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Thursday, 21 September

23:43

Abbott allegedly head-butted by same sex marriage campaigner "IndyWatch Feed Tas"

 A mural depicting former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott during a wedding ceremony where he is both the groom and bride is displayed on a cafe wall in Sydney, Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

A mural depicting former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott during a wedding ceremony where he is both the groom and bride is displayed on a cafe wall in Sydney, Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

Liberal backbencher Tony Abbott was head-butted by a man he claims was a same-sex marriage supporter in Hobart on Thursday. But his tough old nut survived.

He himself admitted he only received a very, very slightly swollen lip but the incident has made great fodder for the Murdoch media.

Mr Abbott said he was walking toward his waterfront hotel when he was approached by a man.

A fellow sung out at me Hey Tony. I turned around. There was a chap wearing a Vote Yes badge, Mr Abbott told Macquarie radio.

He says I want to shake your hand. I went over to shake his hand then he head-butted me, the former pugilist told the radio station.

He wasnt very good at it, Ive got to say, but he did make contact.

The only damage was a very, very slightly swollen lip.

A staffer from Mr Abbotts office tussled with the man before he ran off swearing his head off.

Its just a reminder of how ugly this debate is getting, Mr Abbott said.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull phoned Mr Abbott when he heard about the attack and also discussed the matter with AFP commissioner Andrew Colvin.

An Australian Federal Police spokesman said the agency doesnt comment on protection arrangements for individuals.

Mr Abbott is in Tasmania campaigning for the no vote in the national same-sex marriage survey along with Liberal party colleague Senator Eric Abetz.

Senator Abetz said it was disappointing a yes campaigner would try to assault a former prime minister.

Cabinet minister Christopher Pyne said no one should be attacked for having a different view on marriage.

It is an un-Australian thing to do and I hope that Tony is okay, he told the Nine Network.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten described the attack as unacceptable.

Violence like this is never acceptable. Im gl...

22:45

Aboriginal Education and the 800 large ... "IndyWatch Feed Tas"

In July this year four state government tenders were awarded to a media company called DCNSTRCT Pty Ltd. They totalled more than $800,000

13:37

Recent Polling On The Same-Sex Marriage Postal Survey "IndyWatch Feed Tas"

The national ABS postal "survey" on whether the law should be changed to allow same-sex marriage in Australia is now in its second week.  A number of pieces of polling have been published or alluded to since my last general polling update, but what do they really tell us about the outcome and how reliable are they?  At this stage there is still much that we do not know.  It is too early to be certain Yes has it in the bag, but the widespread narrative that support for Yes is crashing rapidly and that this is another Trump or Brexit coming is so far not that well supported by the evidence.

Public Polling: Ipsos

Firstly, the public polling.  Last week saw an Ipsos poll which buoyed some worried Yes supporters with a 70-26 Yes response, one of the highest Yes votes ever recorded in a poll in Australia.  Indeed, as far as I'm aware, this score has only been exceeded in a few commissioned polls and one Morgan-SMS (a suspect polling method) which did not use an undecided option.  The Ipsos also found a 70% Yes response among the 65% of voters who rated themselves as certain to vote, and found a gender gap with 72% of women and 59% of men saying they were certain to vote.

However, I am treating these Ipsos figures with a lot of caution.  Firstly we know that Ipsos greatly overestimates the Green vote compared to other pollsters and compared to election results, and Green voters very strongly support same-sex marriage.  Although that's probably only worth a point or two on the headline figure for same-sex marriage, it could be a concern if whatever causes Ipsos to over-poll the Green vote also might cause them to over-poll the left end of the Liberal base.  Some evidence for the latter concern might be suspected in the perpetually strong results for Malcolm Turnbull in Ipsos compared to other polls.

The second issue is whether Ipsos, as the only national pollster still using exclusively live-interview phone polling, is affected by "social desirability bias".  When talking to another person on the phone, voters may be more reluctant to say they oppose same-sex marriage, since they may be concerned about offending the interviewer.  When clicking boxes on a computer survey, or pressing numbers on a robo-poll, these issues don't arise.  Some overseas studies (mainly American) have found live phone polling more prone to desirability bias than other polling methods, while some haven't, and some have even challenged whether it's a thing in polls at all, but I don't recommend assuming that it isn't.  A spectacular difference that may have been down to this was that between the phone polls and the online polls in the Brexit vote.  The phone polls had large leads for Yes until ve...

12:04

Bedpans, bitumen, & Bachelor's degrees "IndyWatch Feed Tas"

Employment boom

Australia has created an extraordinary ~325,000 jobs over the past year, including a boom over the past six months the like of which arguably hasn't been seen in decades. 


The question is how? And where?

Greater Sydney (+83k), Melbourne (+59k), and now Brisbane (+46k) have each seen a drive in employment growth over the past year. 

Greater Sydney now has a monthly unemployment rate of only 4.46 per cent, and the annual average unemployment rate across the harbour city continues to decline, as it has for 3 years now. 

That's been partly driven by apartment construction and the associated multiplier effect, and a swathe of infrastructure projects. 


Increasingly Hobart is firing up, adding +6k jobs over the year to August 2017, with the median duration of job search continuing to decline. 

...

07:20

Current Alerts List Southern Region: Pages Road, GROVE "hobart IndyWatch Emergency Feed"

ALERT LEVEL: No Alert Level
Region: S
LOCATION: Pages Road, GROVE
STATUS: Going
TYPE: ALARM
SIZE: Not Available
Number of Vehicles:
More Info: http://www.fire.tas.gov.au/i/254688
RESPONSIBLE AGENCY: Tasmania Fire Service
UPDATED: Thu, 21 Sep 2017 15:20:06 +1000

03:15

Current Alerts List Southern Region: Saint Georges Terrace, BATTERY POINT "hobart IndyWatch Emergency Feed"

ALERT LEVEL: No Alert Level
Region: S
LOCATION: Saint Georges Terrace, BATTERY POINT
STATUS: Going
TYPE: ALARM
SIZE: Not Available
Number of Vehicles: 1
More Info: http://www.fire.tas.gov.au/i/254684
RESPONSIBLE AGENCY: Tasmania Fire Service
UPDATED: Thu, 21 Sep 2017 11:15:34 +1000

02:52

Current Alerts List Southern Region: Southerwood Drive, SANDY BAY "hobart IndyWatch Emergency Feed"

ALERT LEVEL: No Alert Level
Region: S
LOCATION: Southerwood Drive, SANDY BAY
STATUS: Contained
TYPE: ALARM
SIZE: Not Available
Number of Vehicles:
More Info: http://www.fire.tas.gov.au/i/254682
RESPONSIBLE AGENCY: Tasmania Fire Service
UPDATED: Thu, 21 Sep 2017 10:52:13 +1000

02:47

Current Alerts List Southern Region: Cascade Road, SOUTH HOBART "hobart IndyWatch Emergency Feed"

ALERT LEVEL: No Alert Level
Region: S
LOCATION: Cascade Road, SOUTH HOBART
STATUS: Going
TYPE: ALARM
SIZE: Not Available
Number of Vehicles: 1
More Info: http://www.fire.tas.gov.au/i/254681
RESPONSIBLE AGENCY: Tasmania Fire Service
UPDATED: Thu, 21 Sep 2017 10:47:55 +1000

02:05

Call to Frydenberg to keep Tarkine tracks closed "IndyWatch Feed Tas"

BBF_Tarkine_2017_4WDTracks_SocialGraphics_800px_0211.jpg

The Bob Brown Foundation will host a peaceful demonstration at Federal Environment Minister Josh Frydenbergs office in Melbourne this morning, calling for protection of the National Heritage listed Western Tasmania Aboriginal Cultural Landscape in the Tarkine wilderness.


When: Today at 9:30AM
Where: Federal Environment Minister Josh Frydenbergs office in Kooyong.

01:51

Media reforms to benefit major players "IndyWatch Feed Tas"

Rupert Murdoch is increasing his political-influence footprint in Australian. Photo supplied.

Rupert Murdoch is increasing his political-influence footprint in Australian. Photo supplied.

Veteran journalist Alex Mitchell has condemned the Turnbull governments new media legislation, saying it represented a sweeping victory for the major media owners.

Mitchell will be appearing at the September 27 Politics in the Pub event at the Mullum Court House with Walkley award winner Chris Graham, editor of New Matilda.

They will discuss the establishment and the role of the media.

Mitchell told The Echo, The big players have been given the ability to concentrate their ownership of newspapers, television and radio in the major metropolitan markets.

They have been lobbying for a multimedia monopoly for two decades and the Turnbull coalition has given it to them.

There will be scramble for major media assets in the next six months and I predict we will see single private owners controlling major media in our capital cities including Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Hobart, Darwin and Canberra.

Fewer voices

When media plurality is diminished, and we have few voices, then it is clear that the rich and powerful steal an advantage, and accountability and transparency suffers.

Mitchell was scathingly critical of the concessions to Senate crossbenchers Nick Xenophon and Pauline Hanson. Spin doctors from the coalition and the major media are working overtime to convince people that the new legislation is fair and reasonable when in fact it strengthens private monopoly control.

The $60 million fund to support small publishers is loose change when compared to the billions of dollars that the private investors and hedge funds will make from concentrating media assets and future profits.

Good luck to the small publishers who apply for a Xenophon grant, but I bet most of them will be allocated to loyal proprietors in National Party territory.

As for the official inquiry into....

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Wednesday, 20 September

12:47

Current Alerts List Southern Region: Wakehurst Road, AUSTINS FERRY "hobart IndyWatch Emergency Feed"

ALERT LEVEL: No Alert Level
Region: S
LOCATION: Wakehurst Road, AUSTINS FERRY
STATUS: Going
TYPE: VEGETATION FIRE
SIZE: Not Available
Number of Vehicles: 4
More Info: http://www.fire.tas.gov.au/i/254667
RESPONSIBLE AGENCY: Tasmania Fire Service
UPDATED: Wed, 20 Sep 2017 20:47:34 +1000

11:20

The Future of Work in Tasmania "IndyWatch Feed Tas"

Im really excited to be on a panel at the University of Tasmania in a few weeks on The Future of Work in Tasmania! Its a free event, and there are refreshments! Come along! You can learn more, and register, on the UTAS website.

10:12

Response From ABS to Marriage Law Postal Survey Questions "IndyWatch Feed Tas"

On 16 August I sent the ABS a list of fourteen questions regarding the conduct of the Marriage Law Postal Survey, in particular regarding count quality assurance issues.  Some of the questions were answered in subsequent public debate.  The response below was received today, September 11, from Michael Wilson of ABS and is reproduced in full.  My questions as sent are in italics.  My thanks to the ABS for their detailed responses at this busy time.

I have added some comments of my own below the responses, and may add more later.



ABS Responses To Questions
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1. Will, as appears to be the case, survey responses be being processed and counted while the time window for submitting responses is still open?  
The survey responses will be data captured during the collection period, which is a common process for the ABS. The survey responses will not be finalised until after the 7th of November.

2. If yes to 1, what will happen if a respondent reports that their survey has been stolen (or that they did not receive a survey) after their vote has already been received and processed.  
If an eligible Australian reports that a form has been stolen, the ABS will mark the original barcode as invalid. The ABS will count the replacement form when it is returned, rather than the original form. The processing of valid and invalid forms will be conducted at the end of the collection period so there is no risk the survey return is already processed.

3. Will automatic character recognition be used to count survey responses?  
No. The ABS will use optical mark recognition not character recognition to identify Yes and No responses.  

4. If yes to 3, will there be manual verification (eg by checking images on a computer screen as done in the 2016 Senate election) that every survey response has been scanned correctly?
...

10:09

Current Alerts List Southern Region: Mockridge Road, CLARENDON VALE "hobart IndyWatch Emergency Feed"

ALERT LEVEL: No Alert Level
Region: S
LOCATION: Mockridge Road, CLARENDON VALE
STATUS: Going
TYPE: Chimney fire
SIZE: Not Available
Number of Vehicles: 2
More Info: http://www.fire.tas.gov.au/i/254664
RESPONSIBLE AGENCY: Tasmania Fire Service
UPDATED: Wed, 20 Sep 2017 18:09:17 +1000

10:05

Current Alerts List Southern Region: Orford "hobart IndyWatch Emergency Feed"

ALERT LEVEL: No Alert Level
Region: S
LOCATION: Orford
STATUS: Under Control
TYPE: FUEL REDUCTION BURN
SIZE: 37 Hectares
Number of Vehicles: 1
More Info: http://www.fire.tas.gov.au/a/49084
RESPONSIBLE AGENCY: Tasmania Fire Service
UPDATED: Wed, 20 Sep 2017 18:05:27 +1000

07:00

Vacancies falter "IndyWatch Feed Tas"

Resources recovery

August 2017 was a softer month for job vacancies on the Department of Employment's index.

The trend is now +6.4 per cent higher than a year earlier, and +23.8 per cent below the October 2013. low. 


Despite the weaker month, Queensland and Western Australia still experienced double digit growth from a year earlier, with a decent lift in Victoria. 


The annual figure was down in Tasmania, but that's as likely related to a surge in employment uptake based on other indicators.

The wrap

It's good to see that vacancies in Western Australia are now well off the lows of 2016, at about 12 per cent higher.

But nationally, this was a softer result. 

Perhaps this is an early indicator that the economy is set to underwhelm in 2018.

Westpac's Bill Evans, always worth following closely, sees no rate hikes in 2018 on this basis. 

...

04:31

Current Alerts List Southern Region: Oaks Court, SORELL "hobart IndyWatch Emergency Feed"

ALERT LEVEL: No Alert Level
Region: S
LOCATION: Oaks Court, SORELL
STATUS: Going
TYPE: STRUCTURE FIRE
SIZE: Not Available
Number of Vehicles: 5
More Info: http://www.fire.tas.gov.au/i/254657
RESPONSIBLE AGENCY: Tasmania Fire Service
UPDATED: Wed, 20 Sep 2017 12:31:59 +1000

02:56

Wind on kunanyi/Mt Wellington and MWCCs proposed cable car: Letter to the Editor ... "IndyWatch Feed Tas"

CERTU, the technical agency of the French ministry for energy, ecology and sustainable planning and development, published a report on Aerial cableways as urban transport systems in 2011. This report states that, Poor weather, and in particular high winds, are the main causes for service interruptions Mercury: Electors poll likely on Hobart skyscrapers EARLIER on Tasmanian Times ...

02:56

Wind on kunanyi/Mt Wellington and MWCCs proposed cable car ... "IndyWatch Feed Tas"

CERTU, the technical agency of the French ministry for energy, ecology and sustainable planning and development, published a report on Aerial cableways as urban transport systems in 2011. This report states that, Poor weather, and in particular high winds, are the main causes for service interruptions Mercury: Electors poll likely on Hobart skyscrapers EARLIER on Tasmanian Times ...

02:41

Current Alerts List Southern Region: Troodos Close, GRANTON "hobart IndyWatch Emergency Feed"

ALERT LEVEL: No Alert Level
Region: S
LOCATION: Troodos Close, GRANTON
STATUS: Going
TYPE: STRUCTURE FIRE
SIZE: Not Available
Number of Vehicles: 2
More Info: http://www.fire.tas.gov.au/i/254655
RESPONSIBLE AGENCY: Tasmania Fire Service
UPDATED: Wed, 20 Sep 2017 10:41:11 +1000

02:26

Current Alerts List Southern Region: Droughty Point Road, ROKEBY "hobart IndyWatch Emergency Feed"

ALERT LEVEL: No Alert Level
Region: S
LOCATION: Droughty Point Road, ROKEBY
STATUS: Going
TYPE: VEGETATION FIRE
SIZE: Not Available
Number of Vehicles: 2
More Info: http://www.fire.tas.gov.au/i/254654
RESPONSIBLE AGENCY: Tasmania Fire Service
UPDATED: Wed, 20 Sep 2017 10:26:38 +1000

Tuesday, 19 September

21:45

How (Not) to Run a Modern Society on Renewable Energy ... "IndyWatch Feed Tas"

For people who may be perplexed by the current energy debate (and who isnt?) here is a nice educational article that goes back to basics and explains what is in store for us as we try to transform society to run on dilute energy forms The Conversation: How better data would improve the electricity market The Australian Electricity Regulator is investigating whether wholesale electricity generators in New South Wales are bidding in good faith in the electricity market. Good faith means price changes are the result of real problems, such as weather or machinery failure, rather than market manipulation. The reason the regulator doesnt already know the answer to this question is that the market is opaque the data are not easily workable for analysis. In our ongoing research into the electricity market we have run into the same problem. Weve only been able to make headway by applying big data tools. Although not bidding in good faith isnt illegal in the Australian electricity market, it is reminiscent of fradulent bidding in United States Treasury bond markets in the 1990s. We can learn from how this scandal was dealt with brokerage firms were required to provide data that could be clearly monitored. This increased transparency and led to lower costs EARLIER on Tasmanian Times ... A pumped hydro bonanza for Tasmania ... ? Most of it wont happen. Heres why Its a state election year, and what better than to announce a brave new, multi billion pumped-hydro phantasmagorical bonanza for the state. Fifteen dams, two new Basslinks, Tasmania the national hero. The sort of grand vision that can get governments elected Examiner: Media leak to be investigated by Tasmanian Parliaments Privileges Committee Mercury: MLC Ivan Dean delays motion to refer leaks to Parliamentary Privileges Committee

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