsense about people being un-Australian or communists or fascists or greenies or whatever other epithets are being thrown around and focus on what can be done to end Mr. Spencer’s hunger strike and then deal calmly and rationally with the issues he has so graphically raised.”

    This country is not capable of having a robust political or judicial system, because we are now so beholden to foreign bodies such as the United Nations. This problem would not have arise if it were not for our elected members of parliament who go and sign away our sovereignty – all in the name of local and international political expediency, thus making the – to quote the Rudd Labor Governments ‘one liner ad nauseum‘ ‘Working Families’ who, in the end have to pay more, for what they need, yet, cannot afford. Mr Peter Spencer and his brave fight, only highlights that situation more, which in turn scares the hell out of the ‘Progressive non productive Elitists’ with their pseudo words of ‘care for humanity’.
    The only way to prevent more ‘Peter Spencer’ situations, is for our Politicians to start thinking more of their home grown constituents, who after all, elected them and less brown nosing at the International level. After all, we are only a ‘big island’ with a population of only twenty one million plus. Iceland, more than likely has more influence on International Affairs than what our nation has. So to our elected Representatives, stop signing our Nations’ independence away and stop trying to ‘big note’ yourselves on the world stage. Your prostrating and ego are virtually destroying this great nation.


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    Tel

    One thing it is not about is climate change and whether or not it is happening or whether it is anthropogenic or not. It is irrelevant but unfortunately some have sought to conflate it with climate change policy and greenhouse gas abatement.

    Very well then, let us “fact check” the accounting documentation that the Australian government used for the Kyoto Protocol.

    Here’s the top-level link for the Kyoto accounting rules:

    http://www.aph.gov.au/library/Pubs/BN/sci/KyotoAccRules.htm

    Here’s the link to the Australian Initial Report that we delivered to the UN:

    http://www.climatechange.gov.au/publications/international/unfccc-report.aspx

    I’ll quote a bit from that…

    Under the 1996 (Rev) IPCC Guidelines for the Preparation of National Inventories, `Land Use Change’ is defined as including IPCC sectors 5.B-D. Subsequent to the Kyoto Protocol, the IPCC provided guidance on the mapping of these 1996 (Rev) IPCC Guidelines’ sectors to equivalent `Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry’ categories – see the IPCC Good Practice Guidance for Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry 2003 page 3.12. In Australia’s reporting, `Forest Lands Converted to Grasslands’ and `Forest Lands Converted to Croplands’ categories under IPCC 2003 have been mapped back to `Land Use Change’ under the 1996 (Rev) IPCC Guidelines. Consequently, the combined estimated net emissions from `Forest Lands Converted to Grasslands’ and `Forest Lands Converted to Croplands’ categories in Australia’s National Inventory Report 2005 Revised are equal to the estimated emissions from `Land Use Change’ sectors as classified under the IPCC 1996 (Rev) Guidelines.

    Note that farming and grazing land is very tightly tied up in the Kyoto Protocol, and the report is right there on the government website (www.climatechange.gov.au) for anyone to read. Note also IPCC Good Practice Guidance for Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry 2003 means we now have a bunch of UN professors deciding how farms should be run… regardless of the effect it might have on farmer’s income or productivity. Do those UN professors risk their own money?

    http://www.ipcc-nggip.iges.or.jp/public/gpglulucf/gpglulucf_contents.html

    This is the GPG-LULUCF document, which is somewhat complex. You have to dig hard to find anything useful but I believe this quote may be relevant:

    It is good practice to report all areas affected by disturbances such as fires, pest and disease outbreaks and windstorms that occur in managed forest lands irrespective of whether these were the result of human activity. However, natural disturbances occurring on unmanaged forest, and not resulting in land-use change, should not be included. Depending on their intensity, fires, windstorms and pests outbreaks affect a variable proportion of trees in a stand. It is good practice to categorise the affected area, as far as possible, according to the nature and intensity of disturbances. Losses in biomass accounted as commercial harvest or fuelwood should not be included under the losses due to other disturbances.

    Depending on whether the definition of “Managed Land” includes a man sitting up a pole looking over the countryside, a bushfire this summer may or may not produce smoke… go figure.

    In other chapters I found:

    In order to be consistent with the reporting categories of the IPCC Guidelines, the areas of forests re-growing naturally on abandoned lands should be distinguished from other land conversion to forest. The inventory experts are encouraged to search for information on prior land use to make this distinction. When Approach 1 of Chapter 2 is used, additional data may be needed to distinguish between areas of natural and artificial regeneration.

    So it should be possible to find an inventory of this particular land, which I would presume counts as “abandoned”. There is a 2005 inventory for Australia and there will be an audit reports in 2010. Theoretically these should be available to the public.


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    BJM

    Further to my previous post. I am not suggesting for one minute, an insular nor isolated outlook on International Affairs. What I am saying, is that our political representatives, before signing on the ‘dotted line’, would do well, to not only think of the fiscal or fiduciary pluses of an agreement, but also the ‘social’ affect on their Nations domestic inhabitants, of whom they represent.


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    But my concern is really to point to the dangers of blog articles (not just yours, but generally) where it isn’t possible to adequately fact check and do the necessary research in the kind of incendiary atmosphere that seems to be engulfing Peter Spencer.

    And Phil, you miss the point. Since I’m blogging about the failure of the media to do investigative journalism in anything resembling a fair or logical manner, what I wrote, needs only their article as my resource. I pointed out all the things they didn’t cover which are vastly more important than the few they did. You haven’t pointed out any reasons why my analysis was wrong, or even why it could have been.

    And Spencer is hardly “engulfed” — give the man some vestige of empowerment — Spencer started this of his own accord. An incendiary atmosphere is rather what he’d hoped for I would guess. What’s the worst thing that could happen to a hunger strike protestor? — if no one notices and no one cares.

    Did the media tell the hunger striking asylum seekers that they should give up their strike before they got what they wanted? “Dear Boat people: There are legal avenues you should go through.”

    Phil, you conflate two issues here and make baseless assertions:

    we have a robust legal system and a robust political system in this country that is quite capable of dealing with the substance of Mr. Spencer’s claims as long as people with other agendas don’t start exploiting his predicament for their own ends.

    If we have a robust legal system, why has Spencer lost the farm ten years after legislation came in that made it impossible for him to farm profitably? It’s not a robust system if the government can ruin hundreds of farmers and get away with it for ten (or more) years. The legal system is supposed to protect the people not the government.

    And he’s spent 200 days in court. It’s not my opinion that “…the overall effect of the different pieces of legislation seems grossly unfair and unconscionable…”. That’s the opinion of Justice Rothman.

    A democracy and a free market are based on the idea that all people have “other agendas”. As long as agendas can run free, competition will sort things out. Lawyers compete to make better arguments (for both sides) for example.

    If newspapers really did compete to give better news cover, no newspaper would get away with this kind of hatchet job, because the other newspapers would mock them and do it better, (their “agenda” ought to be with subscribers right?) Instead newspapers have so little competition in a meaningful sense their real agenda’s are obscure. Are they trying to impress other journalists instead of the public, thus contributing to a kind of circular peer pressure, where peers who “think differently” are chucked out of the circle? Are they trying to satisfy the conglomerate ownership of the media (which means the financial aristocrats?) Are journalists just working along a career path which so often ends up being staff to a politician?

    Or is it a systematic failure, due to journalists poor training — without logic and reason, they take up the charge for some popular fad, then spend the rest of their days defending that ill-conceived choice because they’d hate to admit they were wrong? IF journalists were trained just to give the news, not to advocate a cause, there would be none of that risk. Since all journalists are turned into “commentators” rather than reporters, their reputation is at stake, not for giving us the full story, but for giving us the right opinion.


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    Link Hogthrob

    Viscount Monckton in scathing form


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    Charles Bourbaki

    OT but interesting. Bishop Hill reports that the Norfolk Constabulary have called in the National Domestic Extremism Team to assist with UEA Climategate enquiries. This team is usually involved in domestic terrorism. Jeff Id and Steve Mosher have already been contacted. Don’t know about Steve McIntyre or our hostess. Lucia hasn’t and says she is feeling left out.

    Time to properly delete your email and database records, fellow climate terrorists. You may soon get a tap on the door very late at night.


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    LINDA

    The West Australian had a half page in Fridays Opinion section of the WAnewspaper.
    Paul Murray has over the past years written and followed the property rights issue,as he had an understanding of how under represented these families are.
    Virtually every entity involved in land gets a cut of the pie, when conservation restrictions are imposed they all benefit but the actual property owner,he limpers away disheartened that a life long dream and work is gone, and much older and disenchanted with the system can never recoup what was taken.
    Why the uproar from the farmers, there is a problem with system and it must be fixed.
    Regardless of Mr Spencers past, this time the media cannot deter and cover for many years of lies and treachery that have gone on, and had the media shown unbiased and some integrity much sooner when they have constantly been approached to alert the citizens as to what is really happening, the outcome of recent events could have been resolved.
    Mr Spencer has harmed no one but himself, on the other hand those in the most esteemed positions of trust in the nation and its people have betrayed and lied to the nation , on the quest for global recognision and status.
    And Agmates, SOS.org, Jo NOVA and many others are becoming the truth and peoples media by choice, as the controlled media long ago desserted the interests of its citizens.


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    James loring

    I don’t have many words but when I see ‘play the man’ stories like this one in the Australian I smell fear. Fear of exposure. That’s telling in itself.


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    kuhnkat

    Dave Trimble,

    “If grains, wheat, rye, barley, oats, etc, were grown on the land and the resulting straw were bailed and stored in the form of walls for housing, yes it is done look up straw bail homes. All of that carbon would be gathered up and locked away. Now, that would be a real offset.”

    You are IGNORING THE POINT!!!

    CO2 is PLANT FOOD!!! IT IS NOT A PROBLEM!!!! THERE IS NO GLOBAL WARMING OR GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE THAT IS CAUSED BY CO2!!!!! THERE ARE NO ACTIONS ANY GUBMINT NEEDS TO TAKE!!!!!! IT IS ALL A GRAB FOR CONTROL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    If you and others wish to take actions on your own initiative for whatever reasons that is fine. We do not want or need the gubmint interfering!!


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    Treeman

    Irrespective of where one sits with respect to Peter Spencer, one thing is certain, the days The Australian are numbered as more and more people stop buying paper and read on line. This will only be made worse, if and when they start to charge for on-line content. Charges of bias against the BBC in recent days must have Aunty a little anxious over here. The success of Jo’s, Anthony’s and other key blogs speaks for itself. Exponential growth in on-line media is indicative of where people are headed today for information.

    Peter Spencers story has raised serious questions about truth and the role of journalism in Australia but methinks this is the tip of the iceberg. ClimateGate has the potential to unhinge media, government and bureaucracy worldwide. Two tiers of government are up to their ears in the land use issues behind Spencer’s protest, which are inexorably linked to climate change policies. They ignore him at their peril.


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    J.Hansford

    I thank Phil for linking those three Judgements… They make interesting reading. Sorry about the length of this. Just excerpts from Judge Rothman’s hearing.

    The Judges seem to be also of the opinion that the Legislation is not fair… Though they cannot actually say too much on the matter… Judge Rothman, does say this in his findings.

    ” If one takes an overall approach, there is no doubt that Mr Spencer is under a special disadvantage. The special disadvantage arises from the combined effect of valid legislation promulgated by the legislature that, by other legislation, provides for a compensation or assistance package to farmers, affected by the first legislative scheme, on a basis, which does not provide compensation for the effect of the first legislative scheme.”

    Rothman then downplays any “Bad faith” or “malicious motive” by the government. “mala fides”… (He has some doubt whether a Government can be found to be malicious in it’s motives….???)

    “I hasten to add, that there is no allegation in these proceedings of mala fides (if such an allegation may be made against Parliament). Nevertheless, the overall effect of the different pieces of legislation seems grossly unfair and unconscionable.”

    Rothman concludes by saying this.

    For the foregoing reasons, the remedies for judicial review of administrative action and for misleading and deceptive conduct or unconscionable conduct have not been made out. However, it is an extremely disheartening and sad occasion that a person, whose life and resources have been placed into rural property for the purposes of conducting a grazing and farming business, has been required to resort to this action.”

    Qualifying it with this sentance….

    “Governments, not courts, make judgments about political policy…”

    He also makes other excuses and apologies for judges having to follow the Legislation…

    “While all members of society must accept that there will be restrictions on their activities for the “greater good of society”, when those restrictions prevent or prohibit a business activity that was hitherto legitimate, because of the area in which it is operating, and assistance is offered which does not fully compensate for the restrictions imposed, society is asking Mr Spencer, and people in his position, to pay for its benefit.

    Finally Rothman reiterates his non critical stance and that judges are duty bound. That in essence, it is the Government’s fault…. Which it is.

    “Nothing in the foregoing is intended as a criticism of either the current State or current Federal Government. These schemes were implemented by previous Governments both Federal and State, with bipartisan support. Nevertheless, it is a most unfortunate aspect of the operation of the scheme that a person in Mr Spencer’s position is effectively denied proper compensation for the restrictions imposed upon him by a scheme implemented for the public good. As earlier stated, ultimately that is a matter for government.”

    It would seem, that more and more, Australians are the victims of Bad legislation and Bad Government. It is probably time to do something about it….. Time to repeal some of these bad laws that Supreme Court Judges keep apologizing to us for.


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    J.Hansford

    Just reiterating again……… Two Judges. Emmett and Rothman. A judgement by the Federal Court. A Judgement by the Full Court on the appeal against Justice Emmett’s Judgement. A judgement by the Supreme Court of NSW.

    In all three judgements the Justice’s sympathize with Peter Spencer and apologize for the unfairness of the Legislation.

    Judges are bound to follow the Law promulgated by Governments. Their job is to rule on the law as it is written………And they are telling us that this law is Unfair.

    I should be so bold as to point this small fact out to our intrepid and well paid friggin’ media, so that they may report on our UNFAIR bluddy Laws that Federal and Supreme Court Judges are apologizing to us for!


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    J.Hansford

    Forgot to name the appeal judges… BLACK CJ, JACOBSON & JAGOT JJ.

    They also apologize for a perceived unfairness in their ruling by saying this in conclusion.

    “In common with the primary judge it is easy to sympathise with Mr Spencer if the effect of the State statutes has been to sterilise his land from any productive activity. Nevertheless that does not alter the fact that the proceeding has no reasonable prospect of success and the primary judge was correct to so conclude. The appeal must be dismissed.”

    Keep on track Jo. These laws are an obscenity even to the Justices and Judges that must rule on them.


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    J.Hansford:

    What good is the Australian Constitution if it can be overcome by simply passing a sequence of laws that, in combination, contradict it?

    The Australian Judiciary is saying that, the Australian Constitution not withstanding, what ever the Australian Legislature passes stands. The function of the Australian Judiciary is merely to interpret the laws as they stand. They can make no effective decision with regard to the validity of the laws. This means there is no such thing as a recognized right beyond which the government may not properly pass. This situation is indifferent from a totalitarian dictatorship.

    A dictatorship of many, few, or one are all a dictatorship. In such a political system, an individual, the smallest minority, has no rights that need be respected. He is nothing but a sacrificial goat to be sacrificed for the benefit of whomever at the dictator’s arbitrary whim. That a majority voted for a majority of representatives who voted to violate the rights of selected individuals, does not make that act morally right nor economically or politically sound.

    Clearly, the hugely costly lessons of history have been forgotten (set aside, evaded). Mankind will be taught once again the folly of such an approach to governance. That is if there is anyone who survives the lesson.


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    J.Hansford

    Lionell….. your question… “What good is the Australian Constitution…” If you read the Australian constitution it deals only in politics…. There are no “people” in it…. Thus it is in my opinion a flawed constitution…. It empowers the Political class to lead the Collective while overriding the rights of the Individual…. Native Vegetation laws being a perfect example of this.

    Yes. I agree with the thrust of your argument. I have also read elsewhere that it is almost inevitable to evolve/devolve, depending on ones political view, into more government and less freedom for the individual.

    I saw a diagrammatical representation and a simple explanation of the reasoning…

    Basically. think of a right angled triangle with 100% government at the top of the hypotenuse and descending down to 0% government at the foot of the hypotenuse. It was labeled from top to bottom…

    Monarchy, Oligarchy, Democracy, Republic, Anarchy…. A decending order of the involement of Governement in the affairs of the individual, or the power to dictate to others

    Of these five political concepts, only two where argued to be achievable of effective long term government…Or inherently stable. Those being an Oligarchy and a Republic.

    The reason for a Monarchy failing, is that rarely is it a true Autocracy, thus it is really an Oligarchy with a figurehead. Anarchy is unstable and is a transitional upheaval within a society. Democracy evolves into an Oligarchy as power to dictate is given willingly by free individuals to the political classes… Democracy is inherently unstable because in essence it is Mob rule, Civilized Mob rule, but mob rule nonetheless and thus manipulatable.

    Republic, defined by Madison as “Representative Democracy”, can only be truly achieved if the Constitution is promulgated to achieve that representation for the individual and then remains unchanging, locking in the right of individualism within the State….Thus it is a “Constitutional Republic”…. Otherwise it will degrade over time to a more Democratic representation of Government and then finally to a Oligarchy of sorts, ruled by the political classes.

    Lastly the Oligarchy. Probably the only true form of government, given the nature of human beings.

    A more humane Oligarchy is likely if ultimate power is given to an omnipresent God, who is always watching. It tempers the excesses and directs morals and values…. Oligarchies that invest ultimate power to a living individual have in contemporary times, been violent in the extreme… Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot etc, as examples.

    So it boils down into our imperfect Australian Constitution…. Where we see Laws being passed that destroy the individual industry and enterprise of free people….. We see Justices and Judges apologizing for the rulings that they are bound by Law to pass upon these Free individuals…

    All that remains, is to replace those Judges and Justices with ones that will not apologize… And we will be an Oligarchy of the Political elite….. It has only taken 110 years to emplace tyranny over youthful freedom of endeavour. Remove the better natured people from that political class…. and have no doubt, we will be tyrannized.


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    J. Hansford: A more humane Oligarchy is likely if ultimate power is given to an omnipresent God….

    There is a problem. A look at history reveals this God is not active in human events. Yet, there are many who pretend to speak for him and command others to obey God’s wishes that they so “generously” announce. So even this is a fragile basis upon which to build a sound government. Especially since there are as many words of God as there are speakers for God. It becomes a matter of who has the largest most ruthless gang to enforce their version of the *sacred* words of God. You see the deadly echos of this since the beginnings of recorded history.

    Ultimately, man is responsible for himself. He can choose as he wishes but he cannot choose the consequences of acting upon those wishes. Hence the painful repetition of history experienced by those who choose not to learn from it. Man has accumulated sufficient experience to know better. He evades or forgets that knowledge at the cost of his liberty, his wealth, and ultimately his life.

    It is man’s ideas that guide his choices and actions. It is here that we must address error and facilitate change. Its a tough way to go but its the only way that will have a chance of working.


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    J.Hansford

    I was only interested in the concept of “God” as it pertains to what I consider as a modifier of human behaviour. I wasn’t commenting on validity of belief in God. Personally I accept the Big Bang Theory… so God is a good a Theory as any… A created Universe, by definition needs some sort of creator;-)

    Mainly in the sense that Human behaviour stratifies itself with a hierarchy…. So the fostering of a belief in an ultimate being in which you are finally answerable to, would be a modifier on the individuals within a society as to the excesses of their behaviour… Probably the nascent beginnings of the concept of the right of the individual…. Perhaps?

    This is what sets the American Constitution apart from others….. It Defines that Humans have God given rights as individuals…. Not rights granted by Government, which can be taken away.


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    J.Hansford: This is what sets the American Constitution apart from others….. It Defines that Humans have God given rights as individuals….

    The words “god”, “creator”, “christian”, “Bible”, or “religion” are NOT in the text of the American Constitution.

    See: http://www.earlyamerica.com/earlyamerica/freedom/constitution/text.html

    Nor in the Bill of Rights except for a singular mention of “religion” in the First Amendment and then only to specify “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;….”

    See: http://www.constitution.org/billofr_.htm

    The Declaration of Independence mentions “The Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God” and does state that our rights are given us by our “creator”. However, this is NOT the US Constitution and is not a matter of law. It is a matter of honored tradition only. One could suggest our revolution was motivated partly by such ideas but the form and substance of our government was not. A reading of other writings by the founding fathers and the philosopher whom they valued, John Lock, suggests the primary source of our rights came from our ability to reason and from the necessity of life, freedom, and property to be able to use it to sustains one’s own life. God actually had little to do with it other than a following of a fading tradition.


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    J.Hansford

    True, but it appears in the Declaration of Independence…. A not unworthy article.

    Without sidetracking too much. There is much discussion as to how much religion plays a part in the American Constitution. However there is no doubt that religion plays a great part in American society, both then and now. The founding of the first settlements was in the pursuit of religious freedom. The Pilgrims etc…

    However I gently suggest that you miss my point… I am not advocating religion… I am advocating the moral, values, compassion, acknowledgement of free will, etc, that has become part of our society via our tradition of religion…. I am more interested in understanding human behaviour than the imperfect doctrines that attempt to control it… Through understanding, we free ourselves.

    As I said before, Australia’s Constitutional problem seems to be that it lacks an identification of “People” and the concept of the individual that makes up a society.

    There seems little that people can do to curb the power of an entrenched political class under ours system at the moment. A Political system that compels the people to finance them and writes into law whatever it desires, etc. The Government funded media organizations (The ABC, SBS) can manipulate the information available to citizens, the state education system can manipulate the minds of its children and students… Not can, but does.

    Once entrenched, even private media is affected by a state instilled bias and are shackled by an inability to think critically for themselves…. Depends on individuals of course,(oh the irony), which are then hand picked for promotion on how well developed are the state, now social, ideals within them.

    Eventually we create the society we perceive around us…. and what we have now, is one that will take individual rights away for the benefit of the collective… Pete Spencer versus the peoples determination to live in an Environmental utopia defined by the political elites legislation of that utopia as per their exclusive vision.

    The sad part is, most now agree with that status quo without ever thinking about it.

    The long and short of it…. We need to enshrine the concept of the individual and their property within the constitution or an article that the constitution must recognize…. I can’t think of any other way.


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    J.Hansford: There is much discussion as to how much religion plays a part in the American Constitution.

    But, it is NOT mentioned in the body of the Constitution and mentioned only once in the Bill of Rights only to exclude government from having anything to do with it. So there can be endless discussions, but the discussions are simply not relevant to government using the the actual Constitution as point of reference.

    J.Hansford: The long and short of it…. We need to enshrine the concept of the individual and his property within the constitution or an article that the constitution must recognize…. I can’t think of any other way.

    Lionell Griffith: It is man’s ideas that guide his choices and actions. It is here that we must address error and facilitate change. Its a tough way to go but its the only way that will have a chance of working.

    Apparently, we are in substantial agreement but are arguing over the details of implementation. Why then bring *God* into the picture?


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    ANGRY

    Hi all,
    All my complaint emails to The Australian Newspaper about their SHAMEFUL story about Peter Spencer’s family history were returned UNREAD!

    Obviously this publication is COMPLETELY BIASED and HAS NO INTEREST IN
    JUSTICE FOR AUSTRALIANS!

    Everybody, STOP PURCHASING THIS COMMUNIST TRASH!

    I believe that News Corp owns this piece of junk!

    NOT HAPPY!

    The following is a copy of my emails to the Australian Newspaper:-

    I sent the following emails to The Australian in response to their
    attempts to destroy Peter Spencer’s character with dredging up PATHETIC
    skeletons in in his family history from 40 years ago!

    ————————
    Subject: STORY: Family financial dispute helped send hunger striker
    Peter Spencer up the pole (AUSTRALIAN, 08/01/2010)

    Mr Maley,
    WHY IS COMMENTING NOT ENABLED ON THIS STORY?
    MAYBE MORE CENSORSHIP??????

    Angry Reader
    ======
    Subject: Re: STORY: Family financial dispute helped send hunger striker
    Peter Spencer up the pole (AUSTRALIAN, 08/01/2010)

    Mr Maley,
    Isn’t it incredible. The Australian has completely ignored Peter’s story
    now for 47 days. Then when the pressure is really mounting on Prime
    Minister Kevin Rudd to meet with Peter Spencer the Australian comes out
    with a FRONT PAGE story that is an incredible muck rake that goes so low
    as to rake up things that happened 40 years ago.

    So now not only will the Nations Newspaper not run stories of National
    interest, but when those stories escalate to the point that it will
    damage the Prime Minister, some very important and powerful politicians
    and business interests (i.e the Coal industry), The Australian comes out
    of hiding and attempts to discredit Peters whole campaign with personal
    attacks.

    This stinks to high heaven in my opinion!

    DO YOU PEOPLE HAVE NO CONSCIENCE WHATSOEVER???????????

    Angry Reader
    ====
    Subject: STORY: Family financial dispute helped send hunger striker
    Peter Spencer up the pole (AUSTRALIAN, 08/01/2010)

    Mr Maley,
    No family is PERFECT – is yours?
    Mr Spencer’s family history is not the issue here.
    Irrespective of what his family history is, that does not alter the fact
    that he and many many other farmers in Australia have been BETRAYED and
    UNJUSTLTY TREATED by government.
    Besmurching Peter Spencer’s character with his past family history is
    only a tactic used to divert attention away from the REAL PROBLEM.
    This type of tactic is worthy of CHAIRMAN RUDD!
    SHAMEFUL AND DESPICABLE!
    Where is your paper’s investigative journalism in uncovering the REAL
    story of what is being done to Australian Farmers?
    Maybe you don’t wish to investigate and publish such BORNING stories or
    is it that your paper has been threatened by the government to stay
    quiet on such issues!

    Angry Reader


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    J.Hansford

    Yes Lionell, we are in agreement…..

    As to the “Why bring God into it”… It is for the reasons that I explained….

    Our inherent Human behavior of organizing hierarchies and the power we invest to those structues, also the fact we are defined by our history and our behavior.

    Therefor, do what has work traditionally, but with a modern eye to reasoning the why of it. Manipulate our behavior to bring the best out in us for the society, family and the individual.

    The American Constitution also doesn’t mention the word “individual” either…. Just pointing that out;-)

    Thanks Lionell it has been a good thought provoking chat.


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    Hey…thanks for that. Fantastic post. I’ll be checking back soon for more news. Cheers!


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    Penny is really pretty on the series Big Bang Theory, she is quite perky too..-`


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    penny is really cute in The Big Bang Theory, great comedy tv series too*:,


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