How the Prime Minister Can Save the Great Barrier Reef

EVERYONE claims to be concerned about the health of the Great Barrier Reef. Last week a joint UNESCO World Heritage Centre and International Union for the Conservation of Nature report was released claiming the reef could be “in danger”.

Earlier this week the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, wrote to Queensland Premier, Campbell Newman, expressing concern about approval for a coal mine at Alpha and the potential impact of runoff on dugongs. [1]

Ha. It’s many hundreds of kilometres from Alpha to the coast. In between is the Burdekin dam and a long way further downstream more than 20,000 hectares of sugarcane and then the wetlands of Bowling Green Bay.

It’s absurd to suggest that the mine is going to have any impact on dugongs.

Maybe the concern wasn’t so much about the mine but about the associated development, in particular the railway and plans to expand the port at Abbot Point? Maybe.

But the Great Barrier Reef covers a vast area and dugongs aren’t going to congregate about a port development.

Dugongs congregate where there are seagrass meadows and there is no evidence that seagrass meadows are generally in decline around the Australian coastline.

Dugongs numbers, however, are in decline.

And it has everything to do with something the Prime Minister can stop.

There are perhaps only 14,000 dugongs left in Great Barrier Reef waters, and some estimates suggest that about 1,000 are slaughtered each year.

If the Prime Minister really cared about the Great Barrier Reef and its dugongs she would immediately ban the slaughter of dugongs by aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders in Great Barrier Reef waters.



[1] Gillard attacks Newman over Alpha ‘breach’ by Sarah Elks and Michael McKenna in The Australian, June 6, 2012

Thanks to Robert Sozzani for permission to use his photographs of dugongs taken in Marsa Abud Dabba in April 2004.  More images here


Heinsohn, H. et al. 2004, Unsustainable harvest of dugongs in Torres Strait and Cape York (Australia) waters: two case studies using population viability analysis.

Henry, GW and Lyle JMC. 2003. The National Recreational and Indigenous Fishing Survey. Fisheries Research and Development Corporation Project. 99/158.

MACC Taskforce on Dugong and Marine Turtle Populations in consultation with Indigenous Communities and Stakeholders. Sustainable and Legal Indigenous Harvest of Marine Turtles and Dugongs in Australia – A National Approach.

Marsh H. et al. 2004, Aerial Surveys and the Potential Biological Removal Technique Indicate that the Torres Strait Dugong Fishery is Unsustainable. Animal Conservation, 435-443.

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88 Responses to How the Prime Minister Can Save the Great Barrier Reef

  1. Neville June 8, 2012 at 7:57 am #

    Sounds a lot like the polar bear con. In Canada they found that the real problem of polar bear numbers could be solved by limiting the number of killings every year in one colony.

    But I think Gillard will skirt around this problem forever if it involves common sense and facts and so called aborigines or TSI.
    We need a change of govt to work with the Qld govt applying common sense to easily fix many of these so called problems. More power to the Dugongs.

  2. cohenite June 8, 2012 at 8:09 am #

    Aboriginals should have no more right to hunt, barbarically, endangered species, then any other citizen.

  3. spangled drongo June 8, 2012 at 8:28 am #

    This is something the animal rightists could do with honesty and good effect.

    If aboriginals want to get into the 21st C they need to be held up to and accept honest standards.

    It is good that some are willing to voluntarily discard their “native” hunting rights but this craziness needs to be mandated against by federal govt instead of playing politics around the fringes.

  4. Debbie June 8, 2012 at 8:46 am #

    This one takes Australia into the realm of PC, which is very, very tricky.
    I am also amazed that I have been hearing that the GBR is in imminent danger for as long as I can remember, yet it still seems to be coping OK despite all the varied reasons that have been heralded as factors causing its inevitable demise.
    Rather than stifling progress, surely we should be working towards responsible progress?
    Australia is entirely capable of doing that. There is a concept known as win/win. We have used it before.

  5. Nick Valentine June 8, 2012 at 9:15 am #

    Are you inferring that coastal developments have no impact on dugong populations?

    “There are concerns about the dugong population within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. Based on current research it is thought that dugong numbers have declined along the urban coast of Queensland, south of Cooktown. There are a number of human related threats to dugong including boatstrike, incidental capture in fishing nets and marine debris, and habitat degradation due to coastal development and declining water quality.

    A greater number of dugong occur along the remote coast (northern third of the Great Barrier Reef north of Cooktown), and populations appear stable in that area.”


  6. jennifer June 8, 2012 at 9:31 am #


    Last time I looked the hard evidence suggested the populations that were in most trouble were the very populations that the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority claims are stable.

    The hard evidence is also inconsistent with the following claim at the GBRMPA website.

    “Dugongs are an essential element of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s living maritime culture along the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. The use of marine food resources such as the dugong greatly strengthens Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and demonstrates connection with traditional sea country.

    The activities associated with the hunting of dugong and preparing and sharing the meat has great significance and is an expression of the continuance of long cultural traditions. In remote coast areas, dugongs have a high social and economic value because they provide subsistence food to communities where a nourishing diet is essential but often expensive to attain.”

    This is nonsense speak from the same government officials quick to condemn the Japanese for the slaughter of dolphins and whales. And Minke whale numbers are on the increase not decline.

    It is government policy to turn a blind-eye to the senseless and unsustainable slaughter of dugongs and the GBRMPA is complicit.


  7. Hasbeen June 8, 2012 at 10:23 am #

    I think Aboriginals should be free to indulge in their traditional hunting practices.

    This means using traditional hunting methods.

    That would involve walking to the hunting grounds, using hand made spears, tipped with home made barbs made of traditional material, with the catch carried home on footy.

    If they wish to hunt using white man equipment, guns, 4WDs etc, they should be free to do so, but only in compliance with white man conditions. They should have to obtain all licences, respect limits, & definitely be banned from taking the same game, that the white man is banned from taking.

  8. spangled drongo June 8, 2012 at 10:59 am #

    Thanks Jen for once again high lighting this bad green govt policy. There are generally good dugong grass beds in most of the estuaries and bays along the Qld coast and these have always waxed and waned depending on silt runoff from floods but they always return, as do the dugong. Numbers, however are not what the used to be and it is amazing that in places like Moreton Bay marine parks this native hunting can still take place.

    It’s good to see animal rightists bringing this into the open.

    Who knows, one of these days they might even get onto the serious problem of feral dingoes on Fraser Is [AWA the rest of the mainland] wiping out all the native animals in the national parks with impugnity.

  9. Prompete June 8, 2012 at 2:16 pm #

    A particularly courageous post Jen. The PC crowd will be stirred like a nest of fire ants with the suggestion that scientific evidence should take precedence. Beware the junk science!

    From my reading, the likes of a category 5 cyclone does more damage to the reef than a 100 cargo ship mishaps. And hey presto, the reef is fully functioning within a few years. That reef is as tough as old boots! Nature is not the delicate creature the Greens would have us believe, but as resilient as the human species.

    Now the Coral Sea marine park proposal creates another totally unnecessary brouhaha, causing the over fishing of adjacent waters and Australlia once again forced to import food we can produce ourselves with environmentally sustainable regulatory systems already in place.

    Aboriginal groups (without ‘green’ manipulation) could well be more than happy to self regulate the taking of Dugong for a period to allow the build up of populations. Has anyone asked them?

    We have seen the concerns the Greens have for cultural continuity with the passage of the Wild Rivers Legislation! Condeming people to perpetual ‘hand out’ culture. Just ask Noel Pearson about the greens policy impact on Indigenous people.

  10. val majkus June 8, 2012 at 2:23 pm #

    Well I understood that this mine and its various infrastructure was proposed under Bligh’s regime and no adverse comment was made by Burke at that time
    the summary report is here:

    as you can see if you search the summary report ‘No state-significant threatened aquatic flora species are known in the Burdekin Catchment.’

    there’s an interesting comment at Bolt’s blog by some one with expertise

    As a consultant who deals with environmental planning law on a daily basis, I can understand how frustrating the entire approval process is- especially when dealing with three separate arms of government who, even though they have the same goals, have different legislation covering the achievement of those goals. Where many of the “specific outcomes” can be assessed subjectively by various assessing agencies and, even though one agency may agree that objectives are met, another agency may not agree.
    Specific Outcomes to be met can include the words (by way of a real example)

    (1) Uses and other development maintain, enhance and protect
    environmental values by – (c) retaining as many native plants as possible;

    The term, “as many native plant as possible” is subjective.
    The developer may think 50% is as many as possible to be retained to make the development profitable.
    Local government may believe a prescriptive solution is 60% retention, the state may mean 70% while the Commonwealth may say 80% retention- they still all believe that “as many tree as possible” are being kept.
    Which is why we need a one point authority- because the subjective nature of the assessing authority can and does vary.
    This explains why a local authority, and a state authority can approve a project (eg Traveston Dam) only to have the Feds.refuse it.
    Same rules, same codes, different interpretations.
    Try to do the sums on the viability of a project, spending millions on duly qualified consultants to produce reports, when you have to encounter politically motivated assessing officers (cue the long march through the institutions) and their politician heads.
    Which is why there a fewer and fewer projects in the pipeline for development consultancies such as mine- and don’t forget, projects currently being approved and commencing, would have gone through the consultancy stages anything up to 5 years ago- before the GFC- when future prospects looked good.
    The fact that few new projects are on our tables now means a very lean time for construction managers and builders 3-5 years down the track in the future.
    Again, Swan may have a “spring in his step” and doing cartwheels now, but the reality is, when current projects finish, there’s nothing new to start on. The current account figures form a development point of view,are a reflection of what was initiated under the Coalition and the Howard/Costello captaincy, not the Rudd/Gillard/Swan leadership.

    2 Bobs Worth of Wellington Point (Reply)
    Fri 08 Jun 12 (10:41am)

    horrific isn’t it? and the last para of that comment is scary!

  11. John Sayers June 8, 2012 at 2:55 pm #

    Keith Delacy wrote a fine article on the GBR in The Australian. I’ve quoted it all as it’s behind paywall.

    Reef threatened by do-gooding, not fishing and mining

    by: Keith Delacy
    From: The Australian

    I HAVE just read a report written by marine biologist Walter Starck of Townsville for the Australian Environment Foundation, in response to the proposal to add further to our Marine Protected Areas. Starck is an unusual scientist in that he advances his knowledge by practical, hands-on experience, observation and evidence, sometimes putting him at odds with the mainstream scientific establishment.

    However, I would venture to say that no one knows more about marine biology, and certainly the Great Barrier Reef, than Starck. He has spent a lifetime getting his hands dirty – or should that be clean if you are out on the reef?

    He wonders what we are trying to protect with this Coral Sea MPA, what demonstrated problem are we addressing? He points out that well-managed reefs around the world can sustain an average seafood harvest rate of 15,000kg per square kilometre per annum. The average harvest rate for the Great Barrier Reef is 9kg. That’s right, 9kg, or if you like a minuscule 90g per hectare.

    Australia has by far the largest per capita fishing zone in the world yet we import two-thirds of our seafood consumption, at an annual cost of $1.7 billion.

    A quarter of this comes from Thailand, yet their fishery zone is about one 20th of Australia’s, and it has three times the population to feed. Our catch is about half that of New Zealand and about the same as Poland’s.

    Claims of widespread over-fishing at our levels of harvest are the height of absurdity. There is absolutely no scientific evidence of threatened marine species, population collapses or effects on marine biodiversity from fishing. Almost without exception, away from the coastal and tourist influences, the Great Barrier Reef is pristine, rarely visited and home to the same number of fish species today as at first human settlement.

    The Coral Sea, the site for this new MPA, is one of the world’s prime yellowfin tuna fishing grounds. The Japanese fishermen used to sustainably catch about 30,000 tonnes a year there, but that has been stopped.

    Meanwhile Papua New Guinea now licenses Asian fishing companies to fish the same migratory stocks of tuna in its water. PNG catches about 750,000 tonnes per annum. We then import $165 million in canned tuna each year. In other words, we protect our fish for Asian fishermen to catch and sell back to us.

    Now we learn that Queensland taxpayers will fork out $26m to compensate fishermen to cease fishing in our healthy, underutilised fisheries so that we can import even more fish from much more heavily exploited resources elsewhere. The result – fewer people gainfully employed, less wealth created, further damage to our current account, not to mention the Queensland budget.

    And all this debate about the danger posed to the reef by shipping is nonsense. One cyclone causes more reef destruction than if all of the ships that ever traversed the reef since the beginning of time crashed into it.

    During World War II thousands of ships were sunk on or around reefs, bombed and smashed, some of them oil tankers. And where is the evidence of that today? To the extent that they went down on a reef they are now part of that reef. The Chinese bulk coal carrier Shen Neng 1 ran aground on the reef east of Rockhampton in 2010 amid cries of outrage and demands to cease bulk shipping through the reef. But in reality it was a minor blip on the vastness of the reef, one that will quickly rectify itself.

    In March 2009 the Pacific Adventurer was hit by Tropical Cyclone Hamish and spilled 230 tonnes of fuel oil and a large number of fishing containers into Moreton Bay. Then premier Anna Bligh called it the worst environmental disaster that Queensland had seen, and a large clean-up effort was mobilised.

    In February 2010 the Australian Maritime Safety Authority issued its report into the incident. One sentence stands out in my mind: “The total oil-related mortalities were three dead animals comprising one sea snake, one Little Tern and one Petrel species.” Surprisingly this outcome was not reported with same gusto as the original accident. The boundary of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, inexplicably, extends right into Gladstone Harbour, even though the reef is 40km away. But this doesn’t stop the park being invoked endlessly and shamelessly in the campaign against economic development in the harbour.

    Of course, we all believe in sustainability and preserving our precious environmental assets. But please base it on good science and good sense.

    The Great Barrier Reef is truly one of the great wonders of the world. But it is a massive self-correcting eco-system with great powers of renewal. It is under no threat from fishing or tourism or shipping. It seems to me the reef, and particularly our lifestyle and economy, are under more threat from misguided do-goodism.

    Keith DeLacy is a prominent Queensland company director and former Labor treasurer of Queensland. He lives in Cairns.

  12. val majkus June 8, 2012 at 3:17 pm #

    thank you John for that post, very enlightening
    when is Rio? I have an idea this is more about Rio than anything else

  13. spangled drongo June 8, 2012 at 4:48 pm #

    Yes John, those Starck and De Lacy articles hit the nail on the head. Environmental activism and reporting is so incredibly biased and predictable you wonder how these people can even keep a straight face when they speak. Luckily the world is waking up:

    (Spangled, this was rescued from spam… I saw you tried unsuccessfully to post it many times. Sorry. Jen)

  14. spangled drongo June 8, 2012 at 6:10 pm #

    Slightly O/T but more unintended madness from the green ethos. Manufacturing solar cells which are linked to GHGs that are over 23,000 times worse than CO2:

  15. Neil Hewett June 9, 2012 at 9:37 am #

    Very disturbing propaganda that will deepen the rift between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians. As logically as Hasbeen’s observations were laid out, he overlooked one continentally big condition; restricting traditional hunting to traditional methods would require a traditional landscape. Prior to the sovereign usurpation of the British Crown, indigenous hunters had maintained the very conditions that Hasbeen advocates for perhaps longer than two-thousand generations. The fact that they were progressively and systematically prevented from doing so over these past 224-years by the very culture that would then offer an entitlement to continue such practices only if they do so as if they had never suffered the effects of this 224-year-prohibition, is grotesque.

    I have no doubt that a skilled film-maker with an appreciation and understanding of the importance of indigenous hunting to particular indigenous peoples could have directed an inspiring profile that celebrates the richness and ecologically sustainability of the world’s longest surviving human culture.

    Most Australians would be discomforted by the death and suffering of any animal, but the insulation from such necessities provided by the convenience of supermarkets does nothing the prevent the reality that every plant and animal must suffer so that we can survive.

    It is also the height of hypocrisy for any member of Australian society to point their finger of condemnation at indigenous Australian’s for daring to sustain themselves in whatever way is possible, when in so many other expressions of regulatory requirement they have been prevented from entitlement. In 1897, and for eighty years, the Aboriginal Protection and Restriction of the Sale of Opium Act provided protection to all Queensland full-blood Aborigines by compulsorily interring them into reserves that were geographically removed from landscapes where harm could come from the legitimacy of European harvesting of economic resources.

  16. Neville June 9, 2012 at 9:39 am #

    O/T but very important. McIntyre snaps another hockey stick. But will the Karoloy drongo etc ever wake up? Watts has more on this nonsense, but what a con.

  17. Debbie June 9, 2012 at 9:43 am #

    That union of concerned scientists look like they’re the model for Australia’s 50 concerned scientists.
    They’re essentially an advocacy group.
    I have no doubt that many of them believe in what they advocate, but an advocacy group is the right definition.
    That unfortunately leads them into behaving in an unscientific manner, despite the fact that they are scientists.
    Not unusual,
    teacher unions, medical unions, financial unions etc often behave unprofessionally when they are confronted by a ’cause’

  18. Neil Hewett June 9, 2012 at 9:47 am #

    Here’s another hypocrisy: The population of the Southern Cassowary has now plummeted to around 1000 birds only. That’s two-thirds the number of Giant Panda in the wild. The population is limited by the availability of habitat and new habitat is unable to be established. Within this last fragment of a once-enormous cassowary habitat, Australia protects an estimated 60,000 feral pigs, which are out-competing cassowaries. This pig population is irresistible to pig-hunters who release purpose-bred pig dogs (illegaly) into World Heritage cassowary habitat with devastating consequences (worse than a bessa-block to the head). This cruelty is predominantly non-Aboriginal and the perverse protection provided to the pigs is utterly non-indigenous.

  19. spangled drongo June 9, 2012 at 11:34 am #


    Don’t forget that no humans ever evolved in Australia. We are all feral.

    2000 generations? How many has the cane toad produced?

    Removing native hunting rights with modern equipment is no more hypocritical than telling whites to stop shooting animals in Africa’s national parks.

    Historically, all races have all been through hard times–many often a lot worse than aboriginals.

  20. spangled drongo June 9, 2012 at 11:45 am #

    WRT feral pigs, if the Aust nat parks policy would accept that dingoes are ferals, pigs could be much more specifically targeted to the advantage of the Cassowary. Protecting the dingo protects pigs, cats, dogs, foxes, IOW all of the worst native wildlife predators.

  21. Bob Fernley-Jones June 9, 2012 at 12:03 pm #

    It is interesting to reflect that the so-called “Coral Triangle” has been said to be of greater ecological significance than the GBR.
    Economist Prof Ross Garnaut, the founding chairman of Lihir Gold mine on the PNG island of Lihir, supported the highly controversial practice of dumping toxic mine tailings into the sea below the reef (DSTP) in this ecologically sensitive area. No way would this be tolerated in Australia, let alone by UNESCO on the GBR.

  22. cohenite June 9, 2012 at 12:17 pm #

    I see Neil has ‘widened’ the debate into a bidding war between which culture can produce the most cruelty to wildlife with pig-hunters now well ahead of the aboriginals eviscerating Dugongs and sea Turtles while they are still alive.

    Do aboriginals hunt Cassowaries? If so how does that work out?

    Personally I find the whole ‘cultural’ justification argument repugnant; if your whole justification for certain behaviour is this is what we did in the past and/or this is a crucial part of my culture then my response is so what?

    Unless the human behaviour in question is filtered through some standards of decency and humanity it should not matter if it defines a culture or not; if the behaviour fails those standards then the behaviour is an indictment of the culture or at least the people who are claiming the imprimateur of the culture.

  23. spangled drongo June 9, 2012 at 1:12 pm #

    Neil, are you saying that pig-dogs are being allowed to roam unsupervised in Cassowary habitat so as to eradicate pigs?

  24. Neil Hewett June 9, 2012 at 1:47 pm #

    SD: Indigenous people of North Queensland’s rainforests were of a generally smaller stature than indigenous peoples of other landscapes throughout this country. There exists historical reference to them being described as pygmies. Smaller stature served them well for the amount of time they spent climbing the trunks of rainforest giants into the upper canopy, where they could chase down tree-kangaroos and collect pythons that favoured the sunny superiority of upper-story epiphytes. By contrast, the Warlpiri people of the Tanami desert were exceptionally tall and long-limbed, with a much better adapted stature to suit the vast expanses that underpinned their nomadic existence. I have spent a lot of my life in the company of indigenous homeland groups and there are very identifiable differences between groups. Even neighbouring peoples such as the Pintubi and Warlpiri are distinguishable, but in every landscape I was always profoundly impressed by the perfection with which the people blended visually into their natural environment. There is no doubt whatsoever that they adapted to more successfully harmonise with the requirements of the natural landscape of which they were an integral part.

    COHENITE: What set me off mostly, was the video-clip, which I perceived as undisguised racial vilification against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, portrayed as motivated by the pursuit of unnecessary cruelty towards helpless marine creatures. Saying nothing gives tacit approval to the racial vilification. Also, my ‘justification’ was in fact a response to Hasbeen’s suggestion that indigenous hunting be constrained to a form that was effectively prohibited over the preceding 224-years. I agree that we must abide by certain standards of decency and humanity, but the greater improprieties by far, belong to the dominant culture, whilst the indigenous cultures of Australia are perpetually slated for their barbarisms.

  25. Neil Hewett June 9, 2012 at 2:05 pm #

    Spangled Drongo, armoured pig-dogs are being deliberately released into World Heritage rainforest for the recreational value of so many wonderfully protected feral pigs. There is no part of this wrong-doing with any intent or capacity to eradicate pigs. Cassowaries, however, are perilously close to extinction and could easily be eradicated by pig-dogs if nothing is done to stop its rampant enthusiasms. I’m in the middle of last remnant of cassowary habitat, presenting World Heritage values on a daily and nightly basis and the frequency with which my tours are compromised by marauding pig-dogs is increasing. I have seen the savagery of a pig-dog tearing a cassowary chick to pieces and I blame its owner in every instance.

  26. hunter June 9, 2012 at 2:19 pm #

    Your plan is practical, but we are not living in a practical age.

  27. Debbie June 9, 2012 at 2:30 pm #

    as Bazza preached to us all recently, two wrongs don’t make a right.
    What is the major threat/risk to the Cassowary? Is it habitat loss, feral animals or pig dogs or something else entirely?
    Widening the debate should not detract from the point of this post.
    Jen was pinpointing the major issues re the GBR as opposed to the PC issues and the politically popular issues.

  28. cohenite June 9, 2012 at 3:10 pm #

    Well Neil, all I can suggest is next time you are out in the forest and you encounter these armoured pigdogs, put a .223 Remington between its eyes.

  29. John Sayers June 9, 2012 at 3:57 pm #

    Until we make the Cassowary a gourmet delight it will be doomed.

    We are happy to eat chicken which originated as a scrawny bird in SE Asia.

    According to a guy I met in the Mildura Caravan park the best local animal to eat is the Eccidna – tastes like pork!!

    Maybe if we put a gourmet price on the Cassowary we might have a desire to save it. And the other Australian natives like Goanna and Bush Turkey.

  30. Neil Hewett June 9, 2012 at 4:49 pm #

    By my reading, Jennifer’s post was about her personal opposition to indigenous dugong hunting and the political ingenuousness of the PM’s concern for the GBR. The debate, therefore, needed no widening. I disagree with Jennifer’s very strongly posted opinion. I do not disagree that the PM is ingenuous in her concern for the GBR. I am also inclined to disregard the WHC&IUCN report. The state of the GBR is either compliant according to WH criteria or or it would be placed onto the ‘List of World Heritage In Danger’, which it is not.

    Not sure what point you were making with two wrongs don’t make a right, but the major threat to the Southern Cassowary is dishonesty and particularly the perverse notion that providing an ever-expanding feral pig sanctuary correlates with cassowary conservation.

  31. Neil Hewett June 9, 2012 at 4:57 pm #

    Good suggestion, but firearms are strictly prohibited in World Heritage Listed National Parks and the ‘look’ of the rifle slung over the guide’s shoulder may have a discouraging impact on bookings. Pigs, btw, are smart enough to know where the tenure changes.

  32. Bob Fernley-Jones June 9, 2012 at 5:00 pm #

    I entirely agree with Jennifer’s concern over dugongs, but if we can return to more on-topic stuff from other totally separate but serious concerns about cassowaries and pig-dogs etcetera in the bush:
    I understand that external experts such as UNESCO have expressed concern over increased shipping traffic that would result from increased mining activity, even if there might sensibly be improved efforts in managing that increased traffic. (and perhaps the current lower traffic with poor controls might arguably be at higher risk)
    There was a big media blockbuster back in 2010 which I quote from somewhere; link lost:
    The Shen Neng 1 [coal carrier] smashed into Douglas Shoal at full speed on Easter Saturday, initially flattening an area 100 metres long and 30 metres wide. But the damage was later exacerbated as the ship scraped across a large area of the shoal, pushed by wind and tides. All up, an area of destruction three kilometres long and up to 250 metres wide has emerged…
    The vessel’s operators — who have volunteered to pay clean-up costs — face fines of up to $1.1 million for the incident.
    I also recall that a team of marine scientists visited the site to evaluate and remove any anti-fouling paint that might be found, for a fee of $40,000. (Link also not currently available to me)
    According to the link below, the total area of the GBR is about 350,000 square kilometres, but the major damage by the Shen Neng 1 apparently under full speed was only a tiny 100 x 30 metres upon grounding. Allegedly there was subsequent light scraping under drifting currents and wind of 3Km long and up to 0.25 Km wide. That equates to 0.75/350,000, or virtually nothing in the scale of the GBR!
    The following opinion piece is also of significance:
    “Reef threatened by do-gooding, not fishing and mining” by: Keith Delacy, From: The Australian June 04, 2012

  33. Bob Fernley-Jones June 9, 2012 at 5:45 pm #

    Further to my 5:00 pm above, what would be wrong with compulsory pilotage of all vessels in and out of the GBR?

  34. spangled drongo June 9, 2012 at 6:33 pm #

    Neil, Cassowaries up there like Koalas, Lyrebirds etc down here are being threatened by feral predators for which we should have zero tolerance and if this were the policy then something could be achieved.

    With present policies, long term protection is wishful thinking.

  35. Hasbeen June 9, 2012 at 9:55 pm #

    Bob when some suggested that it would be better for bulk freighters to take the nearest channel to the open Coral Sea, your suggestion is exactly what the pilots suggested.

    They feel it would be better for the ships to stay in the inner channels, under our control rather than running along, just outside the reef. The navigation of some of these ships is amazingly poor.

    Your other suggestion is in fact in place. Pilotage is compulsory for all ships not under the control of an exempt master, in the inner passage. Some ships are allowed to make a short run from a port to the nearest passage to open sea.

    The only ships allowed to run without a pilot in the inner passage, are those skippered by a master with pilotage exemption. To be exempt a master must have sufficient barrier reef experience to effectively be eligible to join the pilot service himself.

    It is amazing how little people understand about the reef, or the size of it. I once had a bloke want me to take him, & his trail bike out to the reef. He wanted to ride his bike up the reef to Cairns.

    I used to run reef trips out of the Whitsunday Is. The Hook, Hardy, Line complex of reef we went to has one lagoon of 7500acres, & almost 50 nautical miles of reef.

    I also ran overnight reef fishing trips for some of the resorts. I has aerial photographs from Qld Harbours & Marine, [about 50 in all] of all the reefs between about Mackay & Cape Bowling Green. The tourists were amazed when they saw how the reef really was.

    Those photos not only helped navigation, but you could see where fish were likely to be, & pick lagoons suitable for over night anchorages

  36. Richard deSousa June 10, 2012 at 3:40 am #

    Is this similar to how Al Gore can save the planet?? Kick Gillard”s arse back to the Outback in 2013!!!

  37. Debbie June 10, 2012 at 8:25 am #

    major threat is dishonesty?
    While I don’t disagree, I think the dishonesty is often misguided and clueless ideology don’t you? That ideology is seasoned with a large dose of misanthropy via international treaties that stifle sensible and responsible management and progress.
    We end up doing almost nothing other than paying for more bureaucrats and more compliancy reports/reaearch.
    The people who are in charge of legislation re national parks and natural resources often have no understanding of the dynamics of these resources and interfere in totally inappropriate ways that are counter productive.
    Jen’s post re the GBR is a classic example. If our politicians and bureaucrats had bothered to ask the people who have practical knowledge and understanding of Dugongs in the GBR, they would be able to work on managing the real risks.
    Sounds like the Cassowary is suffering the same way?

  38. spangled drongo June 10, 2012 at 8:31 am #

    With expert advisers like this our prime minister couldn’t even save herself let alone our greatest treasures:

  39. Bob Fernley-Jones June 10, 2012 at 9:10 am #

    Hasbeen, thanks for that.
    Full pilotage would have avoided the unusual incident with the Shen Neng 1, which if I remember correctly was caused when the master decided to take an unauthorised short cut. As for the recent rare incident of that ship losing power and drifting towards the reef, that would probably not have resulted in significant damage had the tugs failed to reach it in time. (within the scale of things; compare cyclone Yasi for instance)
    Still, it all makes good sensation in the media

  40. Bob Fernley-Jones June 10, 2012 at 9:34 am #

    Concerning government experts/advisors
    I mentioned here: Professor Ross Garnaut’s involvement as founding chairman of Lihir Gold mine, where they dump tailings into the ocean in an area known as The Coral Triangle. He was also a director at the environmentally disastrous OK Tedi mine from 2002 where they dump stuff into the river.

    Of course there was the heralded Garnaut Report that advised our government what to do on climate change and the environment. Does anyone find that a bit strange?

  41. spangled drongo June 10, 2012 at 11:56 am #

    Bob FJ,

    With experts like that, us drongos have a big future. ☺☻

  42. Neville June 10, 2012 at 3:00 pm #

    Now McIntyre has started work on the AR5 draft. More power to him to put the boot into this continuing CAGW fraud.

  43. spangled drongo June 10, 2012 at 4:33 pm #

    Neville, will the “team” have as much influence on AR5 with the discrediting of the hockey sticks or will the uncertainty monster {remember that 95% certainty?} get a look in?

  44. George B June 10, 2012 at 4:44 pm #

    It is likely that within 5,000 to 10,000 years from now the Great Barrier Reef will be dead as a doornail and bleaching in the sun as the next glaciation drops sea level leaving the reef exposed and dessicated. The point is that the habitat that we call the Great Barrier Reef is ephemeral. It exists over the past 2 or 3 million years for only about 10 percent of the time during interglacial periods. This isn’t to say we shouldn’t take care of it, but is to say that what minor changes we can cause to that habitat are completely dwarfed by the absolute utter destruction of it that nature deals at rather regular intervals. Now only will that reef be exposed, it will remain exposed for nearly 100,000 years before it is briefly submerged for something less than 20,000 years and then exposed again.

  45. Bob Fernley-Jones June 10, 2012 at 5:05 pm #

    Spangles, yes indeed!
    At night I retire brimming over with contentment that our wise government selects the best experts such as Garnaut and Flannery, and commissions them very miserly with the taxpayer’s money. The great generosity of those experts, working for a mere pittance, is proof positive that they are holistically devoted towards saving our planet, and I am at great peace.

    What is more, another devoted servant of the people, the ABC MD Mark Scott, the Editor-in-Chief, was/is clearly deeply impressed by Garnaut’s multiple chairmanships etcetera of various entrepreneurships, although possibly might I hazard to a degree of worship proportional to Garnaut’s deep pockets?

    When back in 2010, The 7:30 Report ran an analysis of Garnaut’s involvement in highly ecologically controversial mining activities, Garnaut complained firstly to the host, Kerry O’Brien about alleged misrepresentations, whereupon an interview to sort things out was offered. Garnaut declined and instead appealed to the MD, which ultimately resulted in apologies by letter and in broadcasting on TV, together with removal of “sensitive” material on the ABC website.

    Curiously, the summary of ruling from the “independent” A&CA (Audience and Consumer Affairs) did not entirely agree with Garnaut. For instance on one complaint the use of unrelated file footage of native dancers elsewhere in PNG was ruled by A&CA to not be misleading to viewers.
    My reading between the lines, and in recognising the writing style of the Head of A&CA from our previous correspondences, is that the MD (and/or Director of Editorial Policies, Paul Chadwick) instructed her to contrive that The 7:30 Report had erred.

    The grounds argued were to say the least in stark contrast to the treatment meted to Jennifer when she was attacked by Media Watch:

  46. Larry Fields June 10, 2012 at 5:17 pm #

    Dugongs are supposed to be similar to West Indian Manatees, but the tail fins are different. In Florida, the biggest threats to Manatees are boat propellers, and the local cold snaps caused by excess methane emissions from alligator farts.

  47. spangled drongo June 10, 2012 at 5:30 pm #

    Yes George B, more CO2 please. CO2 seems to be the least of the GBR’s probs.

    Bob FJ, Garnaut has a lot to answer for.

  48. spangled drongo June 10, 2012 at 5:50 pm #

    George B, we will be able to return to our old homes:

  49. Bob Fernley-Jones June 10, 2012 at 5:53 pm #

    I’m intrigued and concerned by the threat to your manatees (that appear to be cousins of Oz dugongs) from alligator farts.
    We have crocodiles that become a temporal tourist attraction after they have eaten previous tourists.
    They roam both fresh and salt water up north. Do you have any empirical data on anal gaseous emissions of your pissy little alligators?

  50. gavin June 10, 2012 at 6:29 pm #

    Deb “I think the dishonesty is often misguided and clueless ideology don’t you?” etc.

    Now, now, now! While I’ve been catching up on several acquaintances to find the right rhetoric for you to indulge within your responses to bureaucrats, it seems you can’t resist the old. Btw; here is my respect for your situation off the farm.

    Back to work on the facts, one who comes here is a top land scientist and that’s your easy feedback path. Another who left for Rio today has probably asked them all to get the drum on everyone’s concern as we move on with greater global environment information.

    Bob FJ; from my experience, people at BoM, CSIRO, BRS, ABS, other Ministries and Media are professional, polite and available.

  51. Larry Fields June 10, 2012 at 6:52 pm #

    Bob Fernley-Jones June 10th, 2012 at 5:53 pm wrote:
    “Larry, *snip* We have crocodiles that become a temporal tourist attraction after they have eaten previous tourists.
    They roam both fresh and salt water up north. Do you have any empirical data on anal gaseous emissions of your pissy little alligators?”

    Hi Bob. Sorry, I don’t have any hard data. Or should I say, “gaseous data?”

    Alligators don’t particularly care for the taste of Americans. But I have it on good authority that the beasties go absolutely bonkers over Vegemite, which they can smell from a mile away. Visiting Aussies would be well-advised to go ‘cold turkey’ for at least a week before skinny-dipping in the bayous of the Deep South.

  52. George B June 11, 2012 at 4:16 am #

    One thing I want to clarify. I am not saying that we shouldn’t be mindful of the ecosystems in which we live. My point is to show that these ecosystems are much more resilient than we would be led to believe. The absolute destruction meted out by nature is often many times more destructive than what humans can do. Entire islands can literally disappear, eruptions can wipe out hundreds of square miles virtually sterilizing the landscape, oceans can fall leaving miles of shallow shoreline a hundred meters above sea level for tens of thousands of years and then flood those ecosystems again. But these species survive. Nature is not as fragile as we are often led to believe it is. History is full of instances where nature has reclaimed what was once thought to be wasteland in surprisingly short periods of time. Forests are reclaiming the Chernobyl exclusion area (which, by the way, has been cleared for the most part for re-habitation by people), grain was sprouting at “ground zero” a week after the Hiroshima bomb.

    One might “save” an area of forest hosting some endangered species or another only to see that forest wiped out by fire. Today in the US the town of Tombstone, Arizona can not lay a water line through a wooded area because someone saw a Mexican spotted owl in those woods. The notion seems to be that if even a single leaf is touched in that woods, that the entire species will go extinct, or something.

    What we are *really* seeing, in my opinion, is an intentional attack on our economy and on our lifestyle using “environmentalism” as the weapon. Because an owl was seen, a town can’t get water. The goal here is to get rid of the town. Rural dwellers are the long term enemy of the “environmentalist” who would want to depopulate the countryside and move everyone into “human habitation zones” but while they claim that is for “environmental” reasons, it is really for political reasons. People who live in rural areas tend to be self-sufficient, they tend to value their liberty, they tend to naturally resist socialist policies. City dwellers tend to be the opposite. If you create a nation of urban dwellers, you create a nation that seems to be more willing to do as they are told and can be “managed” from the top more easily. Urban dwellers are more like cattle, rural people are more like cats.

    They will find any excuse to make living in rural areas as expensive as possible. In California, people living “off the grid” have been ordered off their land unless they connect to the power grid and install water and waste systems according to current codes rather than the systems they are using that were perfectly legal when the home was built. Once these people are moved off their property, it is bought by solar power producers who plaster the land with thousands of solar panels, absolutely destroying the natural habitat at the ground level by depriving it of sunlight. They don’t really care about the environment. They are quite willing to make environmental compromises to further their goals. At the bottom of it all is politics.

  53. Binny June 11, 2012 at 7:11 am #

    George B

    The further people are removed from the land/nature, the more likely they are to believe the propaganda peddled by environmental groups.
    Only someone who had never been in direct contact with nature will buy the ‘fragile nature’ B.S.

    In the same way only someone who drives a climate controlled car, from a climate controlled house, to a climate controlled office, would be alarmed by the words ‘climate change’.

  54. Debbie June 11, 2012 at 8:09 am #

    I’m sure most of them are nice people and that they’re just doing their jobs. They probably have nice families and nice pets too.
    As Binny points out however, it doesn’t change the fact that they’re basically clueless and way too disconnected from the ‘reality’ of nature. It leads to inappropriate legislation based on imaginary risks and dangers.
    Meanwhile, the real risks and dangers are ignored.
    The results of the behaviour?
    Look at the results Gavin.
    Are they good results?

  55. spangled drongo June 11, 2012 at 8:40 am #

    And meanwhile, any species that might be endangered is caught between the unintended consequences of mindless greenness and insensitive, poorly regulated, people habitats.

    We have just completed an Alberts Lyrebird survey which we do each year to establish if the numbers are holding up. This bird only lives in a tiny part of the world in SE Qld and the local planning in recent years has been to generally invade its habitat with things like stand-alone shopping centres when there is heaps of room in existing commercial areas [the never-ending problem of new suburbia] etc.

    So far it is surviving but there is a limit to how much rainforest you can clear and feral predators you can introduce and still retain these beautiful creatures.

  56. Bob Fernley-Jones June 11, 2012 at 5:04 pm #

    Gavin, you said to me:
    “from my experience, people at BoM, CSIRO, BRS, ABS, other Ministries and Media are professional, polite and available”.

    I’m not clear as to why you bring your experience with authority to my attention, and whilst as a generalization it is probably true, and your contacts were polite, polite does not necessarily = right. Personally for instance I have no desire to talk to David Jones at the BOM because I have seen some of his opinions and proclamations, and he reminds me of Prof Keith Walker, ditto. It would be as futile as talking to Tim Flannery or Ross Garnaut, or…. Need I go on?

    The ABC so-called “The Science Show” did a typically uncritical interview about climate change with two high authorities in the AAS (Australian Academy of Science) which was so surreally awful that I made a formal complaint to the ABC. This taxpayer funded authority that should serve the people according to charter by law from the ABC Act rejected the complaint despite that the host provenly knew that at least one of the AAS claims was false and yet without challenging it. (and the other topics were all contradicted by inconvenient facts). I’d be interested if you could review my article on this, and offer your opinion on the authorities involved. BTW, it would benefit from update with yet more inconvenient data from the recent floods.

    Pheromones are strange thingies. I recollect that Oz Crocs seem to have a preference for eating American tourists but laudably without any gender discrimination. (hey that could make a good research study…. $300,000 anyone?)
    BTW Larry, today is a public holiday here for our Queen’s official birthday (HRH Elizabeth II)

  57. Bob Fernley-Jones June 11, 2012 at 6:28 pm #

    If it is any consolation the closely related Superb Lyrebird is doing rather well down near me in Victoria despite that not long ago they were said to be threatened. I’ve been repeatedly surprised by seeing many of them running across the road when driving through forest areas, especially early in the day. And, when walking with my two Jack Russel dogs in State Forest, they are not shy to tease them by running very fast around them and making a lot of terrifying noises. Their attention is entirely on the dogs, who submit, and those terror-birds ignore me close-by! I recall from somewhere that they have adapted to feral predatory threats by roosting higher up from their formerly ground roosting habit.

  58. John Sayers June 11, 2012 at 7:04 pm #

    Bob FJ – the hubris of Robyn Williams of the ABC Science show is unbelievable.

    He holds a Bachelor of Science (Honours) degree yet has been awarded doctorates from Deakin University, University of Sydney, and Macquarie University and an Honorary Doctorate of Law from the Australian National University.

    He’s actually an actor having made (guest) appearances in the BBC series The Goodies, Monty Python’s Flying Circus and Doctor Who.

    He’s a perfect example of the fact that climate change is about strutting the stage!

  59. spangled drongo June 11, 2012 at 7:45 pm #

    Yes Bob, the Superbs seem much more adaptable. A big problem for the Alberts are the chicks which are ground bound for a long period.

    BTW, Richard Feynman’s statement that “science is the belief in the stupidity of experts” was never so apparrent:

  60. spangled drongo June 11, 2012 at 7:47 pm #

    It would fit Robin Williams very well too.

  61. spangled drongo June 11, 2012 at 7:53 pm #


    I see that one of your old blogs by Michael Hammer hit the headlines in the US:

    From John Ray on Greenie Watch.

  62. gavin June 11, 2012 at 8:02 pm #

    Bob FJ; it may surprise that I could have worked with some people now at the ACMA, and certainly with their predecessors in another technical licencing unit.

    Let’s say your private campaign would cause great concern if it involved a ministerial reply and a legal eye. Everyone is obliged then to cover all fields and leave you with nothing to carry on about. So by pushing your point, you can’t score in the long run.

    Public servants must serve everyone equally. Your opinion regardless of supporting claims from elsewhere is no more valued than the next guy’s and policy direction only changes after considerable time. Any fresh declaration of fact must come from within the policy setting group who are also employed to hear everyone.

    Today we listened to a scientist recently returned from Antarctica describing a vast continental wetland that’s quite active underneath the ice sheet. Given the magnitude of fresh knowledge; one has to decide where to place one’s personal trust. Knowing lots of science and expeditionary folk helps.

  63. Robert June 11, 2012 at 8:18 pm #

    “…a scientist recently returned from Antarctica describing a vast continental wetland that’s quite active underneath the ice sheet. Given the magnitude of fresh knowledge…”

    Amazing. Fresh knowledge? No more settled science? No more it’s-worse-than-we-thought?

    Love it when scientists lose the script and do…Science!

  64. spangled drongo June 11, 2012 at 8:20 pm #

    That ABC article about the mental health checks of 3 year olds being described as “medicalising normality”, describes the AGW scam to a tee.

    Too much expert “science” with too much taxpayer funding, looking for somewhere to go.

  65. cohenite June 11, 2012 at 10:21 pm #

    Bob_FJ; the ABC editorial position on many subjects, particularly AGW is set in cement; there is no longer any pretence of balance; consider this recent interview:

  66. gavin June 12, 2012 at 6:24 am #

    Cohenite; I usually ignore mere writers on most practical subjects like engineering. This old smoke watcher can see at a glance that book cover pic is only steam. Why do you bother?

    Robert; right wing rhetoric is also ignored.

    For those who are not color blind, what’s the difference between a “red neck” and something “under the bed”?

  67. Robert June 12, 2012 at 7:38 am #

    Gav, on behalf of all creationist, redneck, right wing rhetoricians, I’d like to congratulate you on your brief foray into unsettled science. Five minutes of freedom is better than none.

    So now it’s back to GetUp/Green script?

  68. spangled drongo June 12, 2012 at 7:58 am #

    The AEF sum up the campaign for more marine parks in the Coral Sea:

  69. Ian Thomson June 12, 2012 at 8:28 am #

    According to yesterday’s Govt press release, ( which somehow seems to be half attributed to the Pew Foundation, at least on our ABC, ) it is all done and dusted . The marine parks are going to be all sorted in a matter of “one or two weeks”.
    It is going to be a “world first”. – Well, no other nation in history has worked so hard at national starvation, have they ?

    The horse has bolted guys and no common sense or science will even make dent in the press release avalanche of the last few weeks. It will all be jammed through while the mugs are watching the Olympics. ( In one or two weeks. )

    Just you try and industrialise a port in Queensland or WA then.

  70. Bob Fernley-Jones June 12, 2012 at 10:35 am #

    If you can take it, here is the transcript from “The science Show” of a long subject talk given by Professor Oreskes at NSW Uni. Robyn Williams expresses bewilderment that people are sceptical of AGW and apparently believes that she is delivering gospel truth and context.

    If I understand you correctly, you can see from the cover image of her book that only the gullible would read it. The trouble is that thousands listen to and quote her, including the ABC. (ironically, even the iconic so-called “The science Show”). I guess she has also probably sold thousands of her books.

  71. spangled drongo June 12, 2012 at 10:49 am #

    Ian, the consequences of all this crazy “environmentalism” will be just what you say.

    Why is it the only things we seem capable of leading the world in, are so dumb?

  72. John Sayers June 12, 2012 at 12:14 pm #

    This morning Alan Jones desperately tried to get Tony Abbott to refute AGW but he refused and side stepped around it.

    Alan later remarked to a listener, who rang to complain about Abbott being wishy washy, that once into government he’ll act accordingly. I sure hope so.

  73. spangled drongo June 12, 2012 at 12:38 pm #

    John, Abbott has the right idea by leaving the debate to the scientists but acting sceptically when he gains govt.

    It is the only political path. [meanwhile i’m gonna get in some firewood and fight the liar]

  74. John Sayers June 12, 2012 at 2:18 pm #

    Yes – you are right SD. It’s just frustrating.

    One of the beautiful aspects of living in a small country town is the beautiful aroma of slow combusting hardwood on the evening breezes. 🙂

  75. Debbie June 12, 2012 at 2:24 pm #

    Public servants must serve everyone equally?
    Right wing rhetoric?
    What planet do you live on?
    It’s obviously not the same one I do.
    Public servants are employees and they do the bidding of their employers. In theory that is the taxpayers in practice it is the govt or more correctly the heads of dept who rely on keeping their political masters happy. They most certainly do NOT serve/hear everyone equally. It’s also a silly theory because people’s needs and expectations aren’t equal in the first place. We don’t all live in the same place and many of us are not even employees.
    Seriously, what does a Canberra bureaucrat know about the real risks to Dugongs in the GBR? If they’re not prepared to listen to people who live and work there and who also have generational knowledge of the area, what’s likely to happen?
    Right wing/left wing/centre are socialist terms. There are other parties/ideologies/people who are not socialists. They don’t believe that centralising legislation and giving all responsibility (even emotional responsibility) to clueless bureaucrats is a good idea.
    Redneck is a derogatory term based on a rural stereotype that doesn’t really exist in Australia. In general, Australian farmers are exemplary business people who would like to be left alone. If they wanted to live in cities and work in jobs, then that’s what they would do. They don’t. But most of them don’t think less of others because of their lifestyle choices.
    They generally don’t try to interfere where they’re not welcome either.

  76. Bob Fernley-Jones June 12, 2012 at 4:34 pm #

    Coming back to dugongs and somewhat similar “indigenous cultures” around the world:

    About 4 years ago I received a shocking chain Email from a friend in Canada. It had many photos of young men in the Faroe Islands (Denmark) apparently enjoying themselves cruelly despatching small whales that had been driven ashore, typically with blows from blunt hooks. I felt ill on seeing the water so red and very many people watching-on from the cliffs above. The Email was a campaign to stop this cruelty. Not being one to accept chain Emails on face value I did a bit of research and found an official claim that in fact the islanders had very much reduced or stopped the practice as a consequence of international protests. However, then came the Email campaign about which the official view was that the photographs were from a much earlier time. This was inferred to incense the islanders as a misrepresentation, whereupon they increased their harvesting.

    I can’t easily find my archive on this but the following Wikipedia article gives some idea, although the statistics don’t entirely support that earlier official account.

    And this; a bit more bloody:

    What I’m leading to is that certain indigenous practices such as sawing off the flippers on a turtle without first quickly killing it is not acceptable for many of us.
    They should be shamed via their leaders as a first step, and progressively congratulated as things improve. Any approach via government may well be counter-productive.

  77. Mark A June 12, 2012 at 5:19 pm #

    Bob Fernley-Jones

    They should be shamed via their leaders as a first step, and progressively congratulated as things improve. Any approach via government may well be counter-productive.

    While I see where you are coming from, I can’t see why you want to treat them like children?
    Cruelty exists in the white community too, I assure you, but a firm NO and heavy fines or jail term keeps it at bay, at least.

    The laws should apply equally to all.

    Someone on this forum was talking about the inability of aborigines to use traditional methods of hunting because of change in land use. Some of it is certainly true mostly in the southern states, although a lot of land use has not changed in WA, SA or north Q. so traditional hunting methods should work fine.
    Mining activities take only a miniscule portion of land!

    True you can’t go on burning half the land to catch a few roos but if you can get them with a rifle surely you could get them with traditional weapons too?

    Besides wasn’t the burning done in order to encourage new grass growth anyway?
    We have more roos now than we ever had thanks to the very change in land use, so burning is not needed anyway.

    But most importantly, the ability to hunt at sea has not changed at all as far as I can see, so using traditional dug out canoes and spears should be in order, along with the prohibition of cruelty as applied to all of us.
    It’s the only decent human thing to do.

  78. John Sayers June 12, 2012 at 5:49 pm #

    We have moved beyond traditional hunting.

    We no longer respect traditional ownership.

    The land is ours, everyone of us.

  79. gavin June 12, 2012 at 10:06 pm #

    Deb, tut, tut again! Let me tell how it really is.

    A guy who once had a good trade, but it involved funny hours decided to be something else and so he did a science degree. His partner’s support involved work as an event manager in odd places so she did a language on the side. Both are now welcome in communities up north as “family” members. Dugong and turtle are traditional “festival” foods.

    Our scientist has been a key environment advisor on a range of developments coast to coast until recently. Knowing both sides of an argument is an essential part of an assessment cause there is always another stake holder. Btw his partner now organises regular courses for certain stake holders with a lot of clout in the short term. I am sure each can work for both sides of politics.

    I have no hesitation in recommending their work because it’s typical of our younger well educated and competitive administrative staff.

    Imo it is easier to trust the person than the rules they interpret as they are on the spot ground truthing often enough to be wiser than the rest of us.

  80. Debbie June 13, 2012 at 8:12 am #

    It’s the ground truthing that’s missing most of the time.
    Hence a mindset that ignores the real and manageable risks in the natural environment.
    Instead we have that ‘precautionary principle’ that focuses on projected possible risks.
    It leads to very ordinary, inappropriate and stifling results.
    Look at the results of the behaviour Gavin.

  81. Bob Fernley-Jones June 13, 2012 at 9:39 am #

    Mar A,
    While I see where you are coming from, I can’t see why you want to treat them like children?
    Cruelty exists in the white community too, I assure you, but a firm NO and heavy fines or jail term keeps it at bay, at least.
    The laws should apply equally to all.

    Perhaps I worded that badly and I actually agree with your last point. However, for Australia to suppress a native culture would be a world first? Would there not be screams of protest?

    I think that that it would be controversial as to whether passing such laws would have much effectiveness given that the practices could continue out of sight and maybe too difficult to police. I even wonder if such laws are effective in the white community, or may even result in worse cruelty out of extra thrill in breaking the law. For instance on a golf course near me not long ago there was an overnight slaying and beheading of a dozen kangaroos, and smaller incidents are not uncommon and remain unsolved.

  82. Bob Fernley-Jones June 13, 2012 at 9:47 am #

    Mark A,
    Sorry, my eyboard often drops the letter k as demonstrated again

  83. Kevin Moore June 14, 2012 at 5:04 pm #

    Australian law passed by Parliament is not Common Law,it is Statute Law. Statute Law is Admiralty Law or “The Law of the Sea”.

    As can be seen by the ACTS INTERPRETATION ACT the whole of the Australian territorial land mass is deemed to be covered by sea, so therefore it can be seen that the whole of the Australian land and coastal territories come under the provise of the “Law of the Sea Treaty” to which Australia became a signatory in 1994. See –

    Application of Acts in coastal sea
    Coastal sea of Australia

    (1) An Act is taken to have effect in, and in relation to, the coastal sea of Australia as if that coastal sea were part of Australia.

    (2) A reference in an Act to Australia, or to the Commonwealth, is taken to include a reference to the coastal sea of Australia.

    Coastal sea of external Territory

    (3) An Act that is in force in an external Territory is taken to have effect in, and in relation to, the coastal sea of the Territory as if that coastal sea were part of the Territory.

    (3A) A reference in an Act to all or any of the external Territories (whether or not one or more particular Territories are referred to) is taken to include a reference to the coastal sea of any Territory to which the reference relates.


    (4) In this section, coastal sea :

    (a) in relation to Australia, means:

    (i) the territorial sea of Australia; and

    (ii) the sea on the landward side of the territorial sea of Australia and not within the limits of a State or internal Territory;

    and includes the airspace over, and the sea-bed and subsoil beneath, any such sea; and

    (b) in relation to an external Territory, means:

    (i) the territorial sea adjacent to the Territory; and

    (ii) the sea on the landward side of the territorial sea adjacent to the Territory and not within the limits of the Territory;

    and includes the airspace over, and the sea-bed and subsoil beneath, any such sea.
    No wonder then that a celebration is being held in Rio –

    “Sat 16 June – THEME: Oceans Day
    10:00-11:00 Renewing our political commitments: Perspectives on Rio+20
    11:00-12:15 Scaling up integrated governance of the oceans
    12:15-13:30 Lunch: Celebrating 10 Years of the Global Ocean Forum, and the 30th Anniversary of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea

    Our politicians have surrendered Australian sovereignty to the United Nations.


  84. Kevin Moore June 14, 2012 at 5:08 pm #

    I apologise – I have no idea how the above shemozzle occured.

  85. Bob Fernley-Jones June 15, 2012 at 4:10 pm #


    I’m dumbstruck and slowly shake my head like the Roman Guards did in the educational movie “Life of Brian” Can one get a slipped disk in the neck?

  86. kurt September 5, 2012 at 2:32 pm #

    I’ve got a question wouldn’t we be able to save the reef with more shade ec. buildings and boats i said these two because i thought it would be possible to do it boats are a moavable source of shade but if the tours were longer and they stoped more frequently then more coral would be healthier for them and the tourists get to have a look at it or more tours at the same time but different route. Buildings becuase they’re permanant they would give all coral a healthy life because when the sun moves so does the shadow.


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