Saturday, January 31, 2009

Gaza: End the Silence & Make YOUR voice heard

... because the media won't. Download this email from Sonja Karkar, Australian Friends of Palestine, explaining how out of 35 letters to the media in Melbourne, only one was published. Download the 35 letters and decide for yourself if they were unpublishable.




Please come to Charlestown this coming Saturday- the more bodies, the more impact and the more chance that our voices will have an influence.

Go to the GETUP survey and take opportunity to request that Australia break ties with Israel until it respects meets UN resolutions and International Law. 

Have you sent a letter re Gaza to the Ncsle Herald & not had it published? Send it to and NoWAR Collective will display it during the action in Charlestown

Download printable copy of the flyer (3 per page) from here (colour) or (black n white)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

From Protest to Campaign this Saturday

Its not over yet

Hi all
As Israeli tanks re-enter Gaza, even more important that you make it
to Saturday's meeting 2pm Suspension Coffee Lounge Beaumont St Hamilton to work out longer term protest/campaign.

Re delegations to Gaza- see below:

1. From Australians for Palestine, Kamahl Mashni is being sponsored to go with the George Galloway delegation- download details here. 

2. Another delegation, Melbourne Palestine Solidarity Network, go to this link 

" Hi All,

Some of us are involved in organising a delegation to Gaza. Assuming we get permission we will be leaving soon. We are trying to get Trade Union members along if possible and representatives from other groups. If any comrades are able to come or have contacts who might be interested please contact me ASAP 0406 402 401.

The program will involve the following: 

The departure will be in mid February, depending on arrangement with Egypt;
The trip will be 7-10 days;
We will visit destroyed areas, hospitals, meet with the injured and NGOs;
We will witness the effect of war and siege on 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza;
All transportation and accommodation will be covered;
We have limited resources to help with some flight costs.

If you are interested in attending please let us know ASAP as we are trying to get permission within the next 10 days.
Ema Corro"


Saturday, January 24, 2009

Nobbys should not be privatised for profit

The inauguration of the 44th President of the United States of America
appears to herald an attempt to change the culture of that country.

The decision of Peter Garratt to throw away sovereignty of Nobbys heralds the
return of the Commonwealth of Australia to obeisance to feudal benefice.

I intend to spend some time today mourning my country's loss of vision.

Helen Smith

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

All Aboard The 73rd Study Into Newcastle Rail

Minster David Campbell MP.,
NSW Minister for Transport,
Level 35,
1 Farrer Place,
Sydney 2000

Dear Minister Campbell,

A member of the Premier’s Task Force to study Newcastle rail explained to me in 2005 that he must study the previous 70 reports on this subject to make the 71st report. In 2006 then NSW Transport Minister John Watkins told me;

“You have won! Rail services between Newcastle and Sydney will not be cut, however for political reasons I’ve had to authorise a study into electrification to Warabrook”.

So in 2006 the ALP was re-elected on that mandate. $500,000 later in October 2008 the 72nd report declared that the Warabrook proposal wasn’t feasible.

A month later an unelected developer, General Property Trust demanded a 73rd report. Hunter Development Corporation CEO Craig Norman is now proceeding with the developer’s demands.

Also, Minster for the Hunter Jodi McKay tells us:

“She expects the community will be consulted”.

But she didn’t enlarge on who would consult whom.

The last national survey reported that most commuters using Newcastle rail services come from Lake Macquarie, then Maitland, then Newcastle. All the previous studies despite their various titles of ‘Lower Hunter’, ‘Hunter Regional’ ‘Newcastle rail’ etc. have considered nothing but the 5 km from Broadmeadow to Newcastle. Can we expect the 73rd study to pretend to consider the effects on the people who use the rail? Can we be confident in expecting this seventy third study will be conducted by transport planners rather than real estate planners?

In 2006 NSW Democrats politician Arthur Chesterfield-Evans lamented that there were 23 reports on Newcastle Rail still being held by the government as ‘confidential’ for no obvious reason. At least that still leaves fifty more reports for the public to peruse. But at what cost? We were told $500,000 was set aside for the Warabrook electrification inquiry. If all the studies are of that order then the NSW taxpayer has paid out something like $35million so far for studies that achieved almost nothing. I hope that the government is not involved in that type of expense all over NSW.

Minister Campbell, it would restore a great deal of confidence to see the government take control of this situation, and put a stop to these eternal expensive developer initiated studies and let the government and the people put their energies into more useful pursuits.

Thank you for your time and considerations.

Yours faithfully,
George Paris

Sunday, January 18, 2009


Wens 21st

Hammo clocktower 5_30 pm - pls download and print off flyer at top to put up around the place or give out to people.

Dont be deceived by the fake ceasefire just announced.  Jo Trainor reported from the Sydney Rally on Sunday, that John Pilger spoke of the timidity of the media & the Australian Labour party's support of Israel. He said “The media has built a wall between the massacres in Gaza and the truth of what has happened there”  (Download her report here with useful links).

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Australian Solar Institute Launched Today

A new Australian Solar Institute was launched today at the CSIRO facility at Mayfield, New South Wales.

The institute will fund solar energy research projects and create export opportunities for Australian businesses.

The Energy Innovation Fund, which was set up by the Australian Government to support research and development in clean energy technologies, is providing $100 million for the establishment of the Australian Solar Institute.

The chief of the division of energy technology at the CSIRO, Dr David Brockway, says the research will initially focus on solar thermal technology and photovoltaics (PVs).

"The principal objective is to reduce the cost of energy from solar technologies, in the solar thermal area," he said.

"What we're using is sunlight to produce high temperatures and to generate electricity and in the PVs it's direct electricity production from photovoltaics - the project is designed to make the technologies as cost competitive as we can in the future."

Key objectives of the Australian Solar Institute include:

  • advancing and accelerating innovation in solar thermal and solar photovoltaic technologies in Australia
  • driving research that will have a major impact on the efficiency and cost effectiveness of solar technologies
  • increasing the competitiveness of solar technologies
  • retaining local and attracting international expertise in solar energy research to Australia
  • establishing Australia as a key player in the development of solar energy technologies in the Asia-Pacific region.

The Australian Solar Institute was officially launched at its Newcastle headquarters on 15 January 2009 by the Hon Martin Ferguson AM MP, Minister for Resources and Energy.

A fact sheet [PDF, 55KB] has been developed to provide greater detail on the Australian Solar Institute and its planned operations.

The majority of the Institute's research funding will be allocated through a competitive grants program. A smaller proportion of research funding will be provided to core Institute projects and activities. The Institute's competitive grants program will be designed to encourage any Australian researcher in solar photovoltaic and concentrating solar thermal technologies to apply for funding. This includes researchers from the public and private sectors.

Guidelines for the competitive grants program will be developed over the coming months, with the allocation of these grants occurring through an open, competitive and transparent process.

An Establishment Committee and an Interim Executive Director have been appointed to begin work immediately on bringing the Institute into operation. The Committee and Interim Executive Director are developing the Institute based on consultations with stakeholders and the directions set out in a scoping paper [PDF, 110KB]. The scoping paper, released in late 2008, was prepared by the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism following consultation with stakeholders.

A governing board and permanent Executive Director will later be appointed to allow the Institute to commence full operations by July 2009.
Further information on the Institute will be made available later in 2009. An Australian Solar Institute website is currently under development. Once the website is launched, a link will be provided on this webpage.

Any queries or comments relating to the Institute should be forwarded to:

Denis Smedley
Solar and Clean Energy Innovation
Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism
P: 02 6213 6401

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Red Cross - Alex Thomson (Channel 4) interviews Mark Regev

Alex Thomson (Channel 4) interviews Mark Regev (Israeli Government Spokesman) over why Israeli soldiers prevented Red Cross officials from reaching dead and injured Palestinian civilians.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

GAZA - Rally Wens 14th Jan 5:30

Even if the Israeli army were to succeed in killing every Hamas fighter to the last man, even then Hamas would win ... in [the] face of the mighty Israeli military machine, it will look like a fantastic victory, a victory of mind over matter. 

What will be seared into the consciousness of the world will be the image of Israel as a blood-stained monster, ready at any moment to commit war crimes and not prepared to abide by any moral restraints. -Uri Avnery.

For full text of this important analysis go to web page or download Word copy 

Protest against the brutal Israeli invasion of Gaza and demand an immediate ceasefire and withdrawal!

Wens 14th January 5:30pm

Hamilton Clocktower

Beaumont St Hamilton.

Download flyer from here (not from the image)

Please write emails, letters, or phone Australian, Israel, US & UN parliamentarians & key figures from the addresses available in here (in Word format)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Free Palestine? Yes we can!

These are the decisions from the 50-strong rally at Hamilton Clocktower on Jan 7th:

Ncsle NoWar Collective meeting in the beergard
 Hamilton Station Hotel
 4pm Saturday 10th Jan
 to decide What we'll do next Wens-

The rally was deliberately optimistic in the face of the brutal and inhumane carnage wreaked by Israel upon the citizens and their children in Gaza. It opened with the chant:
Free Palestine? Yes we can!

Beginning with George Burchett's proposed "two word solution"
The emphasis was upon solidarity and collective action. This means continuing to protest publically and organising and conducting a boycott against apartheid Israel.

Actions taken included signing of the letter to Sharon Grierson that was also circulated at last week's rally, a petition to trade unions, and a contact list. The overwhelming conclusion by the majority of speakers was that Israel is embarked on a programme of ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. The implication of this is that even if Israel does call a ceasefire, that it will only be a further ploy. This makes a continuing boycott even more necessary, as an effective form of protest that will not end with a mere "ceasefire".

Audio is available of some parts-
Intro (Niko, Chair)
Roger Markwick
Dennis ?Siedel
Kerry Vernon
Phillippa Parsons
Zane Alcorn
Conclusion (Chair)

It is vital that you join the Newcastle NoWAR ( or the Facebook group"Protest Against Israeli Actions in Gaza"
-thats the best way to not only be informed but also to participate in decisions regarding these actions.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Nobbys Privatisation Back on the Cards

The Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts is inviting comment regarding the new plans for Nobbys headland submitted on the 22 December 2008.

The original proposal was rejected by Minister Peter Garrett on the 19 May 2008.

The new plan shows 7 units and a 46 seat restaurant, the proposed new 'Managers residence' of the last proposal is exactly the same but renamed Units 6-7. The open space has been left around the lighthouse.

Even though the proposal looks better, with the lighthouse free of obstruction, the plans are still of great concern as the problems with servicing the proposed restaurant and units are still present, especially the excessive vehicle traffic that will be required along the historic Macquarie's Pier to service the facilities. It's a huge improvement in terms of massing of buildings, and good to see that the light house tower is remaining a free-standing 'object'.

However, according to UNESCO Chair in Sustainable Urban Development for Asia and the Pacific Chair, School of Architecture and Built Environment Professor Steffen Lehmann, the crucial question remains:
How do they envisage to organise the access? The vehicular traffic (guests, staff, garbage collection, kitchen delivery, etc etc etc) will destroy the precious quality of the pedestrian walk! The immature idea to run a hourly bus will not work - we know this already.

Best would be to totally skip the over-night stay component, and to limit access by vehicles. There are all arguments for a good cafe up there, but none for a small 'boutique hotel'.

Most people would agree that the prime objective is to allow safe community public access to the Nobbys Headland, without compromising the security of the Port installations there.

Again, as with the original proposal, the prime objective for such a culturally and important iconic site should not be financial.

The Gerald asks will the community be freely allowed to wander around the units? How much vehicle traffic will there be along the historic Macquarie's Pier breakwater?

Why is this proposal on Newcastle's most important heritage and cultural icon, on public crown land in the hands of a private developer?

It is also misleading that the development is referrd to as 'Proposed Adaptive reuse of Nobbys Headland' , when it includes a new development (Units 6-7) there will be no interpretation of the history of the site and the signal station will also be made into a 3 story accommodation unit, there will not be a focus on interpretation, future research or educational aspects of the site.

The Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts is inviting public comment on the latest proposal by the 8th January 2008. Documents are below. (Reference Number: 2008/4672)

Title of Referral: Nobbys Lighthouse Pty Ltd/Tourism and recreation/adjacent to Nobbys Lighthouse, Newcastle/NSW/Nobbys Headland Redevelopment
Date Received: 22 Dec 2008 Reference Number: 2008/4672
Notification from EPBC Act Date of Notice Documents
  • Invitation for Public Comment on Referral
22 Dec 2008 Referral Attachment A Attachment B Attachment F Attachment D Attachment E Attachment C

The Citizen Card

I believe Aaron Buman’s idea of a “Newcastle Card” is poorly argued, divisive and discriminatory (H, 29/12). It would place Newcastle residents into two camps; ratepayers and the rest. Non-ratepayers have rights( and they vote in Council elections).

Most tenants may not pay rates directly, but rates are factored into rents that they pay. Most are relatively low income earners.

Would his idea include libraries, the new museum, beaches, Merewether Baths , parks and ovals?

The possibilities are endless. Why not charge to use public toilets, children’s playgrounds, cycleways or to promenade on the Foreshore? Then there are non-rate paying residents who don’t have off-street parking. Why not charge a fee to park in the street?

Many suburban pool users are low income earners with families, who pay rent and don’t have the luxury of a back yard pool.

Do ratepayers’ partners get one if the property is listed only in one name? Would each child receive a card?

Blackbutt is not, as Cr Buman alleged, a “zoo”. It’s a regional park and reserve. And you already pay a fee to visit the animal enclosures. Further, there is no “entry fee to access Fort Scratchley”, though there is one for the tunnels.

And what would motivate local retailers to give “bonuses” exclusively to ratepayers, as with NRMA cards?

Novocastrians are very reluctant to pay to use Council facilities. There is no point in having them if they are not used or underused.

For instance, the year after I successfully moved in Council in 1996 to remove the museum entry fee, the attendance figures soared by over 400%. If non-rate payers feel discriminated against, they will feel even less inclined to pay a fee.

Cr Buman’s card idea does not accord with Newcastle City Council’s objective (which he supported in 2004) of a caring, compassionate community.

Keith Parsons.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Rally for Gaza... again!


Rally for Gaza

Wens Jan 7th

Hamilton Clocktower

Beaumont St Hamilton4pm

"Join the dots: from Gaza to GITMO"- the 7th is close to International Shut Down Guantanamo Day (11th) and it would be appropriate to also speak out against the regimes of terror around the world.

Download flyer to print & circulate

On Dec 31st, 20 people gathered at the Clocktower to condemn Israel's action in bombing Gaza as an act of ethnic cleansing. The key demand emerging from the speakout were for an unconditional immediate ceasefire on Israel's part. An open letter to Sharon Grierson MP was read out and signed. An electronic copy in Word format is available here, and will also be sent to her. We also resolved to become more informed regarding the boycott of Israeli goods and services.We need to keep the pressure up- especially as the Israeli PR machine dominates the mass media!