Sunday, December 06, 2015

Brain dead call for a monopoly on an Australian fruit

The Fascist below won't get his way, fortunately.  Overseas growers will eventualy get their hands on seed and grow it commercially, thus sending the price down and making it more affordable for all

It's the richest known source of Vitamin C, richer than the blueberry in antioxidants and is native to Australia. So why haven't we heard more about the kakadu plum?

Grown across the top end of Northern Australia, the kakadu plum (also known as the Billygoat Plum, Gubinge or Murunga) has long been used by indigenous Australians for its medicinal properties, but has recently garnered the attention of cosmetic and health food companies around the world.

So much so, David Boehme of the wholesale supplier of the plum Wild Harvest NT -- is concerned we are at risk of losing the crop to offshore production -- a development which would undoubtedly impact the local indigenous communities who harvest it.

"The amount of retail inquiries are almost unbelievable at the moment," Boehme told The Huffington Post Australia. "We can't deal with the demand.

"We have inquiries all over the world for seeds and have to say they are not available. Look at what happened to the lemon myrtle. That's an amazing plant, native to Australia, and where do you think the plantations are? Malaysia. It’s gone. The Australian industry has been compromised because the federal government has not come to the party in identifying and protecting these Australian plants.

"Unless something to that effect comes into play, I believe, in the long term, it will be very devastating for remote indigenous communities.

"What this plant is and what it’s evolving as -- it's a resource that could be the wealth of many communities in the top end of Australia."

So what is so great about the kakadu plum?

First of all, its extreme vitamin C potency, measuring 100 times that of an orange. This is particularly attractive to cosmetic companies developing skin treatments.

"Vitamin C greatly assists the process of collagen synthesis, which, in turn, protects our skin from premature aging," nutritionist Michele Chevalley Hedge told HuffPost Australia.

"The amount of vitamin C found in the kakadu plum is extraordinary compared to what the normal consumer is used to. Yes, blueberries are highly concentrated as are oranges -- but the kakadu plum blows them out of the water."

The fruit is also so high in antioxidants, Western Australian researchers believe it could emerge as the most powerful antioxidant treatment in treating Alzheimer’s disease.
Furthermore, the kakadu plum contains phytochemicals such as gallic and ellagic acids, known for their antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal activities.

Previous efforts to supply the plum on a large scale have been hampered by its remote growing location and the fact it can be an unreliable harvest.

"Larger companies are bursting at the seams, wanting to do things, but they don't have confidence in supply and rightly so,"
Don’t have confidence in supply and rightly so," Boehme said.

"If they are going to market a product, they want an ongoing high volume of supply, and that confidence is not in wild harvest.

"The whole thing is variable in a wild harvest situation. You would just need to have a cyclone come through and lose the whole crop.

"We developed the first [kakadu plum] orchard 15 years ago. I know there are orchards happening with two [indigenous] communities in Broome. They aren't big orchards but they are a start."

Despite the difficulties associated with harvest, it didn't stop an American cosmetic company patenting the compounds found in the fruit, further fueling Boehme's fear it could be lost to overseas markets unless efforts are made to protect it here.

"The solution is to have the federal government protect Australian native species," Boehme said. "I don’t want to lose them like the macadamia and the lemon myrtle.

"There are so many unique plants in Australia indigenous people are so aware of that we don't know about. We have no idea what we are letting go.

"We need to see sustainable horticultural practices in Australian native plants. If we don't, we are really set to marginalise the economic opportunities for indigenous people to work on their own land."


More Greenie lies exposed -- coming from "respectable" people

Dr Sarah Laurie has been the voice for rural communities set upon by the wind industry. For over 5 years, she has been advocating for an Australian ‘fair go’ for people trying to get a decent night’s sleep in their own homes; and, to that end, has relentlessly sought to get relevant, meaningful and enforceable noise standards drawn up to cover all industrial noise sources, including wind turbines

Set upon by the attack dogs that help run media and political interference for the wind industry, Sarah has been subjected to more than her fair share of utterly unwarranted, vilification and abuse. And the lion’s share of that has been generated, or orchestrated, by a former tobacco advertising guru and his mate, Vestas front man, Ken McAlpine.

The guru, along with fellow wind power propagandists, McAlpine, Infigen’s Ketan Joshi and the Sydney Morning Herald’s Peter Hannam sent Tweets to their band of intellectually challenged followers, asserting that Dr Laurie had been “deregistered”; implying that she had engaged in professional misconduct, causing the Medical Board to chop her registration.

For no apparent reason – save malice – Joshi and Hannam sent the malicious Tweet (first sent by McAlpine) around once more during the guru’s appearance before the Senate Inquiry. In a “we’re not going to take it any more” move, in response, Sarah Laurie sent in her legal team, who ultimately forced the lot of them to banquet on a very generous helping of humble pie.

Sarah’s first slimy-scalp was none other than the guru, and it’s no small pleasure for STT to pop up his mea culpa, once again:


I am a Professor of Public Health at the University of Sydney.
On 20 March 2014, I retweeted the following tweet concerning Sarah Laurie:

NOT DROWNING, RANTING: Deregistered “Dr” Sarah Laurie doesn’t like the medicine dished up by @ama_media”

My tweet implied that Ms Laurie had given cause to the Medical Board of Australia to deregister her as a medical practitioner, on account of unprofessional conduct: that she is not entitled to use the title “Dr”; and that she does so in contravention of the laws that govern the conduct of medical practitioners.

These allegations were implied without foundation and are entirely false. Ms Laurie is not deregistered and has never been sanctioned by the Medical Board of Australia. Sarah Laurie allowed her registration as a medical practitioner to lapse for personal reasons; and accordingly, does not currently practice.

I sincerely apologise to Sarah Laurie for the harm, embarrassment and distress caused by my allegations, which I unreservedly retract.

Professor Simon Chapman
University of Sydney

Sarah’s next back-down was wrung out of Vesta’s McAlpine.
McAlpine’s fitting apology exposed a long-running campaign to discredit Dr Laurie, who has spoken out for residents affected by noise from wind turbines and other industrial sources through the Waubra Foundation.

What Sarah said about the guru’s personal attacks on her professional integrity apply with equal force to McAlpine, Ketan Joshi and Peter Hannam – as “just [another] example of a broader strategy employed by the wind industry to denigrate, marginalise and, therefore, exclude from public and political discourse anyone sincerely investigating a worldwide public health issue”.

With the respect and admiration STT holds for Sarah, it would rude not to run McAlpine’s apology, at least once more:


I am a consultant Special Advisor to Vestas Australian Wind Technology Pty Ltd. On 19 March 2014, I uploaded the following allegations on Twitter concerning Sarah Laurie:

NOT DROWNING, RANTING: Deregistered “Dr” Sarah Laurie doesn’t like the medicine dished up by @ama_media:

At the time that I uploaded the Tweet, I was employed by Vestas Australian Wind Technology Pty Ltd. The thrust of my allegations is that Sarah Laurie had given cause to the Medical Board of Australia to deregister her as a medical practitioner, on account of unprofessional conduct and that Sarah Laurie is not entitled to use the title “Dr”.

These allegations were made without foundation and are entirely false. Laurie is not deregistered and has never been sanctioned by the Medical Board of Australia.

I understand that Sarah Laurie allowed her registration as a medical practitioner to lapse for personal reasons; and, accordingly, does not currently practice as such. By reason of her academic qualifications, Sarah Laurie is entitled to use the title “Dr”.

I sincerely apologise to Sarah Laurie for the harm, embarrassment and distress caused by my allegations, which I unreservedly retract.

Ken McAlpine
Special Advisor, Public Affairs,
Vestas Australian Wind Technology Pty Ltd

Next on the list of wind industry backed liars was the Sydney Morning Herald’s Peter Hannam. Hannam has been an overweening mealy-mouthpiece for wind industry propaganda from the get-go. His articles drool for the these things; and are drenched in fairy-tale fantasy

Hannam, if not posing as a ‘journalist’, could be forgiven for simply being infantile and gullible; but Sarah wasn’t about to let him off the hook for repeating his buddies’ and benefactor’s lies. Hannam, too was forced to withdraw his calumny; and apologise for the harm caused. Here’s scalp number three:


On June 29 I retweeted a tweet concerning Dr Sarah Laurie that was the subject of questioning by Senator Xenophon at a Senate inquiry into the health effects of wind farms. In doing so, I did not intend to convey any suggestion in the original tweet that Dr Laurie was not a doctor nor that she had been deregistered. If any readers interpreted my retweet in that way, I withdraw any such suggestions and apologise to Dr Laurie for any embarrassment caused.

Peter Hannam
Sydney Morning Herald

Gee, that must have hurt! But Sarah wasn’t content to let it rest there. Oh no, the good Doctor was also after Infigen’s top propaganda parrot, the insipid Ketan Joshi.

Joshi parades as the fountain of all knowledge, when it comes to espousing the ‘wonders’ of wind power; ‘properly’ paid to do so, of course (for a giggle, why not check his ‘ode to wind’ website). But, in truth, is just another vacuous ninny, who apparently amuses himself (as most walking jokes tend to do) with an endless stream of inanities on Twitter.

Although he did manage to amuse STT with his ‘submission’ to the Senate’s wind farm Inquiry, which was a moaning missive, entirely dedicated to STT. Apparently, Joshi hasn’t twigged to the fact that Australians have no time for whingers (you’ll need to Google it, Ketan).

And Sarah Laurie, quite rightly, has no time for nasty little liars, like Joshi. Here’s scalp number four:

Clarification from Ketan Joshi to Sarah Laurie

I am a Research and Communications Officer employed by Infigen Energy, which operates wind farms in Australia.

On 29 June 2015, in the context of a series of tweets describing the proceedings of a public hearing of the Senate Select Committee on Wind Turbines, I published the following tweet:

In the interests of avoiding confusion, I would like to re-state that the allegation contained in the tweet by Ken McAlpine, linked to in my tweet that Sarah Laurie is a “deregistered” medical practitioner, is without foundation and entirely false.

I would like to reassert that Sarah Laurie is not deregistered and has never been sanctioned by the Medical Board of Australia. Sarah Laurie allowed her registration as a medical practitioner to lapse for personal reasons.

Ketan Joshi
Research and Communications Officer
Infigen Energy

“Without foundation and entirely false”, hey! Who would have thought: wind industry operatives caught out spreading nasty lies?

An industry that is built on a series of fictions – and peopled by malicious liars – has only one tactic when it comes to people with honesty and integrity, like Dr Sarah Laurie; and that’s to crush them with falsehoods about their true motives and character. More power to Sarah for calling them out for precisely what they are: a pack of lying hounds.


Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane labels Hizb ut-Tahrir views 'absurd'

Hizb ut-Tahrir held a large conference at Bankstown in south-western Sydney on Sunday and told the more than 500 men, women and children who attended that Muslims were being demonised over their faith.  "Deradicalisation has come to mean making Muslims less Islamic, more Western, more secular, more submissive to secular, Liberal political ... norms," Hizb ut-Tahrir spokesman Uthman Badar said.

"It is nothing more than an agenda of forced assimilation justified by exaggerated fears of a security threat."

But Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane said this was "absurd".

"Hizb ut-Tahrir's views on citizenship are a rejection of our liberal democratic values and a denial of Australian multiculturalism," he said. "They further confirm this group's extremist agenda."

Dr Soutphommasane said that when migrants became citizens, they chose to become a part of the Australian community.

"There's nothing oppressive about committing to our democracy, abiding by the law, and respecting the rights of others.

"Our multiculturalism means that everyone has a right to express their cultural heritage but also accepts the responsibilities of being an Australian citizen."

The federal government has reportedly abandoned plans under consideration by former Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, to ban Hizb ut-Tahrir.

Federal Social Services Minister Christian Porter told Sky News earlier this week the Hizb ut-Tahrir comments were "unhelpful, divisive and fundamentally ill informed".

"The recruitment process of radical organisations is to put in the mind of the people they seek to recruit that there is widespread prejudice amongst Australians against Muslim Australians.

"That level of prejudice simply does not exist in Australia."


Australia to Strip Dual Citizens of Citizenship for Terror Activities

At a time when legislation introduced by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas)  to deprive Americans who join terror groups of their citizenship faces Democratic opposition, Australian lawmakers have passed a comparable measure.

Australian terror suspects with dual citizenship will now be stripped of their Australian citizenship if they are involved in terror activity abroad, or convicted of a terrorism offence at home.

Legislation passed by the federal Senate late on Thursday will affect any person aged 14 or older, and in the case of a suspect whose activity takes place overseas, no conviction of a criminal offense will be necessary for the citizenship to be lost.

The legislation also allows the authorities to prevent any terrorist with dual nationality located abroad from returning to Australia, and to expel dual nationals who engage in terror activities in Australia, wherever possible.

The government estimates that as many as half of the at least 100 Australians who are fighting for Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS/ISIL) or other terror groups in the Middle East, mostly in Syria and Iraq, have dual nationality.

Attorney-General George Brandis and Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said in a joint statement that the legislation “updates and modernizes a long standing provision of Australian law to reflect the new age of terrorism.”

“The changes to the existing legislation were necessary to reflect the current threat that Australia and the rest of the world faces,” it said.

“Dual nationals who engage in terrorism are betraying their allegiance to this country and do not deserve to be Australian citizens.”

The Australian Citizenship Amendment (Allegiance to Australia) Bill passed its third reading by a vote of 43-13, supported by the two major parties. Opposition came from the liberal Australian Greens and a handful of independents.

Greens Senator Nick McKim argued during the debate that the legislation “does not provide judicial fairness or natural justice to potentially-impacted Australian citizens” and runs contrary to Australia’s international obligations.

“The best place for Australian citizens who are violent extremists is prosecuted, convicted, locked up in Australian prisons for a long time where they can do no further harm – not exported into a global marketplace of disenfranchised, violent people,” he said.

Australia’s threat level is currently set at “probable” – the third-highest ranking after “certain” and “expected.”

According to the Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO), that means that “credible intelligence indicates that individuals or groups have developed both the intent and capability to conduct a terrorist attack in Australia.”

Several other Western countries have made similar amendments to citizenship legislation in recent years in response to the growing terror threat, including Canada and Britain.


Tax Deal With Greens gets important bill through the Senate -- enraging the ALP

After acquiescing to government legislation on terror and surveillance, Labor is now furious at the Greens for doing a deal with Treasurer Scott Morrison. Ben Eltham explains.

“Traitors.” “Dirty deals.” “Gutless Greens.”

Labor is rather upset today. As often happens in politics, the cause of the ALP’s umbrage is not its erstwhile enemies in the Coalition, but the party on its own side of the political spectrum, the Greens.

What’s this all about? The Greens have done a deal with Treasurer Scott Morrison to usher through new laws to crack down on tax avoidance.

This means the government now has the numbers to pass its Tax Laws Amendment (Combating Multinational Tax Avoidance) Bill 2015 in the Senate.

The laws will improve tax transparency, force hundreds of private companies to publicly report their tax affairs for the first time, and impose country-by-country reporting on big multinationals – long a holy grail for anti-tax avoidance campaigners.

In particular, the new laws will capture some 281 private companies with a turnover larger than $200 million. They have so far been excluded from tax disclosure since the 1990s, the result of a law dating back to the Hawke-Keating years.

The bill will also force multinationals making more than $1 billion a year globally to file so-called “general purpose” accounts, which are much more detailed than the sketchier “special purpose” returns many big companies have been filing. Importantly, general purpose reporting will allow for “country-by-country” breakdowns of revenue flows, which will allow much greater transparency of companies shifting their money between jurisdictions.

So, on the face of it, this is a win for those campaigning to reduce tax avoidance by the wealthiest individuals and companies.

Greens leader Richard Di Natale certainly thinks so.

“This is a huge win for tax transparency,” he wrote in a media release. “If we hadn’t got this bill passed today, multinational companies would have enjoyed another full year of not having to disclose their tax on a country-by-country basis.”

“We had a choice to either criticise from the sidelines and let multinational tax avoiders off the hook, or pass laws that force much greater tax transparency. The Greens chose action.”

Labor takes a different view. The ALP’s Chris Bowen, Andrew Leigh and Penny Wong were scathing of the deal, taking to the airwaves and the Twittersphere to condemn the Greens for their perfidy.

The gist of Labor’s chagrin is that the Greens should have held out for a better deal. According to a spokesperson for Andrew Leigh who spoke to New Matilda this morning, Labor had the cross-bench senators on board. Working together, the Greens and the ALP could have forced the government to a much more stringent deal on tax avoidance.

We’ll never know, of course, because with the Greens on board, Morrison has all the numbers he needs.

“The Government has played Richard Di Natale like a banjo on this issue,” Chris Bowen said this morning at a media doorstop. “He’s fallen for their tactics and he has sold out the Australian people.”

Bowen argues that the deal excludes the bulk of the private companies that could have been forced to reveal their tax affairs. “We know from evidence from the Australian Tax Office that one in five private companies with turnover over $100 million paid zero tax,” he said. “The Greens and the Liberals have conspired together to see that situation continue.”

So who are we to believe? As usual with Greens-Labor spats, the truth is probably somewhere in the middle of the competing positions.

On the one hand, the Greens are right to point out that there is now a bill going through. As of yesterday there was no provision to force private companies to report their tax affairs: now there is. Country-by-country reporting is also a win for tax transparency, any way you look at it.

But Labor may be right to argue that the Greens could have secured a better deal if they had held out for longer. Bowen, Leigh, and Wong are correct in pointing out that the transparency requirement was a Labor policy, passed in 2013. After all, this is a deal cut with Scott Morrison, a minister the Greens have long painted as a right wing antichrist.

The irony of it all is that the current deal was only made possible after the government managed to pass its so-called “kidnap” amendment in October. That bill struck out Labor’s previous transparency requirement, voted up in 2013, on the dubious grounds that wealthy individuals could be kidnapped if disclosure laws forced them to reveal their personal wealth.

The amendment passed because of a stuff-up: Labor and the Greens mismanaged their Senate processes. After Nick Xenophon and a number of Labor senators didn’t turn up to speak on a Coalition amendment the speaking list “collapsed”, meaning the bill was passed on the voices. This forced Labor and the Greens to tack a new transparency bill onto a Coalition bill later in November.

Whatever the complicated provenance of the current legislation, it’s hard to see what Labor is so upset about. The deal is an incremental improvement in tax transparency. Yes, it could be better. Yes, the deal excludes many companies from disclosure. On the other hand, it does improve matters from the status quo. This is the sort of steady-as-goes legislative improvement that the ALP normally trumpets.

One thing is for sure: Labor’s complaints that the Greens “sold out” on this bill can’t be taken too seriously, when compared with the ALP’s dismal history in this term of parliament. The ALP has passed a raft of Coalition national security and data retention measures since 2013. All parties compromise when they think it is in their interests.

The Greens-Morrison agreement echoes a previous deal cut between Di Natale and the Treasurer in June, over pension changes. That deal also sparked a skirmish between the two left-leaning parties over who had sold out, and who had stood firm.

Then, as now, the real winner is Scott Morrison, once again demonstrating his cunning. No-one is talking about Morrison today, even though he will get the benefit of higher revenues from company tax in future budgets. Meanwhile, he can sit back and enjoy the spectacle of the Greens and Labor fighting each other over a tax bill few ordinary Australians will understand.


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