<Back to Article

  1. Even when an inconvenient truth fully emerges, stark naked and bigger than life, Tasmanian officialdom will steadfastly ignore it until it goes away.

    John Hayward

    Posted by john hayward  on  30/11/16  at  06:38 AM
  2. Deja vu
    It is now obvious the “fox intelligentsia’ people were right yet again and the ‘foxes are everywhere people’ were wrong yet again.
    Refer main page article

    “Tally ho!  Well, well, well!  A fox is found, and what is the reaction?  Looking at the comment thread on the Mercury (before even DPIPWE’s Invasive Species Branch can investigate Sunday’s find), our fox intelligentsia has said it all”.  - See more at TT

    The ABC 7.30 report (29th November 2016) said it all.
    If the penny doesn’t drop then you are either naive, biased or just plain thick.

    Posted by Ian Rist  on  30/11/16  at  07:37 AM
  3. I agree with John Hayward at # 1. Even with all the current exposure the current Liberal Government is hunkered down on the fox issue…they don’t want it out there, too much at stake.
    Pesky taxpayers, we wish they would just shut up.

    When this current Liberal Government came to power I thought I saw a light at the end of the tunnel.
    No way, when I spoke to a Liberal staffer a few weeks after the 2014 election I was told in no uncertain terms “Ian forget it, this fox thing   isn’t going anywhere, they are in power now and only want to win friends not lose them”.
    “There will be no witch hunts”.

    Just recently after the carefully managed Police Inquiry I spoke to the same staffer who said “Ian it wouldn’t matter what Tasmania Police found it wasn’t going anywhere”.

    Good old taxpayers, we elect and pay for these people yet we are not represented and are treated like dog scats on the footpath.

    Posted by Ian Rist  on  30/11/16  at  09:05 AM
  4. 1 am 69, lived in Burnie all my life and I think this is the biggest unnecessary waste of taxpayers money I have seen.
    Until someone sees or captures a live fox in Tasmania legitimally I believe there are no foxes here.

    Posted by Barry Saltmarsh  on  30/11/16  at  10:13 AM
  5. Houston! – we seem to have some more problems? : -

    First, Garry Stannus in TT reported that “The review determined that no criminal offence has been committed.”
    Hello, but “NO” – the review can’t determine that.  The most definitive it could possibly be is to say that in it couldn’t find any evidence that an offense had been committed.  That is hardly surprising surely?

    Second, why can’t all the scats determined as positive to fox DNA be analysed again?  They are no doubt stored somewhere such as in the Tasmanian museum? (ditto the Victorian or NSW origin of all the early carcasses found in Tasmania?) This could allay the worry that some of us have that the false positive results could account for the 50 + fox DNA positive results reported and admitted by Stephen Sarre in the ABC Background Briefing Report

    Third, Garry Stannus has been very defensive of the Sarre scat analysis technique, but, apparently, it is only in very recent years that the second stage of the DNA analysis has been deployed?  ( Hello Garry – this is absolutely not a criticism of you, who has been painstakingly seeking the truth – just an observation!)

    Fourth, Why does the DPIPWE government department have to be so secretive?.  They wouldn’t respond to our begging for an objective response in various TT articles about the fox eradication program,they are super quiet on how their $1 million (+) efforts to save the Orange Bellied and Swift parrots are going pear shaped, and they are still to make any serious attempts to control feral cat numbers in Tasmania?

    Fifth – WTF are DPIPWE doing to respond to inevitable future fox incursions into Tasmania? How to detect them? How to control them?

    Sixth - If the Simon Ferne report on possible irregularities in the Tas. DPIPWE Fox Eradication Program has been obtained by the ABC via FOI information, then why can’t we get to read it on TT. After all, Lindsay Tuffin is the most innovative, cheeky, effective and influential journalist in Australia who is not in the rat race for money, but just for truth and a fair go for Tasmania

    Posted by Ivo Edwards  on  30/11/16  at  11:16 AM
  6. re #5, point five.

    And yet no fences around our ports, the only proven entry point for foxes. Go figure.

    another point, has anyone noticed how the rabbit numbers have exploded since the rather ineffective bulk poison exercise? Co-incidence, correlation or causation?

    Posted by Simon Warriner  on  30/11/16  at  06:52 PM
  7. nothing bunches together
    like a boys club

    oh for some adults

    Posted by spikey  on  30/11/16  at  09:28 PM
  8. The biggest problem in my opinion is there has been no honesty and transparency on Tasmanian fox matters since day one (1998).
    We have had politicians and public servants so desperate for ‘fox evidence’ they have turned a ‘blind eye’ to hoaxing and fabrication, in fact some politicians have been complicit and involved in duplicity with Tasmanian fox matters.

    It is a disgraceful state of affairs and all Ministers involved since day one should be ashamed of themselves, they have done irreparable damage to the image of Tasmania and we are now the ‘laughing stock’ of Australia and the rest of the World that have followed this sad chapter in Tasmanian History.
    It is Tasmania’s Loch Ness monster.

    As for the claimed ‘stuff ups’ not ‘conspiracies’ on the ABC 7.30
    report…well you just couldn’t have that many ‘stuff ups’.
    I said years ago that we have two choices ” either the people involved with the task force were incompetent or there were no fox populations here”  It was then and is now as simple as that.

    Posted by Ian Rist  on  01/12/16  at  03:24 PM
  9. ...  no conspiracy here oops Some one is losing all credibility here. Only in Tasmania!

    Posted by Stephen  on  01/12/16  at  10:09 PM
  10. The search for proof or evidence is, in my opinion, over. This issue has dragged on long enough with considerable expenditure in time and effort to firstly discover the buried truth and then have the responsible bureaucracy acknowledge and confront that reality.

    There appears to be an entrenched stupidity which borders on a form of psychological illness which has allowed this folly to tranform from an ill-conceived and sensational narrative into a full-blown travesty.

    The longer it goes on as an unaccountable issue it will only weigh down on the standing of that department, its employees and more worryingly on the State. There are likely to be implications if this type of corporate malfeasance is not addressed.

    For everyone’s interests, open communication and a shared clarity are needed to work out exactly what is at stake here. It seems pointless for the hierarchy of DPIPWE or the current government to delay, obfuscate and remain aloof from the inevitable need to confront a systemic failure in proper oversight and governance. Thank you

    [PS: I trained and qualified as a veterinarian with career experience as a diagnostic pathologist, I have never given myself the moniker of ‘forensic biologist’.]

    Posted by David Obendorf  on  02/12/16  at  04:44 AM
  11. I want to see an independent audit done on the money trail; am sure we would see who was filching the pockets of Canberra, where the ‘funds’ were directed to and whether conspiracies have legs or not.
    Those who deny have the most vested interest in denying the accusations.

    Posted by John Wade  on  02/12/16  at  07:18 AM
  12. It is even harder for the average ape to believe that he has descended from man.
    (H. L. Mencken)

    The culture of DPIPWE & government has those responsible consider the matter thus:

    When is the next election and how can this (foxes) affect/effect it?
    How can we divest ourselves of responsibility?
    Who can we put in the frame to take the rap?
    How can we stall until Christmas (by default February/or until events overtake us)?
    When will the bush-fires and the attendant culture of fear & dictatorship eclipse this trifling matter?
    Who are the agitators responsible for media exposure and how can they be silenced or discredited?

    The root point is Tassie’s conservation science reputation is now so frayed, tattered and fouled as a result of Tassie’s alleged fox fraud, salmon scam, ten eighty travesty, Gunn’s, etc., that just about any lying fool bastard with an enviro-racket requiring official signature need look no further than DPIPWE. 

    Minister(s) responsible, Messrs Groom & Rockliff have publicly said and done nothing, true to form. The Minister responsible denies responsibility, arguing he relies on departmental advice, which is true. What we have here is a textbook example of the devolution of Westminster parliamentary democracy. A system in decay. Considering past & present Ministers, elements of NPWS/DPIPWE, ALP/PLP members, CPSU union officials, Tasmania Police failed in their duty, remained silent (or worse) when presented with serious allegations of intimidation, assault, threats, fraud and far worse within DPIPWE. Elements of NPWS/DPIPWE conspired with Police to silence and intimidate staff. Police records were manipulated with falsehood in attempt to intimidate and silence. These are serious allegations. In any functioning society such matters would be taken up by relevant authorities. Where is Tassie’s commission for corruption and what would they do anyway?

    Perhaps the most concerning thing here is the one panacea available to make this all go away is the emergence on stage of living breathing foxes. Considering people, so called public servants & politicians will do extraordinary things for very little money…

    Posted by O'Brien  on  02/12/16  at  08:00 AM
  13. It should be painfully obvious to all that the only reason this fox farce has survived for so long is because it has had ‘protection’ from subsequent Governments, Ministers and senior bureaucrats.

    Not a good look Tasmania.

    You are all now under the National and the International spotlight and the old lawyers advice of nihil dicit   ‘he says nothing’  will not suffice.

    I liken this to the hangman’s rope; the longer it gets the more it hurts when it stops.

    Posted by Ian Rist  on  02/12/16  at  08:22 AM
  14. The risk of someone introducing a genuine live fox has never been greater.

    A lack of any genuine attempt to resolve the issue by DPIPWE has permitted those responsible for this egregious scam to simmer. The latest hoax fox on the Frankford Rd has put to bed the fantasy of “upgraded biosecurity” forever. There are dangerous idiots out there with the capacity to introduce a live fox. It’s not hard to do.

    And what are the laws to prevent this happening? What do they offer as a penalty and means of prevention? A slap on the wrist.

    Never has the motivation of the fox scammer to prove a point been greater. The people with that motivation are still here and have not been exposed. DPIPWE has provided them the cover through inaction. This has enabled a bigger problem and bigger risk.

    But the greatest idiots by far are those attempting to make this all go away with silence. Silence is golden, but so is the colour of pissing on the public with contempt. For they are more concerned with saving their own skins than they are with saving Tasmanian biodiversity.

    It makes me almost physically sick to see those basking in the hero glow of conservation rhetoric walk away from the disaster they have overseen.

    Get real DPIPWE Minister and do your bloody job. The longer this goes on the greater the risk becomes.

    Posted by Jack J  on  02/12/16  at  12:38 PM
  15. Thanks for your #5 comment, Ivo.  We haven’t met (as far as I’m aware), but I respect those like you, those like Clive Marks, who work at ‘the coalface’.  I welcome Lindsay’s declaration of ‘Fox Glasnost’ and I will try – as I usually do – to present him with no editorial problems.  Lindsay, I hope you will allow my comment through in its entirety.  If you find you need to edit it, I would prefer that you simply do not publish any part of it at all.  I’ll respond to Ivo’s six points now (in my usual lengthy way):

    1  Yes, as you note, I did report [Here] that “The review determined that no criminal offence has been committed.”  As those who read that item will realise, I was quoting from Assistant Police Commissioner Glenn Frame’s media release.  Ian has provided a link to my ‘article’ (in his #2).  Ivo, I don’t agree with your ‘Hello, but NO’ response, in your first point.  In my opinion there might exist a number of conceivable circumstances which could have enabled police to determine “that no criminal offence has been committed”.  For example, police might have found that certain events/actions did occur, but were not covered by the Criminal Code Act 1924.  I’ve not seen the ‘Dean Dossier’, perhaps Mr Dean, in the public interest, and in the interests of transparency, might care to release a (suitably redacted) copy of it to Tas Times, so that we – the public – might know exactly what he has alleged.

    2  I’ve got no problem with the previously tested scats being tested once again or as many times as you’d like (providing it is not at the taxpayers’ expense).  But who do you think should do it, Ivo?  Stephen Sarre’s Canberra lab?  Or the ‘Tasmanian Fox?’ group?  In my opinion, Professor Sarre’s group had problems with issues of the provenance of the scats received for testing, and the ‘Tasmanian Fox?’ group had problems with the science.  Furthermore, the TasFox? group have seemed (in my view) to have ceased operating following the publication of my “Fox Scientists: Both Sides Stumped?” nearly two years ago [Here]

    3  You write, Ivo, that I’ve been “very defensive of the Sarre scat analysis technique” and certainly I have written quite a bit about their two stage test procedure.  However, from the outset, I made it clear that I was challenging the notion that ‘foxes were widespread’ in Tasmania.  This was the finding of Sarre’s 2012 paper which left us all incredulous.  I sought to challenge that paper, and at some stage I got into contact with David and Ian, who welcomed me onboard and supplied me with the unredacted FOI (as it was then known) DPIPWE release.  It showed (in my opinion) evidence of mishandling of the scats received by DPIPWE fox staff, one of whom indeed was a member of Professor Sarre’s team.  It’s all there on the FOI document, however, when I (later) tried to publish it, here on TT, Lindsay knocked it back, and even when I redacted a part of it myself (Jeremy Rockliff’s cover sheet, I think it was), and submitted that as a comment, it too was with-held from publication. 

    However, while I had initially been concerned with the ‘provenance’ of the scats identified as fox by Stephen Sarre’s team, my area of interest widened when the ‘Independent Scientific Review of the Tasmanian FEP’ was set up (aka Tasmanian Fox?). This group of scientists/experts-in-the-field (of which you are a member, Ivo) sought to challenge the science behind Sarre’s 2012 paper.  I tried to get my head around the various scientific papers, and write something for the non-scientists among TT’s readership.  Unfortunately, I came to believe that your Tasmanian Fox? group’s criticisms of the Berry test were flawed/invalid.  Yet I still thought that the work of Sarre et al. was likewise flawed because they had accepted (apparently without question) that the scats sent to them for genetic testing were from animals living in the wild in Tasmania.  So as I expanded my reading, in response to what TasFox? had published, my own research indicated that the second phase of the Berry/Sarre test (DNA sequencing) had always been part of the process.  Thus I came to the view that it was not justified for Tasmanian Fox? to criticise the Berry/Sarre test simply on the basis of false-positives created in the first (PCR) part of the test.  So I published my “Fox Scientists:  Both Sides Stumped?” (op. cit.)

    Posted by  on  02/12/16  at  01:34 PM
  16. .../
    Ivo, I agree that I defended what you term the “Sarre scat analysis technique”.  However, I defended it against what I judged were invalid criticisms.  I had no reason to wish to defend or attack the science of Sarre and Berry, nor that of your group.  But like many others, I became interested in the ‘Science War’ that developed.  This was played out sensationally on the pages of the Forensic Science International – Genetics journal.  Alas, as I tried to come to terms with it all, it seemed to me that the TasFox? group’s criticism was ill-founded. 

    You also wrote that “...but, apparently, it is only in very recent years that the second stage of the DNA analysis has been deployed? ”  No, Ivo.  In my opinion, you are incorrect.  If you go back and examine my contributions on ‘Both Sides Stumped’, you will find in that article, that I provided links/references to documents and/or presentations which showed that from the very first, when Oliver Berry’s 2007 PCR test was devised, it was in conjunction with subsequent DNA screening tests.  I traced this two-phase process back to 2004, if I recall my article correctly. 

    More recently (since the Berry 2007 test was used to underpin Sarre’s 2012 ‘Foxes now widespread in Tas’ paper) I believe that Professor Sarre and others of the Invasive Animals CRC (such as Dr Anna MacDonald)  have been involved in work to advance DNA-PCR techniques under the name of “next generation sequencing” which I think is associated with use of the recently-coined term “eDNA” (environmental DNA).  If I correctly understand these terms, the identification of DNA present in scats is greatly enhanced, leading to ability to learn about multiple DNA identified in a single scat.  In other words, being able to identify not only what animal had deposited the scat, but also what it had eaten.  Any testing of the scats, as you suggest, should, in my opinion, use the newer method.

    4  My response to your ‘DPIPWE is so secretive’ comment, is to tentatively agree with you.  It seems to be a feature of Australian society, if not humanity in general, through its organised structures, formal and informal groups and right down to individuals.  I don’t know how DPIPWE compares to other Tas govt departments, but I was gladdened recently when I learnt that RTI releases are now published on DPIPWE’s website.  In relation to foxes, I’d agree about the ‘secretive’ suggestion.  Many times I’ve gone to that site, and while often getting some information/benefit from it, I have to say, that I often come away feeling that we’ve been presented with simplified ‘feel-good’ facts and figures and the questions we’d really like answers to, remain unanswered.  I don’t have the time at the moment to clarify my thoughts on this issue, or to seek out examples, though were I to offer one off the top of my head, then it would probably be that I have more than once failed to find in the Invasive Species Branch publications (or elsewhere in DPIPWE’s webpage) any mention of the Ivan Dean Dossier and the matters contained in it.  Further on the question of ‘secrecy’, I also did write to Professor Sarre, (from memory it was about his 2012 ‘Foxes are Widespread’ paper, but I got no reply.  At least Clive Marks kindly entered into communication with me, and he was quite helpful, but unfortunately as the comments grew, (in the ‘Fox Scientists – Both Sides Stumped’ article), he found it necessary to cease communication with me.

    5  You asked “WTF are DPIPWE doing to respond to inevitable future fox incursions into Tasmania? How to detect them? How to control them?”  My short answer is … ‘I don’t know’.  Simon Warriner (#6) has pointed out that “yet no fences around our ports, the only proven entry point for foxes. Go figure.”  This issue has been known of for years, has been documented and has been identified as a measure necessary to prevent potential incidental incursions at our ports.

    Posted by  on  02/12/16  at  01:36 PM
  17. .../
    “6”  Lastly, Ivo, you asked: “If the Simon Ferne [sic] report on possible irregularities in the Tas. DPIPWE Fox Eradication Program has been obtained by the ABC via FOI information, then why can’t we get to read it on TT.”  My answer will, again, be lengthy…

    Firstly, Ivo:  I’m unaware of a published report by Simon Fearn, as mentioned by you.  However, I am aware of a Simon Fearn Draft 2:  “Report on Invertebrate Remains in Fox Positive Scats Collects in Tasmania by the Fox Eradication Branch” - September 2009 report (published by DPIPWE under RTI) [Here] (If that doesn’t work, then go to DPIPWE’s website, then search “Simon Fearn” and hopefully you will see “RTI 063 ” –  and press Enter). 

    I am confused by the ABC reports on a Simon Fearn Report.  (for example, see the links to the ABC items posted in Lindsay’s “Foxes…” article above.)  Is it possible that ABC have seen a final version of that 2009 Fearn Draft 2 Report that I’ve just cited?  It seems possible.  Here’s an excerpt from the first ABC link provided by Lindsay:

    In 2011 a zoologist with the eradication program, Simon Fearn was asked to assess if reliability of the fox scat evidence. His internal report obtained by 7:30 was damning.

    57 scats tested positive for fox DNA but he identified 11 as most likely coming from other animals. And more concerning, another 26 scats were described as possible hoaxes.

    All of those 26 were collected by the same staff member, sometimes with another colleague. The Fern report said the scats could is been contaminated by mishandling in the field but it found that:

    “sufficient evidence exists to suspect that some hoaxing has occurred via mainland fox scats being placed in the landscape.”

    “a determined hoaxer, particularly on staff, would be very difficult to nullify.”

    These direct quotes don’t appear in the published (Fearn) Draft 2 2009 Report, so they initially suggest that there is a (two years) later report by Simon.  Ivo, I have not found any link to or mention of any such 2011 Report, and so I have to rely on (for the present) the 2009 Draft 2 Report.  In fact, these quotes attributed to Simon do not seem to be of the type that would be found in any scientific report.  They more likely (in my opinion) would be found in comments made by a person being interviewed by a member of the media.  I hope that, if you have read the Fearn Draft 2 Report, that in spite of various matters canvassed by Simon, you will note his conclusion:  “The author has found no evidence of hoaxing of scats in this study.” 

    Finally, Ivo, on the matter of the Draft 2 Fearn Report, I must note that while other material contained within that larger RTI release did have certain elements redacted, astonishingly, in the last section of the Draft, where Simon ‘named names’, there was no redaction. 

    Actually, as a first step, we should, in my opinion, be asking ourselves about the reported decision by Biosecurity Tasmania, that (in the words of the ABC):  “Earlier this month, Biosecurity Tasmania ruled that a dead fox found on the side of a highway in Tasmania’s north in October had been brought in from Victoria.”  Unfortunately, DPIPWE, Biosecurity Tasmania, and whoever else, seemed to be unwilling to release any details whatsoever of the reasons for their ruling that the ‘Frankford Fox’ had been brought in from Victoria.  No mention of stomach contents – Why not?  No mention of organic matter in or not in the fur.  Why not?  No necropsy details.  Why not?  Then the wider question:  If some idiot has managed to bring in a dead fox from Victoria (he wouldn’t be the first!) why hasn’t he been charged?

    Posted by  on  02/12/16  at  01:38 PM
  18. there were a few landowners who did not wish to be part of the wastful scam of taxpayers funds

    any apologies from the nff , council and other organisations who requested the tassie public to co-operate with the fox scat gatherers

    Posted by mike seabrook  on  03/12/16  at  02:58 AM
  19. For anyone that may have missed the ABC’s 7.30 Report on the 29th November 2016

    But we don’t have to worry, there wasn’t any hoaxing, planting of evidence or fraudulent activity to keep the fox farce going it was only stuff ups according to the number one fox man.
    Big giant stuff up in my opinion.
    I am concerned a lot of the previous and very frequent fox experts are very, very quiet… some I believe that called Ian Rist and Dr David Obendorf “nutters”.
    Something I learnt a long time ago, the match is not over until the last shot is fired.

    Posted by Ian Rist  on  03/12/16  at  05:16 PM
  20. The Fox task force member who found the fox scats is a relative of ex premier Lennon

    Posted by Stephen  on  04/12/16  at  06:08 AM
  21. re 20, he must be an ok bloke then (sarc fully engaged)

    We can therefore expect absolutely nothing to happen, Wee Willie Wanker will look blankly at the camera as he normally does, recall the mutual destruction pact his Uncle Otto told him about and say nothing of any substance as he normally does, and our neutered media pack will nod sympathetically and look for something more important to cover, like a cat stuck up a tree, as they normally do.

    And so it will continue to go until we remove the political parties from government and put in honest, competent individuals whose allegiance is to Tasmania instead of to a non stop arse covering exercise.

    Posted by Simon Warriner  on  04/12/16  at  07:36 AM
  22. Some people just don’t know when to quit…reminds me of several incidents in History such as the Iraq Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf in 2003 denying there were American tanks in Baghdad when the tanks were only meters away from where he was giving his last press conference.

    The other was the denial by Germany that allied troops were in Berlin at the same time Yevgeny Khaldei was hoisting the Soviet flag on top of the German Reichstag May 2, 1945.

    I think everyone concerned here should understand why Tasmania Police never charged anyone ‘because they found no evidence of criminality’.

    That exercise in my opinion was a wasted exercise.

    The Department I understand have had several reprimands on how this was worded to the media and how they handled initially their refusal to release certain documents. I received a letter from the Minister that confirms that to me beyond any doubt.

    Oh and finally Garry I am again asking you for an apology that you owe me over your half-cocked statements in this forum about the “fox intelligentsia people”. I did ask you by private email which you chose to ignore,  I am now asking you publicly.

    Posted by Ian Rist  on  04/12/16  at  09:01 AM
  23. Stephen # 20 give us a clue with initials please?

    I am aware one of the scat collectors come dog handler is related to Mr Llewellyn.
    Another FFTF member is related to the property owners where the alleged famous fox sighting and where fox scat # 5676 was alleged to be collected.

    To reinforce comment # 7 this thread “nothing bunches together like a boys club”.

    Posted by Ian Rist  on  04/12/16  at  09:35 AM
  24. #20 Stephen

    Are you joking?

    Posted by Jack J  on  04/12/16  at  12:53 PM
  25. Thank you Garry for such a detailed response.  Here are just a few summary comments from my point of view.  I won’t go into the semantic argument of whether it can ever be proved that there is no possible evidence potentially available for something, or restart your argument about the fine points of the Sarre et al fox scat diagnostic test ...

    1.  Re the overall evidence for foxes ever being widespread in Tasmania.  The Sarre et al 2012 paper, viewed at least in retrospect, was a work of fiction and should be withdrawn from the Journal of Applied Ecology. The 2014 great poo hunt found no evidence of any foxes and Sarre himself has admitted that all the reported fox DNA positive scats reported in the “foxes are widespread” paper could be in error.  Whether or not the specialist team at can be criticised for their detailed dissection of the Sarre analytical technology makes no difference to the overall conclusion .

    2. Thank you so much for explaining the source and availability of the elusive draft or drafts of Simon Fearn.  Unfortunately the link you provided doesn’t work for me (maybe it has been withdrawn?) and I can’t find any reference on the DPIPWE website? 

    3. You have criticised the team about the DNA diagnostic test paper, but not their other papers presenting evidence that the fox eradication program was fatally flawed in assuming carcasses found in Tasmania originated in Tasmania, that the program as it was being run had no chance of eradicating any foxes in Tasmania, that it was flawed in claiming no by catch poisoning of eastern quolls and other iconic rare animals, and that it lied through the teeth about a number of important associated matters.

    cont ...

    Posted by Ivo Edwards  on  04/12/16  at  03:07 PM
  26. Do you have an opinion on these papers, painstakingly compiled by concerned scientists, for no monetary gain and for probable eternal enmity by the Tasmanian government and DPIPWE?

    4. Re your criticism about that the brief announcement that the Frankford Rd fox originated from Victoria, without any details about evidence for that conclusion.  VERY well said!  We might also ask how come they couldn’t equally forensically determine that the other carcasses in Tasmania, years earlier, came from Victoria or NSW?

    5. That’s wonderful that we seem to agree that DPIPWE is excessively secretive in its activities, especially pertaining to foxes, and that it has no clue about how to deal with a real fox incursion.  The real chance of foxes now being even more likely to be introduced to Tasmania, as described by O’Brien (#12) and Jack J (14) to “prove” that have been present in Tasmania all along, as DPIPWE claimed, is a chilling prospect.

    Posted by Ivo Edwards  on  04/12/16  at  03:07 PM
  27. The report dated 2009 was obtained through RTI and (if I remember correctly) ‘John Connor’ alerted us to it on TT some months back.  It’s still to be found here: 063.pdf

    In this case it seems to be a different (2011) report that the ABC is referring to and there is no link that I can find on the RTI log. It appears there is yet another document that the ABC quotes from too. But I can’t find anything else on the RTI log other than fox sighting information and a letter of little consequence. There is nothing on the site. So I guess the ABC may be the only agency other than DWIPWE that has this report to date.

    But here’s the kicker that I think we may be missing.

    It seems that a lot of the arguments on TT since 2009 have been progressed without the benefit of some critical information. As the DPIPWE media fox spruik fest hit overdrive in 2009 and began to 1080 the universe in a pre-emptive strike against ‘foxes of the imagination’, someone in the same organisation made the decision that we would all be better off not seeing these 2009 and 2011 reports.

    Regardless of your position on all matters fox, shouldn’t the key unifying question now be, “who made the decision to protect us from the information we pay for and in what capacity?”

    Because while several DPIPWE staff and some scientists at the University of Canberra were in full fox flourish, various high profile individuals regularly pointed to the mental frailty and malicious intent of those members of the public who remained unconvinced. As it turns out, at the very same time, inconvenient reports were being shoved far under a very grubby carpet with a long stick.

    But it’s just another “stuff up” apparently. That sort of thing is accidental and happens all the time.

    Posted by Jack J  on  04/12/16  at  05:18 PM
  28. there is a well worn dictum that goes along these lines:  “it is not the actual crime that brings a criminal undone, but the attempts at covering it up”

    Congrats to Jack J for spotting that clumsy attempt at a cover up.

    Now it is up to those forces that ensure integrity within our public administration to swing into action and find this individual and have them PUBLICLY explain their actions.

    A similar grubby carpet exists in the Tasmanian Fire Service, and our politicians have proven to have little interest in looking under it.

    I suggest for the good of the audience’s health they not hold their breath waiting.

    Posted by Simon Warriner  on  05/12/16  at  06:23 AM
  29. Excerpt from a letter sent to Attorney General Vanessa Goodwin and leader of the Government in the Upper House.

    “We are advised by Tasmania Police (1st December 2016) that they do not enforce laws under the Tasmanian Animal Health Act nor the State Services Act. Consequently it does not appear that Tasmania Police presently have any powers whatsoever to unilaterally investigate or charge persons under the Tasmanian Criminal Code or any statute enforced by the police, even if they have been involved in the type of wrongdoing mentioned above. The exception appears to be when they are directed to do so under the provisions of the Integrity Commission Act 2009”.

    Could this be the reason behind the carefully constructed headlines that appeared in the media?

    “Tasmania Police have found no evidence of criminal activity over fox poo planting”?

    Actually in the official Tasmania Police media statement the words “fox poo” weren’t even mentioned.

    Everyone that it suited jumped on this headline and in my opinion were completely misled yet again.

    Posted by Ian Rist  on  05/12/16  at  10:06 AM
  30. Who in DPIPWE and the hierarchy of the Fox Eradication Program knew what, and when did they know it?

    Apart from the recently uncovered Fearn reports, a new piece of information was disclosed by the ABC 7.30 program on Tuesday 29 November.

    ‘Separately, one month later (after Simon Fearn’s report dated September 2011), three section heads with the fox eradication program called for a scientific peer review of the evidence to be “undertaken as a matter of urgency”, according to another confidential internal paper obtained by the ABC.’

    That requires further explanation.

    Was it that serious internal concerns were being raised in Tasmania in reports and by section heads about the veracity of the fox scat collection was not communicated to the program’s scat testing laboratory in University of Canberra (the Institute of Applied Ecology) and to the members the program’s Technical Advisory Committee (TAC)- which included scientists from the University of Canberra and UTAS?

    Posted by David Obendorf  on  07/12/16  at  06:23 AM
  31. The Police and DPIPWE were very quick on this Frankford fox carcass import and plant, well done…BUT what about all the other fox carcasses, fox scats and fox material they know about?
    Highly likely all those, especially the Glen Esk Road, Burnie Port main road , Lillico and Symmons Plains didn’t suit the ‘at the time’ political agenda.
    Especially the Symmons Plains (sorry the Geelong, Victoria foxes import) that started it all, how would they explain the endemic Long-tailed Tasmanian mouse allegedly recovered by two FFTF non-pathologists from in its stomach?

    Posted by Ian Rist  on  08/12/16  at  12:38 PM
  32. The charged individual, if he had done his alleged fox body hoaxing prior to 2009 when it was perfectly legal to import all manner of fox body parts, this planted fox incident on the Frankford highway might well have been welcomed as additional ‘hard evidence’ of fox presence by DPIPWE.

    At least this time with the involvement of the police and a careful evaluation of the post mortem findings we are thankfully seeing a different response from DPIPWE. Perhaps there are now people in Biosecurity Tasmania who do due diligence assessments of such discoveries in Tasmania and who might actually read pathology reports on dead foxes found by roadsides in Tasmania.

    Posted by David Obendorf  on  08/12/16  at  03:51 PM
  33. Ivo, I’ll just try and respond to your second round of questions/comments (#25, #26), before turning to Ian’s (#22), where he asked me for a public apology.  It will take me some time before I can respond to his request…  Ivo, you’ve raised a number of matters (1-5) and I’ll deal with them in order:

    1 I wouldn’t call the Sarre 2102 paper (as you did), a ‘work of fiction’.  Why do you call it that?  In any case, I’ve maintained all the way through that it was faulty because it relied on the unquestioned ‘good provenance’ of the scats that were submitted to the Invasive Animals CRC.  As I wrote in my last comments to you, I saw discrepancies in the handling (i.e. the signing out/signing in) of the imported scats that FEP staff were using.  So I came to the opinion that some of the scats that were ‘found in the field’ may possibly have originated from DPIPWE Prospect Vale, and ultimately, from the mainland.  Yes, as I recall, the 2014 ‘Great Poo Hunt’ found no evidence of foxes, but from a logical point of view, this is merely reflective of the on-ground situation in that 2014 year, and is not indicative of the situation prior to the Sarre 2012 paper.  Maybe the few foxes that seemed to have been running around had ‘karked it’.  I have no doubt that there have been live foxes in Tasmania in ‘recent times’ and that some of their scats could have been ‘discovered’/collected and thus may form part of the body of ‘evidence’ that has been used to underpin the FEP, the Task Force, the funding etc.  However, in my opinion, what hasn’t been demonstrated is that there has been a breeding population of foxes on our island.  Such a population could exist, or might have been, but the evidence (for a number of reasons) doesn’t suggest it.  So what do I believe?  I believe that there have been individual incursions onto the island.  (e.g. the Burnie Fox, e.g. the Spencer fox).  The failure to find more than one scat from any one fox is problematic.  On the face of it, it supports the scat hoaxing claims.  And yet, though the investigation under then Commander Dean failed to find evidence to corroborate suggestions that there had been attempts to introduce a family of foxes into the Longford area, I still think that such attempts may have occurred. 

    As for the politics of the fox, I’ve never been interested in that side of things.  Whatever Fred or Harry said to so and so, whether the Commonwealth spent $50m or 50 cents, is not something that I’ve been interested in.  I’ve been interested in the truth of the claims that there are/were foxes on the island.

    In regard to your statement that “Sarre himself has admitted that all the reported fox DNA positive scats reported in the “foxes are widespread” paper could be in error.”, I would ask that you reference that interesting claim.  It is contrary to what I recall of Stephen Sarre’s statement/s on error rates.  And I must add, Ivo, where you write that “Whether or not the specialist team at can be criticised for their detailed dissection of the Sarre analytical technology makes no difference to the overall conclusion” ... I’m not sure what the ‘overall conclusion’ that you mention is, but certainly the validity of the Berry 2007 lab test is in my opinion influenced by the work.  This was the focus of my ‘both sides stumped’ article, though I personally had begun with the feeling that (some of) the scats which tested positive may well have been from the mainland.  I still think that that is the case/...

    Posted by  on  08/12/16  at  07:09 PM
  34. .../2 I’m sorry that the link that I supplied to Simon Fearn’s Draft 2 did not work for you.  However, I did provide you with a ‘Plan B’ to access his draft report, and I wonder if you have overlooked my suggestion.  However, I’ll try again: 
    a)  Open DPIPWE’s web page
    b)  in the search bar near the top, type “Simon Fearn” and press ‘Enter’.
    c)  scroll down the results page … the second result (at this point in time) should read:  “RTI 063”
    d)  Hover over and then Click on “RTI 063”.

    That should work.  However, if not, then please feel free to email me, and I will attach it in a pdf by way of reply.

    3   Ivo, you asked me about other papers that were written by the TasFox? team, however you don’t refer to them by their titles, and I am at a loss to know (for example) which of the ‘Independent Scientific Review/TasFox? papers concluded that the FEP “lied through the teeth” about a number of important ‘associated matters’.  So, in order to answer your question, I will give you my overview of each of the 6 papers published by your group and the seventh paper which to this day remains apparently in a state of review – some years now after it was first mentioned: 

    (i)Marks C.A, Obendorf, D., Edwards I., Pereira F. and Hall G.P. (2014) The spatial distribution and detection patterns of mtDNA assigned red fox (Vulpes vulpes) scats in Tasmania are anomalous Journal of Applied Ecology.
    -This was interesting in its approach, though I note that it seems to me that while Type 1 error is suggested, it is perhaps not actually demonstrated in the paper, and I also wondered whether the carcasses that were “quickly attributed to hoaxing” had been rejected by this paper without solid foundation. Notwithstanding these thoughts, I found that I had some measure of agreement with the paper’s conclusion:

    Until the model proposed by Sarre et al. (2012) is corroborated with adequately replicated and independent observations, it has not convincingly demonstrated that living foxes were widespread in Tasmania as these current data appear to best fit a pattern accounted for by Type I error.

    (ii)Gonçalves, J., Marks, C.A., Obendorf, D., Amorim, A. & Pereira, F. (2014) The risks of using “species-specific” PCR assays in wildlife research: The case of red fox (Vulpes vulpes) identification in Tasmania. Forensic Science International – Genetics.
    -(This is one of the papers that I’d already commented on in my ‘Both Sides Stumped?’ article.  It needs no further comment here.
    (iii)Marks, C.A., Obendorf, D., Pereira, F., Edwards, I. & Hall, G.P. (2014) Opportunistically acquired evidence is unsuitable data to model fox (Vulpes vulpes) distribution in Tasmania. Wildlife Society Bulletin.
    -With regard to this paper’s claims of hoaxing, Saunders et al. (2006) are cited as supporting “a series of opportunistically recovered fox carcasses, some of which were quickly determined or suspected to be hoaxes”.  However the Saunders paper, while accepting that one instance (the ‘St Helen’s’ fox) may well have been a hoax, was of the opinion that “... on overall balance, the hoax theories were more subjective and may have simply portrayed an unfortunate series of errors and mistakes in the process of evidence collection or a pre-disposed view of Government activities”.  Yet surprisingly, the (Saunders) paper continues on and announces that “A number of reported sightings and hard evidence of foxes in Tasmania since 1998 were no doubt hoaxes. These appear to have been perpetuated by individuals keen to embarrass or disrupt the Taskforce and its activities.”  For me, the problem with Saunders 2006 is that statements such as these aren’t referenced to particular evidence.  Those statements are, at best, assertions.  A final remark on Saunders:  So a ‘pro-fox’ author (Saunders) has accepted that there was perhaps one hoax, and/or that some of the reported sightings were hoaxes.  This concession I think, is rather weak.  He didn’t actually point to any evidence.

    However, Ivo, those remarks are about the Saunders report, and meanwhile I should have been dealing with the Marks et al. paper (of which you are a co-author) rather than another paper cited within your’s/...

    Posted by  on  08/12/16  at  07:11 PM
  35. .../And furthermore, your ‘Marks et al.’ paper itself moves through a progression of differing posits on the question of hoaxing.  It begins with the (see Abstract) statement:  “ in [...] 17 cases [...] of these 5 were widely acknowledged to be hoaxes” and moves to the body of the paper:  “a series of opportunistically recovered fox carcasses, some of which were quickly determined or suspected to be hoaxes”.  From there we read “ […] 5 were widely suspected or acknowledged to be hoaxes by the FEP.  (Anonymous 2012 and a past review Saunders et al. 2006); ”</i>  For obvious reasons, I can’t comment on ‘Anonymous’s contribution, but see (further below) my remarks on Saunders’s.  Then (again in Marks) there is These last 2 incidents were regarded as hoaxes (no. 7: Table 3) and then (growing with boldness?):  “At least 5 hoaxes perpetrated in Tasmania using post mortem fox specimens strongly suggest [...]”  This seemed to me to be a narrative of ‘talking up’ the hoax issue and was unsupported in my opinion by any scholarly evidence.
    Back to the Marks paper:  ‘Opportunistically acquired evidence…’:

    “In this paper, we briefly review the history of fox incursions into Tasmania from the 1840s until the single fox incursion in 1998, and then examine the evidentiary quality of the cases believed to confirm unique fox presence thereafter.”

    One of my chief concerns with this paper, Ivo, has to do with Table 1 in the document, which includes Ratings, evidentiary standards and disqualifying criteria:  that is, criteria “used to define the credibility rating of physical evidence and fox associated incidents and disqualifying criteria for 17 fox associated incidents recorded between 1998 to 2009 listed in Table 3. ”  Of course, it is useful, (‘necessary’ if you like,) to define such criteria and thus to approach the analysis of claimed evidence in an ordered manner.  However, at the time of my first reading your ‘Opportunistically acquired evidence…’, I noted that there was no discussion of the methods used to determine these ratings, standards and criteria.  There was no reference to other scientific work that supported these tools, in other words, it seemed to me that your criteria were arbitrary.  In fact one of your disqualifying criteria (“d   The informant who presented wildlife exhibits or made claims had been prosecuted for prior wildlife offences ) is plainly, downright ludicrous.  Why didn’t you just write d   Erick B. because he was a convicted poacher? At least it would have been more forthright, in my opinion, than this self-serving criterion.  While at first glance, your ratings, evidentiary standards etc seemed to be reasonable, to be ‘common sense’ tools ... upon reflection, it seems to me that they have been (perhaps subconsciously) framed to produce the negative results that were expected.  I think that it’s fair to ask, Ivo how did this part of your paper pass the ‘peer review’ process?

    (iv)Marks, C.A., Edwards, I., Obendorf, D., Pereira, F. & Hall, G.P. (2014) Does ‘precautionary’ 1080 baiting have a realistic potential to eradicate Red Foxes  (Vulpes vulpes) in Tasmania without in situ monitoring data? Ecological Management and Restoration.

    I agreed with the following statement from the paper: 
    “The model used to correlate environments believed to be associated with a putative fox populations in Tasmania (Sarre et al. 2012) used equivocal data and was not validated with independent empirical data of extant foxes (Marks et al. 2014a,b).”

    Thus, I agreed with the Independent Scientists Review that the Sarre fox habitat model which under pinned the baiting programme was flawed.  I also agreed with their paper in that the baiting programme devised for Tasmania would needs be problematic for a number of reasons, for example,  that the Tas situation not directly comparable to the mainland studies, that some of the success rates (in the mainland studies) had been misinterpreted/misreported and that the uptake of baits (in those studies) wasn’t necessarily a valid indicator of the number of fox poisonings and thus of changes in the fox population/...

    Posted by  on  08/12/16  at  07:16 PM
  36. .../I am in general agreement with the paper’s conclusion …

    Baiting efficacy estimates used in Tasmania were extrapolated from mainland studies that have little relevance to Tasmanian baiting practices, and consequently, there was inadequate justification for the a priori assumption of baiting efficacy used in the model of eradication proposed by Parkes and Anderson (2009). Therefore, the baiting strategy appears to be unrealistic as an anticipatory measure to prevent fox establishment in Tasmania or other large off-shore islands [...]”

    The sting in the tail is of course, that while the scientific basis for the baiting programme was and still remains questionable, since the widespread poisoning, the baiting advocates might point to the results of the Great Poo Hunt 2014 as evidence of efficacy (smile!)/...

    (v)Gonçalves, J., Marks, C.A., Obendorf, D., Amorim, A. & Pereira, F. (2014) A multiplex PCR assay for identification of the red fox (Vulpes vulpes) using the mitochondrial ribosomal RNA genes. Conservation Genetic Resources
    I was surprised to see that (as far as I can recall, Ivo) I hadn’t read this paper before.  Correct me if I am wrong, but it was used as an assay alternative to that of Berry’s.  I’m not sure at the moment what part it played on your group’s work to discredit Berry and Sarre, for surely that was your purpose, but I must note the following: 
    1 Your group’s assay goes by the name of SPInDel
    2 It claims [ ] that “Each species can be defined by a unique combination of fragment lengths (a ‘SPInDel profile’) that can be interrogated using conventional or high-throughput genotyping platforms without the need for DNA sequencing.” and yet …
    3 This paper (‘A multiplex PCR assay…’) does conclude with a warning “Nevertheless, validation studies using fox samples are recommended to assess the level of sensitivity of the assay in the presence of highly degraded DNA collected in the field.”

    These ‘validation studies’ wouldn’t have been DNA sequencing, would they?

    (vi)Gonçalves, J., Marks, C.A., Obendorf, D., Amorim, A. & Pereira, F. (2014) Reply to Sarre et al. ‘‘Defining specificity in DNA”. Forensic Science International – Genetics.
    -(Again, this is one of the papers that I’d already commented on in my ‘Both Sides Stumped?’ article.  It needs no further comment here.

    and of the last one [still apparently ‘in review’ - gfs] ...

    (vii)Marks, C.A., Obendorf, D., Edwards, I., Pereira, F. & Hall, G.P. (in review) Anecdotal reports are not evidence of fox (Vulpes vulpes) presence or baiting success in Tasmania: Why data quality matters in eradication programs.

    … No comment/...

    Posted by  on  09/12/16  at  05:30 AM
  37. .../You had asked me, Ivo (in your third point/question): 

    You have criticised the team about the DNA diagnostic test paper, but not their other papers presenting evidence that the fox eradication program was fatally flawed in assuming carcasses found in Tasmania originated in Tasmania, that the program as it was being run had no chance of eradicating any foxes in Tasmania, that it was flawed in claiming no by catch poisoning of eastern quolls and other iconic rare animals, and that it lied through the teeth about a number of important associated matters.  […] Do you have an opinion on these papers, painstakingly compiled by concerned scientists, for no monetary gain and for probable eternal enmity by the Tasmanian government and DPIPWE?

      I hope that I’ve answered the second part of that question of yours, and briefly, I’ll respond to the first part:  From the very first sentence of my ‘Both Sides Stumped’, I stated my dissatisfaction with Sarre’s flawed acceptance of the provenance of the scats supplied to him.  Did you not read that, Ivo?  Did baiting have a chance of eradicating foxes (if they were here)?  Perhaps, but in considering Sarre’s habitat model, the endeavour was not supported by strong science, in my opinion.  As for your mention of ‘by catch’ my interest in ‘Both Sides Stumped’ was to evaluate the Sarre 2012 ‘Foxes are Widespread’ paper and those three papers/letters to FSI – Genetics.  What claims made by the FEP about ‘by catch’ were outside the scope of my then study, though of course I like many people, was concerned about possible uptake by non-target species.  I did hear, in the days leading up the baiting roll-out, a number of claims that the baits wouldn’t be attractive to native animals, or that they’d be too hard or whatever.  I didn’t know what to make of those claims.  Finally, in response to your third question, I didn’t (to my knowledge) come across material in any of the Tasmanian Fox? publications which shed any light on your [FEP] “lied through the teeth” statement.

    4 Thank you for acknowledging that the recent media reports are deficient in one aspect:  they claim that Biosecurity Tasmania have called the ‘Frankford Fox’ a hoax, but they provide no details and quote no relevant persons.  You went on to ask “how come they couldn’t equally forensically determine that the other carcasses in Tasmania, years earlier, came from Victoria or NSW?”  Pretty much a rhetorical question, Ivo, and anyway, it’s one that I’m not in a position to answer.  However, I would like to know how the ‘Frankford Fox’ has been identified as coming from Victoria.  An admission from a suspect perhaps, and/or information from ‘the public’, and/or lab. analysis performed at the Uni. of Canberra? 

    5 If you don’t mind, I’ll pass on the opportunity to comment on your fifth point.

    [That’s wonderful that we seem to agree that DPIPWE is excessively secretive in its activities, especially pertaining to foxes, and that it has no clue about how to deal with a real fox incursion.  The real chance of foxes now being even more likely to be introduced to Tasmania, as described by O’Brien (#12) and Jack J (14) to “prove” that have been present in Tasmania all along, as DPIPWE claimed, is a chilling prospect.]

    This ends my response to your #25 and #26, Ivo.  [While final-drafting this series of comments, the news has broken that a Tasmanian man has been charged under the Animal Health Act 1995 – relating to the discovery of the ‘Frankford Fox’, the discovery of which had generated this TasTimes article.  Details of the alleged importation are at this stage minimal.]

    Posted by  on  09/12/16  at  05:37 AM
  38. I’m sorry, Ian (#22), but I have to ask:  Why is it that you ask me for a public apology over my statements about a ‘fox intelligentsia’ amongst the Mercury’s commentariat? 

    My ‘fox intelligentsia’ remarks were directed at the preparedness of some of the Mercury readership to declare the ‘Frankford Fox’ as a hoax before any information was available.  I had been astounded by the number of commenters who had called the Frankford Fox ‘a hoax’ just on the basis of an initial news report:

    IS this the evidence that will confirm the existence of foxes in Tasmania?
    The State Government has launched an investigation into “all the circumstances” surrounding a fox carcass that has turned up on a roadside in Northern Tasmania.
    The dead fox was reported to the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment on Sunday.
    DPIPWE Biosecurity Tasmania general manager Lloyd Klumpp said the carcass was reported by a member of the public through the department’s Invasive Species Hotline.
    The carcass found by Frankford Rd.
    “A Biosecurity Tasmania officer has followed up the report and when they attended the reported location a fox carcass was located,” Dr Klumpp said.
    “Following its detection, the scene has been photographed and the carcass was taken to our Mt Pleasant laboratories for a necropsy to be undertaken by the senior veterinary pathologist.”
    Dr Klumpp said it was not yet possible to draw any conclusions on the history of the animal.
    “Much more investigation is required to see if any information can be identified that helps with understanding how it came to be at this location, including the possibility that it was dead prior to being at this site,” he said.
    “Until we have the full results of veterinary examination and further investigation is completed, it is not possible to speculate in any way on the history of the carcass.”
    The find follows claims of a fresh sighting in Northern Tasmania earlier this month.
    Allegations of faked evidence to prove the existence of foxes in Tasmania have plagued DPIPWE and the former Fox Taskforce.
    Windermere MLC Ivan Dean had asked police to investigate whether evidence has been faked.
    Police found no criminal offence and Mr Dean has now taken the matter to the Integrity Commission.

    I had been disappointed to see in that Mercury comment thread how Dr Klumpp’s precautionary:  “Until we have the full results of veterinary examination and further investigation is completed, it is not possible to speculate in any way on the history of the carcass.” had been so cheerfully ignored.

    It is somewhat ‘chilling’ to consider that the next fox that is found somewhere in Tasmania might be dismissed as a hoax, by this same ‘shoot the discovery’ brigade.

    Finally, Ian, I would accede to your request for a public apology (#22), were it necessary.  I’m unsure as to why you have asked me for a ‘public apology’ and equally unsure as to what it is that I am supposed to apologise for.  I have long acknowledged your wide knowledge of our Tassie ‘fox matters’, I have a number of times expressed appreciation for your sharing with me the Rockliff FOI release, however I have put forward onto Tas Times my views on these matters as best I could, having examined all details as best I can, and - pro bono – have tried to present considered views in (most of) my comments/articles.  In short … I wish you would stop ‘beating up on’ those (me included) who, having tried honestly to understand our fox débâcle, present views which don’t fully accord with your’s.  - Garry.

    Posted by  on  09/12/16  at  07:59 AM
  39. Hello again Garry (#34).  It is a pleasure to chat with someone who values truth and detail.  For some reason you remind me of Kevin Bonham!

    1. Re my claim that the “foxes are widespread” research paper by Sarre et al was fiction

    Fiction is simply something that is invented or untrue, so if at least parts of the paper were not true then the paper in general can be classified as fiction.  You yourself agree that there are at least “faulty” parts in it, so presumably agree that it is at least part fiction.
    My evidence that it is reasonable to generally classify the whole paper as fiction are described in my TT article 

    In light of recent developments described by David (#30) we also need to ask if Sarre was aware when he wrote the paper (2012) that there were serious questions being asked within DPIPWE about the authenticity of many of the scats identified as DNA +ve , These were from points of view of hoaxing and many obviously not being fox scats from careful visual assessment by Simon Fearn.

    In addition is the release of information just within the last year that false positive DNA results occur on average about 4 per thousand possible fox scat samples.

    2. Re reference to Sarre’s admission that false positives (i.e errors) could account for all the Tasmanian fox +ve DNA results.  Please listen to the ABC Background Briefing transcript or read my TT article

    3.  Re what the “overall conclusion” is in reference to?  It is in reference to the conclusion that the Sarre et al DNA results were flawed because of the significant number of false positive results and because of the impossibility to determine if the collected scats originated in Tasmania, or were contaminated by someone touching the scats after contact with real fox parts (e.g. from patting a stuffed fox).


    Posted by Ivo Edwards  on  09/12/16  at  09:46 AM
  40. # 39 Garry Stannus you owe me an apology because you used my exact quote in ‘The Mercury’ comments word for word without my permission.
    From your article on November 1st 2016 in Tasmanian Times
    Latest ‘fox carcass found in the North’.
    November 1….

    Tally ho!  Well, well, well!  A fox is found, and what is the reaction?  Looking at the comment thread on the Mercury (before even DPIPWE’s Invasive Species Branch can investigate Sunday’s find), our fox intelligentsia has said it all.

    Here’s one typical comment:

    ”Ho Hum..this was predictable of course. Just when you have the pressure on you produce the countering ‘evidence’.”  (see the Mercury article and various comments at [Here]. )

    - See more at:

    Posted by Ian Rist  on  09/12/16  at  09:52 AM
  41. Ian …  at #41 … you wrote … “Garry Stannus you owe me an apology because you used my exact quote in ‘The Mercury’ comments word for word without my permission.”  In my opinion Ian, whatever you post publicly may be quoted.  – Garry.

    Posted by  on  09/12/16  at  08:45 PM
  42. 42
    It doesn’t alter the fact you were embarrassingly wrong again, as you consistently have been on fox matters.
    I suggest you sit down some time with a good Kipling poem:

    If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
    If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;

    If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
    Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise.

    Posted by Ian Rist  on  10/12/16  at  07:32 AM
  43. There are five authors to the paper that is at the centre of the current discussion: Stephen Sarre and Anna MacDonald from the University of Canberra based Institute of Applied Ecology; a DPIPWE employee and member of the FEP, Candida Barclay; Glen Saunders, the author of the 2006 IA-CRC review of the fox program and David Ramsay, a Victorian scientist whose organisation is an affiliate of the IA-CRC.

    The paper was submitted in August 2012 and accepted as a ‘priority contribution’ in October 2012. Understandably the paper attracted considerable publicity here in Tasmania and nationally in December 2012; Dr Sarre gave several interviews.

    The paper was not an ‘open access’ publication so interested readers could only effectively read the title and abstract. ... and of course the online media on it. It was accepted as peer- reviewed science that assumed careful analysis of the data and the methodology had been discharged and that the data could be relied upon was ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ and credible.

    The resounding claim of the paper was proclaimed in its title: Foxes are now widespread in Tasmania: DNA detection defines the distribution of this rate but invasive species.’

    Dr Edwards sums up the difficulty in accepting Sarre et al as credible peer-reviewed science in comment #40. He writes: DNA results were flawed because of the significant number of false positive results and because of the impossibility to determine if the collected scats originated in Tasmania, or were contaminated by someone touching the scats after contact with real fox parts (e.g. from patting a stuffed fox)’.

    A commissioned review done by Simon Fearn in 2011 found that 26 of the 56 scat Dr Sarrel tested in his Canberra lab contained fox DNA were likely to be fox scats imported from Victoria and falsified as dog-detected fox scats in Tasmania. In my opinion this represents an extraordinary forensic ‘stuff up’; it was a reflection of the poor project design and perhaps the quality control applied to the training of FEP staff. And finally it reflects on the leadership and governance applied to this publicly funding program and, most worryingly, reflects on the accepted standards of honesty upheld in DPIPWE.

    Posted by David Obendorf  on  10/12/16  at  08:04 AM
  44. Ian (#29):  Your quote from the Marks-Obendorf letter to the A-G/Minister for Justice Vanessa Goodwin, contains a intriguing statement.  According to Clive and David, they were advised by Tas Police (1Dec2016) that TasPol not enforce laws under the Tasmanian Animal Health Act nor the State Services Act. Consequently it does not appear that Tasmania Police presently have any powers whatsoever to unilaterally investigate or charge persons under the Tasmanian Criminal Code or any statute enforced by the police, even if they have been involved in the type of wrongdoing mentioned above. The exception appears to be when they are directed to do so under the provisions of the Integrity Commission Act 2009.

    (This was in reference to the alleged claims of some DPIPWE staff having presumably placed scats (sourced from DPIPWE’s mainland stocks) then claiming to have found them ‘in the field’.) 

    Why I bring this up, is because having learnt from your comment that the while the police apparently stated that they can’t/do not enforce laws under the Animal Health Act, they have evenso a few days later apparently charged a Tasmanian man over an unrelated alleged importation of a (dead?) fox from Victoria … and the charge/s are apparently laid/made out under the same Animal Health Act 1995 as referred to in your comment.  I would be interested to see (a copy of) the letter received from TasPol.  I would like to know what happened to change their minds in those intervening days.

    Actually, I was chuffed to see that a day or so after I posted my (#15, 2Dec16) comment, in which I noted that it was possible that “For example, police might have found that certain events/actions did occur, but were not covered by the Criminal Code Act 1924” we then learned - that day or so later - that Mark and David did subsequent to my writing that comment, contact Vanessa Goodwin (3Dec2016), querying apparent received advice that “they [Tas Pol] do not enforce laws under the Tasmanian Animal Health Act nor the State Services Act.”


    … and their letter, in my opinion, was ill-worded, continued on and included the notionally ridiculous conclusion:

    “Consequently it does not appear that Tasmania Police presently have any powers whatsoever to unilaterally investigate or charge persons under the Tasmanian Criminal Code or any statute enforced by the police, even if they have been involved in the type of wrongdoing mentioned above.”

      My comment is that this statement is provisionally an exemplar of drafting at its ‘woeful worst’.  Ad hoc, ‘on-the-run’ … call it what you will. Did they really send this drivel to Vanessa Goodwin? 

    Also, Ian, regarding me, you wrote (#43): 

    “It doesn’t alter the fact you were embarrassingly wrong again, as you consistently have been on fox matters.”

      In my opinion, that’s another wonderful example of ‘argument by assertion’.  You don’t actually give an example of my ‘Garry’s wrongness’ – just assert it.  You don’t quote from what I (Garry) have written, … ‘nah, nah mate, haven’t got time for that’... , you don’t reference your claims about me, you just continue on in your (what are in my opinion) blunderbuss, ... put-downs. 

    It’s easy mate.  If I’ve posted any wrong statements here on TT (or anywhere else for that matter) then I’d like you to copy and paste such of those (at-this-stage hypothetical) statements here.  It’s called ‘put up, or shut up’, Ian.  In the interests of ‘truth-over-the-tribe’, I invite you to give whatever examples you think are available which would indicate where I’ve been in error.  That is,  examples of what I have actually written linked to where I actually am supposed to have written it, then back it up with explanation, comparison etc and finally provide links (references) to whatever you might care to claim rebutts me.

    In my opinion … you can’t do it, Ian ... you won’t be able to demonstrate any errors in what I’ve written on the subject of foxes.  Not what you might say I’ve written, but ... about me ... only what you enclose in double inverted commas, and url-link it to its source.  Then try and show how – by reference to such sources ... such statements of mine might be wrong.  In my opinion, Ian, it’s about time you ‘put up or shut up’.  No more bald assertions, no more harping and carping, no more hearsay:  simply identify supposed error/s, simply refer to authorities other than the authority of your own unsubstantianted opinion, and in a manner accepted by reasonable people, simply and reasonably demonstrate your case.

    Posted by  on  13/12/16  at  07:11 PM
  45. Ivo:  a week is a long time in politics.  And a couple of days on TT is even longer.  I’ve been grateful for your comments to me on this thread.  You complimented me (#40) saying that “It is a pleasure to chat with someone who values truth and detail.”  And that compliment – for me personally – I would like to be remembered by.  And for all of us, give or take, we are only (to use a ‘sporting’ analogy), ‘as good as our next shot’.  I would like you, Ivo, to transfer those short comments that you made on the other (later) comment thread
    [Here] ... back onto this thread, and also I would like it if you could respond to my remarks about your (plural) Table 1, referred to in my #36, here on this thread.

    Finally, as far as this comment goes, I’d like to point out that David’s #44 is on the face of it, little more than an attempt by him to redirect focus away from any comments that I made (in response to Ivo’s #5, #25, #26 requests).  Ivo’s comments were about the Tasmanian Fox? (Independent Scientists Review) series of papers that were published in response to the problematic ‘Foxes are now Widespread in Tas’ Sarre 2012 paper.  Such is life.  My own preference in life is rather than attempting to deflect attention away from the perceived deficiencies in one’s own work, that one should attempt to meet them head-on, with argument and reasoning.  It is my opinion (and also Professor Sarre’s) that the scientific work of the Tasmanian Fox? group was flawed.  As I’ve written several times before, so too was Professor Sarre’s work flawed – because it began with the premise that the scats sent to Canberra were from animals living in the wild (i.e. the wilds of Tas).

    Posted by  on  13/12/16  at  07:16 PM
  46. Garry I have more to do with my time than go back over your essays and associated diatribe.
    The one obvious fact is you just are not prepared to admit anything and and have this ... ‘I want to have the last say’ attitude.
    However, that said, it must be difficult for you to accept the stand the media has now taken…it is all coming out and all your wishing and hoping won’t change that.
    I suggest you also buy a copy of today’s ‘The Mercury.’

    Posted by Ian Rist  on  14/12/16  at  07:26 AM
  47. Not a word from the parliamentary Greens. Why so?

    Posted by Claire Gilmour  on  14/12/16  at  07:47 AM
  48. At the time of the Governments Fox Task Force 1080 baiting program on private land in 2012 …

    … a number of dogs (much loved pets) went missing in my area.

    Coincidence? I think not.

    Perhaps micro chip trackers should have been and should be placed in some of the 1080 baits … but I guess some would be too scared to have the truth proven.

    Not sure what the ‘pro-bono’ thing is about Garry, have you become a self appointed lawyer?

    Blame the ‘apology’ seek on me, I suggested to Ian he deserved one … and still do. Tally (indeed) ho … you were wrong he was right … it was fraud!

    It’s akin to the Gunns pulp mill and the e.nitens plantations … so many knew it was wrong in so many ways, and so much was being done underhandedly by the powers that be but it wasn’t until years later the truth started emerging.

    Cest la vie …

    Posted by Claire Gilmour  on  14/12/16  at  07:50 AM
  49. Hi Garry (#46) -  Regarding your request for my comments on your assessment of the paper about opportunistically acquired fox evidence:

    I am generally inclined to agree with you.  Bear in mind though that I am only a very junior author of this paper and hardly an authority on the content.  I believe that we did the best analysis possible in a situation where an assessment was very important but where there was minimal hard evidence.  Hence much of the content was, necessarily, very subjective.

    I, like you, wonder how and why many papers pass the peer review process.  It seems a lot like a lottery to me as to whether a reviewer will be sympathetic or pedantic and critical.  Were our criteria “arbitrary” as in based on personal whim?  To a degree for sure!  Should we have named names such as that of a convicted poacher?  No, I don’t consider that that would have been appropriate.  Did we subconsciously frame things to suit our desired negative desires?  Possibly, to a degree!  Should we have been more detailed and rigid in describing and assessing methods used to determine ratings?  Possibly!

    Regarding your request that I transfer comments from another related thread to this one?  Sorry but no, I can’t see any point or benefit in that.

    Posted by Ivo Edwards  on  14/12/16  at  09:25 AM
  50. Claire, as you point out there are many missing-in-action over Tasmania’s fox controversy - including politicians, bureaucrats, scientists and former staff.

    History shows that celebrity & sensation nearly always trumps truth. This is just another local example which which as you write is comparable to the John Gay/Gunns Ltd/E. nitens plantation saga that degraded and diminished Tasmania during the same time frame as the fox program.

    Thank you Claire, and all the best to you!

    Posted by David Obendorf  on  14/12/16  at  09:53 AM
  51. I think it is time that everyone involved, despite all the never ending rhetoric, just accepted that this is now a very clear case of exploitation of the Federal EPBC Act that was funded by the last Howard Government’s partial sale of Telstra.
    The sale that resulted in the EPBC Act which funded the National Heritage Trust and the now ‘Caring for our Country’.

    A ‘not so clever plan’ that resulted in 15 years of unnecessary wildlife and pet deaths and created so much division in the community and also in public opinion.

    A plan aided and abetted by politicians it seems ‘cut from the same cloth.’

    This is the very reason there is so much defensive behavior from past and current politicians, bureaucrats and x-employees, some of whom have moved the ‘brains trust’ behind this program   into an imagined ‘sanctuary’.

    Posted by Ian Rist  on  14/12/16  at  10:38 AM
  52. I’d still suggest that the main question remains unanswered. For who decided that the Tasmanian community was far better off not knowing about the reports produced by Simon Fearn when he was part of the fox program?

    Apparently the same person thought that the scientist at the University of Canberra analysing the “fox scats” was also better off not knowing that their results were, er, crap.

    I wonder if the same person also thought that the commonwealth was better off not knowing this as well…as they submitted yet another application for federal money perhaps?

    Did the same person also think it was best not telling the many journalists about the dissenting series of reports? I wonder if our Tasmanian journalists are relaxed and comfortable about this decision? They must have been. There is no outcry that I can hear.

    Of course, one is forced to accept that this person most definitely thought that the Tasmanian parliament was better off not knowing. Because what on earth would our elected representatives want to know about such stuff?!

    So who is this very important person who decides what the Tasmanian and Australian public may or may not see and know? Who has this great power and by what statute did they receive such authority over knowledge and information?

    Is he Tasmania’s answer to Don Equis, ‘the most interesting man in the world’? Or the most secretive, like a new Garbo from the Apple Isle?

    Isn’t it about time that they introduced themselves to us, their humble dominion, burden and huddled masses, and offered an explanation of such wisdom and insight?

    Or are they to remain hidden behind the curtain, the place where Tasmanian “stuff ups” are designed in private?

    So, let’s put a name and a face to such omnipotent power and authority shall we? Let us all have the capacity to gaze upon He or She and reward such noble works, done to the people from behind without the benefit of lubrication.

    Unless, that is, they have already decided that it is not in our best interests to know that either? In which case, the parliament of Tasmania, the media and the public at large will tug upon their forelocks and retreat to their crude hovels to work upon their faith based beliefs in democratic institutions.

    Posted by Jack J  on  14/12/16  at  04:25 PM
  53. re 53, it shouldn’t be that hard to identify this individual. They can only be employed by one department, must be operating at a senior level within that agency, have had carriage of the issues under debate, and been in that position when the actions under question occurred. Cannot be more than a dozen individuals in that position.

    If we had a fourth estate up to the name, they would have lodged FOI requests seeking the names of all individuals whose positions filled that description, and then followed up by asking each of them if they had committed the fraud, and why.

    If we had a functioning integrity enforcement system, it would have doing likewise.

    And thus, government shreds credibility.

    (yes, fraud. Under Tasmanian law it requires a reasonable expectation of an individual based on representations, a failure to deliver, and a loss, “pecuniary or otherwise” as a result of that failure to deliver. The expectation is honesty in performance of one’s public servant role, The failure to be honest is by withholding information that reveals doubt and error about the evidence being used to justify significant public expenditure and landscape scale poisoning. The representation is the public service code of conduct, and the loss, I reckon $50 million and numerous non target species counts as a “loss”)

    Posted by Simon Warriner  on  14/12/16  at  06:03 PM
  54. Jack J @ 53; what if there were two of them?; what if they were siblings?

    Posted by John  on  14/12/16  at  06:14 PM
  55. Yes Jack J # 53.
    Obviously time for a Royal Commission or similar.

    We cannot trust or rely upon our politicians or public servants to expose the people that have defrauded and stolen from us the taxpayers.
    The actual mums and dads and all working people that actually elect and pay for the above people that apparently can’t be trusted with our best interests.
    It would appear that if your are a politician, a public servant or a bureaucrat or are employed by the ‘company’ you are a protected species.

    Posted by Ian Rist  on  14/12/16  at  06:24 PM
  56. #55 Oh, no, no, no, no…never!

    If it were two or more people that might be a criminal ‘conspiracy’. We don’t believe in conspiracies in Tasmania, only “stuff ups”.

    Well, let me qualify that outrage a little.

    Of course, we do have ‘Conspiracy Theorists’. These are people who doubt, question or are sceptical of policy and governance sans evidence. In other lands such behaviours are respected or seen as necessary to keep democratic institutions functioning.

    But here in Tasmania we don’t have ‘conspiracies’ where two or more people might have agreed to hide information from the Tasmanian people or salt the mine.

    Don’t be ridiculous!

    Posted by Jack J  on  15/12/16  at  10:30 AM
  57. Simon at comment 54: Can I explain that firstly the identities of the putative ‘faecal foolers’  are astonishingly divulged in RTI 063 released by DPIPWE to an unknown applicant earlier this year. In an unprecedented break with RTI-release conventions the actual names of the collectors of a large number of the scats which Dr Sarre’s lab went on to test as DNA-fox positive are named in that RTI document. Was that a mistake or deliberate?

    Secondly in 2015 Dr Clive Marks requested depersonalised information on the dog-collected scats (names not given just a number code identification for each collector). Analysis of that data set allowed the independent scientific panel (see to prepare a report for Biosecurity Tasmania that concluded that fabrication of evidence (fraud) was the most plausible explanation for the high number of statistically impossible probabilities raised by the fox program’s official scat collection record. And thirdly, Simon Fearn (independent of our review in 2014-15 and the RTI release by DPIPWE in 2016) had similarly concluded in 2011 that two staff members had an extraordinarily successful capacity to find DNA-fox positive scats; amongst them scats which contained fox hairs and even ones with pieces of rubber recognisably identical to the rubber pads used to leg-hold traps to catch foxes. 

    The question is were all senior scientists in the Technical Advisory Committee to the fox program and the IA-CRC scientists testing the Tasmanian animal crap made aware that Simon Fearn in at least 2011 had produced a report that dramatically called into question the validity of the evidence relied upon to proclaim there were foxes to be exterminated in widespread parts of Tasmania? Two years earlier in 2009 in another Fearn report, the author had already shown that at least 5 ‘scats’ were characteristically not carnivore droppings yet had tested DNA-fox positive.

    How so? Where was the internal quality control, critical thinking, and ability to question anomalous test results?

    Posted by David Obendorf  on  15/12/16  at  04:27 PM
  58. David (#58), you have very devastatingly and succinctly described the overall untenable position that DPIPWE now finds itself in. This is in its need to explain away statistically impossible odds, compelling evidence for either hoaxing or fox scat sample contamination, and the need to explain away overwhelming evidence that it withheld vital data from people who were intimately involved with the program and needed to know about any problems in reconciling Sarre’s DNA + ve results with conflicting evidence.

    I think we can confidently envisage the essence of what really happened:

    1.  Around 2005 – 2009 Sarre analysed a number of possible scat samples and came up with several DNA + ve results.  He had not formally tested his methodology for false positives and false negatives, but was confident they were right.

    2.  Simon Fearn forensically examined the original scats under the microscope and Barbara Twiggs examined them for hairs etc.  The original samples were thereby disintegrated and probably cross contaminated for any fox DNA, so no good for retesting by Sarre.

    3.  Sarre had to be, and was,  advised that that many of his +ve DNA results were definitely not fox scats, as evidenced by their morphology and insect remains.  The anomalous Bruny Island scat was also a problem.

    4.  Sarre then presumably reanalysed his limited amount of scat material a few more times and came up with the same result, so concluded that his analysis was sound.

    5.  Time progressed to 2011 and Simon Fearn wrote his 2011 report, finding more scats that had been diagnosed as DNA +ve by Sarre, but were definitely not fox scats from visual observation under his microscope.  At the same time the impossibly large proportion of +ve samples collected by 1 person had become apparent.

    6.  DPIPWE management then had an embarrassing problem, especially when 3 senior staff members requested an independent enquiry.  It looked like contamination of fox DNA from one sample to another might be a serious problem.  It decided to bunker down and stick with its increasingly unlikely story that foxes were widespread, but were systematically being eradicated by its cutting edge science brilliance.  It demanded that all its staff keep quiet about the inconsistency between results from Sarre and Fearn.

    Posted by Ivo Edwards  on  16/12/16  at  09:41 AM
  59. We need to learn to cope with the new era where telling the truth is so much yesterday’s fashion.  I know DPIPWE and many politicians were ahead of the game, but it is taking me a while to learn to seriously question things I am told is truth, which I previously accepted on faith.

    For example take Stephen Sarre’s comment, according to “The Mercury”
    “Prof Sarre, of the University of Canberra, said he had not seen Mr Fearn’s report. ”I have not seen the ‘leaked internal report’ and as this is a Tasmanian Government issue, I will not be making any comments on it or any other related matter,” he said”

    Is this a lie?  Is it a technical truth because he has not seen the original report, just an extract or email?  Has he been made aware of Simon Fearn’s fox scats analysis results which conflict with his own DNA analysis, one way or another?  Of course he has to have!  Why is he so aggressive about refusing to comment further?

    Let’s nail down all the important people associated with the fox eradication program with some proper questioning whereby we can extract the real truth from what they say and don’t say, regardless of how facile they are at lying?
    Who are they?  They are senior DPIPWE staff members and the FEP Technical Advisory Panel members.

    1. DPIPWE staff members (past and present) who cannot even be bothered to attempt to explain what the hell their department was thinking - Mr Kim Evans, ( DPIPWE secretary), Mr Alistair Scott (General Manager, Resource Management and Conservation), Mr Peter Mooney (General Manager, Parks and Wildlife ), Dr Steve Harris, senior scientist.

    2   FEP Technical Advisory Panel members.

    Dr Stephen Lapidge. Previous TAP chairman. Invasive Animals CRC
    Dr Alan Robley, Arthur Rylar Institute for Environmental Research, Dept. Sustainability and Environment. –
    Dr Stephen Sarre, University of Canberra. 
    Dr Bertie Hennecke, Bureau of Rural Science
    Prof.  Chris Johnston, University of Tasmania.
    Nick Mooney, Wildlife Biologist – retired from DPIPWE
    Keith Springer, DPIPWE

    How to question them?  We need a real investigative reporter, an increasing rare commodity these days, to phone them ALL and ask some simple questions:

    1. Were you aware of the data that Simon Fearn reported on that conflicted with Stephen Sarre’s fox DNA positive results? (Don’t let them weasel out of the question by saying that they have never read the report!)
    2. Were you aware that hoaxing and/or sample contamination could have been important issues in the FEP program?
    3. Has DPIPWE requested that you maintain silence on information you have that might be critical of the FEP program.

    It should be reasonably easy to extract some useful information from the number of “no comment” replies, hang-ups, and non committal answers.  It should, hopefully also extract some really candid comments from some exasperated and frustrated Technical Advisory Panel members who don’t like being treated as puppets who do as they are told and are kept in the dark about important information, when they are accustomed to open access truth in science.

    Posted by Ivo Edwards  on  16/12/16  at  11:22 AM
  60. Fifty million dollars plus is currency for a Royal Commission I believe.
    Royal Commissions have been held over less.
    Let us get the above mentioned fox participants under oath in one commission of enquiry with the fear of severe consequences if they lie.

    At the end of it all, sure there may be job vacancies and embarrassment for quite a few politicians past and present, but so be it.

    I say again it is our money the scoundrels misappropriated.  Isn’t it ?

    Posted by Ian Rist  on  16/12/16  at  03:40 PM
  61. Ivo, the ABC portrayed the scat anomaly as a simplistic proportion of scats that had registered numerous error signals. But it is NOT the proportion of mtDNA positive scats collected that is the most improbable and concerning issue. The analysis of their scat data shows a series of separate anomalies/discordances (as many as 6!) within their scat sample that stand out ... and they stand out quite a long way, in fact. How were they overlooked?

    Of course this comes on top of the independent observations made by Simon Fearn and his 2009 and 2011 reports that have just surfaced. His conclusions are based upon largely separate issues like employee conduct, scat analysis, probity, record keeping and failure to conform to good field practice. Far more than might be glibly dismissed as a litany of excusable ‘stuff ups’.

    There are MULTIPLE anomalies within this sample identified by separate researchers that don’t just relate to the scat collection success of particular persons. This was wrongly assumed by Mr Nick Mooney to be the basis for the concerns as he understood them in the 7.30 Report episode. Not so. This was pure speculation on his part.

    Of concern as the police effectively explained was that they do not administer the Animal Health Act or the State Services Act and cannot prosecute anyone - as under the Tasmanian Criminal Code, no offense exists to cover this type of fraud. This was incorrectly reported by some to mean that the police did not identify any wrongdoing; that’s also quite incorrect speculation.

    The irony is that Tasmania Police have now handed their assessment report to DPIPWE - the agency with responsibility for these Acts. By some inane process DPIPWE, the Department that suppressed the Fearn reports and taken no action, is somehow in the position to determine whether they have a case to answer!

    That’s why the Integrity Commission needs to become involved. It is also why Dr Marks and I wrote to the Attorney-General to clarify the role of the police and to suggest that this type of fraud should be recognised as a criminal offense.

    Thank you.

    Posted by David Obendorf  on  16/12/16  at  10:50 PM
  62. “The irony is that Tasmania Police have now handed their assessment report to DPIPWE - the agency with responsibility for these Acts.”
    “By some inane process DPIPWE, the Department that suppressed the Fearn reports and taken no action, is somehow in the position to determine whether they have a case to answer”

    If ever there was a case of Dracula in charge of the blood bank this it it !

    It is time Minister Rockliff and Minister Hidding acted…because as sure as God made little green apples, they too will be drawn into this vortex.

    Posted by Ian Rist  on  17/12/16  at  07:24 AM
  63. No Ian (#61).  We have already squandered $50 million on the bloody fox non-eradication program.  We don’t want to double the amount of wasted money with a Royal Commission.

    How about if you and I offer to conduct an inquiry even better than a Royal Commission, for a mere $1million

    Posted by Ivo Edwards  on  17/12/16  at  08:08 AM
  64. Sounds good Ivo.
    I am sure both of us would know the questions to ask and who to ask them of…
    Starting with…
    I call David Llewellyn, Nick Mooney, Peter Mooney, Kim Evans, John Whittington, Alex Schapp, Bryan Green, Terry Reid, Tim Bloomfield, Chris Emms, Chris Parker, Alan Johnson, Craig Elliott, Craig Bester, John McConnell,
    Garry Reid, Peter Harrison and various other scat collectors.

    Posted by Ian Rist  on  17/12/16  at  09:34 AM
  65. re 62, 63, 64

    This: “The irony is that Tasmania Police have now handed their assessment report to DPIPWE - the agency with responsibility for these Acts.”
    “By some inane process DPIPWE, the Department that suppressed the Fearn reports and taken no action, is somehow in the position to determine whether they have a case to answer”  is exactly the sort of brain dead nonsense that results from repeatedly letting those who clearly do not understand conflicted interest run the show. Expecting the same mentality to understand the the importance and urgency of fixing this problem is surely a leap too far.

    In the grand scheme of things this is yet another tumor on the body of our state, brought about by wallowing in the toxic sludge that is party politics and its inherent failure to understand and manage conflicted interest, both within the party and within the structures being managed. The solution, which is what we all want to find, lies in getting a different mentality into our parliament in order that they might sort out these stupid and very, very expensive messes.

    If you want the swamp drained, that is where the spade work needs to start. Independent candidates willing to pursue a parliamentary inquiry into the fraud that has been committed and the legislative changes needed to retrospectively charge those responsible would constitute at least one excavator bucket full of progress in that regard.

    Posted by Simon Warriner  on  17/12/16  at  11:09 AM
  66. Re comments #63 and 64: Perhaps the State Government could consider offering a $250,000 reward.

    Tasmania Police have offered that amount of money for an unsolved murder in Campbell Town, but as Ivo Edwards writes, why would the authorities wish to invest money on an investigation of how fake news, misinformation and fabricated evidence might have led to the misappropriation of $50 million plus of taxpayers’ money through a fox program administered by a State Government department?

    Posted by David Obendorf  on  17/12/16  at  12:40 PM
  67. Of course we need to change the politicians and their clubs … but in the mean time …

    That’s what we need … names - #65 … now can the ‘good’ internet and phone hackers get to work on some intel !? … ;) And/or how about some private investigators? Perhaps a public fund could be set in motion to pay for private investigations? How about Get-up and getting involved? ABC investigators?

    No doubt there have been many a private meetings, phone calls, emails. Who says it’s only the government that can ‘spy’ on the public? … When it comes to finding truth the public can, will, do … are also allowed to follow and tell about corruption in government/politics … aren’t they?

    Posted by Claire Gilmour  on  17/12/16  at  06:47 PM
  68. I recommend that people have a look at these links below. It seems that two Queensland researchers have very recently been charged and prosecuted by the courts for “ordinary” fraud because they “made up” data and claims that they knew were not true. It seems to be somewhat of a first in Australia, at least that’s what I’m told.

    If I’m not mistaken, this was an ordinary charge of fraud because they used the results to obtain funding (at least in one case - possibly both) from the Commonwealth.

    Can anyone tell me whether this is because Queensland law differs from Tasmanian law? Or in the case of the fox fraudsters can a common law remedy like this also be sought if scientists have knowingly published false information? And what is the case if other parties fail to reveal information that shows the “data” to be fraud at a later date?

    Isn’t it worse in the fox case as damages have been implicated and the consequences of the deception goes much further than a research paper by an academic?

    I gather that Tasmania Police cannot or won’t press charges, but does this mean that other parties can’t seek legal redress via the courts?

    Is this the reason for DPIPWE and others making sure that certain documents were not given to the public if it incriminated them?

    And why exactly can’t the police in Tasmania charge people with fraud?

    All we currently have is silence from DPIPWE, no-comment from the good professor and a one sentence conclusion from the Police.

    Only in Tazmania!

    Posted by Jack J  on  18/12/16  at  01:21 PM
  69. Thanks, Ivo (#50) for your responses to what I’d written.

    And Claire, you write (#49) that it was you who suggested to Ian that he deserved an apology (from me, presumably).  Neither of you, it seems, have sufficient time to actually specify what statements I need to apologise for, nor which errors you claim that I have made.  It is regrettable that you both seem to have sufficient time (#43 & #49) to take pot-shots at me, but no time to backup your ‘Garry was wrong’ blanks by providing details/explanations for such claims.  Bien fait, vous deux.

    Jack (#69) asks a number of questions, to some of which I’ll attempt answers:
    Q1 Can anyone tell me whether this is because Queensland law differs from Tasmanian law? Or in the case of the fox fraudsters can a common law remedy like this also be sought if scientists have knowingly published false information?
    A1 In Tasmania, the Criminal Code Act (1924) substantially obviates recourse to the Common Law.  Our Acts of Parliament over-ride the Common Law, according to the Courts.  Jack’s expression “the fox fraudsters” is redolent of opinion, rather than of established fact.  Our Criminal Code Act (1924) includes the following sections

    252A. Acquiring a financial advantage
    (1) Any person who by any deception dishonestly acquires for himself or for any other person any financial advantage is guilty of a crime.
    Dishonestly acquiring a financial advantage.
    (2) For the purposes of subsection (1) deception means any deception (whether deliberate or reckless) by words or conduct as to fact or as to law, including a deception as to the present intentions of the person using the deception or of any other person.

    Q4 I gather that Tasmania Police cannot or won’t press charges, but does this mean that other parties can’t seek legal redress via the courts?
    A4 Assistant Police Commissioner Glenn Frame (see my #15 for a link) stated that “The review determined that no criminal offence has been committed.”  So the Police don’t think that a criminal offence has been committed.  The matter of the Dean Dossier has (if memory serves me correctly) been stonewalled by the Ombudsman and has been hand-balled to our Integrity Commission, in apparent hope-against-hope that someone can be nailed for something alleged, something suspected, something that must be true because so many have jumped on the bandwagon and alleged it.  Alas, in the public domain, the details are lacking, though the accusations are many.

    My understanding of the law, Jack, is that you are (theoretically) able to institute (criminal) legal proceedings against those you believe have offended under our law.  I don’t believe that this is the sole prerogative of the police, nor of the DPP.  My belief is that you may apply to bring such an action into the Courts, but of course, Jack, you will bear the costs of any failure.  If you allege fraud, Jack, then it is my belief that you are free to take the matter to court.

    Q5 “And why exactly can’t the police in Tasmania charge people with fraud?”
    A5 The Police in Tasmania can charge people with fraud.  However, I must note that it was not the Police that made such a ‘cannot charge people for fraud’ statement, but rather, if anyone, the claim seems associated with David and Clive’s “Foxes: A letter to Dr Vanessa Goodwin”.  They wrote [Here]

    “We are advised by Tasmania Police (1st December 2016) that they do not enforce laws under the Tasmanian Animal Health Act nor the State Services Act. Consequently it does not appear that Tasmania Police presently have any powers whatsoever to unilaterally investigate or charge persons under the Tasmanian Criminal Code or any statute enforced by the police, even if they have been involved in the type of wrongdoing mentioned above…”

    It’s difficult to know what is meant by this “Consequently it does not appear that ... under the Tasmanian Criminal Code”.  Is this statement (which I’ve rendered in ‘bold’), intended to be taken literally?  If the Police wrote such a thing (1Dec2016), then I suggest that it would be in the public interest were Clive/David to publish it here, on TT.

    Posted by  on  20/12/16  at  03:27 PM
  70. The reason for an apology ( not only to Claire and Ian) is you referred to many people (but Ian specifically) as the “fox intelligentsia”.

    Well Garry the fox found on Exeter Road Exeter was Victorian fox not a Tasmanian fox as you had hoped…....

    However all along you have made excuses for fox carcasses, fox scats and now it is all blowing up in your face you can’t handle it, in my view.

    Vos systèmes opérationnels principaux manquent d’intelligence et de possibilité de réagir.

    Posted by Ian Rist  on  21/12/16  at  07:58 AM
  71. Re # 62.  David – we, the public, really need to know the details of the anomalies and discordances you mentioned.  We also would like to know the details of Mr Dean’s submission alleging wrong doing in the fox eradication program. 

    I don’t understand the need for secrecy here?  So what if it might be evidence in some possible court case or formal enquiry eventually? It is bad enough that DPIPWE is ultra secretive.  We don’t want our own side acting the same way! 

    I agree with Garry Stannus (#70)  “Alas, in the public domain, the details are lacking, though the accusations are many. “

    Posted by Ivo Edwards  on  21/12/16  at  08:19 AM
  72. From what I understand, if a person makes an RTI request, such as was done by Dean, as it seems to be suggested in some reports (unless I have indeed misunderstood), the intention is to make the complaint and the findings publicly available. The person who requests the info is not privy to the information as it has to be posted online and thus becomes a public document. There seems to be little gained by just viewing the complaint as the claims made have not been tested, nor can anyone see to what extent the police have investigated the matter.

    If I made a complaint to the police (about any matter) I would not make the document publicly available either unless it came with the police response. The simple reason being that should the matter go to court or be further investigates by the police it would prejudice my position and perhaps be seen as vexatious given the consequences that would follow.

    Imagine if I accused someone of fraud and posted my complaint on TT, that then attracted several comments and endless speculation. What sort of chance would this complaint then have of ever being heard by a court or treated seriously by the integrity commission? All the defence lawyer has to say is that their client can no longer expect to get a fair trial and the evidence has been tainted.

    I totally support the entire process and police decision being made public if there is to be no further action. If there is to be further action, then I can accept the need for some confidentiality. BUT I want to know what is actually the case.

    Posted by Jack J  on  21/12/16  at  04:09 PM
  73. the ‘details’ in the public domain are lacking

    statements about foxes totally being in tasmania, using validity of evidence, are not

    statements belittling, gaslighting and mocking those who doubted validity are not

    scientific papers remain published as peer reviewed fact, with outlandish titles

    reasonable doubt now exists as to any of the ‘evidence’ being valid in terms of proving the existence of a tasmanian fox introduction

    yet from those above the public domain
    privileged to more information
    apparently for quite some time

    we hear the same, frankly insulting, misleading statements and/or no comment

    How is it fair to expect a member of the public to press charges, when they have not been allowed to see all of the information… and have been fed what appears to be a lot of disinformation, from the horses mouth.

    I’d say the onus was on those with information, withholding it, to share it with the public, so they can pick-up where taspol appear to be disinclined to go, if all available evidence still suggests it’s in the public’s best interests to do so.

    This whole thing is outrageous.
    Financially, Environmentally, Socially

    Perhaps the massive damage to public trust
    was long overdue

    Posted by spikey  on  21/12/16  at  05:49 PM
  74. Hi Jack (#73) I agree with you that it would be inappropriate to initially disclose your evidence if you were accusing someone of fraud.  In this instance though we seem to have two matters which are quite separate:

    First is the evidence that DPIPWE made errors in that it contaminated non fox scat samples with real fox DNA, and that, for unknown reasons, at least one collector of potential fox scats collected a seemingly statistically impossible number of scats that Sarre determined as fox DNA positive.

    This type of evidence is what I would like to see revealed in all its scientific forensic detail.  It is simply logical and analytical science and nothing accusatory.  This is what I was referring to in #72, asking David about #62

    Second is any serious potential fraud accusations against DPIPWE or the government.  This is presumably a potential legal minefield and I would definitely leave that to legal experts and keep my mouth shut.

    Posted by Ivo Edwards  on  22/12/16  at  12:37 PM
  75. Garry - No I don’t have the time to play games. I actually have to physically work hard, not just sit on my arse and quote some bullshit.

    The premisw of your “Tally ho” fox article was proven to be bullshit!

    A really honest person says … woops I’m sorry, I was wrong …

    Dare I suggest if the Capital Greens had been against the 1080 fox poisoning ‘stratergerm’ … so would you.

    Obviously you have never lost anything through 1080.

    But take my ‘fraud’ word and use it … cos that’s what the government has been doing!

    Posted by Claire Gilmour  on  22/12/16  at  07:31 PM
  76. #75 I’m supposing that what the actual complaint contains will determine if Ivan Dean has defined this as fraud or something else. Irrespective, it seems (at least this is my understanding from the media) that he has attempted to make the lot public via an RTI. My point was that a heavily redacted document that leaves the complaint without the investigation is next to useless.

    From reading posting #62 it seems that the number of scats collected by person X is not the main issue, but “MULTIPLE” (as Dr Obendorf emphasises) factors within the sample itself and still other issues discovered by Simon Fearn. I still can’t for the life of me work out how DPIPWE is going to turn over a new leaf and investigate itself when it was involved in covering up the information to begin with?

    It has all the credibility of Wells Fargo’s fraud investigation.

    Posted by Jack J  on  22/12/16  at  07:48 PM
  77. Re: Comment #77 - the scat anomalies so far identified based on an analysis of the partial sample of the DNA fox-positive scat data provided to the scientists in the Independent Review of the Tasmanian FEP:

    1. Scats containing foam rubber corresponding to fox-trap use on the mainland collected by two FEP staff members,
    2. Lack of insect remains in scats submitted by those two FEP staff,
    3. Spatial distribution of scats containing fox grooming hairs submitted by those two FEP staff,
    4. Collection sequence of scats with fox grooming hairs submitted by those two FEP staff,
    5. Success of collecting scats with fox grooming hairs by those two FEP staff relative to other staff, and
    6. Collection of all scats that produced a genotype by those two FEP staff, compared to no other staff collecting a scat that was able to be genotyped.

    Merry Christmas!

    Posted by David Obendorf  on  24/12/16  at  08:42 AM
  78. ‘Dispatch #1’ from the Fox-on-Holiday Front:  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all! (Dec2016)

    Ian (re your various comments e.g. #71):  In that Mercury comment thread, you wrote:

    “Ho Hum..this was predictable of course. Just when you have the pressure on you produce the countering ‘evidence’ [...]”

    This, before any necropsy, before any police investigation and before anything was known other than that a dead fox had been found on the side of the Frankford Road!  (There were quite a few comments along similar lines.) Your suggestion (at that early stage) that the fox was dumped there by someone wishing to counter claims associated with the ‘Dean Dossier’, was not then supported by any evidence.  And contrary to your #71 assertion

    “Well Garry the fox found on Exeter Road Exeter was Victorian fox not a Tasmanian fox as you had hoped…....”

    ...I advise that I did not hope that the fox was a Tasmanian fox.  When I first heard the news reports of the dead fox found by the road, I had no thought as to origin, nor of ‘foul play’.  I took it on face value and then I tried to find out more, and looked at the ABC, the Examiner and the Mercury online.  I thought about the comments which I saw in that Mercury article.  My view was that many of the Mercury comments – including yours – were quite predictable, demonstrating as they did, a willingness to judge before the facts were known).  Tasmanian Times has always been my place to go.  I contribute to it and comment on it out of choice, to support it, and symbiotically, it supports me and all of us in Tas.  So I sent in ‘Tally ho!’ and much to my surprise, Lindsay published it.  There’s no accounting for taste!  I think the Romans expressed it thus:  ‘De gustibus, non est disputandum.’

    Yet I did question my own attitude before writing ‘Tally ho!’  In those first ‘Frankford Fox’ days before we heard that DPIPWE said it was Victorian etc, the question – having seen what the Mercury commentariat had to offer, the first question that I asked myself, was along the lines of ‘would it be better if it turned out to be a hoax, or if it turned out to have been a live fox in Tas?’  The answer was clear:  it would be for the worse, the worse for everything in our State, if the Frankford Fox had indeed been a live fox hit by a car on a Tasmanian road.  That much I knew about myself before my ‘Tally ho!’

    As for your

    “However all along you have made excuses for fox carcasses, fox scats and now it is all blowing up in your face you can’t handle it, in my view.”

    This is, in my view, a florid and/or overblown misrepresentation of my contributions to ‘matters fox’ on TT.  I’ve never had a good handle on the various carcasses that form/ed part of the body of evidence for a TasFoxPop.  I did however view the Simon de Little fox interviews which are available on You Tube.  My favourite was the interview with Erick Bosworth.  I felt that he was open, not ‘pushing a barrow’ and credible… he had a simple story to tell.  (TasTimes published a The Fox Files Uncut link to Simon’s YouTube interviews [Here] in Feb 2012).

    And, concerning fox scats, Ian, I have made no excuses for fox scats.  I’ve simply pointed out that the TasFox? independent scientists group did not (in my opinion) validly assess Professor Sarre’s ‘Foxes are now widespread in Tas… 2012’ paper.  I’ve since noted that despite the denunciations that I received for publishing that view in my ‘Fox Scientists – both sides Stumped?’, it now seems accepted that various of the scats identified by Sarre as ‘fox-positive’, are implicitly accepted as such by the ‘Ivan Dean Dossier’ group. 

    The members of this group, it appears, now assert that (at least some of) the fox scats ‘discovered’ in the field and found to be fox-positive after being sent to Canberra for lab testing (presumably using the then Berry/Sarre PCR + post-PCR DNA sequencing method) … now assert that (some of) these ‘discovered ’ fox scats are from the mainland… no particular argument from me on that side …  I raised that issue myself in ‘Both Sides Stumped’ as the principal/only objection to Sarre.

    I liked the French with which you concluded your #71.  However, I am of the opinion that you should have enclosed that borrowing in double inverted commas (i.e. “ ”) and referenced it by providing a link to the originating source for your French words.  Otherwise, it could seem as if you had been claiming them – clumsy as they were (once removed from their commercial context) –  as your own.

    Posted by  on  27/12/16  at  08:48 AM
  79. Dispatch II from the Fox-on-Holiday Front:  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all! (Dec2016)

    Well really, Claire!  Your #76 – directed at me – seems a little harsh.

    “Garry - No I don’t have the time to play games. I actually have to physically work hard, not just sit on my arse and quote some bullshit.
    The premisw of your “Tally ho” fox article was proven to be bullshit!

    The premise/point of my ‘Tally ho’ article was that quite a few Mercury threadsters were jumping to conclusions before knowing any facts concerning the ‘Frankford Fox’.  As premises/points go, I’d say my observation was quite valid.  In fact we, the public, still know only what the media have told us, i.e. basically that Bio Security have determined that the fox was from Victoria and that a man has been charged with bringing a fox carcass into the state.  See the ABC Carla Howarth’s report [Here]

    I do not agree with your “A really honest person says … woops I’m sorry, I was wrong …” because in my opinion, its assumes that your ‘really honest person’ has done something wrong in the first place.  In that ‘fox intelligentsia’ matter, I believe that I was I am quite entitled to have exposed the willingness of some to rush to judgement then on ‘the how and the why’ of the Frankford Fox – before any facts were known. 

    I would like to briefly offer my views on a number of issues over which you, Ian and I seem to have differed.  I think I’ve made some of these comments before:

    1 I do definitely believe that there have been live foxes in Tasmania (since the Burnie fox) .
    2 I have no firm view on whether there was an attempt to introduce a number of foxes into the area around Longford, though I tend to think, despite the failure of TasPol to find corroborative evidence, that it might actually have been attempted.
    3 I am doubtful that a fox population exists on our island, but I can’t quite rule it out.
    4 I believe that fox hoaxing:  i.e. carcasses and/or scats – may have occurred and yet while the Police have determined that no criminal offence has been committed (re the alleged scat hoaxing), I would support a Royal Commission with broad terms of reference into all things concerning foxes in Tasmania. 
    5 I do not believe that it follows that if some hoaxing has occurred, that it then follows that all of the body of ‘fox evidence’ is thus a hoax.
    6 I believe that the Sarre 2012 ‘Foxes are now Widespread’ paper failed because it did not establish the provenance of the scats supplied to the Canberra lab/s.
    7 I think that the TasFox? independent scientific criticisms of the Sarre 2012 PCR & DNA sequencing process (made by the TasFox? group of scientists) failed because post-PCR DNA sequencing – an implicit part of the ‘Berry 2004’ test – was not apparently performed by that group.
    8 I was excited when I first learnt that this group of independent scientists was forming, because I was personally sure that Sarre’s ‘Foxes are now widespread…’ conclusion must be viewed as invalid, for the reason that I’ve just given in (6).
    9 Concerning the ‘Frankford Fox’, I note that we members of the public know only what the media (e.g. ABC [Here] tell us.  That is, basically, that DPIPWE has determined that the Frankford Fox was brought into the state and that (e.g., courtesy of the Mercury) a “man accused of importing a dead fox into Tasmania and planting its carcass in the state’s north was charged yesterday.” [i.e. Dec 8, 2016]

    Posted by  on  27/12/16  at  08:49 AM
  80. Thank you Dr Obendorf (#78) for disclosing that important information.

    Despite all the secrecy and cover-ups from DPIPWE and the government, we now surely have sufficient information to summarise how DPIPWE , the University of Canberra, and the Tasmanian government has fraudulently conned the Federal Government into continuing to fund a non- existent Tasmanian fox presence problem for over a decade :

    Simon Fearn in the 2007 RTI 063-1 report, found no evidence of hoaxing, and explained that hoaxing by planting fox scats from the mainland in Tasmania would be tricky because they might contain insect remains of species not local to Tasmania.

    By 2011 though, he had obtained evidence, according to the ABC analysis of the leaked report, that hoaxing was extremely likely to have occurred, on a serious scale, by two named collectors, and that, in addition, over 20% of the scats diagnosed by Sarre as fox DNA positive, were not from foxes, as evidenced from their appearance and contents under the microscope.

    What has gone so badly wrong then?  Can any of Sarre’s fox positive DNA results be believed, and if so, how many?  Is the University of Canberra itself complicit in the apparent fraud?  Are at least some individual DPIPWE individual staff members, past and present, and Technical Advisory Panel members, implicated in contributing to the cover up? Were the spectacular successes of individual collectors in finding apparent fox scats hoaxing or inadvertent contamination? 

    Let’s look at the evidence:

    A.  Is the University of Canberra guilty of misrepresenting the case for Tasmanian fox presence
    Answer: - yes definitely.
    1.  Because it wrote the “foxes are widespread” misleading article which has already been forensically sentence by sentence teased apart for errors and lies in various TT articles.
    2.  Because Sarre just had to have known that his DNA results conflicted with Simon Fearn’s physical scat assessment, yet did not even mention it in his publications.
    3.  Because Sarre only very recently conducted a formal analysis of possible false positive fox DNA results which confirmed that all the Tasmanian results could be in error, yet he did nothing to explain concerns to the public.

    B.  Can any of Sarre’s Tasmanian fox DNA results be believed?
    Answer: We can’t say for certain.
    For definitive results we need to be confident that the analysis was accurate and that the samples truly arose from foxes in Tasmania. 
    In favour of Sarre is that he inadvertently exposed the hoaxing by the rogue collectors. This was because he consistently found scats testing positive for fox DNA from these individual scat collectors.  i.e. his analysis was sufficiently accurate and consistent to find out their illegal activities
    On the other hand, there are also serious questions about Sarre’s results from points of view of lack of proper control trials, until recently, for false positives and false negatives, from obvious conflicting data from the Bruny Island scat and Fearn data, and from the always present danger of sample contamination, from his laboratory and from the sample collectors.


    Posted by Truth Seeker  on  27/12/16  at  10:21 AM
  81. C.  Were the apparent hoaxed scats identified by Simon Fearn and Dr Clive Marks’s data examination actually hoaxing or inadvertent contamination?
    Answer:  It looks like definite hoaxing was at least partly present!

    1.  Because, as David Obendorf explained, the anomalous scats contained no insect remains, and were pure enough for identification right down to individual genotype.  This indicates deliberate collection of scats from Victoria or NSW, with care taken to avoid collection when they might be likely to contain unique mainland insects.
    2.  Because if it was contamination then it would be expected that much of the contamination would have arisen from a single source and that hence the expectation would be for many of the resulting fox DNA positive results to indicate the same individual fox, which was never the case.

    D.  Should DPIPWE be held accountable for their furtive actions, misleading statements, withholding of vital information, and blatant grant grabbing from Canberra for a program they were aware was seriously flawed?
    Answer; Yes, definitely.

    Because they are supposed to be responsible, for God’s sake, for the vital role of looking out for wildlife in Tasmania, not advancing their empire!  They need to be accountable for their actions, as do all government departments, and to provide the service for which they were created to perform.

    Posted by Truth Seeker  on  27/12/16  at  10:26 AM
  82. Re # 79 and # 80 diatribe…diatribe because that is exactly what it is !
    This guy goes around and around in circles, saying a lot but achieving nothing.
    Some people have great difficulty admitting they were wrong, time after time.
    Specifically # 79.
    “Your suggestion (at that early stage) that the fox was dumped there”......
    Well excuse me but the fox was dumped there…..
    You really must get onto a topic you do know something about…instead of being the last to know through the media !

    Posted by Ian Rist  on  28/12/16  at  08:21 AM
  83. #81 and #82 Truth Seeker

    Thanks for your efforts to move this issue on.

    The only bad thing about the TT debates is that sometimes they get bogged down in tit for tat. In contrast, you arrive at several conclusions based upon new information that seem to have merit.

    As I’ve mentioned a couple of times, we should all be concerned by DPIPWE’s lack of transparency and the possibility that people have fostered ‘spin’ rather than truth. It left everyone in the dark and seems to have been intentional. On that basis I don’t see that there is anything to be gained by criticising various people who’ve honestly tried to get to the bottom of this abyss under such perverted circumstances.

    The central issues you touch on are mainly ethical in nature, such as serious deficiency in DPIPWE management of the fox issue and uncertainty about the ethics of the Sarre group that remains untested. In effect, the issues seem to be even more ‘ethical’ in nature than scientific. It comes down to “who can you trust?” and “who is to take responsibility for sorting this mess out?”

    Without redress, the matter obviously reduces public confidence in DPIPWE. For how are we to know that this does not reflect ‘business as usual’? If it does we can have little faith that conservation and environmental matters are in the best hands.

    I looked at the Integrity Commission Act and it seems to me that these matters match the stated objectives. So, are they involved? If not what is the process to get them involved?


    3. Object and objectives

        (1) The object of this Act is to promote and enhance standards of ethical conduct by public officers by the establishment of an Integrity Commission.

        (2) The objectives of the Integrity Commission are to –

    (a) improve the standard of conduct, propriety and ethics in public authorities in Tasmania; and

    (b) enhance public confidence that misconduct by public officers will be appropriately investigated and dealt with; and

    (c) enhance the quality of, and commitment to, ethical conduct by adopting a strong, educative, preventative and advisory role.

    Posted by Jack J  on  28/12/16  at  04:13 PM
  84. the observant reader will note that nowhere in the quote from the Integrity Commission Act 2009 is prosecution or punishment mentioned.

    Until it is we should expect the misfeasance, malfeasance, and lying to continue.

    If bulls can be taught not to go through fences (and they can, and regularly are) then it must be possible to teach public servants not to break the rules. All it requires is for the appropriate punishments to be administered when observant people see the rules being broken. It does however require that those in the position to deliver the punishment actually keep their eyes and ears open to reports of broken fences and rouging bulls instead of pretending they don’t exist.

    The absence of both punishment and observant enforcement are our primary problem.

    Posted by Simon Warriner  on  29/12/16  at  08:32 AM
  85. Hi all,

    Although this isn’t the appropriate TT blog for my brief post I thought that the most efficient way I could reach a large portion of the Tasmanian community is to post on a few non-related blogs. So, if you are at all interested in a scientist’s perspective on a case that most Tasmania’s are aware off (the disappearance of Mr Robert (Bob) Adrian Chappell from his yacht Four Winds on the Australia Day 2009) then please read my shared facebook post on the case:


    If any of you wish to discuss this case with me then please do so via the formal TT commentary in the relevant TT blogs referred to in my mentioned facebook post.



    Peter Lozo, BSc, PhD
    Applied Physicist/Perceptual Scientist
    Adelaide, SA


    Ps: my biography is at

    Pps: Garry Stannus, Does your grey ute look dark grey when in a shadow of another object? You can respond on the other blogs.

    Posted by Dr Peter Lozo  on  06/01/17  at  07:56 PM
  86. Dispatch III from the Fox-on-Holiday Front: Fleeing Victoria before the Tennis Onslaught (Jan2016):

    Thank you, Ian (#83).  In my opinion, it’s important when quoting another person, that the quote itself does justice to the meaning of the passage from which it is drawn.  In my view, you have failed to do this.  Instead you reduced my actual…

    Your suggestion (at that early stage) that the fox was dumped there by someone wishing to counter claims associated with the ‘Dean Dossier’, was not then supported by any evidence.

    to the quite different…

    “Your suggestion (at that early stage) that the fox was dumped there”......

    Ian, respectfully, you seem to have cut out the point of my original sentence and to have defended a position (i.e. that the fox was dumped) which I have not questioned.  What I did question, was your suggestion in that Mercury article –  in the apparent absence of any supporting evidence – that the Frankford Fox was dumped in order to counter claims associated with the ‘Dean Dossier’.  To my knowledge, you have not produced any evidence/reasoning in support of your claim.  In my view that Mercury comment of yours, which I included in my ‘Tally ho!’ contribution, deserved to be exposed as an example of a general preparedness to judge before the actual facts were known.

    Furthermore Ian, in my opinion, lengthy, detailed and relatively polite comments (e.g. my #79, #80) are not accurately described as diatribes.  If we wanted a tentative example of a diatribe (“a forceful and bitter verbal attack against someone or something” – Google definition.) then I suggest that we might look at your #83 which seems (according to the Good Doctor Goog) closer to this definition than either of my own contributions. 

    I like to answer things in my own way and on this thread my comments have been in response to being ‘called out’ (beginning with your #2: which was a quote from my ‘Tally ho!’ article, then ‘called out’ in Ivo’s polite #5 – which generated a string of comments between Ivo and myself and also ‘called out’ in Claire’s #49 ‘apology seek’).  In my opinion, in your #83, you have missed another opportunity to clarify and/or to stand by your characterisation of the Frankford Fox as an attempt to counter claims associated with the ‘Dean Dossier’. 

    And finally (in this despatch from the holiday front)...

    Dear Editor
    I hope that you are having a Happy and Restful Hiatus and that you are daily dipping a tentative toe into the waters of some wonderfully crisp and sandy beach.  For that reason, i.e. that of your being happily occupied on vacation, I would ask you not to delete Peter’s apparent further example of online snooping into my personal information (his concluding sentence in his #86, final sentence).  However, I do think that upon your return from hols you might need to have a think about Peter’s having dumped his anti Sue Neill-Fraser links on a number of unrelated threads (e.g. fox related) to which I contribute. 

    Yours in the spirit of mutual holiday happiness
    A roving reader… (smile!)

    Posted by  on  14/01/17  at  07:51 AM
  87. Each time the nitpicking is taking longer to compose and simply illustrates that this particular ‘writer’ simply doesn’t make any sense at all on the fox topic. He gets the criticism he deserves.

    Posted by Ian Rist  on  14/01/17  at  06:41 PM
  88. Dispatch IV from the Fox-on-Holiday Front: On the high seas [A] (Jan2016): 

    Wonderful Ian (your #88)!  Another ‘all guns firing’ attack on the English language.  Having moved on from the assault on the common understanding of diatribe (see your #83), you now have ‘nitpicking’ in your sights.  From your usage, it seems as if a ‘nitpicker’ is someone who objects to being quoted out of context over a matter of some importance.  And that matter is the “...general preparedness to judge before the actual facts were known.”  In my opinion, you’ve been correct in so much of this fox saga and you have led (along with others) the worthy attempts to hold DPIPWE (and Government) to account.  That’s the ‘positive side of the ledger’, Ian and I won’t dwell on the other.

    I’m sorry (see your #88 “Each time the nitpicking is taking longer to compose”)  that you seem to think that my response interval is lengthening.  Please forgive me for being slow in reply, you see … I’ve been having a frightful holiday ‘abroad’ ... full of sun, sand, surf, hiking, lakes, mountains, new places, new people, doses of righteous red, family all over and tragically, a much restricted internet access. 

    To close on a more serious note, Ian, in my view it is a pity that you, from your very first (#2) comment on this reopened fox topic, have ‘called me out’ and when I’ve replied politely to you, you have responded with personal put-downs.  Lindsay, in reopening the fox topic for comment (at the request of un-named persons), did ask that

    “Truth ever so slowly emerges … perhaps the ABC’s latest reports indicate that it was all a hoax … so, the columns of Tassietimes is open for comments (having been closed of late because of the viciousness of debate).  I just ask that you be respectful of other people’s deeply-held views …”

    Whether or not my views are deeply held, or are essentially fox-agnostic, I think that I too am entitled to be able to post here publicly, without the repeated personal put-downs which in my view characterise the comments that you direct at me.

    In short, give it a break, Ian.

    Posted by  on  17/01/17  at  10:37 AM
  89. ABC radio this a.m. 18/01/17 Person named by Police who was charged over importation of fox carcass.
    Now we need to be told whose driveway it was placed in before being relocated to Exeter road ? ?
    I wonder when they intend to charge the Glen Esk road fox carcass importers ? Police certainly know who was involved.
    Just for good measure come clean on the Lillico cub remains and the main road outside Burnie Mitsubishi dumped fox carcass.
    What a farce this all is, deception personified.

    Posted by Ian Rist  on  18/01/17  at  07:43 AM
  90. Lindsay,  readers may care to note the ABC news report [Here:  Man appear in court on fox-corpse charges], concerning the court appearance of the person charged with dumping the ‘Frankford Fox’:

    Updated 16 minutes ago
    Raymond Sidlauskas leaves Launceston court Photo: Raymond Sidlauskas apologised for his actions. (ABC News: Carla Howarth)
    Related Story: Dead fox discovery reignites great debate over predator’s presence in Tasmania
    Related Story: Dead fox not from Tasmania
    Related Story: Tasmanian man charged over fox carcass brought in from Victoria
    Map: Launceston 7250

    A 59-year-old man who sparked a heated debate about fox control after bringing a carcass into Tasmania and dumping it has been fined $1,500.

    Raymond Edward Sidlauskas pleaded guilty in the Launceston Magistrates Court this morning to one count of prohibited importation of an animal and one count of depositing litter in a public place.

    The Beaconsfield man brought the dead animal to Devonport on the Spirit of Tasmania in the back of his ute on October 29 last year.

    He dumped the male fox carcass on the side of the Frankford Highway on October 30, where it was found by a member of the public.

    The find sparked fresh debate over the need or otherwise for Tasmania to keep funding a fox eradication program.

    An investigation by the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE) and Tasmania Police determined the animal was brought into the state.

    Sidlauskas told the court he had hit the fox in his car while driving in regional Victoria.

      “I was saddened by it,” he said. “I put that fox in the garbage bag. “

    He said when he arrived in Devonport the fox had been “more or less forgotten”.

    Sidlauskas apologised for his actions, saying it was out of character and with no motive.

    “I know there’s no excuse for stupid behaviour,” he said.

    Prohibited importation of an animal carries a maximum fine of $15,700 and 12 months’ imprisonment under the Animal Health Act 1995, while depositing litter in a public place carries a $7,850 fine.

    Sidlauskas has been a disability pensioner for 10 years and is on a number of medications.

    Magistrate Sharon Cure said she did not want to “crush” Sidlauskas with a large fine.

    “This wasn’t, as many people would think, a mischievous attempt to create havoc,” she said.

    “I don’t think you have been motivated by malice or harm.”

    As it stands, it seems that no link between DIPIWE, the Dean Dossier and this man was put to the court.  Said the Judge:

    “This wasn’t, as many people would think, a mischievous attempt to create havoc.”

    Posted by  on  18/01/17  at  01:08 PM

    “After admiring the European red fox’s pelt, he wrapped it in a garbage bag and put it in the back of his ute with the intention of skinning it upon his return to Tasmania.”

    “He told a magistrate on Wednesday that he forgot the carcass was there and dumped it near Exeter on October 30, after smuggling it past Biosecurity Tasmania officials at Devonport’s Spirit of Tasmania terminal.”

    Tell that to the marines…I forgot it was in the car…then I dumped it on the side of the road near Exeter.

    All I can say Prosecutor Spry and Magistrate Cure is you are easily fooled.

    Posted by Ian Rist  on  18/01/17  at  03:40 PM
  92. Poor Raymond. Saddened by hitting a fox in Victoria he put it in a garbage bag and threw it into the back of his ute. He was so sad that he was going to skin the sucker in order to lighten up his mood. But his sadness was forgotten until he was passing the driveway of well known fox eradication program staff member. That jolted him back to a state of sadness. Being a responsible sort of fellow he decided to dump it by the side of the road right then and there. But because he did not want to cause any trouble he took it out of the garbage bag first. He’d also lost his spade/shovel and did not have the strength to fling it into the bush, so weakened with sadness was Raymond. Nope, the only option open to him was to place it recumbent upon the side of the road as if it had been hit by a car. His eyes filled with tears as he bid the fox a sad farewell.

    Of course, Raymond was completely unaware of the Tasmanian fox fiasco over the past 15 years as there has not been much about it in the media and no one talks about it at all.

    So, striding out in his Amcos, Raymond had felt the wet lettuce lash of another stunning piece of Tasmanian justice. It sent a powerful message to scammers all over Tasmania - business as usual fellas!! Cheer up!

    But one does have to wonder if any other similarly saddened folk were responsible for the Burnie and Conara foxes? But of course not! How cynical! I mean, how could anyone get past the fox sniffing dog at the Devonport Terminal?

    Posted by Jack J  on  18/01/17  at  05:46 PM
  93. Well said Jack J at # 93.
    More detail than I would have given it but condensed simply… does anyone honestly believe this person wouldn’t have realised the hell of a fuss he was going to cause dumping a fox carcass on the side of a Tasmanian road or in someones driveway?
    Especially with the paranoia that exists in Tasmania over foxes and with the medias obsession (and others) trying to prove they are/were here ?

    Posted by Ian Rist  on  19/01/17  at  07:02 AM
  94. Dispatch V from the Fox-on-Holiday Front: On having passed through Devonport Quarantine [B] (Jan2016): 
    Ian (#92) and Jack J (#93) tackle the unanswered questions forcefully and their approach, in my opinion, has some weight.  .  On the one hand we read of a magistrate who concludes “This wasn’t, as many people would think, a mischievous attempt to create havoc, […]  I don’t think you have been motivated by malice or harm.” and on the other hand, the natural questions:  ‘How could he have been so stupid?  His explanation can’t be fair-dinkum, can it?  And the obvious question … Was he lying?  Still, no demonstrated link to DPIPWE, the Dean Dossier etc.  Just a ‘lone idiot’ or what?

    I must add that never has passing through quarantine been easier.  Having just returned to Tas from an arduous mainland-holiday regime, I can disclose the following:  Having driven my old ute onto the (Melbourne) Station Pier wharf, I was asked by one of the security men to open the bonnet of the ute and to also pull back the tarpaulin from the ute’s tray.  Before I could get the bonnet properly open, he said ‘That’s okay’ and I was allowed to lower it.  The examination of the tray was just as cursory.  I had nearly one million plastic bags under the tarp, all full of Marie’s Melbourne-op-shop booty, and he recoiled in immediate disgust, begging me to refix the tarp and to move on and away.  I’m telling you, the inspection was perfunctory and uninterested, rather than inquisitive and disinterested.

    He’d given me the list of questions before his inspection … ‘Are you carrying fruit … vegetables … fresh food … alcohol … fuel … and so on’.  The Spirit of Tasmanian (what an ironic name!) does a roaring trade in food and alcohol and I don’t think they like to have their passengers bring on board their own sandwiches and stout for the crossing.  He didn’t ask me if I was bringing on board any bombs or foxes.  As for firearms … he might have asked me, but he was from the sub-continent (as were his fellow security mates, and I couldn’t understand him/hear him properly during all parts of the exchange.  I just kept replying ‘No.’

    Anyway, by the time I got to Devonport, I was prepared for a rigorous quarantine inspection.  I knew I’d pass with flying colours, having (before leaving Tas) shovelled out off the tray some remnant bluestone screenings meant for my track, and swept the odd gum leaf and other biotic detritus from within and without the ute.  But, strange to tell, the quarantine at Devonport was non-existent and seemed to rely on a system of vehicle labelling by those disinterested security wallahs back on Melbourne’s Station Pier.  Maybe that system is meant to screen the vehicles needing a wash or a closer inspection, and maybe if I’d been deemed as needing a closer inspection or a wash, I’d have had a label slapped on my windscreen which would have alerted the Devonport Quarantine Officers that I should be pulled aside and properly inspected.  Oh, and yes, the dog was ‘off duty’, on my return.  Its attendance record is not all that impressive. 

    What am I saying?  I’m saying that in my opinion the Quarantine checks were always half-hearted and now seem even more so.  To leave it to uninterested Melbourne staff to wave me through on a hot summer afternoon would seem to go more than half-way to explaining how it was that Ray Sidlauskas was able bring into Tas his Victorian fox carcass in a plastic bag on the tray of his ute.  When I got to the ‘quarantine station’ at Devonport, I was waved straight through … no stopping ...  no questions … no inspection.  That’s Tasmanian Quarantine, keeping us safe from invasive species … or are they?

    Posted by  on  19/01/17  at  09:35 AM
  95. #92-#94

    I don’t seem to know as much as either of you about the fox issue in your state but I know a lot about the human memory. It is quite reason to believe that Mr Sidlauskas’ memory failed him, i.e. that he forgot about the fox.

    There are examples of parents totally forgetting that they left a young child in the back seat of the family car. Here are links to just couple of examples:

    1. A two-year-old girl died in the backseat of her mother’s car after the woman forgot to drop her off at day care and went to work, authorities in Mississippi said.

    2. Baby dies in hot car after father forgot to drop him off at nursery

    Thus, I think it unfair of you to infer via your comments that Mr Sidlauskas was dishonest. But I do agree with the view that he should have been more responsible in the way he disposed the carcase.

    Posted by Dr Peter Lozo  on  19/01/17  at  09:49 AM
  96. #96

    As far as I am aware (and I have no legal qualification), the reason why you can’t validly compare the two issues is due to ‘intent’. No one intentionally (I hope) wishes to cause harm to their child. In Mr Sidlauskas’ case the assumed lack of ‘intent’ was the entire issue that the judge deliberated on.

    Apparently the most credible way to dispose of a fox ‘forgotten’ in the back of ute is by placing it on the side of the road. Some people have no knowledge of the strife this will cause in the opinion of the court.

    So Tasmania may well be full of the forgetful and uninformed who visit the mainland and collect fox bodies. That now having some legal opinion behind it two things follow: 1. The Burnie and Conara “roadkills” may have resulted from similar forgetful/uninformed actions, and 2. quarantine inspection is not up to the task.

    More troubling is that the judge has sent the message that personal responsibility and the need for citizens to abide by laws to protect Tasmanian biosecurity will not be rigorously enforced. The current laws are a joke that have already cost $50 million. The state clawed back $1,500 of the Commonwealth money in this case.

    Posted by Jack  on  19/01/17  at  11:40 AM
  97. You all miss the the important point, even if Sidlauskas was forgetful and I very much doubt it -  he didn’t dispose of the fox carcass correctly.  He simply had to bury the carcass, but no, he knew very well what would be the result of him dumping it on the roadside…or did he originally dump it in the x-fox programs manager’s driveway?

    He knew very well he was carrying illegal biosecurity material, good God there is enough warning signs and material on transit documents to warn even the most ‘forgetful’.

    I don’t buy it at all and I believe there was a ‘back room deal’ done between all concerned here…there is more to this than meets the eye.

    Posted by Ian Rist  on  19/01/17  at  12:12 PM
  98. I was informed about an error in my 2nd sentence in #96. The sentence was “It is quite reason to believe that Mr Sidlauskas’ memory failed him, i.e. that he forgot about the fox.” The sentence should have been “It is quite reasonable to believe that Mr Sidlauskas’ memory failed him, i.e. that he forgot about the fox.”

    I am sure that you can go on internet and dig out various examples of memory failure.

    I am not the sort of a person to drive away from a petrol station without paying for the petrol but I did it once, unintentionally of-course. I am aware of a professor from Adelaide Uni who used to park his car in the staff car park. One day after work he went to the staff car park and couldn’t find his car. So he called the cops and told them that his car was stolen. Well, the cops thought to check this out so they sent a patrol car to his home. The car was at home. His wife told the cops that on that particular day her husband took public transport! It was only after the cops called him back to tell him that his car was at home that he remembered being on the train that morning but was engrossed in reading a manuscript he was working on.

    It is thus quite reasonable to believe the explanation provided by Mr Sidlauskas about forgetting that he had a fox carcase in his car. Given that he was also a sufferer of Attention Deficit Disorder I would say that his explanation is even more believable.


    Posted by Dr Peter Lozo  on  19/01/17  at  02:32 PM
  99. No-one seems to want to discuss the fact that Sidlauskas made no attempt to dispose of the fox carcass properly and also the fact before he even left mainland Australia he knew he was breaking the law.
    All the examples and case studies won’t change the facts.
    ‘ignorantia legis neminem excusat’
    Ignorance of the law excuses no one.

    Posted by Ian Rist  on  19/01/17  at  06:47 PM
  100. #99 Errr, so was Mr Sidlauska still suffering from memory loss when he decided to place the fox on the side of the road, rather than dispose of it in the way that most would, by digging a hole? Or did he forget where he’d put his shovel? Clearly he’d suffered from memory loss about the Tasmanian fox issue and his memory had failed him about all the so-called fox road kills in Tasmania. If so one can probably imagine that he’d forgotten about biosecurity and all the signs plastered all over the ferry and dock.

    As I mentioned ‘Forgetful Fox’ or ‘Sidlauska Syndrome’ now has credibility given a judgement made in the Tasmanian court. As for our biosecurity legislation, I’ve quite forgotten about what it was for? Window dressing perhaps?

    Posted by Jack J  on  19/01/17  at  06:51 PM
  101. Jack and Ian,

    My last sentence in #96 was

    “But I do agree with the view that he should have been more responsible in the way he disposed the carcase.”

    I don’t know what he did or didn’t know about the law nor am I prepared to argue a point based on an assumption. Even if I did know his awareness of the law I would argue that ADD sufferers are impulsive and often do not think about the consequences of their action. Both of you have totally ignored that the individual is an ADD sufferer. The end!

    Posted by Dr Peter Lozo  on  19/01/17  at  07:32 PM
  102. and a bloke dying of cancer accidentally sold a few shares…

    i’ve driven off from a servo myself
    lot on me plate at the time

    an intriguing piece of the puzzle
    like all of the official and judicial stories
    i’d still call foul
    maybe he tripped on purpose
    but it was a sloppy tackle
    then again it hasn’t been a very sharp game

    personally i’m likely more comfortable
    as a spectator than a player
    the arena can get quite daunting

    personally i’m pretty uncomfortable
    with questionable poisoning events
    and the official rhetoric

    the money scams are business as usual
    of course we’re going to see a pretty picture
    painted by those commissioning

    Posted by spikey  on  19/01/17  at  09:07 PM
  103. Raymond Sidlauska’s conviction for a successfully transported dead fox is an important case study highlighting the porous nature of Tasmania’s Biosecurity barrier quarantine system.

    A sub-jurisdiction like Tasmania must review the cost-benefit of its border surveillance for incoming general freight, vehicles and passengers. Of course that doesn’t cover the movement of illicit contraband or controlled substances such as cannabis or methamphetamine as illegal imports into or exports out of Tasmania.

    Welcome to Tasmania ... a real island still floating in a sea of rhetoric.

    Posted by David Obendorf  on  20/01/17  at  09:28 AM
  104. Simon’s (#6)

    “And yet no fences around our ports, the only proven entry point for foxes. Go figure”

    and David’s (#104)

    “Raymond Sidlauska’s conviction for a successfully transported dead fox is an important case study highlighting the porous nature of Tasmania’s Biosecurity barrier quarantine system”

    correctly (in my view) point to obvious deficiencies in our state’s biosecurity programme.  How to remedy them?

    Posted by  on  20/01/17  at  12:04 PM
  105. Love it Jack J !

    Well now you know Garry … it’s often based on gut instinct – with some of it based on past experience. One often doesn’t need the ‘courtified’ facts to know the truth … to know what is right and wrong.

    Such as …  I didn’t need to know for what you call a fact that plantations would burn out properties and homes before they did. It was always going to be a given and it happened!

    I didn’t need to know for what you call a fact that 1080 laid indiscriminately with little government supervision would kill peoples pets and untargeted wildlife before they did. It was a given and it happened.

    I didn’t need to know by the fact of a Tamar Valley pulp mill being built before knowing it was wrong!

    I didn’t need to know for a fact that domestic violence,  trying to kill someone was wrong !

    Overall … it’s often just an integrity within your heart that knows what’s wrong!

    But to answer your question … Perhaps ask the government to stop importing fox shit so it’s not put on the ‘no-look’ biosecurity radar?

    Create more jobs with permanent dog sniffers walking/sniffing over vehicles?

    Good grief how much ICE or such could have been bought into the state in such a similar case carcass? 

    Apparently the Judgement has just given the go ahead for more to risk the whole state … for a precedent of only $1500 you too (meaning anyone) can plead being a complete dick!

    My Question is … if the fox has been such a multi-million dollar government problem … why has any fox been allowed into the state?

    Oh that’s right the government weren’t actually looking for a fox (dead or alive),  they were looking for federal funds to squander … !

    Oh and ps … how far will that $1500 fine go towards all those who have lost their pets through the $50 million fox task force and 1080 baits? 

    Just WHY the judge decided to add an opinion to the case - nothing untoward in her opinion … was very weird!  You wanna go for fact Garry – then ask the judgement and prosecutor why so lenient?

    Posted by Claire Gilmour  on  20/01/17  at  07:35 PM
  106. From the court appearance over the Frankford dumped fox, it’s obvious to me that the prosecutor (former PWS ranger Colin Spry) and DPIPWE must believe in fairies!

    To spin a yarn about this smuggled-in dead fox and actually have it believed is bazaar, in my opinion. 

    Raymond Sidlauska wanted that fox, he smuggled it back to Tasmania through a security barrier on the Spirit ferries. The story goes he forgot he had the dead fox but then didn’t want anymore and so decided to toss it on the side of a road rather than dispose of it by burial or via domestic rubbish pick up.

    And the Department’s prosecutor perceives nothing ulterior, deliberate or sinister in it?!

    Until more Tasmanians with information actually come forward using their name and make statements and have it tested, Tasmania will remain locked into accepting this type of nonsense. Thank you.

    Posted by David Obendorf  on  21/01/17  at  07:50 AM
  107. Good one Claire.
    This fox caper is being handled by the current Government like the plague, don’t look, don’t smell, don’t touch.
    They are desperately hoping it will all just ‘go away’.
    Well it won’t..they may be able to control the Police and the toothless Tiger the IC but there are other avenues.
    By the way I received a very pleasant letter back from the U.K Ecological Journal.

    Simply put the current Government is doing everything to cover up and hide the previous Governments exploits into this funding fraud… because they finally realised that they inherited the mess and some of the main organisers of this 50 plus million dollar raid on the taxpayers.
    They certainly know the state of play and the ‘players’‘
    The very fact they won’t release the unredacted Police report to Ivan Dean MLC is proof in itself.
    Disappointing really, maybe they saving it as ammunition for the next election?
    Who knows?

    Posted by Ian Rist  on  21/01/17  at  07:50 AM
  108. re 105,
    “Simon’s (#6)

      “And yet no fences around our ports, the only proven entry point for foxes. Go figure”

    and David’s (#104)

      “Raymond Sidlauska’s conviction for a successfully transported dead fox is an important case study highlighting the porous nature of Tasmania’s Biosecurity barrier quarantine system”

    correctly (in my view) point to obvious deficiencies in our state’s biosecurity programme.  How to remedy them?”

    How indeed, Mr Stannus.

    The inherent dishonesty of all 3 political parties is screamingly obvious when you consider the rational put forward for the spend of money and effort to protect our wildlife and farmers, and compare that with the ongoing failure to implement the most basic of prevention actions, fencing the proven point of ingress for self motivated foxes, and imposing an effective and competently run quarantine inspection regime.

    You ask “how”. The same way we fix the many and manifest failings of all party political governments! By booting the conflicted, failed party politicians and replacing them with individual, independent representatives whose confusion between party political objectives and the requirements for decent, effective and efficient government is not present! That way the duplicitous nature of the senior public service would get properly attended to and we would have a corruption response that actually discouraged the practise of corruption, both institutional and personal.

    How will you vote next time Garry?

    Posted by Simon Warriner  on  22/01/17  at  07:20 AM
  109. I understand your #106, Claire, and, like you, I enjoyed Jack Jolly’s #93 ‘wet lettuce lash’ satire.  I also liked your ‘courtified’ facts usage. 

    Yes, ‘gut instinct’, ‘past experience’, are relevant.  These things, in my view, guide us in our daily lives.  But these two signposts have been responsible for many mistakes in the past.  I’m not sure (from your comment) whether your ‘gut instinct’ told you that the Frankford Fox had been dumped, or whether you meant by it that Raymond Sidlauskas was lying about why he put the carcass in the back of the ute.

    David (#107) has proposed that

    To spin a yarn about this smuggled-in dead fox and actually have it believed is bazaar, in my opinion. 
    Raymond Sidlauska wanted that fox, he smuggled it back to Tasmania through a security barrier on the Spirit ferries. The story goes he forgot he had the dead fox but then didn’t want anymore and so decided to toss it on the side of a road rather than dispose of it by burial or via domestic rubbish pick up.
    And the Department’s prosecutor perceives nothing ulterior, deliberate or sinister in it?!

    It would seem that David believes Sidlauskas was lying to the court.  My ‘gut instinct’  and ‘past experience’ suggest to me that I should not willy-nilly accept David’s bald insinuation in the absence of verifiable fact.  And Ian, who seems to value ‘gut instinct’ more than me, has shown over the years a wonderful knowledge of the fox matters, and has led us to knowledge of a number of things which, but for him, we would still have been ignorant of:  for example, the importation of fox scats from the mainland.  But my ‘gut instinct’ tells me often, to question the leader.  You’ve challenged me, Claire, (in your comment) about a number of issues which superficially are not (in my opinion) relevant (e.g. pulp mill, plantations etc).  Yet deep down, I accept what you are saying, while having my own narrative for those times.  Yes, I have ‘gut instinct’, but me, while willing to go and become an activist in support of my ‘gut instincts’, I have always tried to personally acknowledge the contradictions that always surround me, the dismorphs between emotion and intellect, between fact and opinion. 

    In your same (#106) comment, Claire, you wrote

    Apparently the Judgement has just given the go-ahead for more to risk the whole state … for a precedent of only $1500 you too (meaning anyone) can plead being a complete dick!

    Well, ‘Thank you, Ma’am’,  I tentatively agree with your sentiment about the judgement, but think it is unfair and in possible contravention of the TT guidelines which I personally have never accepted.  [‘Dick’ in common parlance, is a male appendage.  Without doubt, used as you have done, Claire, its force is pejorative, that is, pejorative to the male sex.]

    By the way, I have until now, not had the time to add to Jack J’s #84 and Simon’s #85 (concerning holding pubic servants to account).  Simon is quite right, in my opinion, there is no (or little) penalty applicable to public servants for their actions which while against good conduct, do not infringe existing Criminal Code reuqirements.  The State Service Act does provide for a fine, via salary deductions, for employees who have transgressed, but does not seem to provide for those who have left the service.  I’m not sure as to the present position of my ‘namesake’ … who (in Simon Fearn’s docs) is implicated in the hoaxing of mainland fox scats.

    So, in conclusion, Claire, when two ‘gut instincts’ conflict, how do we resolve the difference?  By bringing in more supportive ‘gut instincts’ than an other person can muster, or by resorting to ‘fact’?

    Posted by  on  22/01/17  at  12:25 PM
  110. I consider David’s statements about Mr Sidlauska to be irresponsible. ...

    The law has dealt with the matter based on the evidence that was presented (and based on the prosecution’s recommendation). The matter should be discussed on TT threads in a more responsible manner. If David (or anyone else) has proof that Mr S acted in a malicious manner then the appropriate step is to approach the relevant authority rather than to start an on-line smear campaign. Thank you.


    Posted by Dr Peter Lozo  on  22/01/17  at  04:57 PM
  111. We need an army of independents in that Tassie parliament to clean up the mess so nicely exemplified by the fox fiasco.

    True, it’s quite likely that we are in a far worse position to counter an actual fox incursion that we were 15 years back. There are several ‘institutional’ issues that need to be fixed, some of which extend well beyond the fox matter.

    1. There is no barrier on fox ingress as described by #109. Nothing after all these years.

    2. The response to ‘Sidlauska Syndrome’ demonstrates that our legislation is inadequately prosecuted (by DPIPWE) and not treated seriously by our courts. Want to jolt peoples’ memories concerning their biosecurity obligations? How about making this a crime matched with a nice bit of jail time?

    3. Apparently, the police have no powers to investigate fraud or prosecute in respect of bogus exhibits. Fraud in this respect is not criminal. Nor will the public sector be held to account if they are party to such fraud. That’s impossible to justify.

    4. Raymond Sidlauska might otherwise be thanked for showing us all that the port inspection capacity ain’t up to the job. So, what is DPIPWE going to do about it? Or have they too forgotten their obligations too?

    5. If you can smuggle a stinking fox into Tasmania in a bag, what’s stopping anyone filling the bag with the drugs, weapons, explosives and biological agents of their choice? For goodness sake, we are squandering the best asset Tasmania has - it is an island.

    There’s been ample time for the authorities, political parties and law makers to do something tangible. It’s bloody obvious by now that they either have no will to do so or no ability to formulate a reform agenda. Probably because the people who oversaw the mess are not going to suddenly transform as slugs might into butterflies. Instead, they drag their shiny arses year on year hoping that another nice press release full of rhetoric will make it all go away.

    There is little doubt in my mind that the fox fiasco has been an insight into the problem solving capacity of government. This has been on display much more than usual, given the high level of public interest and engagement of many people who’ve taken it upon themselves to analyse various details. That’s not typical. There is usually very little scrutiny of government function.

    Q. So what if this reflects the normal level of managerial competence in the Tasmanian public sector and the true priority of the major political parties? Does that worry anyone?

    Posted by Jack J  on  22/01/17  at  06:23 PM
  112. i’m with david,
    you buy the official story
    you haven’t been following the story
    and the official responses

    people do strange things
    like accidentally import foxes and dump them on the road
    our officials appear to have prior form
    remarkable accidental co-incidents happen
    so does blatant corruption

    Posted by spikey  on  22/01/17  at  06:40 PM
  113. re 112, BRAVO, Mr Jolly.

    At last, someone gets the point I have been hammering on for so long.

    A/ Jack, it actually exemplifies the problem, and if it is not fixed a number of possibilities present themselves, some of which should scare the hell out of those responsible.

    History suggests a range of responses to incompetent and/or dishonest political leadership which does not voluntarily vacate the field when its incompetence/dishonesty becomes obvious. Those range from disengagement (how many members do the major parties actually have, and how has their membership tracked over time?)through non compliance with excessive regulation (did anyone know that speed limit through an intersection controlled by traffic lights is actually 20kmph?)designed to extract money to fund increasingly idiotic fancies, all the way out to outright revolt which involves rounding up the offending individuals and lopping their heads off with whatever means seems appropriate at the time.
    (we have not got to the last one yet, and I hope and pray we don’t, but recent history shows it can happen, and quickly)
    It would be preferable, and a lot less risky and harmful for the community to pay a bit more attention to the antics of its political appointees and its public servants and the relationships that develop between the two, and for the community to alter the political gene pool by the introduction of unrelated genetic material with desirable traits when undesirable traits begin appearing with regularity. Traits such as the failure to recognise and fix obvious problems. Or to think it is ok to waste the taxpayers money, or to deceive or to make laws that herd the general population into state control. We are firtunate to live in democracy that contains that possibility and I think that as a community it would be foolish not to use it.

    5 independents in our lower house, all charged with enthusiasm for delivering sound, honest, and competent government for the greatest common good would make one hell of a difference to the performance of this state on all levels.

    Posted by Simon Warriner  on  23/01/17  at  05:57 AM
  114. A few items for consideration in the the court of ‘fact’ versus ‘speculation’

    1.  The Frankford dead fox incident is only the second fox incident response that have involved the Tasmania Police (the first being the 2001 fox cub importation allegations).
    2.  Up to late 2009 no law in Tasmania prohibited the importation of dead fox body parts. In effect dumping dead foxes in Tasmania was not an offence before Nov 2009.
    3.  In the over 15 years of intensive fox hunting costing tens of million of taxpayer dollars and at one point employing over 50 staff not one Confirmed Tasmanian free-living fox was trapped, photographed, poisoned or shot by the Fox Eradication program despite the proclamations of well known protagonists that there were up to 300 foxes in Tasmania.

    Sadly the real lesson that jumps out of Tassie’s proclaimed “war on foxes” is how easily people are swept away by sensational reporting, fear and celebrity-led hyperbole.

    Remember ‘weapons of mass destruction’ in 2003 sent USA, UK and Australua to war in Iraq. UN weapons inspector, Hans Blix, the fact-seeker in Iraq in the lead up to war could produce no evidence to support the political war-mongering driven by George W Bush, Tony Blair and John Howard.

    My speculation is that in 2017 the World lives with the consequences of that flawed Middle East war policy. Thank you.

    Posted by David Obendorf  on  23/01/17  at  08:15 AM
  115. In response to Simon’s (#109) “How will you vote next time Garry?”, I can answer that most likely I will vote as I usually do … giving the occasional independent a go, preferring Greens over Labor, and Labor over Liberals.

    I sometimes put an independent candidate first, but for me there is always the worry that an independent might be willing for example, to ‘clean up the fox fiasco’ but might also be willing to pass anti-environment or anti-social justice legislation.  Single issue candidates … on whom can we rely and what about all the other issues?

    Posted by  on  23/01/17  at  09:48 AM
  116. Oh so sorry Garry, should have said ‘tosser’ or ‘fuckwit’ perhaps?!

    I could tell simply by the media photo what was truth … having been a veterinary nurse, and someone who lives in the bush and sees many dead animals … that fox hadn’t died directly on that road within the time frame originally suggested.

    I wanna know where every single cent of the fox task force money was spent!

    Indeed, for every dollar the government spent on the fox task force I want at least 50 cents in the dollar spent on protecting the Giant Freshwater Lobster and its water ways. WHY? Because money spent on protecting pure freshwater and its inhabitants protects us ALL!

    If you are so about ‘fact’ Garry, tell us the names of the independents you have voted for over the last 10-20 years Garry.

    SO you don’t want any anti-environment and anti- social justice you say …

    But you have agreed with the Greens for years on their agendas re 1080, foxes, plantations.

    Would you vote for me if I stood as an independent?  (if I was in your electorate). If not why not?

    Posted by Claire Gilmour  on  23/01/17  at  03:35 PM
  117. I am up the lakes fishing, haven’t seen any foxes day or night.
    But foxes are the last thing on my mind at the moment.
    Nice to see the playground is still running though….....

    Posted by Ian Rist  on  23/01/17  at  04:02 PM
  118. #113

    It is still improper and irresponsible to go on-line and smear people’s names, particularly after the court has dealt with the matter and when there is no evidence to prove that Mr S acted maliciously. Some of you have an emotional attachment to the fox issue (that goes back a number of years) and are careless or insensitive about the effect your on-line words might have on Mr S or on those who investigated the matter.

    Posted by Dr Peter Lozo  on  23/01/17  at  04:18 PM
  119. Mr Jolly, you write: ‘This has been on display much more than usual, given the high level of public interest and engagement of many people who’ve taken it upon themselves to analyse various details. That’s not typical. There is usually very little scrutiny of government function.’

    The fox program was a quintessential swindle which was so easy to perpetrate because anyone who questioned the veracity of DPIPWE’s self-proclaimed fox dogma were quickly rounded up and labelled ‘conspiracy theorists’. The boundaries of the “precautionary principle” were pushed to the extreme.

    It seems what shocked everyone and what no one realised early enough was the extent to which this ‘fear of foxes’ agenda could so easily spiral into misinformation, saturation media sensationalism and astonishingly even hoaxing and fabrication of physical evidence.

    I said it many years ago, this one program has damaged the reputation of public science in Tasmania. There were those on Tasmanian Times and other social media who anonymously ridiculed anyone who tried to explain the layers of anomalous information in this expensive “war on foxes”.

    Enjoy your well deserved break in the highlands Mr Rist, Tasmania owes you more than just a simple ‘thank you’. You tenaciously stayed the course against death threats, bullying and constant ridicule. I hope that your suffering and effort will be rewarded. Thank you Ian!

    Posted by David Obendorf  on  23/01/17  at  05:53 PM
  120. re 119, and various other posts about the subject of ADD, its near relative ADHD,  and its relevance to this matter. It now turns out that the prime indicator for this diagnosis in children is their age relative to others in their class at school. If they are markedly younger than their peer group they are more likely to be so diagnosed. Personally I think the whole concept of ADD and ADHD is bullshite, but what would a poor dumb farm labourer know. Regardless, doubt has been cast.

    see here:

    There is a reason there are avenues of appeal, namely because our judicial officers sometimes get things wrong. That our appellant courts have waiting lists suggests it is far from an uncommon event.

    And, Dr Lozo, what about the sensitivities of the long suffering Tasmanian public who have been lied to repeatedly? EH? The bloody fox faker can take a running jump, and consider himself lucky he was not caught by an irate local dog owner, who might just have turned him into devil shit! The stupid prick should be enjoying our hospitality in Risdon.

    Posted by Simon Warriner  on  23/01/17  at  08:16 PM
  121. #121

    Mr S isn’t a child. If you like to have an understanding of his condition then I suggest that you read about Adult Attention Deficit Disorder

    I don’t know why you felt compelled to debate the issue of ADD with me. I am not a psychiatrist nor a GP but probably have a better awareness of various mental disorders than an average GP (I do read psychiatric literature).  It is sad that that there are members of our society who out of ignorance, fanaticism or misconceptions are willing to denigrate another person’s life or honesty. The life of one human is more meaningful and valuable than the life of thousands of lobsters.

    I commented about Mr S because I know a lot about human memory, ADD/ADHD and other mental disorders. I am not buying into the politics of the situation (I am a scientist). Plus I am not a resident of Tasmania to know first hand what you are referring to (I live in Adelaide). Thank you.

    Posted by Dr Peter Lozo  on  24/01/17  at  11:42 AM
  122. Yesterday I went to the local tattoo artist to see how much it would cost to get these words across my back:

    “The life of one human is more meaningful and valuable than the life of thousands of lobsters”

    Maybe it’s better in Latin though?

    “Significantius vitae unius hominis vita et pluris cancer milia”

    It’s a BBQ stopper in any language!

    Posted by Jack J  on  25/01/17  at  12:06 AM
  123. Dr Lozo, re your 122. I bothered to debate ADD because I know, from close observation, my own reading, and the unfortunate experiences of a couple of kids I know at the hands of “experts”, that the science around this “ailment” is at best fluid, and at its worst, unsound. The criteria are far more subjective than objective and the article I quoted points to one aspect of that issue. (interestingly, both children are fine, having been identified by competent adults as being smarter than average and educated accordingly)

    I also know, from experience working in bars where adult human society congregates and talks freely when inebriated, that a fair bit of lying gets done, and yes, even in court. That knowledge has been amply reinforced by observation of proceedings where that dishonesty is revealed by careful questioning and investigations at the more serious end of the scale.

    Lets just say I think the magistrate was a tad gullible. And living here, unlike yourself, I have got to watch the daily run of play and see the nuances that are invisible at the distance you are operating at. Nuances that are absolutely fascinating and involve impossibilities that are regularly ignored by those who should be asking serious questions.

    Posted by Simon Warriner  on  25/01/17  at  04:02 PM
  124. ...

    Should have said ‘Giant Freshwater Lobsters’!

    Posted by Dr Peter Lozo  on  25/01/17  at  06:02 PM
  125. I wrote and tried to post this Monday night, but then found out someone accidentally ripped up and destroyed my internet and land line phone cable and with no mobile ph reception … thank god I hadn’t been bitten by a wasp, had a really bad asthma attack or there was fire … or actually seen a fox!

    Anyway back to subject …

    119 oh the man with all the apparent answers to all courtifed …. Tell me every single name associated and give me all the court docs associated with the fox task force and then may we look into further …

    That’s what seemingly you’re about re your ‘special’ case … fairs fair …!

    Insensitive indeed … when’s the last time you watched your pet die cruelly from 1080? Were your kids there screaming to save their pet?  Did you search for days when your pet was lost in fox task force 1080 zone?

    Tell me what you know Dr Lozo?

    I know some names associated and I will challenge, question and eat them for breakfast to protect truth and our environment!

    How about you?

    By the way who are you and what is your experience in this matter?

    Posted by Claire Gilmour  on  25/01/17  at  06:17 PM
  126. Re #122
    Oh so your from/live in Adelaide, don’t actually know how the government scheme scam works here in Tassie.


    I’m a 6th generation Tassie clan, I know how the club works.  Seems to me you’re just lookin for a fight or somewhere to write perhaps?

    The survival of 1 Giant Freshwater Lobster in a creek could spell the end to limited suffering, the survival and longevity of 1000 people. 


    Because being healthy and not being slowly poisoned can often make you live longer …



    Posted by Claire Gilmour  on  25/01/17  at  06:19 PM
  127. ....

    Too much focus on a non-human life-form from
    a member of the Green Party! No wonder I always vote for non-greens! I read over a thousand TT posts related to the Neill-Fraser case (and submitted over a 100) but never knew that the TT would accept certain words to be published until I read the post by the spokesperson for the Giant Freshwater Lobster!. Gee whizz, I will stick to the blog that has greater respect for humans of all shapes, sizes and mental disorders than it does for a giant freshwater lobster. If I turn into a lobster I might come back here where I might be better appreciated for my many legs than my many neurons!

    Posted by Dr Peter Lozo  on  26/01/17  at  05:53 AM
  128. Oh, forgot to mention the offensive word - it is the last word in the following para (I replaced it below by ‘xxxx’):

    “Apparently the Judgement has just given the go ahead for more to risk the whole state … for a precedent of only $1500 you too (meaning anyone) can plead being a complete ××××!”

    Perhaps Mr S provided the Court with a statement from his GP and/or psychiatrist. Courts do take into account the charged person’s mental disorders/illnesses. See what happened to the son of the Crows coach (the DPP decided not to take the killer to trial because of the mental health issue as assessed by psychiatrists).

    Posted by Dr Peter Lozo  on  26/01/17  at  06:11 AM
  129. Over many years a large very number of anonymouses used Tasmanian Times to berate the critics of this publicly funded program. Those TT articles, written over several years, tried to rationally explain the significant credibility gaps that existed in this sensational narrative which had been supported by poor quality evidence. (Those articles are available, many are linked to my name in the TT archive.)

    When I look back on the totality of this fox eradication program, I can only compare it to living in an “Alice in Wonderland” world of make believe.

    It has taken me (and others) the best part of a decade to figure how such sophistry could be so effectively performed in the Island State of Tasmania.

    Stage-management rivalling a Andrew Lloyd-Weber ‘Phantom of the Opera’, this had a sensational storyline thick with ‘stay tuned’ intrigue and preformances worthy of several Academy Award nominations. Little did we know but this would a long-running soap opera based on a slick ‘snake-oil’ pitch freely salted with misinformation, hoaxed dead foxes, false scat and pseudo-science.

    It was a surreal experience! This phoney fox hunt might, one day, be studied as a well chronicalled example of ‘fake news’. When a major protagonist for this program retreats into describing the 2001 fox cub importation claim as ‘a just story’ and recently described DPIPWE’s own internal fox reports showing ‘hoaxed’ fox scats were continuously used to corroborate alleged fox sightings, as ‘stuff ups’, then we are in Tweedledum & Tweedledee territory.

    “If it was so it might be; and if it were so it would by e, but as it isn’t, it ain’t . That’s logic.’

    [Lewis Carroll (1872) - “Through the Looking Glass”]

    But how could an unsubstantiated ‘just a story’ become a full-blown, real-time Tasmanian fox Action Plan costing well over $50 million, you ask?

    That truth-seeking process continues.

    Posted by David Obendorf  on  26/01/17  at  05:37 PM
  130. So David # 130 you are saying the statements made by NJM in 2002 and beyond are now “Just a story” and “stuff ups” ? 

    9 March 2002 - ABC Radio National – Science Show

      “Our information is that they (the fox cubs) were brought here quite deliberately by people: it can only be for malicious intent. Our information is they were basically smuggled in by a vehicle on a ship.”
    26 March 2002 – *Nature *

    ‘The information that the authorities have received leaves no doubt that
    foxes were deliberately brought to Tasmania.’

    12 September 2002 – ABC TV - Catalyst

    ‘Two years ago a group of environmental vandals committed an unthinkable crime. They hand reared up to 19 fox cubs and released them into the
    previously fox-free Tasmanian wilderness. It is hard to comprehend that such a petty act has unleashed the greatest extinction threat since
    Tasmania’s last Ice Age 10,000 years ago.’

    2 September 2006 Article Mercury *Tassie fox plague fear*
    Mr Mooney said the latest discovery [at Glen Esk Road] and 9 years of research suggested there was as many as 50 foxes in the State.
    ‘This is possibly the biggest risk to Tasmania’s native mammals since the last Ice Age; it’s not going to go away by wishful thinking.’
    ‘My main concern is that this evidence is widely distributed; it is going to make them [foxes] very hard to get rid of.’

    Similar claims were made as late as 2012-2013…
    So David the claims are now “just a story”
    2001 fox cub importation claim is “just a story” and recently described DPIPWE’s own internal fox reports showing ‘hoaxed’ fox scats were continuously used to corroborate alleged fox sightings, as just “stuff ups” ? ? ?

    Oh what a wicked web we weave…..

    Posted by Ian Rist  on  26/01/17  at  07:31 PM
  131. #130 Dr Obendorf. Unfortunately, unless people have followed this saga over many years they would probably be quite dismissive of your analysis.

    Who’d have believed that a government department would have been in possession of internal reports pointing to fraud and cock up, yet shoved them under the carpet in order to keep pushing out the funding applications and press releases with all the scruples of a property developer?

    Who’d have possibly imagined that people would have gone to the trouble of planting foxes on road sides? Then of course, there was all that science ‘proving’ that foxes were widespread in Tasmania.

    And there was DNA PROOF! Proof I tell you!

    And what about the good old bullshit story to account for how they got here that was gilt edged truth in 2002 but a load of old crap in 2016?

    Bit by bit it has all turned awry. Now even the most ardent fox aficionados have fallen silent. The astroturfers have all gone off to troll beneath another bridge and the apologists are choking on humble pie.

    How could all of this have gone so wrong? I mean, I read it in the newspapers over many years and listened to ernest types attack the unhelpful conspiracy theorists on radio, pillorying them for their irresponsible and ignorant actions. They were social and professional outcasts as far as the fox program experts were concerned.

    I look forward to the time when the truth-seeking process can answer some of these questions.

    Posted by Jack J  on  26/01/17  at  11:01 PM
  132. All I can say is this is a very sad indictment on Tasmania, the departments concerned and the movers and shakers that instigated this whole corrupt stinking mess.
    There must be people held to account…or are we still working under the ‘Rum Trade’ rules?

    Stuff the voters, tax contributors and the general populace, they are only here to make up the numbers!
    Business as usual, we must find ways to fill the coffers.
    Those that have become accustomed to this new lifestyle demand it.

    Posted by Ian Rist  on  27/01/17  at  08:01 AM
  133. “Today’s pig is tomorrow’s bacon.”
    (F.X. Leach, 1937-2007)

    “We are very many and they are very few…”
    (Mick Thomas, 1960-)

    Just another $50 000 000 scam for Commonwealth dollars conceived of and executed by greed-heads, without conscience, moral compass or any sense of professional ethics, plain and simple. There exists enough evidence physical and verbal to railroad these rotten phoneys to the fate they have earned. Time and time again our so-called public servants, elected representatives, union officials, police, commission for corruption, sitting ministers and others were approached with concerns and allegations. What action did any of these phoney tax sucking public servants & sticky fingered politicians take aside from sweet nothing? Determined unshakeable operators like Messrs Rist & Obendorf and others have refused to give up as the scamming bullies & thugs expected. Hats off to the member for Windermere for diligence, determination and tenacity when dealing with these very few lying men. What about the nepotistic “old boys” from a leading private school who stealing the leavers of power, honed their skills on the fox swindle, the related Three Capes swindle and the myriad other rackets to rip-off all of us. Fleeced and fooled by a gang of cowardly punks who infest echelons of public service in Tasmania. How about those whistleblowers “fitted up” with manufactured evidence by bent public servants in cahoots with vicious police? What about those who faced serious threats and worse from greedy mean liars who remain raking in our money? Posing as pillars of society whilst scheming to transfer public property and funds to the pockets of family, friends and their school chums? These frauds aren’t difficult to locate or contact, just ask…

    Let’s face it underneath the veneer of smoked salmon, fluffy animals, clean & green lies, art-wank, souvenir polar fleece jackets Tassie is riddled with scams. Solely for the profit of those in the know to treat as their personal property. Successive Ministers are more than content to lie through their teeth or at least look the other way or pathetically suggest going to the police or commission for corruption. As if corruption in their own portfolio is not their ministerial responsibility. Many sitting members of the lower house have been approached by DPIPWE staff with allegations of corruption, and chose to do nothing, or worse. Agency secretaries were approached with the same concerns from staff and conspired to do nothing, or worse. Commonwealth Senators were approached with concerns and did nothing, or worse. Almost the entire Tasmanian ALP/PLP have been approached by public servants with the same allegations and appear to exhibit symptoms of muted amnesia. Come the next election (not later than Saturday 26 May 2018) the labor party buffoons along with their fat union mates, try as they might, are unlikely to secure four more comfy cozy years of fine dining and luxury on our tab. That leaves the liberals who sure as hell aren’t rocking any boats when there’s public property & money to be filched. The political approach thus far has been tried and failed. We know some political operators take things like perjury in their crooked stride. We know some public servants lie through their teeth. We know some police manufacture evidence if none exists. The one thing all corrupt regimes have in common is they all fall, sooner or later. The fox swindle is a small, vulnerable element of a much larger scam. For that reason it is not in most politician’s, public servant’s or other vested interests to remedy. We will persevere, we will prevail, we must, it’s a statistical probability. It is only a matter of time…

    Posted by O'Brien  on  27/01/17  at  08:05 AM
  134. with the right lighting
    the tender issue of widespread tasmanian foxes
    can appear black, white or grey
    if I wanted people to take my research seriously
    and I for one found credence in colour questions
    I’d research this issue more thoroughly
    prior to getting unprofessionally personal
    whilst railroading specific subjects of enquiry
    into an unrelated philosophical debate
    surrounding perceived rights of humans over other endangered animals
    and whether a lobster makes better use of its fewer neurones than liblab voters

    I view such railroad actions with suspicion
    in a discussion format regularly railroaded by the usual suspects…usually anonymous

    Posted by Spikey  on  27/01/17  at  04:39 PM
  135. David, re your 130, the last line of my post read “it’s enough to make Alice turn to drugs” but i thought the link was perhaps too tenuous to fly.

    Turns out I was wrong.

    Posted by Simon Warriner  on  27/01/17  at  08:36 PM
  136. No, Claire (#117):  I’d prefer it if you stopped using ‘put-down’ language altogether.  (re Your “Oh so sorry Garry, should have said ‘tosser’ or ‘fuckwit’ perhaps?!”)  I too live in the bush and have seen my fair share of road-kill.  From that one media photo I don’t think one could draw any valid conclusion as to how it got there and how long it had been there.  At that early stage I don’t believe there was any information available sufficient to determine how long the carcass had been there before the photo was taken. (Your “within the time frame originally suggested”) is in my view baseless.  There was, to my knowledge, no time frame suggested at all in those first reports which contained that photo.

    I’m sorry … (re your ‘star chamber’ style “If you are so about ‘fact’ Garry, tell us the names of the independents you have voted for over the last 10-20 years Garry.”), ... but I can’t remember the names of the many independent candidates over the years that I have voted for.  There was a time when I voted for nearly all independent candidates before any candidate from a political party – and that included the Greens!  Probably that rude algorithm changed with the advent of the proposed pulp mill … I think I now more-often-than-not vote for Green candidates first, then sample the independents/minor parties, giving a vote for those who have stood for something of value/principle, weeding out the closet Liberals, but nearly always (I think) putting Labor and Liberals last.  And yet I believe in the cause of Labor, but I believe in the cause of us greens – protection of the planet on which we all depend – first.

    I have to correct your errors in the following:  Indeed, while I supported the Green (and TWS) policy on plantations and still do, contrary however to your asserted … “But you have agreed with the Greens for years on their agendas re 1080, foxes, plantations.” … I don’t know what the Greens’ ‘agenda’ for 1080 and foxes are, and at a personal level, I have been unable to form a strong view on the use/non-use of 1080.  I’ve noted in the past how Ian strongly rejects its use, and I’ve respected his view.  I remain open to arguments for and against its use – with regard to foxes – but I don’t condone it/have not condoned it against our native wildlife.  So how did your pet dog come to die from 1080?  Did you let your dog run free outside your property?

    Concerning your last question, ‘would I vote for you, if not why not?’ my answer is, with some misgivings, ‘Yes’.  There are the usual qualifications … who are the Green candidates?/what other worthwhile independents are standing/and … my feeling that your personality would perhaps get in the way of competently pursuing a green agenda.  I don’t mean this as a ‘put-down’, you asked me an honest question, and I’m trying to give you an honest answer.  Let me put is this way … I think I would unhesitatingly vote for you before any Liberal candidate at any level of government election.  I probably would place you before Labor candidates, and I would need to think about where to place you with regard to Nick and/or Cassie.  (I might give you an ‘encouragement vote’).  I would not place you before Peter, Andrea or Rosalie.  I hope these comments have properly answered your questions, Claire.

    Posted by  on  28/01/17  at  09:12 AM
  137. Tasmania’s phoney fox hunt can’t be explained away in 2017 as a ‘stuff up’ or ‘just a story’.

    What nonsense! 

    Understanding why this expensive phox hunt continued for so many years, in my opinion, required political and bureaucratic elites being deaf, dumb and blind; feckless.

    Procuring corroborative evidence of forms of white-collar fraud and conspiracy to embezzle requires more than hearsay, insinuation and conjecture.

    I do understand the potential risks whistleblowers experience in trying to expose the various types of malfeasance in the public service but as I have personally witnessed many whistleblowers with actual knowledge (perhaps even supported by ‘probative’ evidence) of serious wrong-doing and misconduct find themselves passing on useful clues to willing researchers (like me) to then validate independently of the whistleblower. Their hope is that such research effort will discover the truth and finally achieve the probative evidence without any link back the whistleblower as the primary source.

    The sophistry in the science of fox-less fox hunting in Tasmania has been published [see ]. It took considerable collective effort to decipher the unique language that produced Tasmania’s uniquest of circumstances whereby red foxes might arrive, remain so hidden; yet could be run down by vehicles on roads but never caught! And how their faeces could found and become so ‘widespread’ but nary a defecating fox to be had ... for well over a decade! (I know one or two thyacine crypto-biologists interested in the Tassie fox saga too.)

    Anyone with corroborative information, please keep passing your parcels of information for independent research. Thank you & tally ho!

    Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
    Phone: 03 62345561

    Posted by David Obendorf  on  29/01/17  at  09:25 AM
  138. # 128/129 Dr Lozo. Perhaps I could suggest ones investigative skills need somewhat of a brush up?  Bit of a worry really – being so presumptuous … considering …

    Anyway as most know I’m not a member of the Greens. Was only a member for about a year in 2009/2010. Indeed post 2010 after helping to get their 5th member into parliament I have actually been blamed by some (on TT) for bringing the Tas Greens to their knees singlehandly – which is quite laughable, especially since I was pushing for integrity and actually listening to the public.  You see I believe in having an individual conscience – party politics doesn’t seem to allow that. So fear not, you can vote for the Greens all you like.

    Interesting though to know which side of politics one stands … one would hope voters would vote on policies not specifically based on for or against a particular party.

    Which brings me to
    #137 Garry. Thank you for your candidness re voting.

    Your comment … “my feeling that your personality would perhaps get in the way of competently pursuing a green agenda.”
    Touche,  you touch on exactly what my first comment alluded to ‘feeling’ or gut instinct. My ‘personality’? What do you know of this? Perhaps I sometimes come across as strong and rambunctious when I write with angry passion on things I have experience with, that is not the totality of my personality. But in essence (with a little tweaking) your damn right … I will always get in the way of ‘any’ parties agenda when it doesn’t competently serve the land and its inhabitants.

    The Greens agenda like the lib/labs has been to agree with 1080 fox baits, and to agree with grabbing Federal fox money.

    I note however you only have a go at me (a woman), for my use of colourful language, not any of the men. One can draw their own conclusions from that I guess. I thought appropriate word … in how some occasionally, when put under the pump, miraculously stand upright, but are mostly flaccid when it comes to the law of the land.

    Re my personal 1080 experience … see links below. In short 1080’d wallaby was dead on my property, only 15 metres from my door.

    Posted by Claire Gilmour  on  29/01/17  at  11:19 AM
  139. re 1080 and foxes see my comment #2 on the following

    In conclusion, # 34 O’Brien.  Beautiful .. Brilliant ..  hit nail …head … hammered perfectly!

    Posted by Claire Gilmour  on  29/01/17  at  11:21 AM
  140. #139 Ms Gilmore

    I didn’t bother researching your background but surmised from the nature of your comments where you stood.


    Posted by Dr Peter Lozo  on  29/01/17  at  12:15 PM
  141. Within days of media reports of a dead fox on Frankford Hwy the Government had received advice from the incident investigators that this dead fox was planted there ... i.e. it was a ‘hoax’.

    Disabled (three-legged) foxes found on a Tasmanian road side ... was it previously caught in a trap or had Ray Sidhauskas taken a foot as a souvenir?

    Re: Garry Stannus’ apparent lack of knowledge about the Tasmania Greens policy on foxes and 1080 use to eradicate them. The Hansard is a good place to look to fill those gaps in knowledge, Mr Stannus; try the years 2002 and 2003 for starters. The Tasmanian Greens put out many media releases on this topic also.

    In February 2010, Greens MP Cassy O’Connor also said this: ‘The first thing we have to do is strengthen the arm of the Fox Eradication Program and support their work and make sure they are properly funded’ ... ‘I think it is inexplicable [why the Commonwealth Government had reduced the FEP’s funding] because there is enough evidence to prove that there are foxes in Tasmania. Unfortunately, there is a small group of sceptics who have really managed to muddy the waters.’

    Thank you.

    Posted by David Obendorf  on  29/01/17  at  01:10 PM
  142. Claire love your comment # 2 in :

    oh that’s right, it wasn’t about whether the foxes were here or not, it was about … the state needed the money! …  - See more at:

    Straight from the horses mouth so to speak.

    AND # 134 O’Brien.  Beautiful .. Brilliant ..  hit nail …head … hammered perfectly!
    Could not agree more, you have my 100% endorsement.

    Posted by Ian Rist  on  29/01/17  at  01:47 PM
  143. Woops I missed a 1. That should have said #134 O’Brien.  Beautiful .. Brilliant ..  hit nail …head … hammered perfectly!

    Oh and lets not miss comment #13 on
    The fox task force rep talking to me on phone and ultimately alluding to it was all about Forestry!!!
    Damn your agreed to lib/lab/greens Plantations Garry ….

    Posted by Claire Gilmour  on  29/01/17  at  05:23 PM
  144. David in comment # 142 you say
    In February 2010, Greens MP Cassy O’Connor also said this: ‘The first thing we have to do is strengthen the arm of the Fox Eradication Program and support their work and make sure they are properly funded’ ... ‘I think it is inexplicable [why the Commonwealth Government had reduced the FEP’s funding] because there is enough evidence to prove that there are foxes in Tasmania. Unfortunately, there is a small group of sceptics who have really managed to muddy the waters.’

    A small group of sceptics ? ...try about 98% of the population !
    The Greens, Labor, Tasmanian Conservation Trust and all the others with their noses in the trough all have blood on their hands over their 1080 baiting endorsement for imaginary foxes.

    I find this rather bizarre as the Greens very well knew the truth. Their leader Bob Brown had written to the most foremost and esteemed authority on foxes Dr Marks and his answers left no doubt about the true position on foxes in Tasmania…this just proves the point in my comment above concerning the conversation between endorsed Greens candidate Claire Gilmour and Greens Cassy O’Connor.

    Posted by Ian Rist  on  30/01/17  at  07:26 AM
  145. Re:comment #134 - in most cases, successfully executed scams require two types of people 1. those who undertake ‘acts of commission’ - that is they act; they do some thing, and 2. those who - unwittingly or wittingly - partake in ‘acts of omission’  - that is those who do nothing; they do not act when they know that a person ( or persons) doing such acts had done so with the intention to deceive, misrepresent, or act dishonestly. The methods of scamming people may be known by others or those methods can be independently verified through investigation, corroboration of acquired information, recovering undisclosed evidence or finding new documentation.

    There need only be a few individuals belonging to category 1. and as long as there is no-one to tell the truth amongst them, they remain seemingly untouchable. But the weakness in long-standing scams is that the ones who feel most worried at the slow uncovering of a successfully executed scam are the individuals belonging to category 2. These are the individuals that said nothing and did nothing even when they realised that they were comprehensively hood-winked by the propagandists who planted & watered the original scam seeds. Their personal embarrassment (and dilemma) is becoming willing and vocal backers for a scam.

    In my opinion, Category 2. individuals erode civil society and governance systems far more effectively than Category 1. individuals. Why? Because there is a natural fear of the personal consequences of speaking out against wrong doers (unless they become encouraged to do so or are compelled to do so). By their silence the truth is never revealed and these individuals, in effect, promote and perpetuate malfunctioning heirarchies and unethical conduct within them.

    Posted by David Obendorf  on  30/01/17  at  08:55 AM
  146. re 145, as with the leaked emails about the dioxin matter, it is that “conflicted interest” problem that bedevils all political party politicians.

    That is, their very presence in the process of government corrupts the process and delivers unhelpful and often counter productive outcomes.

    QED seems apt.

    Posted by Simon Warriner  on  30/01/17  at  09:27 AM
  147. In my opinion Mr xxx, the guy who left the dead fox beside the Frankford Rd, did us all a favour by exposing serious flaws in the State’s bio-security system and in hinting that perhaps the foxes discovered in Tasmania years earlier, were likewise imported from the mainland.  He was obviously not too much affected by any attention deficit disorder.  Quite the opposite, I appreciate, as he knew exactly where to drop off a dead fox with the certainty that it would be found to gain maximum publicity, could drive all around Victoria without car accidents caused by a lapse of attention, and could present a ridiculous but plausible case to the Magistrate that he had forgetfulness issues!

    I would like to know though, just how come he was found out?  Did he come forward voluntarily, racked by a guilty conscience?  I can’t imagine how he could otherwise have been apprehended, as to me it would appear dead easy to bring in a dead fox and openly display it as a possible local fox, without being found out?

    Anyway, the reason I ask is that I have time on my hands, am relieved that telling the truth is no longer mandatory, (thank you Donald Trump and Tony Abbott!) and am considering upping the ante by bringing in dead foxes to Tasmania myself.

    My thinking is that I will take some dead endemic Tasmanian animal parts to the mainland, trap a few foxes, feed them the meat to “prove” that they originated in Tasmania, and then kill them and bring them back to Tasmania, knowing now just how easy it is do that undetected.  I will initially keep them away from local Victorian and NSW insects to ensure they will not be able to be diagnosed as mainland foxes because of presence of local insects in scats and stomach contents.  I will then spread them around Tasmania, hopefully causing panic and a renewal of a fox eradication program and hence a resurgence of credibility for a currently dispirited DPIPWE, and a boost for the Tasmanian economy!

    Thank you DPIPWE and Tas. government for telling me how to hoax the system – i.e. don’t freeze any foxes prior to bringing them in, make sure you avoid any local mainland insect or other animal remains in the dead animals you introduce, and ensure that they have some local Tasmanian animals in their system when they are found.

    Posted by Truth Seeker  on  30/01/17  at  10:22 AM
  148. Truth Seeker # 148
    Make sure you include an endemic Long-tailed mouse (Pseudomys higginsi). That worked well last time.
    Maybe, you too, have a friend doing Long-tailed mouse and New Holland mouse studies that would give you one?
    They too then will get a job in the rejuvenated fox task force…............

    I no longer baffles me how a Long-tailed mouse was? recovered from the stomach contents of a fox shot in Victoria.

    Posted by Ian Rist  on  30/01/17  at  01:13 PM
  149. Thanks, Claire (#139):  I agree with your

    … one would hope voters would vote on policies not specifically based on for or against a particular party.

    However (barring referenda), we don’t get the chance to vote for particular policies, the choice we get is between a range of individual candidates, minor parties/groupings and the major parties.  That’s the difficulty with representative democracies, we get to chose our leaders, not the policies.  As for your

    “you touch on exactly what my first comment alluded to ‘feeling’ or gut instinct.”

    It’s good that you bring up my use of the word ‘feeling’.  Actually, I used it consciously, in order to try and soften the original draft of my response to your ‘would you vote for me – if not why not?’ question.  That draft, while polite and not derogatory, contained some firm observations about your personality which explained why I might have misgivings about voting for you.  After all, as a hypothetical candidate, you are firstly, a person, not ‘a policy’.  I didn’t want to cause you any personal hurt, so I scrapped the comment, and looked for a way to ‘water it down’.  So I chose ‘feeling’ and ‘personality’ as a less peremptory way of conveying my view.  My use of the ‘feeling’ word was certainly not an endorsement of the notion that ‘feelings’ and ‘gut instinct’ were proper tools for understanding how that Frankford Fox had come to be there, on the roadside.  And to answer your question

    “My ‘personality’? What do you know of this?”

    I only know you through your TT comments over the years.  True, I have met you once, at the inaugural TT Tasmanian of the Year event (won by Alison Bleaney) but beyond that, I only know you through your TT persona, the way you make your comments, the issues that you are interested in… and so forth.  So I accept that ‘in reality’ you might be different from the TT Claire that you euphemistically describe as “strong and rambunctious”.  And this observation leads me to your further remark…

    “I note however you only have a go at me (a woman), for my use of colourful language, not any of the men.”

    ... to which I reply that were it just a matter of “colourful language” (another of your euphemisms), I would not have objected, but the fact is, over some years you have used a variety of anti-male, gender-based put-downs.  I understand now why this is so, and I won’t – without your invitation – go further on this.  Suffice it to say, while quite a number of commenters on TT threads use put-downs (which – incidentally – I don’t approve of).  I don’t believe the many males and females who comment on the TT threads which I inhabit, make gender-based put-downs like you (in my view) do, Claire.  And, in my opinion…

    I read the contents of the two links which you supplied.  I understand now how it was that your pet dog Mooshi died – as a result of eating from a poisoned wallaby carcass which was 15m from your door.  I don’t support the use of 1080 against our native fauna.  I’m sorry for what happened to your dog, for her pain and for yours.  And when I first learned about the FEP’s intention to implement widespread baiting, I shared the concerns that many had for the well-being of our fauna. 

    Regarding your #144, Claire…

    “Damn your agreed to lib/lab/greens Plantations Garry ….”

    ...I have never agreed to lib/lab plantations.  They are a travesty:  encroaching on native forests, or strangled by gorse, fire hazards misusing prime agricultural land, the Abetz inspired MIS schemes.  To lump the Greens policy on plantations in with the LibLabs is in my view misrepresenting my views, which I have stated over those years when Gunns was alive, when there were ceaseless log trucks heading to Gunns’ chipper – nearly-all carrying our native-forest trees, cut, skinned and packed on the back of their ghoulish jinkers.  In my #137 I wrote that I supported the Greens and the Wilderness Society’s policies on plantations.  Their approach to plantations was to stop their spread, to return some of them to native forest, to protect our upper catchments, to restrict aerial spraying, to make them more labour-intensive, to grow them for timber, not for chips, to provide increased employment via regular management for weeds, for pruning and so on.  Yet in your #144, Claire, you bundle the reforms that the Greens and TWS sought, in with the Liberal Labor practices.  In short, you misrepresent me with your “Damn your agreed to lib/lab/greens Plantations Garry.”

    Posted by  on  31/01/17  at  10:15 AM
  150. #148 Truth Seeker.  Ahh of course,  now you’re on the next wave of money – the DNA money …

    Not sure what Tassie foxes and scats they are DNA’ing in Tas!?!

    Oh and why does JElmer seem to go back and forth from Devils to Foxes Departments?

    Posted by Claire Gilmour  on  31/01/17  at  10:48 AM
  151. Claire, you will find that Jodie Elmer features in the Feral Peril 2009 documentary. In the doco. Ms Elmer was cast as the person at the front-line taking calls to the 1300 FOX OUT hotline where the public could report animal sightings. She is shown as the primary assessor of these public sighting reports and categorising them according to a Sighting Report proforma and rating each report by a tick-box method. The categories are: “excellent”, “possible”, “unlikely”.

    From the Feral Peril video:

    Phone rings in DPIPWE Prospect Offices, Launceston Fox Branch HQ, Jodie Elmer picks up:

    Jodie Elmer: ‘Good afternoon, Fox Program Jodie speaking.’
    Narrator:: Back at the Fox Branch the mood is electric. Jodie’s got word of a high quality fox sighting.

    Jodie Elmer: ... what I now do is pass this over to my coordinator and we’ll get an investigator involved.

    Enter FEP Investigation Officer, John McConnell:

    John McConnell: ‘I’ve just received a… ahhm… excellent sighting from the property at ‘Kenilworth’ and I’m heading out there… gonna by-pass and pick up Peter Darke who is the hunter co-ordinator. He knows the landholders of the property personally that I’ve got a feeling they may have been sceptics. So… ahh… for them to pick up the phone and say they’ve seen a fox is very impressive.’

    Posted by David Obendorf  on  31/01/17  at  12:53 PM
  152. Dear TT readers:  Sorry to have to say this, but we are going nowhere at present with our routine forensic detailed explanations about how the eternal fox non-presence in Tasmania has been falsely portrayed by DPIPWE as a real life or death struggle for the future of many Tasmanian endemic animals, now that foxes are “widespread in Tasmania”  (note no retraction for this ridiculous and contentious proclamation, even today, and no admission that the evidence for foxes, in the first instance was scanty). Seems like we need some more leverage to get DPIPWE to be more conciliatory, honest and forthcoming about just what it knows and doesn’t know about foxes in Tasmania?

    Obviously they are intransigent at present in maintaining that they have been all above board in their fox eradication program.  Equally obvious is the fact that they have not. We need to get them to be more forthcoming about the details of what went wrong and how come the program went pear shaped?

    Well then, what to do?

    Here is my personal agenda:

    1.  I am driving to Victoria and NSW in April.  I will almost certainly come across a few recently killed foxes along the way, on road verges etc.  I will collect any freshly killed foxes I find, preserve them with inert gas in vacuum sealed oxygen barrier bags and post them to various people in Tasmania ( If you receive such an anonymous package, please recognise that is from me and deal with it appropriately) (e.g. add some feral cat gut contents to make it look like it originated in Tasmania and dump it somewhere obvious beside a road.)  I appreciate that it is pretty easy to bring back an undetected fox carcass on the “Spirit” but probably posting is better as it is anonymous and maybe DPIPWE will eventually get to actually really seriously start checking for bio-security on ferries?  Then phone DPIPWE from a public phone and explain where it is and how you are very concerned.

    2.  Make things very plain and explicit to DPIPWE that they are arrogant bastards and that dead foxes will keep turning up on their doorstep indefinitely so long as they refuse to release internal reports and internal memos critical of the fox eradication program.

    3.  Negotiate like hell to provide incentive for DPIPWE to be transparent and honest and forthcoming about the history of the fox eradication program.  Explain that secrecy results in nasty personal exposure of cover-ups and that we all need DPIPWE to be as its government demands i.e. to protect native animals, not kill them with 1080 via poisoned carrots or buried foxoff.

    Posted by Truth Seeker  on  31/01/17  at  01:22 PM
  153. Hey Claire (#151).  Thanks for the references about how DPIPWE is hoping to conduct additional research on techniques for control and detection of foxes in Tasmania.

    Isn’t this a waste of scarce research funding and unnecessary?  After all they achieved what most of us thought was impossible by having foxes go from widespread in 2012 to eradicated around 2015, while documenting the outstanding science behind the achievement in peer reviewed scientific papers..  That is truly amazing, especially in achieving that result at a cost a mere minuscule proportion of what new submarines and fighter aircraft are about to cost us!.  If their eradication techniques worked with such spectacular success, then why try and reinvent the wheel?

    It is disappointing and a serious snub for Tasmania that the fox eradication program team were not awarded for their seemingly impossible achievements, way in advance of what could be achieved on Philip Island, a mere fraction of the area of Tasmania.  The recent Invasive Special Council Awards, for example, did not even rate Tasmania a mention.  In addition the Invasive Species CRC, for some inexplicable reason, never ever mentions the fox presence issue in Tasmania these days.

    Posted by DPIPWE friend  on  02/02/17  at  09:06 AM
  154. DPIPWE friend @ 154
    Where is “Prof” Peacock and Andrew Cox? They usually organize this stuff.
    I know the deck chairs have been reshuffled in Tassie with many put out of harms way…but.

    “It is disappointing and a serious snub for Tasmania that the fox eradication program team were not awarded for their seemingly impossible achievements, way in advance of what could be achieved on Philip Island, a mere fraction of the area of Tasmania.  The recent Invasive Special Council Awards, for example, did not even rate Tasmania a mention.  In addition the Invasive Species CRC, for some inexplicable reason, never ever mentions the fox presence issue in Tasmania these days”

    Posted by Ian Rist  on  02/02/17  at  12:27 PM
  155. Like all honourable men of science Peacock and Cox should be chomping at the bit to correct the public record and fall upon their respective swords if they have indeed wasted public money on a snark hunt.

    To do otherwise is a sure sign that they have no regard for their professional responsibilities, truth or obligation to account for their use of public money or claims of ‘expert’ status - to the actual public (i.e. us).

    Silence will be the killer blow to their reputations as it clearly demonstrates a bankrupt ethos that they would doubtlessly apply to all other matters.

    It is a test of how ‘post-truth’ these vassals of science have become. So, will they put ideology and self interest before truth and fail to live up to the test of public trust? Or will they accept responsibility for the consequences of their hubris?

    The clock is ticking gentlemen.

    Posted by Jack J  on  02/02/17  at  05:19 PM
  156. #154 I reckon there are some drugs, prostitutes, lies, police, politicians, spin doctors involved deeply …  cos money does work for some …

    Posted by Claire Gilmour  on  02/02/17  at  05:29 PM
  157. Re # 156.
    Let us not forget Peacock was the person at the Tasmanian Government PAC Inquiry in 2009 that said ‘I (Ian Rist) must be smoking something to suggest people were bringing fox scats into Tasmania and planting them’
    Little did he know that I had been informed as early as April 2008 by the people placing the ads for fresh fox scats in the NSW papers that hundreds and hundreds of fresh fox scats were coming into Tasmania.
    Much earlier than that I was made aware that Eski loads of fox scats were coming through the airport.
    “The clock is ticking ladies and gentlemen”

    Posted by Ian Rist  on  02/02/17  at  05:58 PM
  158. Thank our heavens above for Linz ... that would have given Bernstein & Woodward a run for their money. Where would Tassie be without Linz, Mr R.Flanagan, Colonel Wilkie, Mr D. Walsh, Neville at the petrol station and the ferals at the Soho tip shop?

    As per usual the used toilet roll of raw free market capitalism (Murdoch’s Mercury)have ignored, buried or lied about real issues of government/public service corruption, millions & millions of our tax dollars, criminal links to government/public service, threats upon honest citizens , etc., etc.

    Please find two links below that would otherwise be consigned to the ‘D-notice’ dustbin/shredder of dept. records. Yep, let’s all consider how important TT has become. If anyone should be nominated for Order of Australia it’s Linz. Or perhaps not. Maybe TT should be reported as subversive media? Perhaps Linz is a raging rabid red commie hell bent on facilitating Red Communist Chinese takeover? Oh, hang on Senator Abetz, James Packer & Tony Abbott already have that gig….

    Posted by O'Brien  on  06/03/17  at  10:41 AM





Remember my personal information

Before you submit your comment, please make sure that it complies with Tasmanian Times Code of Conduct.