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September 18 - 24, 2009
The Independent Weekly news
David Hicks may use the new US
administration s suspension
of Guantanamo Bay military
trials to clear his name of terrorism
Hicks pleaded guilty to a charge of
supporting terrorism under a flawed
deal imposed by the Bush administra-
tion. Hicks had been detained in the
infamous Guantanamo Bay military
prison for more than five years under
the now-disgraced Bush doctrine, and
was allowed to leave only because of
his guilty plea. Even so, he then had to
spend another year in Adelaide s Yatala
But with the election of President
Barack Obama, the new US administra-
tion is moving to overturn the legality
of the military commissions which
prosecuted and convicted Hicks.
"If the commissions are overturned
it brings up the issue of David being
wrongly convicted in the first place,"
said his father Terry from his home in
Elizabeth. He said David would take any
opportunity to clear his name, and his
son s legal team was closely monitoring
David Hicks s lawyer, Adelaide
solicitor David McLeod, said that if the
Guantanamo Bay military commis-
sions were declared invalid it would
have implications for his client.
Terry Hicks said his son is settling
back into normal life and his recent
marriage is going well.
"He s a normal guy now and just
getting on with his life like everybody
else and just trying to do the right thing
by everybody and getting on with it,"
Mr Hicks says any overturning of the
laws would be a great relief for his son.
"I think it would take a great weight
off his shoulders, it takes a great weight
off our shoulders. We ve been working
pretty tirelessly for all this time."
-- with agencies
The sun peaks through the trees on
a windy road through the Adelaide
Hills, a sharp corner revealing a
cherry orchid flashing past.
But this view may soon pass by a lot
more slowly and travel times get a lot
longer. Despite modern cars being safer
and handling better than ever, speed
limits are about to be lowered.
The Adelaide Hills Council plans to
cut the limit on all its roads to 80km/h.
A Department of Transport, Energy
and Infrastructure report to hills and
Fleurier Peninsula councils said the
character of the Hills, with its windy
roads, trees and narrow roads, makes
for hazardous driving if speeds exceeds
The Barossa Valley council capped
speed limits at 80km/h in June, but so
far other councils reject the move.
The Hills plan would see the SE
Freeway remain at 110km/h, but all
other roads reduced to 80km/h.
Adelaide Hills residents are con-
cerned about the plan. Annette Foster
has lived in Meadows for 12 years and
said a blanket cut to the speed limit was
"over the top".
"It would increase my travel time
in an area where I go almost daily,"
Ms Foster said. "On the Hills roads if
someone if going a bit slower, people get
cross and I d be concerned this would
happen more often with a slower limit."
Ms Foster said the plan should be
looked at on a road-by-road basis.
"There are sections of the road which
are straight, reasonably safe roads and
I see no reason to cut speed limits, but
it may help in sections that are windy,"
The DETI research showed almost
half fatal or serious crashes in the area
were on roads with speed limits of more
The Adelaide Hills council is
over-represented in crashes causing
serious causality in the DETI report,
which showed it accounted for more
than a quarter of the accidents from the
eight council areas.
Adelaide Hills Council director
services Howard Lacy said the council
was anxious to reduce the toll while
preserving the character of the hills.
"Roads in the hills are narrow and
winding with quite a lot of trees close to
the roads, which can be dangerous, but
is one of the things that characterises a
drive through the Hills," Mr Lacy said.
"We could cut trees back, put in guard
rails everywhere, but it also affects the
aesthetics of the area."
The council is asking for community
feedback on the plan.
"Road safety is not just about the
speed limits," Mr Lacy said.
Since announcing the plan last
week, the council has had more than 30
responses and extended to October the
deadline for residents responses.
Bilbies are running rampant on
privately owned Thistle Island, off the
Port Lincoln coast.
The bilby is a vulnerable species
whose numbers are in decline nationally.
They survive mainly in controlled envi-
ronments like islands free of introduced
predators such as cats and foxes.
On Thistle Island, their numbers have
soared to an estimated 500 and have
become such a problem to the human
population that fencing is being trialled
to exclude them from parts of the island.
Four bilbies were put on Thistle Island
to breed in 1997, ending a 60-year period
of the species disappearance in SA.
The island s population is now the
largest in the state, with Thistle bilbies
being assessed for reintroduction in
other parts of the country.
With a gestation period of 14 days,
it s not surprising the population has
expanded at such a rate. The DEH is
supporting research on Thistle Island
and other locations around the state
to provide better information on their
monitoring and management.
Last month, the State Government
shipped bilbies to WA to help repopulate
the species on an island similar to
Thistle Island is a private property
and permission is required from the
Thistle Island Management Association
or individual property owner before the
public can land there.
Free entry to parks
To celebrate Saturday's World Parks Day, the
SA Department for Environment and Heritage is
offering free entry into national parks and 50 per
cent discount off guided tours tomorrow.
The department's director of visitor management,
Anne Sellar, said World Parks Day highlights the
significance of our parks and promotes a greater
appreciation of green spaces in urban areas.
"Our national parks play an important role in
helping to preserve native plants and animals," she
"Spending time in the natural environment
assists in restoring balance in our lives, reduces
stress levels and improves mental wellbeing."
So tomorrow standard tour prices are halved
at Seal Bay, Flinders Chase, Kelly Hill Cave, Cape
Borda Light Station, Cape Willoughby Light Station,
Naracoorte Caves and Tantanoola Caves, and
there's a 50 per cent discount on the entry fee at
Entry to other parks, including Belair National
Park, will be free.
-- Hendrik Gout
Surfeit of breeding bilbies
Bilbies are numerous on Thistle Island, off Port Lincoln.
Photo: Rick Stevens
Johnny Myers was riding back home
along the Midland Highway last
weekend after a camping trip with
friends. According to the police
crash investigator, at 3.30pm
on Sunday afternoon he had just
passed a couple of cars going uphill
in the passing lane. He was not
speeding but if he was, then only by
one or two kilometres.
Just over the crest of the hill
was car with a caravan was doing
a U-turn over three lanes across
Now with nowhere to go, Johnny's
motorbike bike went down on
the left side with the bike hitting
the drivers' side rear wheel arch.
John then hit the draw bar of the
caravan and was most probably
killed instantly. At this point the car
and caravan were was still turning
clockwise so John was then run over
and jammed under the van.
The car driver was a 52 year-old
man who had been away for the
weekend flying model planes.
Johnny leaves three children,
the youngest 16.His friends have
raised the money for his funeral
on Monday, and for short-term,
emergency relief for his family.
-- Hendrik Gout
Law may clear Hicks
Hills driving slows down
Speed limits don't stop idiots
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