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The Tussock Times,

Cooma-Monaro Shire Council

Meeting on Monday 9 December  2013

One look at the crowd gathering in the foyer well before the doors opened was enough to indicate that some contentious matter was part of the night's business.

As always the meeting opened with Presentations followed by Open Forum which was dominated by residents of a sub-division on Mittagang Road outside of Cooma. Not the first time that the Councillors have had to find some solution to the on going problems of peoples differing expectations.

This is a sub-division where blocks are a few acres in size and the area is zoned as Residental, and that is where the problem arises. Some residents feel that because of the zoning, all the restrictions of city life should apply, others feel that having purchased four or five acres they should have freedom to pursue other activities and the one activity that creates the most friction is the riding of motor bikes by young children.

There has been no suggestion that the bikes are ridden on the public road but the objection is to the noise of air cooled engines in an area that some expected to provide them with the quietness of agricultural land.

The matter on the Business Paper was an application by one family to build a motor bike track on their own property for the use of their own children and some of their friends. The track was to include a number of raised jumps and would be formed by earthmoving machinery.

To their credit, the Councillors did seem to make a serious effort to find an acceptable solution and in the end the application was approved with a list of restrictions placed on the times at which bikes could use the track.

During the discussion, the matter of policing any conditions was raised and when the approval was finally given, no plan for policing the conditions was included. This is a failure in the decision because among the papers tabled was a letter from the police in Cooma stating that the problems at the sub-division were not their business.

Another speaker in Open Forum was a Solicitor from Cooma who raised the matter of Council's new regime for charging for Section 149 certificates.

This new pricing regime had come into force following the adoption of the Local Environment Plan at the August 2013 meeting.

A Section 149 Certificate from Council is required before any piece of land can be sold and it details the status of that piece of land on the Councils records. It indicate whether the Rates have been paid and whether there are any restrictions on the use of the land.

For a basic certificate the fee is about $53 and for more detailed certificates the fee can be over $100.

Traditionally the certificate has covered the entire property to be sold and only one fee has been charged but now the Council has moved to computer-generated certificates and the computer program being used generates a certificate for each portion of land included in the sale.

During discussion there was the usual confusion caused by Governments wanting to change the meaning of words; a Portion was always the original surveyed piece of land and a Lot was the smaller piece of land created when a Portion was subdivided.

But now Government chooses to refer to all pieces of land as Lots.

A house in town sits on one Lot and incurs one fee of $53 but a farming property may consist of any number of Lots (or Portions), numbers of ten or more were mentioned and at that figure the S.149 Certificates would cost $530.

The Mayor made the comment that a farm with that many Lots would probably be a couple of thousand acres in size and worth two or three million dollars. If only he were correct.

Up on the Basalt soils of the original treeless Monaro where he comes from that may well be the case but in the rougher lands of the Shire where most agricultural development is prohibited under the Native Vegetation Act, a property of 2,000 acres might be worth a lot less than a million dollars.

This new scale of fees is a total imposition on farmers  and yet another example of how the urban population in Australia continues to enjoy a remarkably affluent lifestyle, well beyond anything that could be considered a market return on their skill or effort.

One can imagine a farmer, having gone bankrupt as a result of the anti-rural policies of all levels of government in Australia, trying to recoup something of his investment or his inheritance, now being faced with a charge of several hundred dollars for something that was formerly provided for $53, on the basis that because the computer generates a multitude of certificates he should pay that number of multiples of the fee.

It was put to the Councillors that because the output of multiple certificates is part of the computer program nothing can be done about it. That is a real 1970's answer.

Why 1970's? Well that was when the newspaper I was working for put in their second-generation mainframe to run a word processing program for the paper. That program had a flaw in it in that the computer generated a line of white space after every 48 point heading and the compositors had to use a scalpel and rule to cut out the white space.

The output from the computer was in the form of a right-reading positive film.

The belief then was that trying to change anything inside the computer was a bit like trying to make a motorcar fly, so hours and hours were wasted.

But now we are all a bit more computer literate and we know that a computer program is no more than a set of instructions to the computer and to make changes requires nothing more than commenting out or rewriting a few lines of script.

Council is to look at this fee schedule again in the New Year and it is to be hoped that fair play and not greed will decide the matter.

When the girl from the morning side of the mountain wed the boy from the twilight side of the hill.

Or to put it differently, when Katie Phillips from Jerangle on the eastern side of the Tinderrys, wed Luke Kelly from Michelago on the western side of the Tinderrys on Saturday 30th November 2013.

                    of the bridal party.

One thing about those Jerangle people, they do love a party. But before talking about the party we will say a few things about the wedding. Firstly it worked and Katie and Luke are now legally wed and secondly, the rain that had sometimes been forecast did not arrive but that was not a surprise to anybody.

We heard somebody comment that the stand of tall timber overshadowing the ceremony was in fact Nature's Cathedral. That was certainly more poetic than the comment from some redneck farmer about a lot of woody weeds needing to be cleared.

Then the serious part of the ceremony involved a drive to Numeralla. Travelling on the dirt road might have been a new experience for some from more developed shires but luckily there were no long bullock teams encountered on the trip.

The Numeralla Hall was packed, the band played at their loudest and the guests simply shouted louder to be heard above the band. A very happy bedlam.

The guest list reflected Katies lifetime involvement with Jerangle with all who had been involved in growing her up being invited to her wedding but it also reflected a very nice local practice of turning family celebrations into community events.

The grooms family were probably outnumbered by Jerangle residents but since the two districts touch each other along the top of the Tinderry ridge there was some degree of recognisation.

For those who had unfinished conversations, Sunday Brunch at the brides parents house gave more time and many took advantage of the invitation.

Is this the end of a Nation?

Like rabbits caught in the headlights of an oncoming car, Australians crouch, transfixed, as the world problem of Over Population rolls towards them with the disappearance of Australians as a nation the likely outcome.

It does not help at all that so many of our supposed Community Leaders are directing and facilitating the onslaught. Indeed, our Political Leaders are working together in a conspiracy to convince Australians that the problem is not so much one of numbers but rather one of race and religion.

Go searching on the Internet and it is very hard to discover just how many migrants are being accepted into Australia each year, all that the Department of Immigration publishes is a figure of the percentage increase in population due to immigration.

All that the politicians talk about is the relatively small number arriving on boats and without papers each year.

Certainly these people are a problem, no doubt the Emperor of Japan is turning in his grave in realisation that he could have conquered Australia without the loss of a single young Japanese had he known that were they to land in Darwin from fishing boats rather than dropping bombs, and claimed to be refugees from a lifetime of hard work and poverty and Emperor worship, a few million of them could have taken over the country.

Today we see people from Sri Lanka who a few years ago were rise up in armed rebellion against their Government, turning up here in big numbers, claiming to be refugees because their Government seeks to put them on trial for the murders committed in the course of their rebellion.

Do they really think that in Australia, people who oppose the Government of the day have some moral right to don suicide vests and go hugging politicians?

We see boatloads of people coming from Somalia and Iraq and Iran, people who in their homelands did not understand the need to tolerate the existence of others and who according to the news reports that we see, are still engaged in bloodthirsty battles and bombings over ownership of natural resources or over the correct end to open a hardboiled egg.

Tens of thousands of people are coming from Afghanistan, claiming to be a persecuted religious minority. It would seem that people in Afghanistan do not enjoy the freedom of religion that is available to most Australians but I bet you that these people would be the last to extend freedom of religion to their children.

Sure they do not enjoy freedom of religion in Afghanistan, nor do they enjoy Australian wage rates but few would try to argue their case to be refugees based on the low incomes in Afghanistan.

If we are going to accept into Australia, all those people from countries that are not fit for a dog to live in, then we might as well abandon all hope of protecting the future for our children, open immigration to all who can raise the fare until such time as the subsequent rise in population drives down the standard of living to the point where we see an exodus from Australia to China or India or Somalia.

I came across this page in somebody’s comments to some article on immigration on one of the popular websites.

Definition of Genocide

It was the opinion of the person posting the page that the enforcement of the policy of Multiculturalism upon the population of Australia amounted to Genocide as defined in Article 2c in this convention. It is a train of thought that this writer has not followed before but I can certainly see the connection.

Monday 13 May 2013

Cooma-Monaro Shire Council Meeting

First item on the agenda for Monday night was a citizenship ceremony.

We were pleased to notice that the Mayor, Cr Dean Lynch, donned the mayoral cloak and the chain of office.

Maybe the Mayor is not a great one for wearing fancy clothes. When he was first elected to the position, he followed the example of the late Vin Good and dressed for the event but after a little while he began conducting the ceremonies dressed in his suit.

A nice suit and he looked the part but this month, as he himself commented, the young lady who was seeking citizenship was dressed in her best clothes, she obviously thought it to be an important occasion.

So it was a fortunate co-incidence that this month he resumed the practice of wearing the mayoral bling.

All that we need now to complete the pomp and ceremony is for the General Manager, Mr John Vucic, to resume the role he practised formerly of helping the Mayor to dress in the robes.

Why? Well it just looks appropriate.

In Open Forum we had Mr Peter Walmsley of Jerangle addressing the Councilors about the deplorable condition of the Jerangle Road between Jerangle itself and the northern end near Captains Flat.

In recent months, Council has been working on the section of the Jerangle Road extending to the town of Bredbo and that part of the road is now in a very satisfactory condition.

But the condition of the northern end is not acceptable and we hope that having recently voted to assign more funds to this important road, Council will see that it is made safe for users along the entire length.

In the General Business of the meeting, the most interesting item was an application for financial support from Runway Motorsport Australia who are conducting a motor sports event known as the “2013 Shannons Insurance Snowy Mountains 1000”.

Almost every month Councilors have to make decisions with regard to applications for financial support for various people and their endeavors.

I know that traditionally Council has provided financial support for many applicants who needed assistance and without a doubt the Councilors would willingly give generous grants to all applicants if they did not have to justify that generosity to the ratepayers.

Runway Motorsport was not asking for a set amount of money but rather a contribution towards their planned expenditure of $28,000 for laying of a bitumen apron at the beginning of the airstrip at the Cooma Airport.

The application from the promoters detailed the financial benefit that would flow to the town of Cooma from the expenditure by visitors and competitors at the motor sport event.

Having watched the decisions of the Cooma Council for many years, one could imagine a Council of a couple of decades ago, made up mostly of Cooma shopkeepers, agreeing to the request on the basis that they considered it their responsibility to spend what ever money was necessary to keep Cooma alive.

This time the councilors considered the application in detail, expressed their disagreement with the promoters claim that the sealing of the approach to the runway was not of benefit to the owners of the airstrip, and voted against the request, partly on the basis that the Cooma Airport is not even in the Cooma-Monaro Shire Council area.

Councilors would have had a hard time justifying their decision to the ratepayers had they voted otherwise.

New Faces at the Jerangle Bush Fire Brigade

Jerangle Bush Fire Brigade has been fortunate in recruiting a number of new members this year. Having completed their two-day course in theory of Basic Firefighting, new members still have to attend at least one Brigade activity and to be assessed on their performance at that activity.

Anembo Brigade was conducting a Hazard Reduction Burn at the Piggibilla property on Saturday 27 of April and a number of new recruits took the opportunity to get involved.

Here, at the end of a long day, are three new members waiting to be stood down and to get away home.

From the left we have Mark and Vicky Saunders and David Trott.

Mark and Vicky are relatively new residents but David is a resident of long standing whose children have now grown up leaving him with the time to get involved with the Brigade.

The burn off involved a lot of foot work with drip-torches, setting fire to the leaf litter over some 300 hectares of regrowth.

The day was reasonably successful but might have produced a better reduction in the fuel load had it been a bit drier.

Going back to Piggibilla was an exercise in nostalgia for this old bloke. I had last been there in 1980 and was there for the first time in 1975 or 1976.

In those days the place was owned by one Verity Fitzhardinge. She was one of those grand old ladies that one meets very rarely.

First time I saw her was at the Queanbeyan stock sale yards. Verity had 40 acres at Oaks Estate, just across the border into the A.C.T. She was married to John (?) Fitzhardinge who wrote the definitive biography of John Curtin, wartime Prime Minister.

The day I saw her there she was already well into her sixties and she had decided that she had to sell some of her beloved Red Devons. She walked some 4 or more bulls to the sale yard on foot and on her own.

These were bulls, not bullocks and some or maybe all of them had horns that would make a mastodon envious. Sure, a mastodon would wear them differently. I do not recall what she got for them, then as now, it was hard to get a fair price for cattle.

Later I went to visit her at Piggibilla, her other property near Anembo. She had some 1,500 acres there and ran the bulk of her Devons out there. I bought my first trio of herd-book Devons from her then.

We drove almost the full length of the property to where the cattle were then had to walk them the same distance back to the yards. Verity loaned me her old Austin truck to move them to Jerangle.

A few years before then she had been to Afghanistan and she commented to me that Afghanistan was like the Anembo-Jerangle district except that we still had trees.

Maybe Verity noted that because she liked trees or maybe she just could not do anything about the regrowth. Certainly 1,500 acres was more than she could look after, even though she employed young Shane one day a week and by the time she sold the place to the present owner, Ron Strudwick, who at that time was her neighbour living on Norongo, the place was badly overgrown with eucalyptus scrub.

Ron bought the place, sold Norongo to finance it, with the plan of restoring Piggibilla to its original condition but like so many farmers was caught by the apparent conspiracy between John Howard and Bob Carr which resulted in the passing of State Environment Planning Policy 46 in the early hours of the morning and without any public consultation.

And just like so many other farmers, Ron was helpless as his property lost half of its value.


CMSC Meeting

The April Council meeting was held at Michelago and we did not get to it.

While Jerangle to Michelago as the crow flies is not a great distance, the Tinderry Range in between is a considerable obstacle.

So we read the minutes. Mainly to see what the councilors decided to do with an application for a building permit for Nimmitabel town.

A ratepayer there was seeking some considerable flexibility in the regulations to allow her to build a house that she felt she could afford.

I think, from memory, that she was a single parent with six children.

Council voted to not make any allowances for her and insisted that if she wished to proceed with the building application she would have to pay for road construction and the extension of sewerage and water supply to her block.

Without even considering the specific case, this shows what is wrong in Australia today. Governments prate on about the need for affordable housing then they do everything they can to make sure that people cannot build affordable housing.

When the then Labor government introduced national building regulations in 1946, their goal was to create employment for returned solders and they sweetened the bitter pill of tyranny by having the Commonwealth Bank provide housing loans for a 40 year period at an interest rate of one percent.

That was a fixed rate and I can remember my mother telling me how in the mid-fifties the bank tricked people into agreeing to change to a variable rate.

Since then we have all learned to live with floating interest rates and currently the Reserve Bank is driving down interest rates because the Government hope that by doing so, people will be duped into borrowing large sums of money for construction projects and that such construction will provide employment for the hundreds of thousands of migrants that the Government is allowing into the country each year.

Then when the economy gets to be too over-heated, the Reserve Bank will get the message and will raise interest rates and bankrupt another tranche of people.

Maybe our government should take a lesson from South Vietnam, a country as short of development capital as is Australia.

In that country the banks are not allowed to lend money for house construction, money is too precious for personal consumption and is reserved to productive investments.

People build affordable housing with what money they have and they extend their house when they have more money of their own.

We have lived with the restrictions on housing for the past 70 years because for most people the economy made it reasonably easy to live with those restrictions.

But now we can no longer rely on life-time employment or fixed low interest housing loans and young people have little hope of being able to afford to buy a house for themselves.

This is probably the way the politicians want it, more tenants for their investment properties. Housing has always been a favoured form of investment with politicians with their enormous superannuation pay outs.

I noticed that all nine of the councilors voted against giving the Nimmitabel applicant any leeway in her difficulty with the regulations and I wondered how many of them had investment properties in Cooma.

Surely the very fact of owning an investment property would mean that they had a conflict of interest in making decisions about an applicant who was seeking to escape from the housing rental market.


Where are the Koalas?

It was not all of the local population but it was a representative number who attended the meeting in the CWA hall on Tuesday 26 February to hear what the chap from the Dept. of Environment had to say about koalas.

He started the meeting by showing a few very short videos, taken by motion activated surveillance cameras, of koalas being active at night and engaged in the curious habit of eating bark from trees.

While Mr Chris Allen from the department was still speculating about the reason for this behavior, farmers present thought that a mineral deficiency was the probable cause.

The problem of managing the fire regime was discussed with emphases on the need to strike a balance between risky controlled burns and disastrous wild fires if no controlled burning is done.

Chris Allen suggested that a wildfire that burnt through to the coast in 1952 had been the cause of the collapse of the koala population west of Bega by having reduced the population below the critical number needed for sustained breeding.

One old farmer present stated his opinion that the meeting had been triggered by the arrival of a juvenile koala at the Jerangle school late last year.

This was denied and the meeting was justified as being part of the Cooma-Monaro Council's response to a demand from the state government that it formulate a Koala Habitat Management policy.

This is confirmed by a visit to the CMSC web site.

The young koala at the school had aroused a great deal of interest at the time and much speculation about where it might have come from.

Some thought that it must indicate an unknown local breeding population but Chris Allen dismissed that idea by quoting the case of a researcher who had placed a tracking device on a juvenile female koala.

This individual had left its mother's home range and traveled for 50 kilometres before finding a food source that held it for sometime but from where it returned to its mother's home range.

On this basis the school koala could have come from as far away as the known populations at Numeralla or the Tinderry Nature reserve.

From there we got onto the real purpose of the meeting, to enlist volunteers and to make contact with local landowners.

We were shown maps of the district with two areas indicated as being of interest.

One proposed search area was south of Good Good and connected to the Numeralla population by an area of continuous bush, the other was along the Sandy Flat Road.

Farmers and country people have a great interest in wild life and the Department can be assured of co-operation but still we fear that the discovery of koalas will be a financial disaster if the trees they are occupying are on a working property.

The state and commonwealth governments have a very bad record from their past dealings with farmers where the governments have wanted to resume control if not legal ownership of farming properties and there are good reasons for believing that in the event of the discovery of previously unknown koala populations or feed sources, the farmer will be forced to carry the full cost of supporting the communities justifiable desire to see ongoing protection for the remaining koala population.


First C.M.S.C. Meeting for 2013

This was the meeting at which the Auditor presents his report to Council.

As in the past, the auditor had plenty of nice things to say about the Council for their debt free status and significant cash reserves.

A lot of ratepayers would not be able to share the auditors enthusiasm for the way the Councillors have managed the councils finances.

If the purpose of the council is to accumulate money in Mandrake finance schemes then they are doing well but if the purpose of the council is to provide services in return for rates paid then possibly the size of the reserves is an indication of a lack of services provided.

The auditor, when questioned by councillors, was able to express support for council borrowings that are used for “revenue positive” works. That is works that bring in income for council.

But if the council borrows to seal the Jerangle Road and one hundred ratepayers each saved two thousand dollars because the road no longer smashed their car to pieces, then that borrowing is “revenue negative” the way the auditor sees it and therefore not good management.

The ratepayers would see it differently.

The Mayor, Dean Lynch, did invite persons in the gallery to quiz the auditor if they wished but I suspect that asking the auditor about the validity of the council's approach would be a bit like asking the retiring Pope if there really was a God.

On the business paper was the matter of a proposed subdivision at Rose Valley. One speaker in Open Forum raised the point that this was a viable working property being cut up into small blocks because it was close to Cooma.

This item of business highlighted one of the short comings of our so-called local government. During the discussion and in response to a question from a councillor, one of the staff members from the Planning Department admitted that the application complied with all the rules and that staff had the power to approve it but because public outcry was expected, the decision was passed to the councillors so that they could take the adverse reaction.

Various councillors did express concern about the dissection of a working farm but admitted that because it came within the rules, they could not deny the owner his right to maximise his return from selling his property.

During the recent council election campaign various ones pointed out that candidate Ignazio Mondello was a large scale property owner and developer in Cooma and that he could well find himself voting on resolutions affecting his own properties.

Enough ratepayers saw that as no impediment and voted for him, giving him a position on council.

This months meeting brought that situation to the fore as six items for decision by council involved properties owned or part owned by Cr Mondello and tenders lodged by his construction company.

Mr Mondello left the meeting when these items came up for decision and for the onlookers it was very interesting watching the councillors wrestling with their obligation to deal in a disinterested manner with these items concerning the business activities of a fellow councillor.

One could almost wonder if Mr Mondello might have received more favourable consideration had he not been a councillor.

One item involved a dispute over ownership of trees along the boundary of a property and request that council should bear the cost of removing the trees because they were doing damage to nearby buildings.

A certain councillor was heard to say that he was in favour of their removal because they were “feral” trees. I believe they were English elm trees and his complaint was probably because they were not gum trees. I will not invite him to my place because he would probably want to cut down my Apricot trees.

One thing that I did learn belatedly at the meeting was that Councillor Phillips was awarded an Order of Australia medal in this years Honours List. Congratulations Councillor Phillips.


Who Will Speak For Australia?

The Americans have not got a lot of things right but one thing they have got right is that they require the Leader on their Nation to have been born in that country.

That is not the case in Australia and with a Federal Election probable this year we are faced with choosing between two parties, each lead by a migrant.

All Australians who have been overseas would agree that they do not leave their Australia outlook on life behind when they leave our shores.

The same applies to migrants. They do not leave their culture behind when they leave their homeland and like parents all around the world, they seek to instill that culture into their children.

Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott both arrived in Australia as child migrants under the care of their parents and during the great influx of migrants during the 50's and 60's.

They both received some of their education at Australian schools but lived with parents who were imbued with British attitudes.

(I have been criticised for using the term English to refer to all the people who live on that island off the coast of France. Apparently it is like referring to Queenslanders as Victorians.)

Of the two, Julia Gillard has so far reached highest is her aspirations and it is time to have a look at her performance.

She has already come in for a great deal of criticism for having failed to implement some of the changes that she spoke about before the last election but I am wanting to look more closely at her personal attributes.

Although she was reluctant to come out and say so initially, Julia did eventually own up to being an atheist before the election. But to what extent has she lived up to that claim in her role as Prime Minister?

On the two matters that one would have expected an atheist to seek to make change, she has been totally silent.

When John Howard was Prime Minister he introduced Ministers of Religion into Australian High schools under the pretence of them being Counselors.

Julia Gillard has given no indication that she intends to have these Ministers of Religion removed.

She has set up an inquiry into the matter of sexual abuse of children by Ministers of Religion but has given no indication that she is even aware that children have the same right to Freedom of Religion as their parents but in the case of children that freedom equates more to a freedom from religion.

Children need to be protected from being pressured into adopting their parent's religion before they are old enough to make an informed decision.

The other big personal attribute that Julia has laid claim to is that of being a Republican. Although she did qualify that by proposing that Australia should not become a Republic until after the death of the present Queen of England.

How does Julia measure up on that aspect?

Late last year, the Government of which she is the leader, renamed Parkes Place in Canberra to Queen Elizabeth Terrace.

Who was Henry Parkes? He is known as the Father of Federation in Australia. Although he died a few years before Federation, he is credited with being the driving force that lead to the different Colonies agreeing to form a new nation. To have made that change in street names is a deliberate and calculated insult to all Australians and indicates that Julia Gillard is not a Republican.

Over the recent holiday period, two press releases were made by the Gillard Government, seemingly timed so that they would not be noticed.

One was that Australia had entered into an agreement with the British Government to share embassy premises in various African countries.

The other referred to the signing of a Defence Agreement with Britain.

This is the most alarming development imaginable. When we were tied to Britain for defence purposes they exploited Australians alarmingly. Using our young men as expendable items to be squandered by incompetent British officers.

Indeed, Julia's support for Australian involvement in American revenge forays into Afghanistan often look more like an offer of support for the British as they join with the Americans but with the side plan of getting their own revenge for being defeated by the Afghans three times in the 19th century.

Although Tony Abbott has been the Leader of the Opposition and of the Liberal Party for quite some time now, he has revealed little of what he has in mind for Australia should he achieve his goal of being Prime Minister of Australia.

This very Australia Day weekend the Liberal Party has releases a booklet setting out their policies for the coming elections but within 24 hours of the release Tony Abbott was retreating from the promises made.

To look at the same two aspects of Tony as we have looked at in Julia;

With regard to his views on religion he leaves us in no doubt that he is a practicing Catholic. But just what that means is open to interpretation.

One might think that it means he will have more commitment to the truth than has Julia. I heard Tony Abbott speak at the Peter Spencer Rally outside the old Parliament House and came away with the belief that he is a master of Orwellian Double Speak.

When I was a Catholic, double speak was lying because the intent was to mislead. But then Catholic teaching includes the curious provision that if you decide that the matter in question is no business of the questioner then to mislead is not to lie.

Certainly Tony's overt religiosity will be divisive in our society, the term Tony's Taliban having already been coined and in circulation as a description of supporters of some of his religion inspired policies.

When it comes to the Monarchy, Tony leaves no room for doubt about his attitude. Given the chance he would probably be there fighting for the chance to throw down his coat for his Queen to walk on.

But Tony's support for the Monarchy conceals something more sinister.

After the last Federal Election, Tony was off to England the next day to report to the Conservative Party in that country.

When he goes on holidays, he takes his family to Europe.

When the Commonwealth Parliament rose at the end of 2012, Tony again was off to Britain the next day. When quizzed about it, he described his trip there as being important for the future of Australia.

To an observer on the sidelines it does appear that Tony Abbott's support for the Monarchy extends so far as to include increased involvement in Australian affairs by the British Government.

Something which Julia Gillard has already initiated.

If I was a Conspiracy Theorist I might think that Gillard and Abbott, rather than being opponents, are in fact working together on behalf of the British Government to return Australia to the status of a Colony or External Territory of Britain and a dumping ground for their surplus population.

Julia Gillard may well speak as Prime Minister of Australia for this year and Tony Abbott will probably speak in that role next year but neither will speak FOR Australia.

My Thanks to Andrew of Raymond Terrace NSW for pointing out that my earlier reference to Henry Parkes as the first prime minister was wrong. But I cannot agree with you Andrew that being opposed to the loss of the spaciousness and wealth of Australia and the realisation that the present rates of immigration will mean the my grandchildren and great-grandchildren will never enjoy the country that I have know amounts to xenophobia.

While The Fires Are Still Burning

Somebody should point out to the N.S.W. Premier, Mr Barry O'Farrell that farmers need to be able to protect their properties from bushfire by clearing firebreaks around boundaries and at strategic locations throughout their properties.

In the Western Division of the state, farmers who have Mallee scrub on their properties are allowed to clear firebreaks up to 100 metres wide.

Here in the Eastern Division where trees grow four times as fast and four times as tall, the Native Vegetation Act denies farmers the right to remove a single tree for the purpose of fire protection.

A recent Court decision found that in the case of the McIntyre's Hut fire which spread into the A.C.T. in 2003, the N.S.W. Government was liable for the damage caused by that fire because the Government had failed to contain that fire as rapidly as might have been possible.

Although that Court declined to award damages against the N.S.W. Government, the principle is now established that governments can be held responsible for damages suffered as a result of government decisions.

It is highly likely that based upon that precedent, a Court in the future might find the Government liable for the damages suffered by any farmer because the Government denied him a legal right to clear a firebreak around his property.

Yes, we have all seen the firebreaks ploughed around paddocks but did you know that to plough such a firebreak is illegal if the ground has not been ploughed within the past 30 years?

But I am talking about the need to remove fire prone vegetation.

One of the features of eucalyptus trees is their tendency to develop “Crown Fires” where the heat of one treetop burning ignites the next tree and the fire travels at a great speed through the tree tops. These fires cannot be fought from the ground and a significant break in the canopy is needed to stop such a fire.

I would suggest that a firebreak of some 200 metres might be needed here if 100 metres is needed in Mallee scrub only three or four metres tall. Where neighbours on both side of a boundary line are planning to clear firebreaks then 100 metres either side of the boundary might be sufficient.

Farmers are being besieged by plans to have them sequester carbon in trees on their properties. Most of these plans include the requirement that the trees involved be secure from fire for 100 years.

Understandably, farmers realise that this is an impossible requirement and are reluctant to put land aside from production and embark upon such an impossible project.

It borders upon the criminal that farmers would not be able to protect their involvement in a carbon sequestration contract by establishing effective firebreaks around the area that is contracted for the next 100 years.

But perhaps the only real way for carbon sequestration to work is for those Companies that are required to store carbon to purchase the carbon in the form of timber and to place it in safe and secure long-term storage.