STT’s Australian of the Year Awards 2016
Australians are a weird mob – as demonstrated by that, somewhat militaristic, culinary mash up; detailing ‘Operation Boomerang’ – a top-level mission to extract expats from far-flung, lamb-free-zones and return them to mouth-watering, succulent barbecued delights.
The fact that Aussies love our lamb, and frown on vegans, upsets the PC Police, but then we’ve never had much time for priggish authority: whether defending France in the Great War; or ourselves from fire and flood, we’re a bunch that tends to get on with the job, without much fuss or fanfare. And, quite rightly, treat the presumed elite and pompous with a mixture of suspicion and derision.
Mildly hedonistic, and hard-wired with a sense of fair-play, Australians, on the whole, are slow to anger, but quick to jump in to a stoush when the bullies of the world start throwing their weight around.
And, despite ingrained and healthy irreverence, Australians pull together as a pretty decent, civil society – built around protection for the weak and the vulnerable among our number – whether it be one or hundreds.
When faced with the unarguable suffering of human beings, arguments pitched along the lines of “it’s all for the greater good” don’t cut it with STT – and they tend not to cut it with Australians, either.
Last time we looked, Australians were gifted with a few fundamental precepts in their treatment of their fellow Australians.
First, don’t annoy your neighbours – and, if one of them is in trouble, don’t hang back and wait to be asked – get in there and help them.
Whether it’s bushfires or floods – Australians know how to pitch in and save their neighbours’ lives and property. Why? Because it is the right thing to do.
As Operation Boomerang suggests, 26 January is the day when Australians hit the beach, haul-out the barbie and wash down paddocks full (or, rather emptied) of Aussie lamb, with frosty cold beer and humongous Australian reds. Mmmmm
And, on Australia Day, the country turns to reflect on the achievements of those who fight with honour and courage, in a whole range of human endeavours, for the betterment of our collective lot.
In Australia, the fight to bring the great wind power fraud to a shuddering halt is being won: the wind industry is on its knees, investment is at a standstill and the financial collapse of wind power outfits – like the near-bankrupt Infigen – is a case of when, not if.
The talk has turned from consideration of the wind industry’s “future”, to the timing of its inevitable demise.
But that switch in fortune has come thanks to the blood sweat and tears of hundreds of well-informed and dedicated individuals around this country.
As with any public gong, it’s impossible to mention them all, so we’ll stick to those who STT thinks have made outstanding contributions in their respective fields.
Once again, following the style of Australia’s national daily, The Australian, STT throws up a list of notables as nominees for “STT’s Australians of the Year”.
It’s not necessarily a beauty contest, so feel free to vote according to your heads and not your hearts. And, because our little list is obviously cursory and incomplete, you have absolute liberty to nominate and vote for all of those unsung heroes in your communities who have made the kind of contributions that are worthy of recognition and praise.
We gratefully recognise and thank our perennials, whose tireless devotion to either destroying the wind industry, or saving those who suffer at the hands of that callous industry and those paid handsomely to supposedly protect them, earned them awards for remarkable efforts in our 2015 Australia Day Honours:
Starting with the Tireless Community Defenders:
With this award, STT hopes to recognise the tireless and dedicated work of the people who have rallied to promote the interests of farmers and rural communities around the Country.
Where the wind industry and its parasites attack these people as “anti-wind” (a strange and meaningless epithet, if ever there was one – STT thinks it impossible to find a human being with antipathy towards a gentle summer’s breeze) – STT says the proper characterisation is of a group of people who are positively fearless in advocating in favour of sensible energy policy and, therefore, are better described as “pro-Australian”, “pro-farming” and “pro-community” leaders and advocates.
We again note and thank:
South Australia’s Mary Morris – who continues to impress and inspire with efforts to ensure communities get relevant noise rules and that they get enforced. Her relentless efforts to get the facts before the Senate Inquiry were super-human: Wind Farm Senate Inquiry Fallout Continues19 June 2015.
Victoria’s Annie Gardner – who is leading the charge with the new wind farm commissioner, Andrew Dyer – hammering him with the kind of facts that he’ll never get from AGL, Greg Hunt or any of the other puppets controlled by the wind industry; and calling out her heartless neighbours for setting up hundreds of these things on their properties, destroying her community and leaving them all for dead: Macarthur Turbine Hosts Destroy Local Community & Bolt, as Hammering the Wind Industry becomes the “New Black” 27 June 2015.
Victoria’s Keith Staff – who continues to use his awesome email contact list to great effect, bombarding our political betters and journalists with every “inconvenient” fact that scuttles the endlessly repeated lies, upon which the great wind power fraud depends. As we’ve come to expect, Keith gave them hell in his evidence to the Senate Inquiry, too: Senate Inquiry: Hamish Cumming & Ors tip a bucket on the Great Wind Power Fraud 15 April 2015.
New South Wale’s Patina Schneider – is the NSW’s Tablelands answer to the Celtic warrior queen, Boadicea. Patina is the brains and muscle behind the Australian Industrial Wind Turbine Awareness Network – a group dedicated to smashing the wind industry and exposing the corruption that it exploits to its advantage; and she just keeps giving them hell: Time to Tune-In Tony: Coalition’s $46 Billion Wind Industry Rescue Package has Liberal Voters Seething 9 June 2015.
Then there are the experts and their immeasurable Contributions to Science and Public Health:
South Australia’s Professor Colin Hansen – is one of nature’s true gentleman; and Australia’s leading academic authority on noise and vibration. Colin’s work on identifying the precise nature of the noise generated by industrial wind turbines, and its relationship to the health effects suffered by neighbours, has been going on quietly in the background for almost 7 years now. His evidence before the Senate Committee was as compelling as it was impressive. He continues to press for a set of noise rules that actually protect people, instead of the wind industry: Top Acoustics Professor Calls for Full Compensation for Wind Farm Victims, as Council Calls for “National Noise Cops” 29 March 2015.
New South Wales’ Steven Cooper – was another who impressed the Senators during the Inquiry into the great wind power fraud. Quiet and methodical, Steven Cooper is the acoustican’s acoustician. Motivated by the ethical responsibilities that are attached to acousticians, requiring them to put public health and safety first and foremost; Steve laid out that, and much more, before the Senate Inquiry: Senate’s Wind Farm Inquiry: Steven Cooper’s Evidence on his Groundbreaking Study 14 April 2015.
South Australia’s Dr Sarah Laurie – defines fortitude, resilience, stoicism, fearlessness, and an overall desire to let right be done: terms that only begin to capture the essence of a remarkable women. Sarah continues in her efforts to win an Australian ‘fair go’ for all: Senate Wind Farm Inquiry – Dr Sarah Laurie says: “Kill the Noise & give Neighbours a Fair Go” 17 July 2015.
There are the gifted and inspired leaders and their Contributions to Political Reform:
Victorian Senator, John Madigan – holds that “justice” and “right” are not just fancy concepts to chatter about – they are the pillars of decent, civil society. Dogged and determined, John, as Chair, provided the teeth needed to put last year’s Senate Inquiry on track and ensured a cracking set of recommendations hit the press; and he continued to expose the insane cost of the most pointless policy ever devised: Wind Power Fraud Finally Exposed: Senator John Madigan Details LRET’s Astronomical 45 Billion Dollar Cost to Power Consumers 20 June 2015.
South Australian Senator, Nick Xenophon – SA’s favourite Greek, has rallied behind South Australian communities set upon by wind power outfits from the very beginning; and he gets it. Nick’s efforts on the Senate Inquiry were as remarkable as they were breathless. Appearing, often by phone hook-up and with time stolen from the most punishing schedule in politics, his cross-examination of pompous, obnoxious and arrogant wind industry spruiker, Vesta’s Ken McAlpine – later forced to apologise for spreading malicious falsehoods about Dr Sarah Laurie – was well-worth the admission price: Vesta’s Ken McAlpine Forced to Apologise to Dr Sarah Laurie for …. well, just being ‘Ken’ 20 September 2015.
New South Wales Senator, David Leyonhjelm – doesn’t hide his light under a bushel – and is always on the front foot in his efforts to educate and inform Australians about the nature, scale and scope of the greatest rort of all time. David sat on the Senate Inquiry – the existence of which was due in no small part to his powers of influence and persuasion – needling the shills that lined up to protect what’s left of the wind industry; and otherwise giving them hell: NSW Senator – David Leyonhjelm – Hammers the “Smug Untouchability” of the wind industry14 June 2015.
Western Australian Senator, Chris Back – has been an STT Champion from the very beginning. Despite plenty of bitter opposition from the wind industry plants in Environment Minister Greg Hunt’s office, and a few rabid wind-cultists working as staffers on the Senate Committee, Chris manged to steer the Senate Inquiry in precisely the right direction. Not content with impressing his mark on the thumping Senate Report, Chris came out pressing for an immediate end to the madness: Liberal Senator – Chris Back – Demands Moratorium on New Wind Farms 17 October 2015.
Queensland Senator, Matt Canavan – is an economist by trade, having worked for the Productivity Commission, he’s got a head for facts and figures; and he gets it. Matt’s well-reasoned musings have graced the pages of STT more than just a couple of times. Matt slipped onto the Senate Committee and made a very solid contribution to the Inquiry, grilling wind industry hacks about the true (insane) cost of wind power; and he continued his offensive in the Senate, with his attack on ‘Green’ hypocrisy and the nonsense of wind power: Australian Senator – Matt Canavan – Slams “Greens” Hypocrisy & Skewers the Great Wind Power Fraud 31 March 2015.
Federal MP, Angus Taylor – aka “the Enforcer” – has been smashing into the great wind power fraud, even before he was elected in a landslide to the New South Wales seat of Hume in September 2013. Angus, a Rhodes scholar in economics and law, has been on the front foot ever since. Recent Liberal party shenanigans aimed at shunting Angus out his electorate have only stiffened his resolve; expect to see him on the front bench soon; and in a position to finally put to death the ludicrously costly and thoroughly pointless LRET. Meanwhile, the Enforcer’s relentless work to protect Australian rural communities continues: Angus Taylor MP: Retailer Boycott – Wind Farms will NOT be Built where there is ‘Negative Community Reaction’ 27 October 2015.
There are the journos noted For Excellence in (Proper) Journalism:
Alan Jones AO – took more than just a passing “interest” in the great wind power fraud, its consequences and victims; starting with his appearance as the MC at the great wind power fraud rally in Canberra, June 2013 (seeour post here). Ever since, Alan has been very much the ‘voice’ of the people; and continues to torment the gullible and corrupt among our political betters, with powerful pieces that expose the rottenness of the wind industry and those behind it: Three Magnificent Women Take On Australia’s Monstrous Wind Power Outfits & their Pathetic Political Backers 12 August 2015.
Graham Lloyd – is The Australian’s Environmental Editor and, among his journalistic peers who claim that tag, is unique. Where Graham differs, is that he lives up to the ethical responsibilities, which were once central to journalism as a profession: he equips himself with the facts. Once armed, he’s positively dangerous – uncovering the fraudsters and charlatans that parade as ‘Friends of the Earth’, with pointed pieces that get the ‘troublesome’ truth out: Pacific Hydro & Acciona’s Acoustic ‘Consultant’ Fakes ‘Compliance’ Reports for Non-Compliant Wind Farms 19 September 2015.
For more on our perennial contenders check out last year’s: STT’s Australian of the Year Awards.
Now, we introduce our new contenders for 2016.
And the categories and nominees are:
Tireless Community Defenders
Martin Hayles skips the nomination process and takes a prize, without contest. But, tragically, this gong is delivered posthumously: Martin died suddenly, at an all too young 51, a fortnight ago.
STT followers will know of Martin through the variety of characters he adopted on our comments boards: The Goat of Greenhill Road; and Jeff’s Last Goodbye (a nod to his favourite artist, the seminal Jeff Buckley), to name a few. Whichever of these characters he adopted, his comments were erudite, insightful, full of passion and always entertaining.
Martin was the attack dog for the Heartland Farmers – a group of equally dogged community defenders – dedicated to saving South Australia’s premier grain growing region, Yorke Peninsula from the ludicrous Ceres wind farm proposal; a proposal which SA’s favourite Greek, Senator Nick Xenophon, quite rightly, described as an “economic kick in the guts for South Australians”.
Martin took it up to the handful of Judas Iscariot types – heartless land-owners, who were prepared to destroy their community for a measly 30 pieces of silver.
And he hounded, without mercy, the former second-hand car salesmen that fronted Suzlon aka RePower aka Senvion – who tried – with the seemingly indestructible tenacity of cockroaches – to sleaze (and when that failed), lie, threaten, bully and deceive the crème de la crème of South Australia’s grain growers, in an effort to spear almost 200 of these things into the most productive barley growing region in the Country.
But that’s Martin the warrior. Martin, the man, touched so many lives, and his death will affect so many, many people. Martin was gifted with great care and compassion for others; and always found time in his heart for people set upon by the tyranny and inequity of this stinking industry. His tenacity, strength and drive was something to behold and inspire.
As his spirit soars further and beyond us, in the words of another great who passed this month, to Martin we say ‘Check ignition and may God’s love be with you.’
For Excellence in (Proper) Journalism
Channel Seven’s Today Tonight is the must-watch current affairs show for South Australia’s aspiring working class – when an issue becomes the top story on Today Tonight, you can guarantee you’ve reached not only a substantial audience by number; but that you’ve also hit political dead-centre – in terms of reaching voters capable of deciding elections; and policies on the way to them.
The Today Tonight viewer mightn’t be a Twitter jockey, but he or she is a first-class talker; whether it’s at work or backyard barbecues, whatever they’ve seen soon becomes the topic of the day (or the week).
When the topic is their spiralling power bills and, despite paying through the nose for the stuff, suffering statewide blackouts to boot, you can guarantee plenty of fist-waving fury being added to tea room and backyard debates on just who, or what’s to blame.
Leading Today Tonight’s charge against SA’s wind power driven energy and economic crisis is Hendrik Gout. Laid back, with a laconic flair, Hendrik has earned his stripes as an STT Champion in recent months, with brilliant pieces detailing SA’s unfolding, ‘double-whammy’ nightmare of rocketing power prices (already double the rates of the ACT, and set to double again) and a grid on the brink of collapse.
Here’s a taste of Hendrik’s dry wit and insight:
- Today Tonight Reports on South Australia’s Wind Power Policy Disaster 20 December 2015
- Rocketing Prices AND Blackouts: South Australians Lament Their Dark & Dismal Wind ‘Powered’ Future 15 November 2015
STT’s Special Award for True Courage & Real Compassion
Clive and Trina Gare
Clive and Trina Gare are cattle graziers from South Australia’s Mid-North with their home property situated between Hallett and Jamestown.
Since October 2010, the Gares have played host to 19, 2.1MW Suzlon S88 turbines, which sit on a range of hills to the West of their stately homestead. Under their contract with AGL they receive around $200,000 a year; and have pocketed over $1 million since the deal began.
In a truly noble and remarkable move, the Gares gave evidence to the Senate Inquiry into the great wind power fraud during its Adelaide hearing, in June 2015:
In their evidence, the Gares made it very clear that it was the worst decision of their lives; describing the noise from the turbines on their property as “unbearable”; requiring earplugs and the noise from the radio to help them get to sleep at night; and the situation when the turbines first started operating in October 2010 as “Crap, to put it honestly” – entirely consistent with, and properly vindicating, the types of complaints made routinely by wind farm neighbours who don’t get paid, in Australia and around the world.
The Senators on the Inquiry were moved no end by the daily misery laid bare by people who’ve had to live up close and personal with these things for over five years, and all the more so knowing that over that period they’ve pocketed over $1 million for doing so. Trina Gare candidly observing, in the same terms as Clive, that:
In my opinion, towers should not be any closer than five kilometres to a dwelling. If we had to buy another property, it would not be within a 20-kilometre distance to a wind farm. I think that says it all.
The Gares – along with plenty of others in the same position – were played by wind power outfits for dupes; as their evidence to the Senate attests.
Admitting to a mistake takes honesty and personal integrity; admitting to a colossal mistake, even more so. However, to not only do so in public, but to your Parliament, exhibits moral decency – especially given the potential of that admission to operate as a sobering warning to others who have made, or who are likely to make, the very same error.
What the Gares did is both remarkable and noble: these fine and decent people deserve the gratitude and sympathy of all; from those in their community, and well-beyond.
What they also deserve is that our political betters admit their mistakes; and immediately correct the errors that have led to the single greatest policy disaster in the history of the Commonwealth. After what the Gares have done, anything less is a monstrous insult.
On careful and considered reflection, Clive and Trina Gare take STT’s Special Award for True Courage & Real Compassion; and earn our undying respect and gratitude, as well.
So, as you wash down your rack of lamb with a thumping Barossa Valley shiraz, we think it only fitting to spare a thought for the efforts outlined above. Australia is all the better for people like these and the tireless contributions that they make. STT thanks them all.