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Tuesday, 18 December


Morrison's election campaign battle plan 2019 North Coast Voices

Apparently Australia's interim prime minister, Liberal MP for Cook Scott Morrison has a prepared 'battle' plan for the May 2019.

* Ministers need to portray gravitas and confidence.

*Don't let backbench MPs open their mouths without a central office minder. 

*Give prepared statements and don't answer journalists questions about said statements.

*Freeze out mainstream news outlets other than News Corp, Sky News, 2GB Radio and its Macquarie Media stablemates.

* Stay on message and repeat, repeat, repeat - Liberal Good, Labor Bad!

* Praise Supreme Leader Scott Morrison.

The Plan...........



Scott Morrison's secretive new public sector corruption division with no teeth - not even a set of badly fitting dentures North Coast Voices

Alan Moir Cartoon

A federal statutory body, the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity (ACLEI) has been in existence since December 2006 and is headed by the Integrity Commissioner. The current Integrity Commissioner is Michael Griffin AM.

There is also a Parliamentary Joint Committee on the ACLEI.

The Morrison plan for a new Commonwealth Integrity Commission (CIC) intends to retain the ACLEI as one of two divisions within the CIC and expand the number of government agencies within this first divisions jurisdiction from twelve (12) to sixteen (16) otherwise it is business as usual for the multi-agency ACLEI.

At the same time the Morrison Government intends the over-arching CIC to have a second division the Public Sector Division - without the full powers of statutory anti-corruption commissions.

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Monday, 17 December


Songs to drive the cold winter away In That Howling Infinite

I am not one who makes much of the festive season, but inspired by the example of my favourite blog, Thom Hickeys Immortal Juke Box, here are five favourite Christmas songs.


The King, sung here by Canadians Loreena McKennitt and Cyril Smith, from Loreenas Christmas album To Drive the Cold Winter Away, hails from a long tradition of Wren King songs. The king of the title is the wee wren, the king of all birds, as many old songs tell it. Through December until Twelfth Night (the sixth of January), it was common among Celtic-speakers in Brittany, Wales, Manx, Scotland, and Ireland for children and adults to cruise their neighbourhoods cadging food, money or booze in return for seeing a Wren that they had captured. This particular King Wren song dates from the eighteenth century, although the heavy weaponry was added in the nineteenth.

Health, love and peace be all here in this place
By your leave we shall sing, concerning our King
Our King is well-dressed in silks of the best
In ribbons so rare no king can compare
We have travelled many miles over hedges and stiles
In search of our King unto you we bring.
We have powder and shot to conquer the lot
We have cannon and ball to conquer them all.
Old Christmas is past, twelve tide is the last
And we bid you adieu, great joy to the new


Of all the trees that are in the wood, the holly bears the crown.  Northumbrian Kate Rusbys rendering of the old English carol The Holly and the Ivy is gorgeous. I reblogged Thom Hickeys tribute to this lovely song earlier this month. It is worth another look and listen. The lyrics are so bucolic, so timeless:

The rising of the sun
The running of the deer
The playing of the merry organ
Sweet singing in the choir



Popular salve no balm for skin cancer: SCU study Local News Echonetdaily

SCUs Andy Croaker with a pot of the black salve. Some samples have proven highly toxic and others completely inactive.
Photo Leigh Jensen/Southern Cross University

Is black salve, the much-feted skin cancer cream, a miracle cure or a horror story? New research from Southern Cross University (SCU) proves the latter in the first international study to quantitatively assess its dangerous ingredients.

The sale of black salve is illegal in Australia so the SCU research team analysed 13 black salve products purchased from different online sellers around the world.

Lead author and PhD candidate Andy Croaker GP, who is a medical practitioner, said the findings published in the Journal of Herbal Medicine showed that black salve products were dangerous.

Like acid

Its similar to playing a game of Russian roulette with the majority of black salves tested posing a significant risk of harm to patients.

Some black salves contained very high concentrations of compounds likely to kill any tissue they came in contact with, putting patients at risk of significant scarring and deformity.

One salve contained a compound at a concentration over 900 times that needed to kill normal skin cells; its clinical use would be similar to applying a strong acid to the skin, said Mr Croaker.

Other black salves had undetectable levels of cytotoxic compounds meaning they would not react to cancer tissue giving patients a false sense of security that their skin lesion was not cancer. This could delay skin cancer diagnosis which for some skin cancers could put patients lives at risk.

No cure

Mr Croaker, who works at the Sawtell Medical Centre, cautioned against people self-administering black salve.

DIY may be okay for renovatin...


Starlight Festival shines bright with renowned keynote presenters Byron Bay Blog

What: The 23rd year of this nationally renowned cultural event will feature four transformational days of keynote speakers, soundbaths, yoga, workshops, chant, breathwork and much more. Each day features a full program of events included with entry and the main hall with its celebrated community of yogis, healers, artists, psychics, practitioners and presenters. Treat yourself and enjoy a truly Byron Bay experience. Nurture your mind, body and soul at the Starlight Festivals this January 3rd-6th at the A&I Hall in Bangalow.

When: 3rd-6th of January 2019.

Where: Bangalow (A&I Hall & Surrounding Pavilions)
Price: $25 one day pass. 4 day pass $60. Locals 2 for 1 days on the 3rd & 4th January.
Tickets at the door or online

Brandon Bays
Brandon Bays, international bestselling author and pioneer of the Journey Method, is one of the most dynamic, inspirational and innovative teachers in the field of personal growth and cellular healing. Her radically transformative work has grown organically and exponentially over the last 20 years. It offers practical, accessible and liberating process work that can be used by anyone, in all areas of life to uncover and awaken limitless potential and bring about healing, freedom, true fulfillment and abundance on all levels of being emotionally, physically, spiritually, materially. Brandon is an authentic living example of her work. Her open, candid honesty combined with her genuine compassion for the human condition and her relaxed, warm-hearted humour, bring her teachings alive with insight, depth, humanity and grace. She counts the greatest blessing in her life to be given the immense privilege of serving awakening and healing around the world.



The grab for cash that affected New England exporters - short backgrounder on the sales of Ports Botany and Port Kembla New England, Australia

Container Ship entering Newcastle Harbour. A Sydney grab for cash imposed costs on New England exporters that are only now emerging. 

On 10 December 2018,  the ACCC (Australian Competition & Consumer Commission) announced that had instituted proceedings in the Federal Court against NSW Ports Operations Hold Co Pty Ltd and its subsidiaries Port Botany Operations Pty Ltd and Port Kembla Operations Pty Ltd for making agreements with the State of New South Wales that the ACCC alleges had an anti-competitive purpose and effect.

We are alleging that making these agreements containing provisions which would effectively compensate Port Kembla and Port Botany if the Port of Newcastle developed a container terminal, is anti-competitive and illegal, said ACCC Chair Rod Sims.

The following day, 11 December 2018, the Port of Newcastle released a commissioned report on the economic impact of a container terminal at the Port of Newcastle. This suggested (among other things) that a modern container terminal would cut land transport costs for northern NSW businesses by $2.8 billion by 2050. This would, according to Port of Newcastle CEO Craig Carmody, increase exports from from Northern NSW including the Hunter by $1 billion by 2050

"Businesses in Newcastle, Singleton, Tamworth, Gunnedah, Port Macquarie, Kempsey, Liverpool Plains and Narrabri can look forward to savings of more than $500 per standard container, if they shipped their goods through Newcastle rather than Port Botany or Port of Brisbane," Mr Carmody said.

With these actions, the originally secret agreements preventing the Port of Newcastle competing against Port Botany and Port Kembla in the container trade finally entered full public gaze. It had been some time coming.


In April 2013, then NSW Treasurer Mike Baird announced that a consortium, NSW Ports, had agreed to pay $4.31...


Political argy bargy ratchets up over new Nats campaign office Local News Echonetdaily

Nationals MLC Ben Franklins campaign office in Ballina

The Ballina National Party candidate, Ben Franklin, has defended a complaint made against him for establishing a campaign office in close proximity to that of sitting Greens MP, Tamara Smith.

Nationals MLC Ben Franklin was referred the clerk of the Legislative Assembly according to Ms Smith, yet The Echo understands the location of his new Ballina office breaks no parliamentary regulations.

Ms Smith toldThe Echo the office is misleading the electorate because it implies he is the local MP. The guy is ruthless, she said.

The NSW seat of Ballina encompasses Ballina and Byron shires. 

With the election slated for March, Franklins government believes it has a good chance of winning the seat and has been spending big on the Ballina electorate.

Its perhaps the biggest spend ever on the seat of Ballina, which has seen decades of neglect. The term to try and win votes through spending on an electorate is commonly known as pork barrelling. 

Despite Ms Smith claiming his office is just metres away, Franklin told The Echo his office is on an entirely different street.

He said, This is a very strange contention. In no way am I suggesting I am the local member! My office has the signage of a usual and standard campaign office the sort that all parties set up for their candidates in each seat they are contesting. It says my name and the seat I am running for. Frankly it would be quite strange if it said anything else! 

The fact that the office is situated in River Street is simply because that is the main street in the largest town in the electorate which is no doubt exactly the same reason that Tamara has her electorate office close to there!...


Long delays expected on Pacific Highway over Xmas Local News Echonetdaily

Motorists can expect long delays on the Pacific Highway over Xmas.

Travellers are being warned to avoid the Pacific Highway between Ballina and Woodburn during the Xmas to New Year period, with delays of up to 90 minutes predicted by Roads and Maritime Services (RMS).

To add insult to injury, new night works will commence from tonight at New Italy and Pimlico just as the peak travel season kicks in.

The RMS says the Bruxner Highway or Summerland Way will be better choices for motorists hoping to avoid the blood-pressure raising trip.

Further south, motorists can expect to take 10 minutes extra to get through Coffs Harbour (its bypass wont commence until after the Ballina to Woolgoolga section is finished).

Delays of up to an hour are expect at Hexham.

The post Long delays expected on Pacific Highway over Xmas appeared first on Echonetdaily.


More than 40 arrested on drug charges at festival Local News Echonetdaily

Festival of the Sun. Photo Facebook/FOTSUN

Some 40 people were arrested for possession of drugs during a music festival on the North Coast over the weekend, and one man was charged with dealing.

About 3,000 people attended the Festival of the Sun event, in Port Macquarie between December 13 and 16.

During a police operation, which included the use of drug dogs, they reported 41 that people were detected with drugs, including cannabis, MDMA, cocaine and LSD.

One man, aged 27, was allegedly found to be in possession of 55 MDMA capsules. He was charged with supply prohibited drug and possess prohibited drug.

He was conditionally bailed to appear at Port Macquarie Local Court on Wednesday January, 9, 2019.

Other alleged offenders were issued field court attendance notices, infringement notices, cannabis cautions and warnings.

Police say on-site medical services treated about 40 people at the event for various issues.


The post More than 40 arrested on drug charges at festival appeared first on Echonetdaily.


Byron Bay street fight leaves woman with facial injuries Local News Echonetdaily

About 4am on Sunday (December 16), an 18-year-old female approached another female on Jonson Street Byron Bay.

They entered into a conversation before one woman struck the other, knocking her to the ground.

A fight ensued before the two were pulled apart by persons present.

The victims injuries including swelling, a sore head, a bleeding lip, scratches and grazes.

She reported the matter to police, who located the defendant a short time later.

The defendant was arrested and charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm and was conditionally bailed to appear before Byron Bay Local Court on December 18.  .


The post Byron Bay street fight leaves woman with facial injuries appeared first on Echonetdaily.


Suspicious driving leads to two arrests in Tweed Local News Echonetdaily

Two male drivers were arrested in Tweed on Sunday (December 16), one for being four times over the alcohol limit and the other for driving on an expired licence.

About 12.02am, police were attending another incident in Seaview Street, Kingscliff, when they saw a vehicle mounting the gutter and driving erratically.

Police then followed the vehicle and stopped it a short distance away.

After the driver returned a positive roadside breath test, he arrested and taken to Kingscliff Police Station where he returned a reading of 0.256.

He admitted to drinking 12 full strength VB beers before attempting to drive the vehicle.   The male was charged with high range PCA, his licence was suspended. The male will appear at Tweed Heads Local Court 04/02/19.

About 11.14am, police stopped a vehicle on Kennedy Drive, Tweed Heads, after the registration plates did not match the vehicle.

They spoke to the male driver who handed them an expired QLD drivers licence.

Police conducted checks that revealed that the vehicle had an expired registration and driver was disqualified from driving.

Police had suspicions about the driver and conducted a search of vehicle, which they say contained property from Palm Beach in QLD, which had previously been reported stolen. The driver was arrested and taken to Tweed Heads Police Station, where he was charged He will appear at Tweed Heads Local Court on February 2, 2019.


The post Suspicious driving leads to two arrests in Tweed appeared first on Echonetdaily.


Once again peak scam is here for the summer North Coast Voices

Throughout the year there are periods where I receive scam calls up to twice a week.

Sometimes I am warned about my imminent arrest for tax evasion, sometimes I am informed that I have compensation money coming to me from a motor vehicle accident in which I was allegedly involved, but most often I am told by a fake Telstra representative that there is something wrong with my computer [substitute various alternative scenarios here] and that my Internet service will be cancelled unless I power up my PC and follow instructions.

I stopped listening to their spiel years ago and now simply hang up.

However, telephone and email scamming is now ubiquitous and peak scam is on us for another holiday season.......

ACCC ScamWatch, 11 December 2018:

Watch out for holiday season scams

Scamwatch is warning people to be careful about being caught out by holiday season scams.


Proposed Religious Discrimination Act looks a lot like PM Scott Morrison appealing to his 'base' ahead of the May 2019 federal election North Coast Voices

On 13 December 2018 Australia's 'interim' Prime Minister and Liberal MP for Cook, Scott Morrison, announced that his government intended to protect religious freedom in Australia and to protect the rights of Australians to be themselves by way of a new piece of legislation titled the Religious Discrimination Act.

Not a line of this legislation appears to have been put down on paper to date even though it is apparently expected to come before the Australian Parliament in the seven days or so it will sit before the May 2019 federal election.

One would have thought that religious freedom and diversity of faith was thriving in Australia given over 127 different formal manifestations of religious faith/spirituality exist in its cities, towns and villages without ongoing overt community discord or institutionalised discrimination.

Even former Liberal Attorney-General Phillip Ruddock concedes the Religious Freedom Review he led found little evidence that discrimination is occurring in Australia. That lack of hard evidence at population levels mean that government cannot reliably assert that religious discrimination as a form of harm is an existing problem requiring the 'solutions' it is prop...

Sunday, 16 December


Sunday, 16 December 2018 - 3:42pm

This week, I have been mostly reading:

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