Miscellaneous comments from 15 September 2013

24October 2013. Please add further miscellaneous comments to

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Australian puppy farmers making thousands selling puppies to squalid pet shops in Singapore Australian puppy farmers are making thousands of dollars selling dogs to pet shops in Singapore, where they are forced to live in squalor and confinement, a CLEO Magazine investigation has found. Animal welfare group Oscar's Law recently travelled to Singapore to witness the shocking treatment of Australian puppies, some of which are just eight weeks old. What a shameful disgrace to any Australian "animal welfare" standards that home-grown puppy farmers are making thousands of dollars selling dogs to pet shops in Singapore, where they are forced to live in squalor and confinement. Singapore’s free market policy means that there is no limit or cap on how many animals a commercial breeder can own and sell, and this trade will add to their own pet overpopulation problem. Puppies as young as eight weeks old are being exploited as commercial commodities, for pet shop profits. Heavily confined breeding animals in small, dirty and wired cages, producing litter after litter of puppies, are being denied social, environmental and emotional benefits. This is bad enough, but the young are being forced to endure being pet shop stock - with no guarantees of their well-being and survival. Already we have a dog and cat overpopulation in Australia, and the end result is the shame of "death row" to alleviate the pressure, and more and more puppies churned out to a saturated international market! It's Australia's newest live export scandal. Opening up the supply chain of live exports of livestock has exposed even wider the cruel overseas market for unconsciousable over breeding and confinement of companion animals in Australia.

Sub-Saharan Africa's population is rising faster than the rest of the world because modern medicine and healthcare on the continent means more babies are surviving birth complications, and fewer adults are dying from preventable diseases African mothers currently give birth to an average of 5.2 children, rising to 7.6 in Niger, the country with the world's highest fertility rate, which is close to five times the European average of 1.6 children born to each woman. Seven of the 10 countries with the highest fertility rates also appear among the bottom 10 listed on the United Nations' Human Development Index. Niger is projected to nearly quadruple its population from about 17 million today to 66 million in 2050. The current world population of 7.2 billion is projected to increase by 1 billion over the next 12 years and reach 9.6 billion by 2050, according to a United Nations report launched today, which points out that growth will be mainly in developing countries, with more than half in Africa. The dramatic growth began in the second half of the 20th century, when the number of people on the continent almost quadrupled from 230 million to 811 million. In countries like Angola, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa, rapid and unplanned urbanisation is multiplying the number of slum dwellers and contributing to extreme urban poverty. A young, expanding and relatively cheaper workforce in Africa could persuade foreign companies to move their businesses out of Europe to countries on the African continent. according to new UN projections that predict the west African country could be the world's third most populous by the end of this century. India, currently the world's second-largest country by population, is expected to rival China in size by 2028, when both nations will each have about 1.45 billion citizens. After 2030, China is expected to shrink in numbers, reaching an estimated 1.1 billion by the end of this century, when India's population is projected to reach about 1.5 billion. Every year across the world 287,000 women die in pregnancy and childbirth. That’s one mother dying every 2 minutes, 800 each day. Another 7-10 million women and girls suffer severe or long lasting illnesses caused by complications in pregnancy and childbirth. There is an urgent need for family planning and better health outcomes for women and children. Every year across the world 287,000 women die in pregnancy and childbirth. 162,000 deaths in childbirth occur in sub Saharan Africa, that’s 56% of the total.

Their rationale is that the east west link is vital to Victoria's economic and social development. It will be a "vital cog in the state’s road freight network" and "must be built if Victoria is to retain its position as the nation’s freight logistics capital". They claim that over the next 40 years, Victoria’s freight will triple and its containerised trade will quadruple. Ironically, industries are being closed down, and areas where manufacturing buoyed our economy are being made into housing - to create more opportunities for property developers. All this freight is not doubt the probability that we will be importing more foreign made goods and services. It's a glossy fix to an ailing economy. The congestion to Victorian roads is costing our economy $3 billion, and this will rise to $6 billion as our population "projects" to more than 6.5 million by 2050. Our population growth is actively being "projected" as people are invited to live here, and buy into real estate. Unemployment is ignored. For something that impacts on our hip pockets, living standards, environment, and mobility - population growth - there is no public debate or democratic input. It's not hard to guess who these powerful and cashed-up lobby groups are: Statement issued on behalf of VECCI with: Australian Logistics Council Australian Industry Group Infrastructure Partnerships Australia Master Builders Association of Victoria Property Council of Australia Royal Automobile Club of Victoria Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce They are the gigantic road and growth lobby groups - those who will be advantaged by the upheaval of our city. The loss of homes, Royal Park, and heritage values, will mean that average families and individuals will be disadvantaged by having funding sucked out of the State coffers that should be available for vital infrastructure. We will be forced to pay heavy road tolls.

Yes, this is corruption and political disruption at a systemic level. Our political parties are really corporations with huge amounts of money invested in the institutions that finance projects like the East-West Link. They expect members of Parliament to make laws to ensure that those investment projects go ahead. This is fascism without the overt violence - yet. All the arguments about fixing an ailing economy etc are a facade, as far as I am concerned which people lose time and energy arguing with. The term 'liveability' is interesting - a kind of nonsense economics term to replace the original requirements of protecting the environment and ensuring a working democracy. I was glad that Williamson and Palmer, among others on Q & A last night (16/9/2013) drew attention to the lack of democracy in Australia pretty clearly for once on the ABC. I think that one of them suggested that we need to hear more about the minor parties so that we know who is there to vote for. I agree. The ABC should be spending its time publicising every new party, to give real democracy a chance and help the community get back some interest and involvement in self-government. Of course this runs totally counter to the interests of the ruling elite.

Indonesian fishermen from places like Rote in West Timor travel to the reefs every winter to catch sharks, and their hunt has a dramatic effect on the population of reef sharks like the hammerhead and whaler. Evidence from scientists show that the decline in shark numbers is impacting on coral reefs. led a team of Canadian and local researchers in a study of coral reefs about 300 kilometres off the north-west Australian coast. Fishermen are using traditional dug out canoes, but with their long lines, they are quite successful of emptying oceans of sharks. They've basically wiped out the sharks that used to be there. Dr Meekan says smaller predatory fish - such as emperors and snappers - are more abundant on the reefs without sharks than those where no fishing takes place. The effects flow down the food chain, and it means ecosystems find it harder to recover the damages of cyclones if the food chain is disrupted. Algae grows on the reef as it dies, and there aren't enough aglae-eating herbivore fish. There needs to be more marine sanctuaries. Hong Kong’s government said Friday it would stop serving shark fin at official functions as “a good example,” following years of lobbying by conservation groups. More than 70 million sharks are killed every year, with Hong Kong importing about 10,000 tonnes annually for the past decade, according to environmental group WWF. Most of those fins are then exported to mainland China. Hopefully the tide against shark fin soup, and shark eating, is fast and high enough to allow their numbers to recover, and restore some balance in our ailing oceans.

The ACT could become the first state in Australia to legislate against factory farming, with an animal welfare bill introduced to the Legislative Assembly by Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury today. It's expected to be supported by the Greens-Labor. If passed, it will outlaw sow stalls, farrowing crates and battery cages. It's an enlightened step towards an equitable animal welfare system, considering such horrors would not be allowed for companion animals or wildlife. While there are no commercial piggeries or battery hen factories in the ACT, Rattenbury said the legistlation is still necessary. It's easy to pass legislation when those with vested interests don't exist in the territory. It will mean they are banned from starting up. The egg industry claims prices will increase, and customer should have a "choice". Animal welfare is not about "customers" but about protecting the animals from exploitation. It's about treating animals humanely, and not about protecting hip pockets. There's nothing to stop the products from factory farmed livestock from being imported into the ACT. The Animal Justice Party's group voting ticket lodged with the Australian Electoral Commission showed preferences would go to the Stable Population Party, and further down, to the Labor and Liberal Parties and lastly, the Greens. The reason is for the mass "cull" of over 1400 kangaroos, for "environmental" reasons. Maybe Shame Rattenbury wants to catch and compete with the upcoming power and prominence of AJP? There were 2,590 (1.19%) votes originally from Animal Justice Party ACT distributed to Liberal (Zed SESELJA).

The cargo ship, the Pearl of Para, had mechanical difficulties 400 km off the Australian coast, is loaded with 5240 Brahman cattle boarded for Israel. The cattle have been on the ship since September 3rd. The RSPCA inspected the ship, claiming there were no breaches of the Animal Welfare Act. The ship is 90% full, and the animals are layered on 7 levels. Mechanical failure on this ship last year led to the death of 400 pregnant cattle on a voyage from US to Russia: the animals reportedly suffocated on ammonia fumes after the ventilation system failed. (DAFF), said the issues would have no impact on the livestock support systems. However, slowing down would make them more susceptible to pirates! Caitlyn Gribbin from the RSCPA has voiced concern that the time delay will cause the cattle extra stress as the malfunction means the cattle will be onboard the ship two weeks longer than if it had gone straight to Israel. There have been In 1996, 1592 cattle drowned when the Guernsey Express sank on its voyage to Osaka. In 1996, over 65,000 sheep died when the Uniceb caught fire and sank. In 1998, 570 cattle died on the Charolais Express from either suffocating during the journey or were too ill to land at the destination and were slaughtered at sea. In 1999, 829 cattle suffocated on the Kalymnian Express when ventilation failed en route to Indonesia. In 2002, 990 cattle and 1400 sheep died as a result of overheating on the Becrux. In 2003, over 5500 sheep died on the Cormo Express when the Saudi Arabian importer rejected the shipload as they were infected with scabby mouth. Another live export scandal, an industry littered with breaches, animal cruelty and failures of standards. How can cattle endure such confined conditions all this time? They are grazing animals, used to wide open plains, not canaries in cages! Our government has pinned so much economic hope, the "Asian Century", on the great opportunity to be the "food bowl" of Asia! However, it seems to rest a lot on live exports. The RSPCA were only allowed to board the ship after it was cleaned up! There will be no comfortable and safe landing for these 5240 hapless animals! They will endure an excruciating and barbaric slaughter with knives - while fully conscious! Live export is a cruel and inhumane trade and our nation’s politicians must be prepared to show leadership in this area and bring live export to an end.

THE Five Nations Beef Alliance (FNBA) has signed a letter backing a comprehensive Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. The 5 countries of the FNBA are Australia, the US, Canada, New Zealand and Mexico. They all agree on core principles for the proposed trade agreement. Cattle Council Australia president Andrew Ogilvie of Kingston, South Australia, says if the global beef industry is going to feed a growing world population it needs to facilitate the "open and unrestricted trade of food around the world”. It's assumed that anyone protesting against the barbarity would have the audacity to deny starving people of protein! "The world’s population will have equal opportunity to a reliable and safe food supply without trade barriers inflating the cost of that food," Ogilvie said. Tony Abbott has made significant changes to the Trade portfolio. Trade responsibilities have now been combined with foreign investment, for the first time uniting the two major branches of foreign economic policy. The TPP will grant extraordinary power to corporations, and severely weaken the ability of domestic governments to regulate their activities. And all while citizens are kept in the dark. Most notably, schemes like the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) could be severely undermined. According to Queensland Greens Senate candidate, Adam Stone, “If Mr Abbott’s enthusiasm for free trade means he signs up to this agreement, we could see foreign corporations interfering with local media content rules, environmental regulation, and subsidised medicines under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. The excuse that there is no refrigeration in our trade partner countries is disingenuous. Destination countries may have a lower standard of living by comparison with western countries, but the people largely live in urban environments. In addition, on the whole, their standard of living is increasing. It's inconceivable that they don't have refrigeration. The Coalition is committed to keeping live export rules in place but also to reducing ‘red tape’ for exporters. According to spokesperson on Agriculture John Cobb, the Coalition is opposed to an Independent Office of Animal Welfare. The Coalition has also vowed to apologise to Indonesia for the 2011 suspension of cattle exports. Barnaby Joyce said fixing the live export trade to Indonesia and pursuing bilateral trade agreements with China, North Korea and Japan would be a priority for the Abbott government. Voters, animal welfare activists and other lobbyists are facing even greater mountainous obstacles and hurdles to contend with as corporations and "free" trade agreements increase in magnitude and power.

The latest act of barbarism perpetrated upon the dingoes of Fraser Island was the deliberate ramming and maiming of a mother in pup by a tourist's orange Pajero 4WD. This must force a re-assessment of the role of tourism on the island. The Save Fraser Island Dingoes (SFID) group said the female dingo was hit by a vehicle about 8.30am between Eurong and Dilli Village, with witnesses claiming an orange Pajero changed direction before hitting it. The dingo was left in agony and had to be euthanised. "She appeared to be feeding. The fate of her pups is unknown," a spokeswoman said. Some tourists are allowed to run wild. They are allowed to turn a magnificent beach into a drag strip, safe neither for wildlife or families with children. They turn beaches into drag strips, and threaten bushland and wildlife. Tourist vehicles must be contained and monitored, and stiff penalties must apply to miscreants, to ensure the survival of the very animals and habitat most people go to the Island to appreciate. The public should not have to sit by and watch those who break the rules ruin the tourist experience for everyone - visitors and local business operators alike. Eye witness report states that the dingo WAS deliberately hit, the vehicle drove away in an Orange/Red old model Pajero. The incident occurred early in the morning, Police and Rangers were called she lay in agony we were told possibly with a broken back, howling until she could be euthanised. SFID together with the Minister of Environment Andrew Powell will continue to work on a plan to establish a Care Centre for all injured animals on Fraser Island. Australian Independents leader Patricia Petersen called for immediate action to protect island dingoes and said it was time to ban people from the island, except in guided groups. “This is outrageous. No more talk fests. No more passing the buck. We need our dingoes protected and we need them protected right now,” she said. Dr Petersen said that she “fell in love” with dingoes when she recently toured the Fraser Coast region and visited Fraser Island. This should be the "last straw". The Queensland government cannot continue to allow potential feral humans to kill, maim and threaten the last stronghold for pure native dingoes. Tourist dollars have for too long been the priority, not the native animals. This "incident" must turn the tide once and for all!

The world is on track to suffer potential temperature rises of 2.6 to 4.8 degrees by the century's end if we proceed along the highest future emissions path, according to a major draft report from the IPCC. It hasn't taken our new Coalition government very long to reveal it's anti-factual and anti-science agenda. The Abbott government moved swiftly to abolish Labor-era climate change institutions. The Coalition closed the Climate Commission, and also plans to repeal other climate change policies of the Rudd and Gillard governments, such as the carbon price, the Climate Change Authority and the $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation. They are assuming that by shutting the gate to evidence, and access to the facts, the inconvenient issue will go away and the horse will bolt! Science and the church have had a rocky history of ignorance, a power struggle of evidence and denial, but the co-existence of science and politics is the new religious-like stonewall to transparency and objectivity. Streamlining government processes would save $1.6 million a year, but it ignores the costs of climate change on our health care, food production, destructive weather events, and impacts on natural resources. It's been assumed by the government that, like religion, we have the option to "believe" in climate change, or not! We are all entitled our beliefs on a personal level, but governments are responsible for creating policies, encouraging transparent debate, and ensuring that our present and future generations have a climate and ecosystems that remain stable, life-supporting, and as future-proof as possible. It would be a huge economic, technological and turnaround of human-momentum towards growth to get to zero emissions by 2070, as suggested by some scientists. Environment Minister Greg Hunt's optimism that we can meet the climate change challenge is based on leadership from two of the world's giant economies, America and China. America and China accounted for 43 percent of global emissions in 2011, with China the top emitter. Obama has committed to get the US to reduce emissions by 17 percent by 2020, from 2005 levels. That's still a long way from an average 50% cut of 1990 levels suggested we aim for by 2100. The constraint for Australia is that, due to our unique economic and social history since the World War 2, “growth” has become built-in to our economic model. It assumes ongoing population growth, along with energy consumption and waste. We need a transition to a steady-state, post-growth, economic model, one that is not contradictory to scaling down anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. Fortunately, the axed Climate Commission is to be relaunched with private funds in a bid to keep information about global warming prominent in the public arena, former head Tim Flannery said.

The millennium development goals (MDGs) have been hailed as the “world’s greatest promise”, committing world leaders to the pursuit of concrete, measurable improvements on global poverty, hunger, health, education and other key social issues by 2015. Australia is one of 189 countries that adopted the Millennium Declaration and committed to the Millennium Development Goals in 2000. The eight Millennium Development Goals are a shared world vision for reducing poverty. The central goal is to reduce by half the proportion of people living on less than US$1.25 a day by 2015 relative to 1990. With less than two years until the MDGs expire, policymakers, civil society groups, and academics worldwide are taking stock of what progress has been made and debating what should happen after 2015. More than 40 developing countries lack sufficient data to track performance on extreme poverty and hunger. Countries with the highest levels of maternal mortality, malaria, and tuberculosis, meanwhile, often have the least reliable data on these issues. Also, Uganda’s population growth rate was higher than the economic growth, which undermines development efforts aimed at improving livelihood and sustainable use of the environment. One of the major reasons behind the failure of the Asian Pacific region MDG to achieve targets was high population growth rate, low economic growth rate and lack of resources to finance the initiatives needed to achieved these targets. The absolute number of people living in poverty or dying of malnutrition may increase in absolute terms, but due to a growing human population, the percentage change may decrease. The MDGs should concentrate on absolute numbers rather than, deceptively, on percentages. When the millennium development goal was developed, family planning was omitted. However, after much advocacy, it was included as one of the indicators. Despite this inclusion, uptake is still a big challenge. Irrevocably there must be family planning as part of the targets.

Labor leadership contender Bill Shorten has promised to be pro-immigration and says the party should revisit work rights for asylum seekers. He has unwittingly sealed the fate of Labor to be the Opposition - for the years ahead. Such blatant disregard of the concerns of the public, such as the pressure on our cities, the infrastructure demands hitting our hip -pockets, costs of utilities and housing, pressure to increase the GST, and the multiple signs of global overpopulation - food security, species extinctions, climate change, pollution and the numerous "peaks" in natural resources - are simply being ignored! One dimensional policies, based on economics in a vacuum, are shallow and doomed to fail. "I am ambitious for a big Australia, I am ambitious for more immigration because I think it enriches our country," he said. Obviously he's speaking from the protection and privilege of his Ivory Tower, in Canberra, backed by his wealth and corporate supporters. Mr Shorten said he would like to see a change in language on asylum seekers and a recognition that coming to Australia to seek asylum is not illegal. Actually, thanks to the UN Refugee Convention, coming to Australia for asylum is not "illegal". Due to our record level of permanent immigration, our human services and housing are under maximum pressure. Accommodating the world's displaced would mean struggling Australians would be displaced in public housing and welfare queues. There are people, especially in power, with megalomaniac personality disorders, and people with selfish psychopathic tendencies. It means their ambitions lack recognition for the struggles of other peoples, and they become engrossed in the worship of "big", "massive", and "growth" as a form of progress! They become engrossed in size and their own personal egos that they forget what their democratic duties are- to government for the people, with the people, and in their interests! It's time for Labor to get back to basics, to grass-roots level, where they traditionally belong. Shorten should listen to the polls, and the heavy costs of growth.

by James Fitzgerald Winner of 2013 AWPC Environmental Award “One of the biggest threats to our native animals, is that the average Australian doesn’t know how bad things are, in terms of human impact on Australian flora and fauna. Even the largest National Park is just a gene puddle if it is not connected. The gene pool, which needs variability for Australian native animals is not able to function via the natural dispersal of young male animals due to the fragmentation of habitat. "What Australia needs is a National Land use plan. Good farm land must be set aside and only bought by farmers, so they don’t have to complete for the price per acre that a housing developer or a mining company can afford to pay. "Land is set for mining, housing etc and connected land is identified for a major wildlife corridor. Via reduction in rates, environmentally friendly people are encouraged to buy land within the corridor, restore habitat and prevent the shooting of native animals. "We must restore native Australian Wildlife and habitat to 25% of pre-British settlement i.e. there were over 10,000,000 Koalas, so we should have a goal of 2,500,000 Koalas and publish a list of native animals with their percentage remaining compared to Pre-British settlement e.g. presently, koalas are at best 0.8% of their Pre-British settlement numbers. "The benchmark should be Pre-British settlement wildlife population estimates and we aim for 25% for each species. The list of each species with its % based on Pre-British settlement wildlife population estimates will be a big wakeup call. Most Australians don’t know how bad things are”. "I took the photo of the jaw shot kangaroo on 4 June 2011 at my property in NSW. The kangaroo was near my dam. It was most likely very thirsty because it was unable to drink as its tongue was hanging through the bullet exit hole in its neck/chin area. The image is so perfect to counteract industry claims that they abide by the Code of Practice and the kangaroo kill is humane. What the Code does not say is: that no one works after 5PM to monitor or police the kangaroo killing at the POINT of the kill – or that such cruelty is not dealt with, on the spot. Nothing happens to monitor the kill until carcases get to the Processors. Mis-shot, harmed, poorly shot kangaroos are NOT reported to the processor because then they would need to be included in the already flawed cruelty statistics".

See also : of 24 Sep 2013. According to a federal funded report, up to 20 percent of the Hunter Valley’s prime farming land could be lost. By 2050, world food consumption is likely to increase by 70 per cent and much of that additional demand will be in Asia. A report for the Federal Government's Sustainable Population Strategy defined ‘important agricultural land’ as that which is the most fertile, capable and productive land in the region which holds the ability to respond to a changing climate, market forces and socio-economic conditions in the future. Extensive development within the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie regions has further heightened the importance of preserving fertile farm land. The growth is dismissed explained as the "generation gap continues to grow, with the sons and daughters of farmers forced to look elsewhere for careers". Nothing about our record levels of immigration, and our socially-engineered population growth. Bill Shorten recently endorsed the benefits of ongoing immigration and population growth for Australia, because that's how we've always been! He's a "big Australia" man, like the ill-fated Kevin Rudd. Economics is quantifiable, and figures are easy to comprehend. Growth is an easy definition to account for, but more subtle, grass-roots and environmental concerns are largely abstract or incremental. Governments take the easy route, and measure their success through economic growth, and population growth is the easiest route. They ignores the important implications of climate change, compromised food security, extreme weather events, living standards and the costs of infrastructure. The latter are all hindsight issues, left for future governments (and generations) to sort out. With little arable land in Australia, the welfare of this, and future generations, should be paramount - not housing estates! Post war high rates of permanent immigration were justified in the post war era and up to the last decade, but not now. If urban development is eating into fertile food producing land, then priorities are all wrong and corrupt. Myopically, the submissions for the Federal government's Sustainable Population Strategy were ignored by then Minister for (Sustainable) population, Tony Burke. :

The Municipal Association of Victoria wants to introduce a commercial kangaroo processing industry in Victoria. Landowners are legally allowed to "manage" their numbers, with the issue of ATCW lethal permits, and instead of leaving the dead kangaroos on the ground to be "wasted", they want to start a commercial kangaroo meat industry. This is an initiative of the Grampians Shire, where there is a National Park. We want to petition the State government to protect our native kangaroos, and the justification of their killing for a commercial industry. This idea was rejected in the past as being unsustainable, and continues to be so.

This comment has been republished as an article here: Chainsaws and bulldozers are operating in Orbost, eastern Victoria, and trees have stood for 600 years, sheltering and feeding generations of greater gliders and powerful owls and other species, and being logged. The lush understorey of ferns and blanket leaf have kept delicate lichens and mosses damp and cool in the hottest summers over the millennia. Liquid eyed marsupials will be huddling terrified in their hollows as these giants crash and splinter in a sickening thud that shakes the earth and shocks the heart. After this brutality, the remaining vegetation is deliberately incinerated with a ring of intensely hot fire. Nothing escapes. It's all part of the 'sustainable forest management' lie that our governments feed us, hoping to hide the reality with a curtain of pleasing language. Australia's forests have many native wildlife and plant species are teetering on the edge of extinction, but the assistance offered is little more than recognition and shallow sympathy, laced with lip service and PR spin. East Gippsland is a prime example of this situation. It has been described by Professor David Bellamy as "the most diverse area of temperate forest I know of on Earth". Why, in a developed country should small regional volunteer groups, Environment East Gippsland, which run on a meagre budget, be forced to take on the behemoth monster that is the government? The government and its logging agency VicForests agreed to abide by their own laws after being forced to the steps of the Supreme Court. As a result of EEG's legal challenge, the beautiful glossy black cockatoo finally had a draft action statement drawn up last month after waiting 18 years on the threatened species list. But Minister Walsh's staff have found a loophole — they now learn that although the plan itself is a legal obligation, it doesn't need to have concrete protection measures. There's no obligation, or guarantee, for the survival of our native animals. Governments "may" make recovery and protection plans, but it's not mandatory. It's all a facade, and political spin. Email for Minister for Agriculture and Food Security:

Farmers and environmentalists don't want CSG mining, but the government is likely to face a backlash from the minerals sector unless it acts.

Critics fear that fracking not only opens up cracks in the coal seam, but could also result in gas escaping into drinking water as it rises to the surface. It would be economically reckless and short-sighted for the supply of CSG to destroy valuable farmland, and compromise underground water supplies. There are fears from some landholders that the ban in Victoria will be lifted.

Coal seam gas is a fossil fuel that is almost entirely made up of the greenhouse gas, methane. It's feared that large tracts of farmland will become unavailable for food production, forests and native bushland will be cleared and fragmented.

According to the industry, developing new supplies is absolutely critical if Australia wants to put downward pressure on energy prices. However, the gas industry want to drill more and more wells to meet their lucrative export contracts, and our prices will be linked with the much higher Asian market.

If it comes to a choice of harvesting underground coal seam gas, until it expires, or the long term integrity of our land, food and water supplies, then it would be counter-productive to prioritise the former over the latter.

The Pilliga is a vast expanse of bushland, located between Narrabri and Coonabarabran in western NSW. This iconic area of public land is under threat from the largest coal seam gas project ever proposed for New South Wales.

The Wilderness Society has been most concerned about the possible impact on the Pilliga forest and Channel Country region of Queensland's Cooper Basin. The government is prepared to relax environmental laws, or "green tape", for gas exploration.

Pilliga forest home to many threatened species, including the koala, Pilliga mouse, superb parrot and southeastern long-eared bat and regent honeyeater. A new ecological study of the Pilliga Forest in north-west NSW has found it is a “Noah's Ark” or refuge for many bird and mammal species that are declining across Australia.

Santos says it believes its CSG operations in the Pilliga can supply 25 per cent of the state's gas needs. More than 54% of Australia is covered by coal and gas licences or applications, and its clear that mining companies are riding roughshod over our governments and local communities. Dead animal bones in the bottom of a coal seam gas wastewater pond, according to the Stop Pilliga Coal Seam Gas movement,

The NSW government gave approval for the drilling in the woodlands in eastern Australia under stringent environmental conditions. The NSW government is hoping that a successful development by Santos of its coal-seam gas development in the Pilliga Forest in the northwest of the state will both satisfy some of the state's energy needs and demonstrate that coal-seam gas is not as environmentally harmful as its opponents claim.

It would be a tragedy to lose this forest and all that goes with it . I went to "Take Action" but their Environment Minister is out of date on the website. Hope they update this.

Last week some 300 Africans tragically died while trying to smuggle themselves into Italy, and the Pope angrily conjured up the word "disgrace."! The Pope's response was to ''let us unite our efforts so that similar tragedies do not happen again..." How does the Pope stop these tragedies happening again? Open borders between the Middle East and Africa will mean migrating people will put a heavy burden on Europe at a time of economic slowdown and massive unemployment. Populations from Africa and the Middle East are certainly on the move and every "rich" or Western country will eventually have to ask - how many will we take? The refugees of the post war period, and Vietnam, were episodic, but the displaced are in swelling and in overwhelming numbers. The Sub-Saharan Africa's population is rising faster than the rest of the world because modern medicine and healthcare means more babies are surviving until adulthood, and fewer adults are dying from preventable diseases. Birth rates are high and there is a proliferation of large families. It's predicted that Africa's population will double by 2050. Overpopulation drives conflict, poverty, scarcities and displacement. The Catholic Church must take some responsibility for the planet's woes, and unprecedented global population growth. Their ban on contraception means that the poorer nations are forced to endure unwanted pregnancies and unsustainable rates of population growth. Islam also must be held accountable. Although less than 20% of Africans claim to be Catholic, the Church has failed to promote humane population sizes - globally. Science is to "blame" for the drownings, nobody else. It was the result of overloaded boats, fire and overbalancing a lethal weight. Rather than shutting the door to those escaping to a better life, and adding burdens to the rest of the world, the source of the problem must be addressed. The Catholic church must take some blame for their ban on contraception. There needs to be a global family planning scheme, with aid and assistance linked only those countries making an effort to implement them. The taboo on speaking on human over-population must be lifted, and realistically addressed. 16 million adolescent girls give birth each year, most of them living in low- and middle-income countries. Pregnancy, childbirth-related complications and unsafe abortions are the main cause of death for adolescent girls in developing countries. Until lift the religious taboo on family planning and reproductive choices, the rate of unwanted migration of asylum seekers will continue to grow, and over-burden the good-will and compassion of western nations. We need a national day of mourning for all the asylum seekers who have died or drowned trying to escape their own nations' conflicts and poverty, AND the reluctance of developed countries' failure to promote sustainable population sizes through family planning, and health care. At the same time, countries like Australia actually feed off population growth, something hypocritically built-in to our economy!

The unreleased draft of the IPCC's second report also warns that $226 billion worth of coastal assets including homes, rail and road infrastructure are at risk with just a 1.1m rise in sea levels. More people will die from extreme heat, and another 800,000 people will fall ill year from contaminated food and water - while more than 270,000 homes will be at risk of collapsing into the ocean from rising sea levels. The report warns very high and extreme fire danger days will increase by up to 30 per cent by 2020 - and up to 100 per cent by 2050. Australia, though smaller in population than China, has a land mass comparable to China and its population is concentrated along coastlines – “sea level rises pose a hazardous impact to cities such as Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane,” says Dr Qin Dahe, a glaciologist and respected Chinese academician. Climate change could disrupt farming. And the frequency of bushfires is indirectly linked to climate change. Plans for being the "food bowl" of Asia could be in disarray! Newly "elected" Labor leader Bill Shorten says that: "My priorities during the [leadership] campaign is for Labor to reinforce a vision for Australia writ large. We recognise, for instance, that to write Australia large, [we’ve] got to be pro-immigration. We’ve got to be pro our regions; Australia is more than just three cities on the east coast". Surely he doesn't suggest that we have more cities on our east coast, loaded by up more imported migrants? Shorten also says that "The greatest resource we have in Australia is not the minerals beneath the ground, it is in the minds and capacities of Australians. We need to get behind our scientific and research community". We should be investing in science, education and research and that should also mean climate science! Contradictorily, he says "We need to be the party of science, research, and higher education". If Australia is going to be hit hard by climate change, it's illogical and backward thinking to be importing more people! There seems to be a large chasm of disconnect between science, empirical evidence and the grandiose ideas of politicians, completely divorced from reality.

The Drinking Water Through Recycling report by Dr Stuart Khan from the University of NSW found recycling effluent is "technically feasible and can safely supply potable water directly into the water distribution system". "I can't imagine a direct potable reuse scheme in Australia in anything less than a decade, perhaps 20 years, perhaps 30 years is more likely," Dr Khan said. Dr Khan said recycled water was already entering water storages. "There are many examples around Australia where we have waste water treatment plants that are discharging into rivers that run into reservoirs that become part of the drinking water supply," he said. Rather than "shortages" of water, it should be a "long-age" of human numbers! "I see that if we are going to have increasing population pressures, potentially increasing climate pressures in many areas, we really do need get a lot smarter about this one-directional use of water," he said. Rather than "smart", this is an acknowledgement of human population overshoot! Nature can recycle water, naturally and efficiently through climatic systems. How can humans emulate this process safely? In some river systems, towns upstream discharge their treated sewage into the river and towns further downstream draw water from the same river. For example, people living in towns that draw water from the Murrumbidgee below Canberra, and then down the Murray to Adelaide, are already partly using reuse water. Microbial pathogens in wastewater from sewage effluent are the major concern for human health when recycling water. The major groups of pathogens are: Bacteria (e.g. Escherichia coli, Salmonella spp) Viruses (e.g. Enteroviruses, Rotavirus, Hepatitis A) Protozoa (e.g. Giardia Lamblia, Cryptosporidium parvum) Helminths (e.g. Taenia spp (Tapeworm), Ancylostoma spp (Hookworm))

The Hon Kelvin Thomson MP Fenner Conference for 2013 Australian Academy of Science 11 October 2013 Last Saturday night I went to my School Reunion for the class of 1972 and 1 973. Forty years on. I’ve spent 25 of them as a State and Federal MP – some of my schoolmates thought this a senseless waste of human life! But I was more interested in their lives. One had dropped out of University after a couple of terms and within 48 hours walked into a job as a trainee Medical Scientist, around which he’s built a lifetime career. One girl never completed Year 12, and when she dropped out of school her mum took her to a local hospital and straight away got her a job as a nurse. She is still nursing. Others went into business and are now semi-retired or fully retired. One said to me, I was so lucky to be born when I was. If I’d come along today, I’d just be a bum. Well I don’t know about that bit, but he’s certainly right about being born in the 1950s. Because the opportunities that my generation had – job and career opportunities, housing opportunity, free education – our children don’t have them. For all the hype about growth and progress and development building a better world, it isn’t. It is way tougher for our kids than it ever was for us. This is not just true for Australia, it is true in many other countries as well. It is heartbreaking to hear those stories of all the African migrants who drowned off the coast of the Mediterranean island of Lampedusa, Terrible, terrible, terrible. There is a response that says we should tackle this problem by dismantling our borders and allowing people to live wherever they want to live. But anyone who has seen the ‘Gumballs’ video by Roy Beck, of Numbers USA, – and if you haven’t, I can’t recommend it too highly – will know that there are 2 billion people in the world living on $2 per day or less, and that their numbers are increasing by 80 million every year. No nation in the world – not the United States, not Europe, not Australia – can cope with ! such numbers. There are two causes of mass migration. One is people fleeing political violence and repression. The other driver is poverty and people wanting a better life. In those countries which are beset by political violence, the most common cause is religious fundamentalism. There is religious violence, oppression of minorities, not enough respect for the rights of women, and not enough separation between religion and politics, between Church and State. This needs to be called out. It is a task for all of us – from whatever religious or ethnic background we come – to condemn, to denounce, to shun, to treat as outcasts religious leaders who preach hate and violence. It has to be called for what it is. Until political and religious violence stops, there will be people fleeing it. And in the other motive for getting on board a boat – the search for a better life – again we all have a role to play. ! We heard yesterday that each new arrival in Australia creates an infrastructure cost of $341,000, which would go a long way towards lifting an entire African village out of poverty. We should lift our foreign aid budget to 0.7% of GDP. We should not cut our aid by $4.5 billion over the forward estimates as the Liberal Government is doing. It is claimed there is a budget emergency and we can’t afford this aid. Then why is the defence budget to be increased. The Government target of 2% of GDP is quite arbitrary and absolute nonsense. Spending money on aid builds goodwill with our neighbours and makes us more secure – I’ve seen it with my own eyes – people in Indonesian villages like us. In stark contrast spending money on more powerful weapons just makes our neighbours suspicious and sets in place a vicious circle of arms race, fear and mistrust. The question I have heard at this conference is, why don’t we win? Why is Australia’s population not only still increasing, but increasing by more than it used to. Why has Australia’s net migration rocketed up from 80,000 in the mid-1990s to over 200,000 nowadays? After all, all the opinion polls regularly show that between 2/3rds and 70% of Australians don’t support the high population, high migration path we’re on. It is worthy of note that no Australian political leader has ever gone to an election promising to increase the migration intake. The Whitlam government reduced immigration to just over 50,000. In more recent times migration increased substantially, during the final Howard years, and again under Kevin Rudd, who declared himself a fan of a Big Australia and achieved no electoral success after that. Julia Gillard declared herself an opponent of Big Australia but the migration rate and population growth continued largely unchanged. So why don’t we win? A central reason is that there is virtually no public debate about it. It is given no oxygen – snuffed out. Why is it so? After considerable reflection, I have come to the conclusion that population is not unique in this regard. It is one of a number of issues, not the only one, but one of a number of issues, which are considered threatening to the economic interests of the wealthiest and most powerful Australians (and in some cases non-Australians) who exercise great influence on our political debate through their direct and indirect media influence. There are political issues which contain no germ of threat to corporate wealth – same sex marriage, asylum seekers, the Republic, politicians’ entitlements. These occupy endless column inches and airtime. If they distract and divide us, so much the better. But issues which have the potential to impact on the wealth of the wealthy – executive salaries, trade practices and market concentration, foreign ownership, threats to the environment from industry and agriculture, and ye! s, population growth and migration – these issues are constantly overlooked and repressed. So one of the key reasons we lose is that we cannot get going or sustain a public debate about this issue. In this we don’t get any help from quite a few people who think of themselves as progressive, and who would look you in the eye and swear black and blue that they want to save the environment, they want to protect workers, that they care about the future. But whether it is from fear of being called racist or xenophobic, or a form of moral conceit or vanity, they will not touch the issue of population. That is of course their right, but let me make this point to such people as bluntly as I can. For as long as Australia’s rapid population growth, high migration path endures, it will destroy the things you claim to hold dear. It creates a surplus pool of labour, which is used as a battering ram against job security, an! d against workers’ pay and conditions. It prevents us attaining full employment, and the quest for jobs, jobs, jobs for our increasing workforce leads us to sacrifice our environmental standards, destroy wildlife habitat, and compromise our quality and way of life. It undermines what you say you are trying to achieve, and assures victory to your political opponents. And I think honourable defeat is overrated. In my view there is little honour in avoidable failure. In my view those who want to save the environment, who want to help workers, who care about the future, have a responsibility to succeed. Honour comes from success, from solving problems, from being able to proudly hand the baton over to the next generation. So what am I going to do about it? I won’t be contesting the Shadow Ministry election on Monday. I was a Shadow Minister for 10 years during the Howard years; I have been there and done that. But I am certainly not looking for the quiet life and to slip quiet! ly out the back door. It is precisely in order to focus on the things that really matter that I have taken the steps I have. I will devote myself in this Parliament to doing everything I can to get the neglected issues, like population, considered. I admit that to date I haven’t been all that successful with my efforts. Elements of my 2009 14 Point Plan have been adopted – the Baby Bonus is gone, the Labor Government lifted the refugee intake to 20,000 – so I will at some point re-write the Plan. But I look at our population growth statistics and projections, and I look at our vanishing birds and plants and animals, and feel that I have been essentially unsuccessful. So I am going to set up an NGO – an Incorporated Association – to pursue the cause. It will have a token membership fee and will not be a competitor organisation for Sustainable Population Australia or the environment NGOs. It will! not be a political party; I’m in one of those already! It won’t be a single-issue group – I don’t think politicians feel under much pressure from those. It won’t try to have a policy on everything, and it will try to avoid the divide and distract traps I talked about earlier. But it will set out a coherent, superior, alternative to the path we are on. I am going to launch it soon. It will be limited to Victoria, which will disappoint some of you, but you’ve got to start somewhere. I may be able to work up Associate Membership for interstaters. The great nineteenth-century philosopher John Stuart Mill said, “Solitude, in the sense of being often alone, is essential to any depth of meditation or of character, and solitude in the presence of natural beauty and grandeur, is the cradle of thoughts and aspirations which are not only good for the individual, but which society could ill do without. Nor is there much satisfaction in contemplating the world with! nothing left to the spontaneous activity of nature…. every hedgerow or superfluous tree rooted out, and scarcely a place left where a wild shrub or flower could grow without being eradicated as a weed in the name of improved agriculture”. I hope many of you will join my NGO. I hope you will help me build it into a large movement of citizens dedicated to passing on to our children and our grandchildren a world is as good a condition as the one our parents and grandparents gave to us.

Many are keenly aware of the dreadful killing of dolphins at Taiji, Japan and assume that is the largest slaughter of dolphins in the world; far from it. In fact, the killing of dolphins for food, called dolphin bush meat, is a worldwide problem and may be growing as traditional fisheries collapse. 10,000 gentle, intelligent and harmless dolphins a year are being speared and slaughtered by Peruvian fishermen- just for bait to catch endangered sharks • Fishermen in Peru hunt and butcher dolphins, even though it's illegal • They harvest meat from the animals to use as cheap bait for sharks • Jim Wickens negotiated passage on a fishing ship to see it for himself • He and his cameraman witnessed the brutal process from start to finish As the harpoon sliced through the dolphin’s flesh, a cry of excitement went up from the crew as they celebrated their catch. Fifty yards away, the dolphin’s beak broke the surface as it struggled to escape the line, slowly tiring as it became enveloped in a thick cloud of its own blood. Two crewmen dragged the rope in, the dolphin still desperately thrashing, but there was to be no miracle escape. A crew member sharpened a knife and casually began to slice off the fins, tossing them into the sea. As the thick puddle of bright red blood widened, he began to peel the skin off its back. The hunt was over, the dolphin dead, the fishermen had their bait. In marine conservation terms, that’s a double catastrophe, with dolphins — many species of which are protected — being killed to catch sharks, many species of which are now endangered. The Peruvian fishermen call dolphins ‘sea-pigs’. It’s a term that does no justice to their elegant movement through the water but, from the fishermen’s point of view, is perhaps a not unreasonable description of an animal that supplies meat that seems tailor-made for shark fishing. The meat of the sharks is sold to dealers waiting at the harbour and is destined for dinner plates across the world. The shark fins are sent to the Far East for soup. Killing dolphins is illegal in Peru but the laws are difficult to enforce on the high seas. However, dolphin meat is sold in markets on shore and could be controlled at that point, if police were willing to do so. No living creature is safe from human exploitation or violence. Although it is not well publicised in global media, there are many shark species heading towards extinction. Without international protection, some will disappear in our lifetimes if destructive fishing methods persist and current population trends continue. The practice of shark "finning," or slicing off a shark's fins and throwing it back to die slowly on the ocean floor from starvation or inability to move, has exploded worldwide due to demand from China, where shark fin soup is considered a delicacy. OR Send an email to the Ambassador of Peru in Canberra:

A baby whale has died after becoming entangled in shark nets off Sydney's northern beaches. Specialist crews were sent in to free it but found the body of the calf this morning at Mona Vale. Shona Lonigan of marine rescue group ORRCA says the baby's 45-tonne mother and other whales are nearby. The calf's mother and four other adult whales remain in the vicinity. The calf's mother and four other adult whales remain in the vicinity. The baby humpback is understood to have become entangled in the net in the early hours of the morning and was spotted from the shore about 6am. After authorities were contacted, staff from the National Parks and Wildlife and from ORRCA rushed to the scene to try to disentangle the calf. ORRCA volunteer Shona Lorigan estimated that the calf was no older than three months, and about 6-7m long. She estimated its mother's weight to be about 45t. The baby humpback is understood to have become entangled in the net in the early hours of the morning and was spotted from the shore about 6am. The calf was travelling with its mother on its southern migration to the Antarctic. In Australia, the end of Spring means time at the beach and that also means shark nets get deployed at some of the nation's most popular swimming spots. But the Humane Society International wants these nets removed because it says the nets catch and kill animals that are vital for the ecology and economy of the Pacific region. These animals include endangered turtles, dugongs and whales. The territory of marine animals is the oceans, and humans are terrestrial. The barriers to animal movement must be removed. Sharks are becoming extinct. There must be other ways of protecting swimmers, and it can't become a lethal recreation.

Dear friends throughout NSW

Injured and distressed animals that have survived the bushfires in the Blue Mountains are emerging from affected areas and seeking refuge. Greg Keightly, branch disaster coordinator of the volunteer organisation Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Services (WIRES) in the Blue Mountains, said the animals included ringtail possums, sugar gliders, birds, swamp wallabies, echidnas, lizards and wallaroos.

Mr Keightly said during previous bushfire disasters, animals had taken weeks to emerge, but the current conditions coupled with the destruction of urban areas meant that on this occasion injured animals had been seeking refuge immediately. He said the animals were distressed, had been badly affected by smoke and that many were suffering from burned paws and fused claws which had been melted by heat.

Mr Keightly said concerned people could make water available for animals in need, but stressed that shallow dishes of water should be used as deep vessels could lead to drownings.

He also reminded people to be aware of the risk that domestic animals posed to wildlife and urged them to keep dogs inside at night.

WIRES advises people to keep a cardboard box and towel in the boot of their car in case they encounter injured wildlife. It recommends that burned animals can be wrapped loosely, placed in a box, kept in a dark, quiet and warm place and offered water but not food.

Mr Keightly advised members of the public to immediately call the 24-hour local WIRES hotline on (02) 4754 2946 or 1300 094 737 if they needed to report a rescue.

He said the organisation ensures animals are cared for until their local habitat regenerates and they can be safely released back into familiar territory.

WIRES has established a Bushfire Appeal Fund to help injured, homeless, orphaned and disoriented animals.

24 October 2013. Please add further miscellaneous comments to . - Ed