Bite-sized bulletins by ALEC SMART
A fight disrupted a punk rock gig at Staves Brewery in Glebe on Sunday 29 Sept, resulting in broken furniture, smashed beer glasses and a window, damaged drums and a woman punched. The brawl attracted six carloads of police.
City Hub was told two members of the band The Rampants provoked a confrontation with headliners The Kids (who really are kids, all under 17) over an unspecified issue, just four songs into the latter’s set.
Allegations The Rampants also made Nazi salutes and chants provoked anti-fascists to declare they’ll picket the band’s forthcoming gig at The Moshpit in Erskineville on Oct 13, to prevent them playing, although the band has already been struck off the bill.
According to The Music Network: “Eyewitnesses said patrons hid in the toilets and behind the bar, as the skirmish saw more chairs broken, glasses smashed and equipment thrown about. Finally, band members, parents and audience members threw the trouble-makers out and six squad cars and ten officers from the Glebe precinct arrived.”
City Hub tried to contact The Rampants, but, shortly afterwards, they closed their Facebook account and vanished.
Car captures car thief
In an apparent act of altruism between automobiles, an electric car in a Kent Street city carpark reportedly filmed a neighbouring car being burgled and told its owner.
One of the first Tesla Model 3s in Australia – the vehicle film actor and ex-California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger drives and provided climate activist Greta Thunberg to travel between climate-related events in the USA and Canada in September – was parked and placed in ‘Sentry Mode’ by its owner. This triggers hidden cameras to start filming if the vehicle senses it is being broken into.
On this occasion, the car detected movement in the car parked alongside and captured the break-in, which involved a specialised tool, and recorded the theft of several items.
The Tesla owner told The Driven: “I was away for about 5-6 hours. When I returned, it had a little message saying “instances reported”… when I got home I plugged in the USB and saw a lot of things, but one in particular was interesting. The person’s car next to me got broken into. I took the footage into the police and they were amazed that it was so clear – they are sending it off to the local area command to see if the person is known to them.”
NSW Rugby League team Sydney Roosters, scheduled to confront the Canberra Raiders in the grand final clash this weekend, might find their home stadium reconstruction takes longer than expected. Sydney Football Stadium (SFS), until its March 2019 demolition also known as Allianz Stadium, was the Roosters’ home ground until they relocated next door to the SCG, due to a controversy-mired redevelopment of their home ground.
The government had to re-tender the project after Lendlease suddenly pulled out in July this year, in the wake of demolishing Allianz Stadium at a cost of $40 million, stating the funds to rebuild the stadium they’d been promised during the March state election were inadequate.
The two bidders now involved in the contest to rebuild the SFS – Multiplex and Cox Architects – are locked in a legal battle that threatens to derail the tender process the NSW Liberal Govt established to rebuild the SFS for the amount they promised in the March election: $729 million.
The two contractors fell out over work they did together on Perth’s Optus Stadium, and now Multiplex allege Cox Architects were “inadequate, erroneous, inconsistent with accepted practice at the time… which caused loss… in contravention of the Australian Consumer Law.”
In mid-September, NSW Sports Minister John Sidoti referred the stoush to Infrastructure NSW. Just days later he himself stood down from ministerial duties pending a potential investigation by the Independent Commission Against Corruption into his property dealings. He would not admit how he acquired his stake in a Rouse Hill property, which increased in value from $4.1 million to $70 million after favourable planning decisions.
In late September, Thomas Cook, the world’s oldest travel firm, which ceased its Australian operations earlier this year, dissolved into bankruptcy with an admitted debt burden of £1.25 billion. The collapse impacted holiday-makers around the world and triggered the largest peacetime repatriation effort in British history. Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority worked with the UK Govt to bring home more than 150,000 British citizens stranded abroad.
Meanwhile, another Cook, Captain James, acclaimed by historians as ‘discoverer’ of Australia, is facing stormy waters as a replica of his ship, The Endeavour, was refused permission to dock in New Zealand this month.
The replica, part of a flotilla currently travelling around New Zealand in the Tuia 250 event organized by New Zealand’s Ministry for Culture and Heritage, was turned away from Doubtless Bay on the northern Karikari Peninsula, 300km north of Auckland.
The regional Ngāti Kahu Maoris’ chief executive, Anahera Herbert-Graves, told Radio New Zealand: “Cook never came into our rohe [territory], he sailed by, and apparently cast his eye to the port and said, ‘oh, that’s Doubtless Bay.’ It’s a fiction for him to ‘re-visit’ us because he never came.
“He was a barbarian. Wherever he went, like most people of the time of imperial expansion, there were murders, there were abductions, there were rapes, and just a lot of bad outcomes for the indigenous people. He didn’t discover anything down here, and we object to Tuia 250 using euphemisms like ‘encounters’ and ‘meetings’ to disguise what were actually invasions.”
This repulsion comes in the wake of two Captain Cook statues moved to safekeeping in May and July, both in Gisborne on the North Island west coast, after they were graffitied by Maori activists. In 1769 Cook’s crew sailed into the cove he renamed Poverty Bay and came ashore at Tūranga-nui-a-Kiwa, which a century later colonialists renamed Gisborne. However, his encounter with the indigenous peoples was a bloody one that the Maori population prefer not to commemorate.
The Australian Government invested $6.7 million into the replica HMS Endeavour circumnavigating Australia next year to mark the anniversary of Captain James Cook’s first voyage to Australia and the Pacific.
“As the 250th anniversary nears we want to help Australians better understand Captain Cook’s historic voyage and its legacy for exploration, science and reconciliation,” Prime Minister Morrison announced.
In 1768, Cook embarked on his first Pacific voyage on board Endeavour to chart the transit of Venus. He returned to map the east coast of Australia, anchoring in Botany Bay in April 1770 before continuing northwards (missing Warrane, aka Sydney Harbour) until he struck a coral reef and was forced to go ashore to patch his stricken ship.
The Endeavour replica will depart Sydney in March 2020, sailing south to Hobart before heading north and following Australia’s coastline, making 39 stops, where it will host a series of events.
It is not yet known whether indigenous Australians will refuse its anchorage in ports that stir tribal resentments of historic colonial conquests.
Nor whether The Endeavour will re-enact tearing itself open on coral on the Great Barrier Reef.
Civil Rights erosion
The NSW Govt is considering whether to introduce a bill to criminalise trespass on farmland. The Right to Farm Bill 2019, currently before NSW parliament, can punish disruption and/or unlawful entry to lands deemed ‘enclosed’ (surrounded by a fence, wall or natural boundary) with up to three years in jail, and severe fines.
The proposed bill amends the existing Inclosed Lands Protection Act 1901 and creates harsher penalties. In 2016 the fine was multiplied tenfold from $550 to $5,500. The new amendment will increase it to $22,000.
Pauline Wright, NSW Civil Liberties Council president, criticised the revision as “a crackdown on people’s rights to protest.”
Thomas Costa, assistant secretary of Unions NSW, said: “The Liberals have a track record of trying to criminalise dissent. They think they can legislate against it and frustrate our legitimate right to protest. These laws are designed to intimidate activists against taking action.”
The NSW Govt claim farmers needed protection from dangerous trespassers – which many interpret as environmentalists opposing ‘fracking’ for coal seam gas and animal rights investigators monitoring cruel treatment of livestock – but the law already has safeguards.
The irony is farmers have dominated protests against coal seam gas extraction, protecting natural waterways, opposing coal mining and other environmental issues that required trespassing to raise awareness.
If this rigorous new suppression of dissent was enforced over the past decade, NSW’s Northern Rivers and Pilliga Forest would probably be one big gas extraction site today, ruptured by earthquakes typically caused by fracking.