Next week, both the House and the Senate are sitting. We must demand that, this time, its gag on discussion about Julian Assange be lifted.
Most middle class Australians don't expect ever to finish up in prison, and they show little interest in prison conditions. A lot of people believe that all people imprisoned in Australia are imprisoned because they deserve to be. Even if this were so, which it is not (see list of research articles end of this article), removal of freedom is not supposed to be exacerbated by additional horrible conditions.
Entitled, "Growing Regional Victoria," the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry is pushing yet more growth in infrastructure and housing on regional Victoria, with the accompanying short-term jobs and destruction of environment, space, and biodiversity. Anyone travelling through regional Victoria (and almost any Australian state) will notice the drab housing estates with their ever meaner lots and devegetated surrounds, wedging miscellaneous drifts of precarious humans desperate for accommodation
The meeting showed huge community concern over our deteriorating living conditions and what the future holds. There are many community groups with detailed knowledge of the mechanisms and laws around what is happening in their various specific trouble spots. These people are community-minded, dedicated, and well informed.
The Federation University Branch of the NTEU has called a lunchtime protest this Thursday 1 Sept, 2022, to begin a campaign highlighting damage wrought by endless restructures, job cuts, and course cuts. Speakers will address the core issues of job security and mismanagement, protesting irrational and incoherent decisions, poor governance, poor student outcomes, and the undermining of regional communities.
Australian Parliament, which sits next week from Monday 6 September, must be made, finally, to debate Julian Assange's fate. At the weekly vigil for Julian Assange outside Melbourne's Flinders Street Station in the evening of last Friday 26 August, James Sinnamon explained how, if Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese told the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to end its imprisonment of Julian Assange, he would almost certainly comply without delay, and Julian Assange would
Discussion about the plight of the most famous and most revered Australian forbidden in your Parliament!? In 2020, the shadowy Parliamentary Selection Committee, which is controlled by the Labor Party and the Liberal/National coalition, refused to allow Tasmanian independent Andrew Wilkie MP to raise, for discussion, the plight of that most famous and revered Australian Julian Assange.
The public meeting yesterday in Cooroy achieved a greater public awareness of the alarming flaws within the intended Cooloola National Park development program, as well as an understanding of the distinct steps needed to address those flaws.
Presentations to the meeting demonstrated:
Tony Wakeham is the first speaker. Good on him. Great speech.
It is very moving and impressive to watch tens of thousands of Pakistanis singing harmoniously in support of deposed President Imran Kahn Saturday night, whilst holding torches. The Pakistanis are not dupes. Similar protests occurred all over Pakistan.
You never know what you've got until it's gone. Key points: Excavation from the Riversdale Rd stone tram shelter for cycle route; adverse impact on many trees; 22 6.5m tall light poles with grids atop; 450 trees threatened; existing playground & picnic area for replacement with larger cluttered built area; overall loss of what makes us love Wattle Park. Details inside:
"Official Western institutions have never recognised Assange as a prisoner of conscience,why do you think that is?" Oksana asks Greg Barnes. After almost a decade in confinement, Julian Assange is still fighting against extradition requests to the United States, at cost to his physical and mental health, while also compromising WikiLeaks’ ability to continue its operations.
This is sad and disturbing to watch in the neighbourhood, in Fawkner Park … The extensive works and removal of greenspace and trees, dissects the park, construction there is a bad precedent and contrary to the beloved greenspace views and vistas characteristic of this (previously) grass-based parkland. the construction workers said they are going to concrete “the court and skate park” on Monday. (B.
The final sitting of the Australian Parliament for 2021 is from Monday until Thursday next week. In the embedded video, I explain how, if it chose to, the Federal Government could have acted long ago to force the British Government to end the illegal imprisonment and torture of Julian Assange. Australians must make the government act to free Julian Assange, or else, hold it to account should it continue to fail to do so.
"I am highly concerned that residents’ rights are being eroded progressively and quietly by the State government through these Planning Reforms under the veil and distraction of a COVID emergency." (Kate Hely, Mayor of Stonnington.) The Toorak Residents' Group emailed the Malvern East Group material including the comments below, which are from the Mayor of Stonnington, Kate Hely, who, with a number of Mayors, had asked for a meeting with Minister Wynne to discuss the recent Planning Scheme Amendments. Minister Wynne chose not to meet with them. He sent one of his staff instead and the Mayors were NOT pleased. It is thought that he won't meet with the MAV either and that organisation is not pleased either. Mr. Wynne's disdain for local communities is well known.
"The State is looking to introduce a new Planning Reform that could lead to further removal of the community’s ability to shape local planning decisions; reforms that could remove your ability to meaningfully object to a development next door or down the road; and that could ignore the desire of our communities and the commitment of our councils to build neighbourhoods to be proud of.
I am highly concerned that residents’ rights are being eroded progressively and quietly by the State government through these Planning Reforms under the veil and distraction of a COVID emergency."
I recently led a group of 10 metro mayors who together represented 1.4 million people and 12,000 planning decisions a year to politely discuss our concerns about potential reforms with the Minister for Planning, and yet we were only deemed worthy of meeting his advisor.
We overtly asked to be involved in forming reform decisions but were essentially dismissed.
This week I heard that the President of the MAV (Municipal Association of Victoria - the peak body for all 79 Victorian councils) had not even been able to get a meeting with the Minister to discuss the concerns of our sector. So councils have been proactively trying to cooperate and work with the State on these reforms, and yet the door remains shut to us.
Compounding this sense of alarm, Council officers have been asked to sign non-disclosure agreements with DWELP (The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning - which is the State Government department in charge of planning) such that they cannot share information about the proposed Planning Reforms with the community elected councillors.
….. They are attempting to block the ability for democratically elected community representatives to know about or feed into what will dramatically impact our community, villages, streets and neighbourhoods! Alarm bells should be going off!
I have not been given any detail about these reforms. There is a discussion that they could speed up the planning process. But is that by simply removing the voice of our community? There is discussion that the reforms will help to stimulate a post-COVID recovery. But are quick builds more important than long-term neighbourhood character and due consideration of context?
My neighbouring Mayor, Gary Thompson of Boroondara pointed out, “Over the last 24 years each State Government has introduced a few new Planning Provisions. The Andrews State Government has introduced 1/3 of all the Planning Provisions over the last 24 years in just over two and a half years…. Why? Because they have the power to do so in Government.”
This is not democracy in action. It is more like democracy being locked out of the room.
And it all might happen before Christmas. However, we don't really know because they will not share with locally elected representatives what’s behind the ‘secret planning reform’ door.
Stonnington Council has goals and plans for how we want to preserve and enhance our neighbourhoods, villages and streets. We have educated and sophisticated residents that expect to be able to have a voice in what happens in their neighbourhoods and streets. We have residents who expect their Council to advocate on their behalf. I am highly concerned about these reforms - and our community should be too."
SUBMISSION…..MELBOURNE’S FUTURE PLANNING FRAMEWORK REVIEW
MEG is grateful to have heard of this review from Clifford Hayes (MLC Southern Metropolitan Region and we are surprised that DELWP didn’t send notice of the Review directly to us. We are also grateful to Mary Drost, Convenor of Planning Backlash. Mary forwarded this to all the residents’ groups in the network.
In our opinion this document should be called “just more of the same” rather than a “review.”
State Government Planning Reforms
We did not notice a reference to the recent ‘reforms’ to Planning made by State Government in this document….the reforms to which there was no community consultation, indeed not even consultation with local councils. Certain members of staff were consulted and had to sign confidentiality agreements.’ Surely these so-called reforms form part of the planning framework in which they are to operate and yet DELWP does not even mention that the ‘reforms’ give the Minister “unprecedented’ power and seem to be aimed at providing CERTAINTY for developers so WHY are these new powers not mentioned in a “Planning Framework Review.?’
There was no ‘engagement with the community’ over these outrageous invasions of our rights.
Regionalisation…..formerly known as ‘decentralisation.’
For some years MEG has promoted the notion of ‘decentralising’ the State’s population.
Strategically directed, incentive driven decentralization has been our mantra. This does not mean just nominating towns such as Geelong, Ballarat or Bendigo and having more transport between each of these centres to Melbourne. Doing this leaves Melbourne as the centre to which endless attention is paid. It means have a transport system that crisscrosses the State.
Big infrastructure plans should not just concentrate on what is proposed for Melbourne…such as that tunnel that has ground to a halt, a network of roads for Melbourne that, so far, has resulted in the destruction of so much green space, so many canopy trees that clean the air we breathe with the obvious effect of being a detriment to health. Combined with Local Councils’ efforts to FILL open space with STUFF this is a negative use of the ‘tax dollar.’
Big infrastructure plans should focus on building rail lines across the State linking regional centres with each other as well as with Melbourne, building tram lines in the regional cities, linking the regional cities with airports. This sort of thing is what regionalization is all about. If State Government made a real effort to be a government for the STATE and not just for Melbourne we could begin to see some hope of this city surviving.
Encouragement should be given to establishing manufacturing industries both in the regions and in Melbourne so that Victoria could become a centre for all of those things that are at present made in certain Asian countries.
Encouragement should be given to wealth accelerators. We cite the instance of the small company in W.A. that is experimenting with the notion of removing carbon from coal. The idea of offering incentives for manufacturing activities should be both city-based and region-based.
We should mention first that the Green Wedges do not have sufficient protection and this is a matter that State Government should deal with immediately.
No planning scheme (or ‘framework’) can continue to promote the wanton destruction of thousands of trees and fob off the protesters with that old perennial….”we will plant double the number of saplings.” All forms of Government say this forgetting just for the moment the number of YEARS it takes for a tree to develop a canopy that will start absorbing pollution, provide shade, counter the ‘heat island’ effect. Stonnington Council is as guilty of doing this as is State Government.
The push by Government for dense high-rise developments is a deliberate act of vandalism which is whimsically called ‘progress.’
We can find no mention of ‘ventilation’ in any of DELWP’s document and surely this matter must be dealt with in the light of our experience with COVID.
We can find no mention of the ‘flammable cladding’ scandal in the Review of the framework for “Plan Melbourne 2050.” Another issue that does not rate a mention.
With Melbourne’s population slowly decreasing due to COVID and more and more workers opting to ‘work from home’ now is the time to encourage a decrease in numbers for the city rather than putting forward a framework to handle an increase. State Government should grasp this opportunity and set out for the State a framework of development with environmentally sustainable objectives rather than spending an enormous amount of time and effort on producing yet another lengthy document filled with what has become known as ‘weasel words.’
In the category of ‘weasel words’ come such terms as……..
‘engagement with the community’… emerging character…. making Melbourne marvellous….. integrated transport…,,.liveability…..,,sustainability & resilience.
We have heard them all SO OFTEN…. We have even been guilty of using one or two of them at times.
State Government Departments such as DELWP could lead the way by using a new vocabulary as it develops new ways of developing the STATE instead of just more of the same only FASTER.
Initially the ‘zones’ provided the community with a degree of certainty. With the present Minister’s constant ‘watering down’ of the requirements of the zones such certainty is gradually being whittled away.
In the original legislation regarding ‘zones’ there was one glaring omission. There was, and is, no grading of Commercial Zones. It is all Commercial 1. A Small Neighbourhood Activity Centre can have the same level of development that is allowable in a Principal Activity Centre. This results in far too many anomalies and has resulted in
gross invasions of residential amenity in NRZ and heritage areas. This matter should be addressed.
Let us finish with an apt headline from The Age on October 12.2021
City’s new design mantra: Cut the ‘crap’
“Merely adding more people isn’t a sustainable economic strategy. We can’t pretend that high immigration comes without a cost and growth should not impose an unfair burden on those who are already here. Excessively rapid growth puts downward pressure on wages and upward pressure on housing prices, both of which have sorely stung workers and aspiring home-owners in Sydney and other parts of NSW for a decade. When you look at the numbers, it’s no surprise communities in Sydney are feeling the pressure. In 2006, annual net overseas migration to Australia increased to roughly double its pace across the preceding 25 years.” (Dominique Perrottet as Treasurer in 2018)
To the horror of many Australians, Perrottet has recently called for 'explosive immigration' to Australia, purportedly as an economic fix. In this interview we see how shockingly cynical this call really is, in the light of Perrottet's own history.
Dominic Perrottet’s ‘explosive immigration surge’ will be a disaster
Kelvin Thomson, after quoting Dominique Perrottet above, added, “He told your colleague Michael Mclaren, in an interview in 2018, that simply because the treasury bureaucrats might tell you that putting in more people drives economic growth, that is lazy economics. That’s what he should have told your bureaucrats now, instead of apparently falling hook line and sinker for what he was able to recognize as rubbish three years ago.”
Candobetter Editorial comment: It is obvious that immigration adds pressure on politicians too. Was giving the growth lobby 'explosive immigration' the price Perrottet paid to be NSW Premier, causing him to eat his 2018 words? NSW people and the rest of Australia will also pay for this if it goes ahead.
In the podcast we link to above, Luke Grant is joined by The Hon. Kelvin Thomson, Former Federal Member for Wills & spokesman for the Sustainable Australia Party, who advises that NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet rule out proposals for an “explosive” immigration surge which would bring in 2 million extra migrants over the next five years.
Mr Thomson says, “Not only will 2 million extra people be an environmental disaster, it will be a disaster for young Sydney-siders.”
“For the first time in years the Reserve Bank and leading economists have seen signs of wages growth and increasing job opportunities for young people.”
“The “explosive” two million extra people would detonate those opportunities, blowing the chances of young people to have secure full time jobs right out of the water.”
“The “explosive” surge would also be bad for Sydney’s housing affordability, traffic congestion, greenhouse gas emissions, open space and tree canopy cover.”
- Significantly remove local objection rights on all large developments (not just the ministers own "captains picks")
- Establish a state planning panel that approves these decisions bypassing any local council involvement
- The planning panel will not be subject to ANY appeal process - their decisions will be final
- Effectively removing Council and resident objections to quicken development led state construction recovery
These changes are aimed at being rushed through during state of emergency powers rendering parliament and locals unable to be heard.
Ratepayers Victoria are holding 3 FREE seminars for online attendance to hear more, hear from Councillors and know how to object to the proposed changes.
If we don't fight for our suburbs now, when?
To register please visit: https://www.ratepayersvictoria.com.au/
Dean Hurlston, President
Lynnette Saloumi, Secretary
Ratepayers Victoria Inc.
"Today, with little warning and a lot of malice, the Liberal and Labor parties teamed up to pass legislation requiring minor parties to prove they have over 1500 members within the next three months - up from 500 - before the 2022 federal election." (William Bourke, President Sustainable Australia Party, 27 August 2021)
See the article in the Canberra Times. https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/7403602/electoral-laws-pass-federal-parliament/Make no mistake, this is an attack on democracy, to destroy competition.
The Sustainable Australia Party (SAP) began as the Stable Population Party of Australia some time ago, but gradually, without losing this orientation, it has developed a more complex democratic and economic platform around this, and a new name.
William Bourke writes:
"SAP had already passed the Australian Electoral Commission's test of 500 members last year and therefore (seemingly) had clearance to contest the upcoming federal election.
Now, we have a massive administrative project dumped on us just when we were selecting candidates and getting on with campaigning.
This is how the major parties make it very difficult for minor parties - through endless compliance and administration requirements.
Join today for $22/$11
While we technically have over 1500 members, it will be a big challenge to get everyone to respond to an upcoming audit.
Put simply, we need more members.
Sustainable Australia Party is an independent community movement with a positive plan for an economically, environmentally and socially sustainable Australia. We support a science and evidence-based approach to policy.
We campaign to protect our environment, stop overdevelopment and stop corruption.
We increasingly understand that systemic political corruption is at the heart of our growing problems including environmental crises, overdevelopment, rapid population growth, the privatisation of our publicly-owned natural monopolies and the de-industrialisation of our previously robust and self-sufficient economy.
Now they are coming for minor parties.
We are Australia's only true sustainability-first political party and we originally formed because no other party included a sensible plan to stabilise Australia's population within an environmental platform.
You may have considered joining us in the past.
Now is the time. It's only $22/$11.
We welcome both active and passive members. You will be under no pressure to do anything other than pay a small joining fee."
"In Victoria, this practice has started with Banyule Council's deal with Woolworths, who approached council to purchase an additional 828sqm of public land that wasn't on the market.
It introduced the influence of private developers over and above transparency to the public, and puts every piece of public land at risk. The Woolworths deal was well over 2 years in the making before it came to light. Imagine if you discovered that our parklands or even a local park was negotiated for sale 2 years ago - now is the time to act before the precedent is set. Public land should stay in public hands." (Excerpt from petition).
Please sign this e-petition to parliament for this very important issue and forward across your networks.
Prevent local Councils accepting unsolicited land proposals.
In Victoria, this practice has started with Banyule Council's deal with Woolworths who approached council to purchase an additional 828sqm of public land that wasn't on the market.
It introduced the influence of private developers over and above transparency to the public and puts every piece of public land at risk. The Woolworths deal was well over 2 years in the making before it came to light. Imagine if you discovered that our parklands or even a local park was negotiated for sale 2 years ago - now is the time to act before the precedent is set. Public land should stay in public hands.
If you are not familiar with the term "Unsolicited Proposals" and associated risks, watch this Four Corners episode on Crown Casino, Barangaroo tower....started with an unsolicited proposal. (fascinating, a must watch!):
“That building should stand there and be a warning to us all…we should look at that building and forever know that we should never let that happen again.” Architect
Council are advertising this heavily and will not identify which other councils have contacted them. One example:
"Councillor Garotti says many other councils are now contacting Banyule about how to form worthwhile partnerships. “I think we’re leading the way in this,” he said."
The action is simple, and the risk is huge. Please sign.
Note that this petition is sponsored by Mr Clifford Hayes, Legislative Council, Sustainable Australia Party
The video inside the article is a record of the third ARAG (Ashburton Residents Action Group) public rally over six years in the residential battle to protect Markham Estate and the surrounding streets and environment.
What was once a 56 apartment, two storey public housing community in Ashburton turned into a six year nightmare for residents when the State Government announced it would be replacing the 56 apartments with 240, of which only 60 would be for public housing; the rest to be sold privately for a fortune.
This outrageous proposal galvanised the community and they have been fighting for a fair go and consultation ever since.
Speakers at this rally included ARAG leaders Ian and Rita, David Davis (Shadow Planning Minister), Cr Garry Thompson (Mayor of Boroondara) and Clifford Hayes MP (Sustainable Australia Party).
In attendance was Will Fowles MP (Member for Burwood) who declined to speak.
Advocacy has now resulted in this proposal being reduced to 178 public housing units (non-privatised) however the commercial size of the development in a residential area is what the residents are still battling.
No developer in Melbourne could build this development, however the State Government have exempted themselves from planning laws. In addition, they have recently passed more laws that remove any requirement for consultation or planning application.
This is a dictatorship, and the residents of Ashburton are fighting back alongside every other Victorian community being overridden by this State Government.
These developments must be reduced in size, residents must be treated fairly, and planning must be returned to Local Government who understand their suburbs.
On Jan. 20, 2021, Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States. The Independent and Peaceful Australia Network urges Australians to reflect on our relationship with the US during this inauguration and think deeply about how we may forge an independent and peaceful foreign policy in the coming years.
While President Biden promises to differ from former-President Donald Trump, Australia faces issues that will persist regardless of who sits in the Oval Office.
On-going conflicts in the Middle East, the growing power of China, the ramifications of global warming and many more issues necessitate an intelligent foreign policy informed by the need for peace, science and our national interests.
IPAN has established the People’s Inquiry exploring the costs and consequences of the US alliance and US-led wars to assist in the development of this foreign policy. The Inquiry is already receiving submissions which will result in a report covering the Australian public’s opinion on the US alliance and its alternatives.
Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s admission that Australia is “joined at the hip” to the US is a worrying prospect - a sentiment that has continued under Prime Minister Scott Morrison – and is one not supported by an Australian public that routinely disagrees with US foreign policy.
Australia needs to build a diplomatic and policy apparatus that can not only deviate from Washington but pursue the interests of the Australian people.
This will only happen when a cohesive and informed foreign policy approach is established. The People’s Inquiry will contribute to this through soliciting public submissions and expert opinion.
Details of this Inquiry can be found at the following link: https://www.independentpeacefulaustralia.com.au
Residents were already very concerned about FCC's proposal regarding Seaford Foreshore Activation last year. We were assured by local councillors that this would not lead to development of inappropriate hard surfaces and infrastructure on the Seaford Foreshore, yet this is exactly what is being proposed.
A letter sent to all Frankston Councillors regarding proposed development on Seaford Foreshore:
Residents were already very concerned about FCC's proposal regarding Seaford Foreshore Activation last year. We were assured by local councillors that this would not lead to development of inappropriate hard surfaces and infrastructure on the Seaford Foreshore, yet this is exactly what is being proposed.
As it stands, to get natural walks through Tea Tree and Banksia along the beach like we have at Seaford you must go as far as Wilson's Promontory National Park. People flock to that park to experience those walks, yet we are fortunate enough in Seaford to have such walks on our very own foreshore. However, in recent years Council has been actively undermining the natural beauty of these walks. These are not improvement works as claimed in the Council's letter to residents, but rather vandalism of a unique, natural foreshore environment.
I ask what is behind this? This creeping infrastructure and development on the Seaford Foreshore is not only ruining it, it makes no sense. Where is the push for these developments coming from? Certainly not the community. One can only assume this is a plan being pushed by Council staff.
I am certainly opposed to this proposed development. We have already lost some of our natural tracks along the creek with the rail trail, and in general the level of hard surfacing and development in Seaford is already greatly increased with the rail crossing project. Furthermore, Seaford Foreshore has already been subjected to the installation of a number of hard paths and unnatural lighting.
Can Council please provide a justification for this proposed development that indicates that this not just another project imposed on the community by Frankston Council and/or DELWP?
Frankston Councillor Glenn Aitken was notified on Thursday 12 March that the LXRP 'works' east of the railway line at Seaford will proceed without further consultation. "It is likely they will remove more vegetation immediately.They will flatten pretty much everything on the eastern side of the railway line from Eel Race Rd to Coolibar Ave. There is no right of appeal as it is on their land which...they conveniently forget... is still public land, owned by the State." This is the clear message that authorities need to hear and heed,as expressed by Cr Glenn, "Our natural environment is not negotiable and must be protected."
You can watch more of Cr Glenn's inspirational Proclamation of 24 February here:
Unfortunately the 'authorities' are not listening to the community, but to the population boosters and developers in and close to government.
Please let your protests be heard and voice your opposition to the wilful environmental destruction without delay to Sonya Kilkenny MP for Carrum :
- telephone her office at (03) 9773 2727
- post on her Facebook page :https://www.facebook.com/SonyaKilkennyMP/ and alert others
- post on other social media platforms
- alert your friends and contacts
Whether or not the vegetation is on railway controlled land is irrelevant.
The vegetation is still a vital connection to the coastal corridor.
Birds, native bees, animals or other inhabitants of the coastal corridor don’t look at a tree and choose not to go there because it’s under railway and State governance.
Cr Glenn is arranging a public meeting and further notice will be given when arrangements are finalised.
Today, 24 February 2020, Frankston Councillor, Glen Aitken, led a protest with a proclamation against the destruction of trees in a section of rare bush habitat along Kananook Creek. His speech is transcribed inside this article. The Victorian Railway Level Crossing Removal Authority is the author of what appears to be arrogant and gratuitous removal of precious old trees and bushland. This bushland is part of a several kilometer connected habitat that runs along the banks of Kananook Creek. The purpose of the moonscaping of this area is to construct a concrete bicycle path that no-one here wants. Ironically the State Government and the Greens have been promoting cycling as a healthy 'green' activity, whilst using it to spearhead land-clearing in bushland and parks. Residents feel that this shock and awe approach is to soften them up for the execution of an overall plan to infill and overdevelop this area, as part of the State and Federal Governments' project of engineering population growth and overdevelopment, at the behest of the property development lobby, whom they serve.
Cr Glen Aitken acknowledge the Bunerong people and those attending, including people who had travelled quite a distance. Additionally he acknowledged the people who in the past and the present and into the future have fought so strongly for the environment in Frankston and surrounding municipalities and beyond. We would be lost without their efforts. He aknowledged Cr Steve Toms who also attended.
"Today is a powerful affirmation of our values and determination to guard and cherish our land. Today is an opportunity to send a clear message to parliament and authorities that our natural environment is not negotiable, and must be protected.
This is a proclamation on behalf of our community to stand strong against planning totalitarianism. And to challenge any government or authority that claims to have listened to the community and then turns around summarily to brutalise land and places we all love.
In the beginning, the Aboriginal people gathered on this land, where we stand today. They hunted and fished for survival. They cared for the land and lived with it in harmony. Kananook Creek was once a vital waterway, connected to the vast Carrum Carrum Swamps, part of the huge and extensive ecosystem, which has now largely vanished. The creek and its associated vegetation has long been treasured as it represents an irreplacable reserve that can never be replicated again.
Throughout the years, many people, particularly from the mid-20th century, to this present time, have engaged in heroic labours and struggles to save both Seaford Foreshore and Kananook Creek from degradation and exploitation. They have held high the torch of environmental justice.
Only recently, Frankston Council, creditably, opposed any further development of the Green Wedge, and Council's decision is vindicated. By contrast, the wilful destruction of coastal vegetation here is absolutely shameful, and totally contrary to widely accepted environmental principles and public expectations. How has this happened?
There are numerous ways to 'arrive' with a 'misreading' of public opinion, through surveys and other means, such as methodology. Anyone can get a staged answer according to the style of question that is asked, which in turn can produce the exact result that was wanted and engineered in the first place. Another way to silence anyone who speaks out, is to subject them to public embarassment or political ridicule.
Many people complained throughout the entire consultation process, but information was difficult to pin down, and [they] were not satisfied with answers that lacked substance. Our own council had difficulty in securing detail when we requested information, and were taken by surprise with outcomes.
Given the tree losses that have occurred, it is only reasonable many are now asking, 'how did this happen'? Local MPs should answer to the community for what has been done. A thoroughly detailed and educated approach ought to have been taken. And what is going to be done to ensure that this does not happen again?
In Seaford, with this project, there must be a rethink and proper consultation before any further works are carried out. With a huge population increase planned for Melbourne, we have seen a loss of values we have all cherished, such as local identity and character being bulldozed to make way for towering monoliths and multilevel appartments.
Our history is being lost and the places we identified with are vanishing. Residential overcrowding, loss of green space and canopy trees, with housing prices escalating, far beyond the means of many, who will never be able to purchase, and continue, as they age, in rental, 'til they are forced out through inability to pay. That has changed the social landscape.
Our native reserves, our green wedges, and any other open spaces are consequently more important and more critically needed than ever before.
[Picks up a silver coloured cup full of woodchips.] These remnants are from a tree that was about 80 years old and therefore began its life as a young seedling at the end of the Great Depression and the outbreak of World War Two in 1939. It saw the reconstruction years of the 1950s and it continued to spread its branches, providing shelter and food to native birds and animals. It saw the turn of the millenium and continued to cast welcome shade and held its place with pride in our landscape - until this February, when it was unforgivably dragged to the ground and destroyed. These chips are the body and the spirit of the tree and I now return them to the earth.
In adversity and hardship, we grow stronger and, in the face of environmental brutality, our voice becomes louder. We will never surrender to stupidity.
We urgently seek greater recognition and protection for all native vegetation. We demand that government and all relevant authorities rewrite consultation formulars to guarantee real consultation processes instead of public pantomime. We call upon the State Government and associated authorities to account for what has happened here in Seaford. And Carrum, for that matter.
I'm going to just add one more comment about Carrum. The vaunted proposal was to provide a place with lovely parks and new facilities. When you go through Carrum today, and see what has happened, and that almighty grey monolith of concrete and steel - it has cut the guts right out of Carrum. It has destroyed Carrum as a kind and generous low-key postal destination forever. That is unforgivable!
And, we call for a complete reassessment of state planning policy in order that strong, clear and visionary policies be written and enacted, that are based on the human values that protect the history, environment, and liveability of the greater metropolitan area."
The transcript made by the author of this article from the video.
Frankston's Cr Glenn Aitken is now asking for your support with your attendance this coming Monday near the Seaford Scout Hall next to Seaford Station at 1PM, 24 February 2020, when he will make a proclamation against such vandalism.
To all tree lovers and protectors of the environment,
You may be aware that the crossing removal works at Seaford have led to the terrible destruction of many significant mature trees. This has caused an outcry in the community.
Frankston Council has written this week to LXRA (The Level Crossing Removal Authority ) seeking assurance that further vegetation removal works will be paused pending a more thorough consultation with Council and the community.
Frankston's Cr Glenn Aitken is now asking for your support with your attendance this coming Monday as follows:
"I am making a proclamation at Seaford near the Scout hall next to Seaford station at 1 PM on Monday 24th Feb. 2020. It will be about the vandalism by LXRA. Would you be able to be present and also spread the word to all environment groups and community members that value our history, coast and vegetation?"
Please make every effort to be there to lend your support and let as many others as possible know about this!
The U.N.'s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva has compiled and released a list of companies which operate in the illegal settlements in the West Bank, which is a chunk of land east of Israel, formerly Palestine, of which Israel took military control in 1967. Israel has encouraged property development in the region and for Jewish settlers to move in, but Palestinians (and most of the international community) consider it illegally occupied Palestinian land. The tragic political impasse between Israel and Palestine has recently been highlighted by property developer and US President Donald Trump's so-called "Deal of the century," involving his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who is also a real-estate developer. The 'deal' advocates for Israel further fragmenting what land remains to Palestinians and further reducing their exiguous political rights. Palestinians were not included in the consultation surrounding this 'deal', although they are its object.
"About 600,000 Jews live in about 140 settlements built since Israel's occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 1967. The settlements are widely considered illegal under international law, though Israel has always disputed this. The Palestinians have long called for the removal of the settlements, arguing that their presence on land they claim for a future independent Palestinian state makes it almost impossible to make such a state a reality." (BBC https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-51477231"
The role that property development plays in this and other land-grab conflicts is striking. The materials used in construction are also excellent vehicles for money laundering. Property developers take over many of the roles of government, driving massive immigration, and birth rates where they can, in order to keep up demand and maintain land-price inflation. Property development is often mistaken for a constructive activity, but the reality is that bulldozers trash both nature and democracy, just like tanks. Planning requires strict control by citizens. Putting it in the hands of vested interests destroys self-determination. Australia is the victim of similar land-grabs and erosion of democracy, although at this point, Australians are still free to move within their continent. Australian state governments, Australian property developers, and Israel have and seek mutual investments in property development and population growth engineering. 
List of Companies operating in the illegal settlements in the West Bank, according to the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva
Afikim Public Transportation Ltd.
American Israeli Gas Corporation Ltd.
Amir Marketing and Investments in Agriculture Ltd.
Amos Hadar Properties and Investments Ltd.
Ariel Properties Group
Ashtrom Industries Ltd.
Ashtrom Properties Ltd.
Avgol Industries 1953 Ltd.
Bank Hapoalim B.M.
Bank Leumi Le-Israel B.M.
Bank of Jerusalem Ltd.
Beit Haarchiv Ltd.
Bezeq, the Israel Telecommunication
C Mer Industries Ltd.
Café Café Israel Ltd.
Cellcom Israel Ltd.
Chish Nofei Israel Ltd.
Citadis Israel Ltd.
Darban Investments Ltd.
Delek Group Ltd.
Dor Alon Energy in Israel 1988 Ltd.
Egged, Israel Transportation Cooperative Society Ltd.
Energix Renewable Energies Ltd.
EPR Systems Ltd.
Expedia Group Inc.
Field Produce Ltd.
Field Produce Marketing Ltd.
First International Bank of Israel Ltd.
Galshan Shvakim Ltd.
General Mills Israel Ltd.
Hadiklaim Israel Date Growers Cooperative Ltd.
Hot Mobile Ltd.
Hot Telecommunications Systems Ltd.
Industrial Buildings Corporation Ltd.
Israel Discount Bank Ltd.
Israel Railways Corporation Ltd.
JC Bamford Excavators Ltd.
Jerusalem Economy Ltd.
Kavim Public Transportation Ltd.
Lipski Installation and Sanitation Ltd.
Matrix IT Ltd.
Mayer Davidov Garages Ltd.
Mekorot Water Company Ltd.
Mercantile Discount Bank Ltd.
Merkavim Transportation Technologies Ltd.
Mizrahi Tefahot Bank Ltd.
Modi’in Ezrachi Group Ltd.
Mordechai Aviv Taasiot Beniyah 1973 Ltd.
Motorola Solutions Israel Ltd.
Municipal Bank Ltd.
Naaman Group Ltd.
Nof Yam Security Ltd.
Ofertex Industries 1997 Ltd.
Bank Otsar Ha-Hayal Ltd.
Partner Communications Company Ltd.
Paz Oil Company Ltd.
Pelephone Communications Ltd.
Proffimat S.R. Ltd.
Rami Levy Chain Stores Hashikma Marketing 2006 Ltd.
Rami Levy Hashikma Marketing Communication Ltd.
Shalgal Food Ltd.
Shapir Engineering and Industry Ltd.
Sonol Israel Ltd.
Tahal Group International B.V.
Unikowsky Maoz Ltd.
Zakai Agricultural Know-how and inputs Ltd.
ZF Development and Construction
ZMH Hammermand Ltd.
Zriha Hlavin Industries Ltd.
Alon Blue Square Israel Ltd.
Altice Europe N.V.
Amnon Mesilot Ltd.
Ashtrom Group Ltd.
Booking Holdings Inc.
Brand Industries Ltd.
Delta Galil Industries Ltd.
eDreams ODIGEO S.A.
Export Investment Company Ltd.
General Mills Inc.
Hamat Group Ltd.
Indorama Ventures P.C.L.
Mayer’s Cars and Trucks Co. Ltd.
Motorola Solutions Inc.
Villar International Ltd.
Jodi Rudoren and Jeremy Ashkenas, Netanyahu and the Settlements, New York Times.
Nicolas Blincoe, "Property speculation in Israel is on rocky ground.")
How can Australians unite against the corporate and government forces that are failing to avert ecological catastrophe on Australia? We are an increasingly dispersed and disorganised colonial people, without a talking stick of our own.
The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) is busy finalising its consideration of the Inquiry into the impact of the exercise of law enforcement and intelligence powers on the freedom of the press.
The Chair, Mr Andrew Hastie MP, said ‘The Committee has received considerable evidence from submitters and witnesses regarding the media and their ability to operate effectively within Australia’s democratic society. All members are endeavouring to achieve a bipartisan report, which delivers tangible areas for reform and consideration. This will not be possible by the end of November.’
The Deputy Chair, Hon Anthony Byrne MP, said ‘As this inquiry has progressed, the complexity and nuances of the issues raised have become acutely emphasised to the Committee. The ability for the Committee to make targeted recommendations is reliant on time, and the Committee would rather report later to ensure that occurs.’
The Committee has written to the Attorney-General informing him of the later reporting requirement, with the undertaking to present a report in the week before Christmas at the latest.