Who speaks of victory? Endurance is everything.
“Just hearing the sound of the Kardashians’ nasal voices or catching a glimpse of them on screen makes me feel nauseous and shaky,” Mr Amess said.Poor boy. Although, at least the sight and sound of Kimmy having sex confirmed and helped him to be happy being gay. A public service, of sorts, to gay men.
“My hands get clammy, my breathing gets heavier and I start sweating. Sometimes, I get teary and want to retch. I dislike everything about them, especially their physical appearance. I don’t understand how anyone could find them attractive. I can’t stand their voices either. They’re so whiny and shrill — it really gets under my skin.
You really have to take your hat off to the government. It took John Howard a lot longer to wind up the lefties. Remember the fuss about a “Ditch the Witch” sign at an anti-carbon tax protest when Julia Gillard was prime minister? Not a peep from the Destroy the Jointers now.Angry lefties mad as March marcher
No alarm about the widespread violence theme either. In Canberra a man with a white-painted face and black hoodie carried a backpack with a fake Molotov cocktail poking out.
And in Sydney a young tattooed woman wearing what looked like a blonde wig carried a sign saying “#KillABBOTT” and the words “Campaign?” and “Pozible”, which is a fundraising website for random causes. Presumably she was drumming up support for a crowd-sourced assassination of the Prime Minister, an incitement to violence worth police investigation.
In Newcastle, union leader Gary Kennedy took to the stage with a Scottish accent to tell protesters Gina Rinehart was a “filthy animal” and “”despicable human being”.
Then the Newcastle Trades Hall secretary went well beyond the realms of acceptable protest. Qantas boss Alan Joyce, he said, “should be shot somewhere in the back of the head.” He apologised yesterday, but it’s too late. An already discredited union movement has flicked the switch to “crazy”.
This is the sort of scene that Greens MP Adam Bandt, who met protesters outside Parliament House, described as “the compassionate, humane and generous heart of this country”.
“Many times people ask me: ‘What do you think is the main danger of GM?’ ” Pusztai told GeneWatch magazine. “And the danger is that we do not know what the main danger is.”Pity food fundamentalists starved of common sense
“I think this is an extremely dangerous experiment with our globe, with our Gaia, with our people,” says Pusztai, “and if you ask me what are the consequences, I can only say that I haven’t the faintest idea … I’m not saying that there is going to be a cataclysmic consequence of this. What I’m saying is that the cataclysmic thing about it is that we don’t know what is going to happen.”
But Smith warns such a turnaround in consumer sentiment may not be long lasting.
He recalls a decade ago when launching Dick Smith Foods with great fanfare - and at the same time as many Australian local manufacturers were closing - that there was a rush to buy Australian. His sales turnover instantly hit $80m a year.
But after a few years it fell to just $8m, as consumers lost their patriotism and turned once again to cheaper imported food on the supermarkets’ shelves. Now, with the present buy-Australian and buy-local feeling, turnover is once again at $20m and rising.
“I agree we have seen a swing back to supporting Australian food, and the supermarkets are sensibly responding,” says Smith.
“But I think it will be very hard for SPC in the long term; whether we like it or not, most people will always drift back to buying the cheapest food, despite what they say in the surveys about supporting Australian-grown and made products and being prepared to pay more.”If the SPC deal with Woolworths means their products will only be available at that supermarket, then they've instantly lost half their potential local market for their remarkably limited range.
|There's Tim Fisher|
It was a bone-chilling -15C in the Arctic Circle this week when Boree Creek’s most famous farmer, former deputy prime minister Tim Fischer, stood in the half-light on a frozen mountain and entrusted his farm’s wheat and oats seeds to the future of mankind.
Fischer’s favourite homegrown crops were among more than 10,000 different samples of Australian cereal, legume and pasture seeds deposited this week into the famous “Doomsday” global crop seed vault on the glacier and snow covered archipelago of Svalbard in Norway’s far north.
It was also the first time seeds from indigenous Australian native plants, distant wild relatives of modern food crops, had been “banked” for posterity in the underground, highly secure Svalbard seed vault.
The $9 million seed treasure trove, whose upkeep is part-funded by Australian grain growers, now holds and conserves 820,000 different types of crop seeds from around the globe left within its icy bowels since 2008.
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault - built inside a permanently frozen mountain to withstand both a nuclear explosion and a meltdown of the polar icecaps - is essentially a modern-day Noah’s Ark for crop plants.
Its mission is to ensure that as many species and varieties of the crops and pasture grasses that feed the world are protected and preserved for eternity.
Besides protecting the world’s food sources from catastrophe, it also will eventually contain as many as 4.5 million different crop types and seeds - from potatoes and sorghum to wheat, beans and cassava - providing an unparalleled source of genetic biodiversity that may prove invaluable to plant breeders of the future.
Mr Fischer, who recently became vice-president of the Global Crop Diversity Trust that initiated the vault’s construction and part-funds its upkeep, said the depositing of the 14 sealed boxes containing unusual and rare Australian crop seeds was an emotional and historic day for him and Australia.
Now his campaign is to make sure the world knows more about the endeavour under wayon Svalbard - and helps finance a permanent $500 million endowment fund to keep the vault safe.
“What is happening inside this Svalbard vault is for the betterment of the world and goes to the very future of our food,” said Mr Fischer, clutching the blue plastic seed box with his best Boree Creek Ventura wheat and favourite Graza 50 oats seed packets sealed within. “While I am greatly privileged that in box No 10 being deposited in the vault are seeds from my own farm, they are just a tiny part of the 10,000 seeds from the Australian grains, oilseeds and pasture gene banks being left here today. We have made them safe and that is what this Svalbard vault is all about; guaranteeing the future food security of the world.”
The small town on the frozen seafront just below the vault is Longyearbyen, the most northern permanent settlement in the world at 78 degrees latitude.
Sue Neales travelled to the Svalbard seed vault this week with the assistance of the Crawford Fund for International Agricultural Research.
Few crime stories have spawned conspiracy theories as persistent as those that have mushroomed around Schapelle Corby.Clouds gather over Corby conspiracies
Since being caught with 4.2kg of marijuana in her boogie board bag at Bali’s Denpasar airport, a small band of highly organised supporters have fought hard to depict Corby as an unwitting drug mule, rather than a young woman who was caught cold with a commercial quantity of drugs in a bag she admitted was her own.
Since Corby’s release some of the people behind these theories, and the extended campaign to have her exonerated, have begun to emerge.
One is Steve Addison, a 55-year-old British man who is one of the key figures - perhaps the only figure - behind “Project Expendable”, a web-based archive of hundreds, possibly thousands of documents that Corby supporters say contains crucial evidence of her innocence that has been steadfastly ignored by the mainstream media.
At any one time there might be half a dozen academics around the world working on the Expendable project, says Addison, although he refuses to name any of them.
When Inquirer first spoke to Addison the Manchester native was jetlagged, having flown from the UK to Bali the night before Corby’s release from Kerobokan prison.
There have been five or six such visits over the past 2 1/2 years, Addison said, adding that on those visits he has met Corby “three or four times”.
Addison and other Corby truthers are the flame-keepers of a familiar conspiracy theory, one conceived in the months after the former beauty student’s arrest in 2004 by a defence team desperate to keep its client off death row.
Briefly, the theory runs as follows: that when Schapelle Corby boarded her flight to Bali in Brisbane her boogie board bag was empty, save for the board itself and a pair of flippers.
Instead, they allege that once the bag was checked a crooked baggage handler in Brisbane slipped a plastic bag containing 4.2kg of marijuana into her bag. The plan was for other baggage handlers, who according to Addison were also Australian Federal Police informants, to remove the drugs at Sydney Airport, where Corby transited on her way to Bali.
“Their role was to take the drugs out of the bag and distribute them on the streets of Sydney,” Addison told Inquirer.
Addison claims to have the names of those involved. But when Inquirer asks he declines to provide them. Instead he makes vague hints about pending criminal cases and explosive revelations still to come. We’ll see.
It is a far-fetched theory, one that police sources contacted by Inquirer scoff at, citing the hundreds of moving parts that make up a busy airport like Sydney’s. Those parts, they say, would have to align perfectly for such a plan to come off.
Ironically, this is one area where the police and the conspiracy theorists perhaps agree: the plan didn’t come off. The drugs were never retrieved. Instead both Ms Corby and her bag, now stuffed with somebody else’s dope, continued on to Indonesia where it was discovered by customs.
The evidence for this theory?
Addison distils it to the following points: He says Corby’s bag, one of four she checked in, was the only one not scanned as it left Australia for Bali. He says the total weight of Corby’s bags was 65kg. Yet when she checked them in at Brisbane Airport she was never levied an excess baggage charge, despite being 5kg over the allowable weight of 60kg.
Addison says the Australian government repeatedly refused pleas by Corby to have the drugs, and the plastic bag in which they were stowed, forensically tested.
“It’s a scandal,” Addison said of Corby’s conviction, and the Australian government’s alleged role in it. “It’s a serious issue for Australia as a nation.”
So just how credible is this alternative version of events? Corby herself has steadfastly maintained her innocence throughout her nine-year ordeal. But since her conviction in 2005 a growing body of circumstantial evidence has emerged that suggests Corby was doing more or less what Indonesian authorities allege when they stopped her at Denpasar Airport.
And just as the Corby-truthers have begun to surface in the weeks since Corby was released, so too have the sceptics.
Chief among them is Robin Tampoe, Corby’s lawyer during her criminal trial. Tampoe was struck off as a solicitor after admitting on a television documentary the baggage handler theory was pure invention, something he had concocted for his client based on media reports about lax airport security.
When Inquirer interviewed Tampoe this week in Dubai, where he now lives and works, he stood by those claims.
“It had to be said,” Tampoe said of his 2005 admissions to Nine’s Sunday program. “It was just ridiculous the way these people were behaving.”
Tampoe said the baggage handler theory came about as he was conceiving a defence for Corby.
“We had very little time to do it,” Tampoe explains. “I got back from Indonesia; I was talking to a friend of mine. He said, ‘switch on Triple J’. Steve Cannane was doing his talkback and there was a lot people ringing in. A few had been ringing in saying, ‘baggage handlers had been doing this’. And I said, ‘there you go. I’ll use that’. That’s where it came from. It came from Steve Cannane on Triple J.”
Having found the template for his client’s defence Mr Tampoe said other things began to play into his hands, such as the quirky case of a Sydney baggage handler who was sacked after being spotted wearing a camel suit head taken from a passenger’s luggage.
“(There was the guy) in the camel’s head walking around the airport,. “Ross Coulthart from the Sunday program did a bit of an in-depth into baggage handlers and a report from a very senior guy, I think he was from Interpol, who had given lectures to the federal police on exactly the same topic - the movement of narcotics using baggage handlers and corrupt airport staff.
Soon, Tampoe had what he describes as “a very viable theory”.
“Australians jumped on it, they loved it,” he says.
Unsurprisingly, Tampoe is scornful of the “evidence” cited by the likes of Addison, which he says is totally at odds with what was taking place at the time.
“I’ve read some of the conspiracies, the Expendables and all this sort of nonsense. It’s amazing. All they’re doing is sort of twisting what I created into their own reality,” he says.
Tampoe says claims Corby’s boogie board bag was the one bag not scanned are wrong.
He said he spoke to Qantas’s senior legal adviser who told him the only outbound bags being scanned at that time went to the US or the UK.
“At that point in time there were no bags being scanned that were going to Indonesia,” he says.
What of the claims Australia turned its back on Corby and her pleas to have the drugs and the plastic bag it was stowed in tested?
“Schapelle Corby was absolutely desperate to have the proper forensic testing into the bag and the fingerprints on it,” Addison says. “She was denied, largely by the Indonesian government but also by Australia.”
Not true, says Tampoe, who says an offer was made to conduct DNA pollen testing on the drugs.
It is true that in early December 2005 Corby’s lawyers requested the drugs be tested for tetrahydrocannabinol and a pollen count.
A spokeswoman for the AFP confirms request was received on November 1, 2004, barely three weeks after Corby’s arrest.
Tampoe says that at that point the defence strategy was to blame Indonesian officials for planting the drugs.
But when he took charge of Corby’s defence Tampoe says he overruled that plan, and the testing. “I said no, that will piss off the Indonesians. Not a chance.”
Tampoe worried that DNA pollen testing on the marijuana could have worked against his client.
“I knocked it back because it would have come out as (hydroponic) and you can’t get hydro in Indonesia,” he says. “If we had had that tested it would have come back to Australia and they could have pinned it down as close to South Australia. That’s reality.”
That, Tampoe said, would have been a “disaster” for Corby, who was later linked to a South Australian-based drug supplier.
As it happens, the INP declined the AFP’s offer and Tampoe elected not to pursue it.
Chris Ellison, who was justice minister at the time, confirms this version of events. “The offer of forensic testing was made but not taken up,” Ellison tells Inquirer.
Still, that didn’t stop Tampoe running the so-called “coals-to-Newcastle” defence: that it made no sense for Schapelle to import marijuana into a place already awash with it.
Nine years on, Tampoe says: “The reality is that for an expat you don’t buy marijuana there,” he says. “All you can get is bush weed, you’re buying it on the street and you don’t know if you’re buying it from an undercover cop, and the penalties are so big. So there’s a massive market for it and it’s sold to expats.”
As for the claim about Schapelle’s baggage, which according to Addison was 5kg overweight, Tampoe just sighs. “It’s a typical Corby twist. Not every time when you go through do they levy an excess charge on you, particularly when there’s four people travelling at the same time.”
Another Corby-sceptic is Ellison, who has been cast in the role of chief villain by the Corby lobby.
“These people have to remember this happened in Indonesia and we have to respect, and do respect, Indonesian sovereignty and jurisdiction,” Ellison told Inquirer.
“Their comments do nothing to advance Schapelle Corby’s case, in fact they harm it. I reject what they say as total rubbish that there was any conspiracy.”
To the contrary, the Australian government spared no effort in assisting Corby’s defence team prepare their case, including flying John Ford, a Victorian prisoner who claimed to have information on the Corby case, up to Bali at her defence team’s request.
Ford claimed to have overheard a conversation among prisoners claiming the marijuana had been placed mistakenly in Corby’s bag.
The AFP and Queensland Police investigated the allegations and found nothing.
Corby’s lawyer hardly seemed bowled over by Ford’s evidence.
“John Ford was just another person to go there and add a little more doubt,” Tampoe says.
Ellison says Tampoe’s fanciful defence about corrupt baggage handlers was exhaustively investigated by the AFP.
“Investigations at the time could find no evidence to support the claim that baggage handlers were responsible for placing the drugs in the bag,” Ellison says.
Other awkward facts have emerged casting doubt on the Corby conspiracy theories.
In 2008 convicted drug dealer Malcolm McCauley admitted being part of a long-standing drug ring with Schapelle’s father, the late Mick Corby. McCauley claimed he grew the dope in South Australia then transported it to Queensland where Mick flew it to Bali. A photo of McCauley visiting Corby in Kerobokan prison, reportedly seized after the drug squad raided his home, did nothing to help her credibility.
In that same year Mick’s cousin, Alan Trembath, claimed the Corby patriarch was a known marijuana dealer and had been in the drug trade for 30 years.
But according to Addison the government, the AFP, Qantas, Sydney Airport Corporation and villains like Chris Ellison have worked assiduously to suppress the truth about the Corby case.
Why would they bother?
Addison describes a complex mix of corporate, political and national security agendas that he says were working against Corby.
“If Schapelle had walked free the focus would have been on Sydney Airport,” he says.
“The relationship with Indonesia would have been ... well, who knows what would have happened down that route. It was two, three years post-9/11 and here was Australia’s main airport basically in the hands of criminal drug syndicates. The politics of it were quite severe in terms of the need to cap this, to control it.”
Addison cites acknowledged gaps in security at Sydney Airport at the time as further evidence for the pro-Corby version of events.
“The situation is probably best articulated by Alan Kessing,” Addison says, referring to the former Customs worker who in 2007 was convicted of leaking to this newspaper confidential reports into security flaws at Sydney Airport. “He knows what happened.”
But when Inquirer contacted Kessing he seemed less than impressed with Addison and his supporters. “I wish they’d stop using my name,” he says.
These days Tampoe declines to say if he thinks his former client was guilty as charged. He said Corby maintained her innocence throughout her trial, publicly and to him.
Tampoe says in the nine years since Corby’s sentencing Australians have forgotten how high the stakes in the Corby case were.
“This wasn’t about her walking through the front doors of the court,” he says of the defence team’s strategy. “This was about getting the death penalty off the table and then trying to get life off the table.”
Many mathematicians, when pressed, admit to being Platonists. The great logician Kurt Gödel argued that mathematical concepts and ideas “form an objective reality of their own, which we cannot create or change, but only perceive and describe.” But if this is true, how do humans manage to access this hidden reality?
We don’t know. But one fanciful possibility is that we live in a computer simulation based on the laws of mathematics — not in what we commonly take to be the real world. According to this theory, some highly advanced computer programmer of the future has devised this simulation, and we are unknowingly part of it. Thus when we discover a mathematical truth, we are simply discovering aspects of the code that the programmer used.This may strike you as very unlikely. But the Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrom has argued that we are more likely to be in such a simulation than not. If such simulations are possible in theory, he reasons, then eventually humans will create them — presumably many of them. If this is so, in time there will be many more simulated worlds than nonsimulated ones. Statistically speaking, therefore, we are more likely to be living in a simulated world than the real one.Very clever. But is there any way to empirically test this hypothesis?
The Treasurer will shake his head, scowl, charm, pull faces and roll his eyes to ram home his utter incomprehension of how any government, anywhere, could be so irresponsible, so criminally reckless, as to leave the country’s finances as the recently-departed Labor government did.Mumble (Peter Brent) - In praise of over-acting
I mean (he’ll say) we knew they were awful when the voters dispatched them, but even we didn’t suspect they were this bad.
And of course the final act, the dénouement, will be uplifting: Australia is again in safe hands, with a government prepared to take the difficult yet necessary decisions to ensure our future prosperity.
The show will in many ways be a carbon copy of the first outing of the first budget of the last Liberal Treasurer, Peter Costello—also a man not afraid to mug for the camera.
Hockey’s camera comfort contrasts jarringly with Labor’s Wayne Swan, whose terrified, shriveled appearances contributed so much to that government’s problems for six years.
Eight months and two prime ministers later, Labor types are still struggling to come to terms with Julia Gillard's time at the nation's helm. Party troubadour Bob Ellis believes he has worked out why she was such a "bad Labor leader". It was not, he says, her hair or her voice or "her frequent trippings-over in high heels". Says Ellis: "Her biggest flaw as a leader was her live-in lover. Had he been John Faulkner or Quentin Dempster or Tim Flannery or Tim Winton or Tim Ferguson or John Woods or Yahoo Serious it wouldn't have mattered. But a taciturn blow-waving mediocrity did; and his daughter the stripper was an extra minus, in my view."