Showing posts with label right wing politics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label right wing politics. Show all posts

Monday, 11 December 2017

Turnbull Government's gift to welfare recipients this Christmas? More pain....


Nothing like receiving bad news in the lead up to the festive season......

News.com.au, 6 December 2017:

CONTROVERSIAL plans to drug test unemployed welfare recipients will be suspended indefinitely after the Senate refused to endorse the idea.

The Turnbull government had hoped to drug test 5000 Newstart and Youth Allowance recipients across three trial sites in NSW, Queensland and Western Australia from January.
But Social Services Minister Christian Porter indicated this morning provisions for the pilot will be stripped from an omnibus welfare bill and dealt with separately, so other measures can be signed off by Christmas.

“There are some difficulties that are going to be presented in getting that part of the bill through the Senate, but that does not mean that we are abandoning drug testing,” Mr Porter told Sky News.

“No one can be perfectly certain with these things but my best assessment is the rest of it, everything other than drug testing, will likely succeed through the Senate.”

Minister Porter stood by the trial last month but indicated it might be split from other reforms that were crucial to overhaul the “near to dysfunctional” welfare system.

“The bulk of that bill, which reforms the compliance system, is so critical to what we are trying to achieve that I wouldn’t want to sacrifice the bulk of that in terms of timeliness while we are still negotiating around drug testing,” Mr Porter said at a National Press Club speech in November.

One reform the government wants to pass as a priority is the new “three strike” demerit point system for welfare recipients that would mean those who continually skipped appointments or job interviews would eventually lose their payments.

Another will fold seven welfare payments into one to become the main payment for people of working age.

That is slated to begin in March 2020.

According to the Australian Council Of Social Services (ACOSS) this bill:

* Sets a dangerous precedent that allows governments to determine who is covered by social security rights and protections and who is not, without legislation;

* Would make it more difficult for people to access payments;

* Will make applicants wait much longer for first payments and, in certain cases this could be as long as 26 weeks;

* Cuts payments to people seeking work by removing back-pay provisions;

* Cuts $478m from social security payments over the forward estimates, with most losses incurred by people who are unemployed and single parents;

* Rolls Wife and Widow B pensions & allowances (including the Bereavement Allowance) into the Jobseeker Payment which will leave pension recipients worse off unless they are transferred to another pension;

* Ensures that the Jobseeker Payment keeps recipients living well below the poverty line so that they will be unable to meet essential costs; and

* The new mutual obligation requirements and breach schedule indicates that annually an est. 80,000 people will lose at least one week’s payment and an unknown number up to four week’s payment.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Don't laugh, this Nationals MP was serious


David Arthur Gillespie of Wauchope entered the Australian Parliament in 2013 as a National Party Member of the House of Representatives representing the Lyne electorate, with an annual salary many of his constituents can only dream about.

He is quite literally a man of property – aside from his house and farm he owns four commercial and residential investment properties, which appear to be snugly sitting in one or more family trusts along with a portfolio of shares.

His total parliamentary entitlements expenditure paid by the Department of Finance was $65,512.97 in 2013,  $399,946.31 in 2014, $339,797.06 in 2015 and $381,651 in 2016.

Yet two years ago he caught the greed bug and wanted more, more, more………..

ABC News, 2 December 2017:

The Prime Minister's Department has lost a two-year fight to conceal a minister's bid for thousands of dollars in extra pollie-perks, including charter flights and boat rides.

Former speaker Bronwyn Bishop's taxpayer-funded helicopter ride sparked an inquiry into politicians' entitlements.

Most MPs and senators' submissions were publicly released, but bureaucrats decided to hide Nationals MP David Gillespie's proposal.

After a lengthy freedom of information (FOI) battle, the ABC can reveal Dr Gillespie argued politicians in seats like his should annually be given:

* Nearly $15,000 extra "charter allowance" for charter flights, hire cars, boat rides or taxis
* 14 days more travel allowance for overnight stays within the electorate
* An additional office
* One more full-time employee

Dr Gillespie is the member for Lyne on the New South Wales mid-north coast.

He argued the boost would help meet "the significant logistical challenges that confront all rural MPs in meeting the needs and expectations of their constituents".

"If the additional costs are $10 million, it is a small price to pay to ensure fairness within our democracy is delivered," he wrote in the October 2015 submission.

Dr Gillespie wanted extra expenses for all electorates 10,000 square kilometres or larger.

The Assistant Health Minister's seat is about 16,000 square kilometres in size, and includes towns of Taree and Wauchope.

If implemented today, 24 Coalition MPs would benefit, along with six Labor members and two independents.

Electorates 100,000 square kilometres or larger would have received an even bigger windfall under the blueprint.

But the Government has only partly adopted one of his ideas by funding an extra office in Australia's seven biggest electorates — a group of seats that does not include Lyne.

I’m sure David Gillespie is as pleased with mainstream media outing this attempted cash grab as he was when they reported this……

The Sydney Morning Herald, 1 October 2017:

A Turnbull government minister is facing up to $500,000 in personal legal bills to defend his job against a Labor High Court challenge.

While the government is covering the costs of the seven federal politicians referred to the court over their citizenship status, the eighth MP facing constitutional eligibility questions is not getting the same assistance.

Labor is challenging Assistant Health Minister David Gillespie's right to stay on in Federal Parliament, putting the government's slender majority at risk, because it believes he may have an indirect financial interest in the Commonwealth – grounds for disqualification under section 44(v) of the constitution.

As revealed by Fairfax Media in February, the Nationals MP owns a small suburban shopping complex in Port Macquarie and one of the shops is an outlet of Australia Post – a government-owned corporation.

The Lighthouse Beach Australia Post outlet in Port Macquarie owned by Nationals MP David Gillespie. 
Photo: Peter Daniels

Alley v Gillespie [2017] HCA is scheduled to be heard on Tuesday,12 December 2017 by High Court of Australia.

Friday, 24 November 2017

Can anyone believe anything Australian Human Services Minister Alan Tudge and his motley crew say?


The New Daily,  21 November 2017:

The Department of Human Services flagged the illegal sale of Medicare details on the dark web almost a fortnight before the illicit trade was exposed in a bombshell media report, The New Daily can exclusively reveal.

Internal emails, obtained under freedom of information laws, reveal that department officials discussed the security issue as early as June 22 – nearly two weeks before revelations that Medicare numbers were being sold online.

On July 4, The Guardian revealed that a dark web vendor was advertising the sale of any Australian’s Medicare number for the bitcoin equivalent of just $22 after exploiting a government system vulnerability.

In the wake of the revelations, Human Services Minister Alan Tudge said that he and his department had only learned of the illicit trade when contacted by a Guardian journalist on July 3.

However, high-priority correspondence within DHS shows that senior officials discussed the trade on the dark net, which is only accessible through a customised browser, nearly two weeks before it made the news.

On June 22, Rhonda Morris, national manager for serious non-compliance, raised the issue with Kate Buggy, national manager for internal fraud control and investigations, and Mark Withnell, general manager of business integrity, as well as several unnamed officials.

In a later email on July 3, Mr Withnell apparently connected The Guardian’s inquiries to the department’s earlier discussions on the issue, writing to colleagues: “This is the one I was mentioning last week.”

It is unclear exactly what DHS knew about the sale of Medicare details on the dark web prior to July’s media report.

Citing exemptions related to law enforcement and criminal investigations, the department redacted most of the content of the emails released to The New Daily.

It refused to release numerous other related emails entirely.

A DHS spokesman denied the department had knowledge of a specific breach in June and said its internal discussions had only related to general matters……

In September, DHS told the Senate that as many as 165 people may have had their Medicare numbers sold to unknown parties, although there had been no unauthorised access of any Australian’s health records.

Last month, a seperate review commissioned by the department recommended beefing up the authentication procedures required to access the online database used by healthcare professionals.

Although the AFP is continuing to investigate the source of the breach, the government has said it was likely the result of “traditional criminal activity” rather than a cyber attack.

In February, DHS was embroiled in controversy after it released the personal information of a Centrelink recipient to a journalist in order to diffuse claims she made in the media.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Turnbull Government lost its majority in the House of Representatives so canceled the lower house convening for next 13 days


This was the timetable for a functioning democratic Australian Parliament in November 2017:

30 October to 12 November – Non sitting days
13 to 16 November – Senate Chamber sits
17 to 26 November – Non sitting days
27 to 30 November – Both Chambers sit, Senate 2/3 Cut Off Thursday, 30 November
1 to 3 December – Non sitting days
4 to 7 December – Both Chambers sit [my yellow highlighting]

This is how a Liberal-Nationals federal government makes a mockery of a democratic federal parliament - because two of its MPs in the House of Representatives having been found to be ineligible to sit are no longer members of the 45th Parliament and therefore the Turnbull Government has lost its majority in the lower house:

The parliament was scheduled for two more weeks of joint sittings of the Senate and the House of Representatives, from November 27 to December 7.

But the amended schedule will see only the Senate return next week as planned. The House of Representatives will come back a week later, from December 4, and then sit a second week, from December 11, if required…..

Manager of government business Christopher Pyne said the cancellation is to ensure the passage of marriage equality and deal with the citizenship crisis before the end of the year — but Labor has accused the government of trying to dodge a commission of inquiry into the banks while it is down two MPs. [BuzzFeed News, 20 November 2017]

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

On 15 November 2017 the far-right of both Coalition parties are going to attempt to scuttle genuine marriage equality in Australia


“Liberal senator James Paterson’s private members bill to “protect religious freedoms” would enshrine exceptionalism discriminating against gays. Gays would be allowed to marry, but anyone and everyone who wanted to deny them service would be legally allowed to do so. We don’t tolerate such discrimination based on race or ethnicity.” [Professor of Politics, University of Western Australia, Peter van Onselen writing in The Australian, 13 November 2017]


It comes as no surprise that this bill is being sponsored by that chinless wonder, former Institute of Public Affairs member and Liberal Senator for Victoria James William Paterson (pictured left).


The Australian, 13 November 2017:

A conservative-backed same-sex marriage bill enshrining wide-reaching shield laws for celebrants, businesses, educators, charities and parents opposed to gay marriage will be taken to the Coalition partyroom in a looming showdown over freedom of speech and religious protections.

The 34-page bill, obtained by The Australian and to be released today by conservative Victorian Liberal senator James Paterson, would override state and territory anti-discrimination and freedom-of-speech laws to extend protections beyond religious affiliation to anyone who holds a “conscientious belief” in traditional marriage.

Significantly, the bill also ­includes a “safe schools” clause to confer rights to parents who want to remove their children from classes if they believe the values being taught do not accord with a traditional view of marriage.

In what will become a potentially critical test of Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership, the bill will be taken to the Liberals’ partyroom when it next meets in two weeks and presented as an alternative model to that favoured by moderates and sponsored by ­Liberal ­senator Dean Smith, which offers only limited protection.

However, it is believed there are plans to table the bill in the Senate as early as Wednesday if needed following a likely Yes ­result in the gay marriage postal plebiscite.

The release of the draft Marriage Amendment (Definition and Protection of Freedoms) bill 2017 will blindside moderate Liberal MPs who last week were demanding the release of any proposed conservative-backed model.

The bill is expected to receive qualified support today from the majority of the conservative bloc and will present a challenge to moderate MPs, with Senator ­Paterson being an open supporter of gay marriage.

Some conservative MPs, however, are likely to argue that the bill does not go far enough with new polling revealing overwhelming public support for laws to protect freedom of speech, religion and parental rights.

The bill requires not only amendments to the Marriage Act but an amendment to the federal Sex Discrimination Act. It would also override prevailing state and territory anti-discrimination laws that offer no protection for people with a traditional view of marriage.

The protections to shield proponents of traditional marriage from civil law suits, however, will be limited to only those goods and services directly related to the solemnisation of a same-sex marriage or the provision of a wedding. This includes goods and ser­vices provided by florists, bakers, hotels or function centres but only so far as they relate to a same-sex ­wedding.

Senator Paterson, who sat with Senator Smith on the Senate committee ­inquiry into same-sex ­marriage, said the bill better reflected the recommendations on preserving human rights and the protections of a diversity of views.

“If the parliament opts for a narrower bill with fewer protections, I fear we will see some Australians seek to impose their values on others, with court cases and other legal mechanisms. No one should want to see the messy court cases that have occurred after same-sex marriage was legalised in other countries,” Senator Paterson said

The potential clash with Liberal moderates was foreshadowed yesterday with North Sydney MP Trent Zimmerman telling Sky News the debate over religious freedoms was a separate issue to same-sex marriage.

“If Australians vote for marriage equality and then ... the parliament for any reason delays or seeks to obfuscate or seeks to thwart the wishes of the Australian people, then I think the view of our parliament, the view of this process will be significantly diminished,” he said. “We should have it resolved before Christmas, I don’t think Australians will tolerate delay.”

“What we’ve seen during this debate is the conflation of a whole range of issues which frankly have nothing to do with the Marriage Act. And they can be debated. Protecting religious freedoms is something that Liberals feel very strongly about. But they shouldn’t be confused with this bill which is designed to deliver marriage equality.”

While the bill being proposed by conservatives gives effect to changing the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples, it proposes more than 80 amendments covering six key protection provisions that Senator Paterson insists would ensure Australia’s obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The most contested amendment is likely to arise from a new definition of “conscientious objection” which offers protection to anyone from being forced to participate in a same-sex wedding “against their sincerely held ­beliefs”.

Anti-detriment laws would also be applied to prevent government agencies taking adverse action against a person who holds a ­traditional marriage belief and ­extend that shield protection to professions that are licensed, such as doctors and lawyers. Businesses and individuals would, however, not be included, preserving freedom of association.

Charities that held a belief in traditional marriage could not be stripped of their charitable status, as has occurred in other countries, while Christian schools and institutions would be protected in teaching traditional marriage.

Most critical to the case put by MPs, is parents’ rights to choose to remove their children from school classes that conflict with their values, providing a safeguard for parents who object to the controversial Safe Schools program.

The Private Member's Bill:

Friday, 3 November 2017

Reef destroying cruise ship given NSW Government permission to enter the Clarence River in October 2018


This was the NSW Berejiklian Government in roll-over-the-top-of-Clarence-River-Estuary-communities mode, courtesy of Nationals MP Andrew Fraser and Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey with the Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance in an October 2017 media release:


An investigation into a new International Cruise Ship Terminal for the NSW mid North Coast will start as part of a future transport blueprint, with Coffs Harbour and Yamba identified as potential locations.

Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey, Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance, alongside Member for Coffs Harbour Andrew Fraser announced the start of investigations as part of the launch of the government’s Future Transport 2056 strategy.

“This is a major step, with the need for a facility being recognised in the 10 to 20 year horizon, so early investigations can begin now”, Mrs Pavey said.

The new facility has the potential to link in with North Coast tourist hotspots and part of the process will look at how to integrate the proposed port with the wider area.

“The Cruise Industry is booming and is set to get bigger in coming years. A cruise terminal would give the region a share of that industry,” Mr Constance said.

Future Transport 2056 is Transport for NSW’s new strategy to meet our transport needs over the coming four decades and is currently seeking community feedback.

“The strategy has a strong focus on regional NSW, with an emphasis on customer needs, better connectivity and growing regions,” Mr Fraser said.

Future Transport 2056 is currently open for public feedback until December 3, 2017. To view the draft strategy, go to future.transport.nsw.gov.au. Alternately, the Future Transport team will be visiting Port Macquarie on October 30, 2017. Details on our website.

What this does not say is that Future Transport 2056 only mentions Yamba twice.

The first time in the dot point sentence; Maritime infrastructure development (e.g. Coffs Harbour/Yamba).

The second time in another dot point one liner; Coffs Harbour / Yamba cruise terminal/ infrastructure development.

In a section titled Our Customers the draft plan makes the generic one sentence statement; Improve public transport connections to arrival and departure points such as airports and cruise terminals.
The media release talks of a need for “investigation” and a plan to consult with the community in Grafton – not downriver at the  two communities most affected, Yamba or Iluka.

Despite the claims that Yamba is only a “potential” location, Roads, Freight & Maritime Minister and Nationals MP for Oxley Melinda Pavey blithely announced in the Clarence Valley Independent that the first cruise ship will moor in the Clarence River estuary in October next year:

The NSW Tourism plan outlines a commitment to a Cruise Development Plan over the next 10 years to develop the state’s tourist economy into the future,” Ms Pavey’s office wrote in an emailed response.

“The plan identifies the North Coast as being the most visited regional destination in NSW and the cruise industry offers further opportunities to strengthen that.

“There is considerable interest across industry and community in using the North Coast of NSW as a place for ships to berth.

“In fact, operators are already beginning to look at destinations such as Yamba for smaller cruise vessels. “

On this, Ms Pavey’s office said: “In October 2018, the Cruise Ship Caledonian Sky plans to stop off at Yamba as part of the Australian Coastal Odyssey.”

This will be the small cruise ship Caledonian Sky, a 26 year-old 90m long vessel which has seen better days, with a carrying capacity of 114 passengers.


What Minister Pavey was careful not to point out is that this same small cruise ship ran aground and smashed a wide area of pristine coral reef in Raja Ampat, Indonesian Papua, in March 2017, with the damage area extending 18,882 sq. metres. The majority of this area being heavily damaged and even reefs receiving medium damage only having a 50% chance of survival .

The situation was allegedly made even worse when a tugboat helped pull the vessel to deeper waters.

According to Rappler.com, 14 March 2017:

"JAKARTA, Indonesia (UPDATED) —The government of Indonesia had harsh words for the captain of cruise vessel MV Caledonian Sky, which was responsible for destroying a huge amount of coral reefs in Raja Ampat, Papua.

The damage by Caledonian Sky which was captained by Keith Michael Taylor was devastating and irreparable," said a statement from Djoko Hartoyo of the Information and Law Bureau of the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs, released on Tuesday, March 14.

"The destruction of Raja Ampat coral reefs which were developed by nature for hundreds of years was done in less than one day by Caledonian Sky and its Captain. It is simply impossible to restore that part of Raja Ampat. Fish that were normally seen in that particular were all gone."

The statement then went on to suggest that Taylor cared little about the destruction he inflicted.

Melinda Pavey’s desire to keep this incident under wraps comes as no surprise, given that this cruise ship would have to navigate a relatively narrow passage past the culturally significant coffee rock reef, Dirragun, which is now covered by Native Title.

Perhaps it is time for concerned Lower Clarence residents to start contacting the minister in order to express their views on her grand plans for the Port of Yamba at:

The Hon. Melinda Pavey MP
GPO Box 5341
SYDNEY NSW 2001
Phone:(02) 8574 7300
Fax: (02) 9339 5570
Email Link: Contact the Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight

UPDATE

Taranaki Daily News, 15 February 2013, p.3:

Talking of visitors, we turn to the good folk of the cruise ship Caledonian Sky and their Wednesday visit to New Plymouth. A smartly dressed reporter at this paper had the gumption to approach a pair of these travellers to see what they thought of the city. It didn't quite go according to plan, with the English pair mistaking him for a hawker and rudely demanding identification. Come now, chaps, the reporter didn't ask you for identification. Mind you, it was obvious you were from a cruise ship. The expansive waistlines, white walk socks and boorish behaviour gave it away.

Papua New Guinea Post – Courier, 2 May 2014, p.5

TROBRIAND Islanders have threatened to "block or disrupt" future visits by tourists to protest the alleged dumping of rubbish by cruise ship.

Kudeuli and Wapaya villagers on the island of Kitava, which is part of the famed Trobriand Islands group, have alleged that the cruise ship MV Caledonian Sky dumped bags of rubbish on their beaches after a recent visit.

The villagers took pictures of empty bottles of wine, can drinks and plastic bags which they alleged were dropped off by five dinghies not far from their villages. The rubbish eventually washed up on their beaches while heavy items sank to the bottom of the ocean, the islanders claimed.

The Jakarta Post, 17 March 2017:

Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan has said the captain of UK cruise vessel MV Caledonian Sky, which recently ran aground in Raja Ampat, West Papua, had previously made a similar mistake, in which his vessel entered shallow waters in Medan, North Sumatra, destroying sea biota in the area.
“We have data on the ship captain’s mistake in Medan,” said Luhut on Thursday. 

[my yellow highlighting]

So how much Centrelink client debt was not debt at all in 2015-16 & 2016-17?


Australian Minister for Social Services Christian Porter is quick to point the finger but often very slow with concrete answers, so it is always a boon when annual departmental reports are published.

In September 2017 the latest DSS annual report was published.

Although carefully disguised in the wording "waived or written off"; by adding the 2016-17 annual report's financial statements together with the previous year’s annual report, one finds that the admitted amount of false client debt generated by Centrelink’s disastrous attempt to match Australian Taxation Office data with its own client records could possibly be as high as $264.645 million over a two financial year period.

As challenging a Centrelink debt letter was a distressing and often extremely difficult obstacle course for many welfare recipients, these hundreds of millions of dollars represent the determination of hundreds of thousands of ordinary Australians to fight back against false claims made on their wallets by government and the besmirching of their reputations.

On 26 October 2017 The Canberra Times reported that; Human Services official Jason McNamara told a Senate estimates hearing that in 202,000 cases where the department finalised the debt amount, 49,000 welfare recipients who received letters since the 'robo-debt' program started in July 2016 were found to owe nothing.

That means that 25.25% of these 202,000 debt notices were false claims as the Centrelink client was found to owe nothing.

In July and August this year Centrelink sent out a total of 114,000 debt letters.

At least est. 28,785 of these letters will probably represent a false claim of debt.

I hope all Centrelink clients who received one of these letters are querying each and every one.

BACKGROUND

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Is this what you want for communities living in the Clarence River Estuary, Mr. Mayor?


Clarence Valley Mayor Jim Simmons has been quoted in the mainstream media as saying about NSW Berejiklian Coalition Government plans for the environmentally sensitive and flood-prone Clarence River Estuary and Port of Yamba:


I’m not quite sure if the mayor has quite thought where his enthusiasm might lead…………….


This is the 50,000 ton, 848 passenger capacity, small cruise ship Crystal Symphony belonging to Chrystal Cruises a US-based business which operates in Africa, Caribbean, Europe, Hawaii, Mediterranean, South America, South Pacific, Asia, Arctic, Australia, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, Southeast Asia, U.S. East Coast, U.S. West Coast, Alaska, Antarctic, India, and the Middle East.

Crystal Symphony currently docks in Sydney.

In 2016 Friends of the Earth (FOE) gave this ship a big fat F when it came to “sewerage treatment”, “air pollution” and overall environmental values.

Cruise ships such as this use their auxiliary diesel motors to supply lighting, air conditioning, heating etc. when they are moored and in the case of Chrystal Symphony that means diesel fumes allegedly the equivalent of 40 lorries a day travelling on Yamba or Iluka streets, according to people with some experience of UK cruise ports.

That’s going to make the on-river experience delightful for other visitors and local residents alike – out in the tinnie wetting a line as they drift through a cloud of diesel fumes spread by the breeze instead of breathing in the clean tang of saltwater.

In May 2016 it was reported that P&O were fined $15,000 by the NSW Environment Protection Authority when one of its cruise ships exceeded diesel emissions limits.

Silver Sea Cruise’s 28,258 ton, 382 passenger capacity, small cruise ship Silver Whisper which also docks in Sydney received exactly the same FOE report card F, along with its 5,218 ton, 116 passenger sister ship Silver Discoverer which docks at Cairns.

According to an undercover investigation by UK Channel Four Dispatches program aired in June 2017 the air quality on one P&O cruise ship deck was worse than world's most polluted cities.

As for waste – cruise ships can generate anything up to about 57 litres of hazardous chemical waste every day as well as producing sewage, graywater and solid waste associated with accommodation, meals and other on-board activities.

Just one accidental discharge of this waste in the tidal estuary would be hard to contain, could contaminate shorelines and possibly lead to localised fish kills .

Such an incident would quickly affect tourists’ perceptions of Yamba and Iluka as being ‘clean and green’.

That such cruise ship accidents happen, as well as deliberate waste dumping, is a fact of life.  


Mayor Simmons might also care to consider the environmental impacts of a cruise ship’s wash, given riverbank instability and erosion of estuary soft shorelines is already a problem for Clarence Valley Council.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Coalition senators cut and ran from their own Ensuring Integrity bill



Amends the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009 to: include certain serious criminal offences as a new category of ‘prescribed offence’ for the purposes of the automatic disqualification regime in relation to registered organisations; establish an offence for a disqualified person to continue to act as an official or in a way that influences the affairs of an organisation; allow the Federal Court to prohibit officials from holding office in certain circumstances or if they are otherwise not a fit and proper person; allow the Federal Court to cancel the registration of an organisation on a range of grounds; allow applications to be made to the Federal Court for a range of other orders; expand the grounds on which the Federal Court may order remedial action to deal with governance issues in an organisation; expressly provide that the Federal Court may appoint an administrator to an organisation or part of an organisation as part of a remedial scheme; introduce a public interest test for amalgamations of registered organisations; and make minor and technical amendments.

The Australian Senate refused to support this bill on 17 October 2017 so the Turnbull Government read the bill a second time, had a short speech read into Hansard and immediately adjourned the debate.

The Senate next sits on 13 November 2017 and one suspects that attempts to swing the cross benchers towards supporting this bill has ratcheted up more than a few notches.

If you don’t agree with this almost constant attack on the existence of unions in Australia then your state senators can be contacted here.

Asylum seekers in Australia forbidden to have 'unauthorised' pets. Sound familiar?

 
Department of Immigration and Border Protection Directive – Australia 2017

SBS News, 19 October 2017:

People [asylum seekers] receiving government payments while they wait to see if they will be granted protection have been told they must seek permission from the immigration department and their landlords before buying an animal.

ABC News, 20 October 2017:

The policy change specifies taxpayer money cannot be spent on pets or their "vaccination, equipment, toys and bedding"



Jan. Collection of fur coats or any furs from Jews. Also any woollen clothing or shoes.
Feb. 17 Jews may no longer subscribe to newspapers or magazines.
March 26 Jews must mark the entrance doors to their apartments with a black “Jewish Star”.
April 24 Jews forbidden the use of public transportation.
May 15 Jews forbidden to have dogs, cats and birds. [my yellow highlighting]
May 29 Jews are no longer permitted to visit barber shops.
June 9 Jews must surrender all dispensable clothing.
June 11 Jews no longer receive smoking coupons.
June 20 All Jewish schools closed.
July 17 Blind and deaf Jews may no longer wear armbands identifying their condition in traffic.
Aug. 24 Jews forbidden to perform religious services during Jewish High Holidays.
Sept. 18 Jews can no long buy meat, eggs or milk.
Oct. 4 All Jews still in concentration camps in Germany are to be transferred to extermination camps.
Dec. 24 Economics Ministry orders the confiscation of all metal from Jewish cemeteries (including graves, fences, and gates).

Saturday, 28 October 2017

The perception that Turnbull & Co are conducting a political witch hunt is not going to go away anytime soon


Maurice Blackburn Lawyers, media release, 27 October 2017:

Timetable set for Federal Court action on unprecedented raids

A court timetable has been set in the AWU’s fight to challenge the validity of this week’s unprecedented police raids launched by the Registered Organisations Commission (ROC) on the union’s Sydney and Melbourne offices.

Maurice Blackburn Lawyers, who are representing the AWU, said today that court orders confirming a timetable for the case had been agreed to by all parties, removing the need for a Federal Court directions hearing that had been scheduled for this morning in Melbourne.

Maurice Blackburn Principal Josh Bornstein said critically that the orders were made together with commitments from both the ROC and AFP that no documents seized in this week’s raids by the AFP will be handed over to the ROC until the court has heard the case.

Mr Bornstein said the union's case compromised two key parts, namely: 
That the raid conducted by the AFP was illegal; and
That the investigation by the ROC is illegal because it is politically motivated.

“Prior to these raids, the union had handed over disclosure statements from 10 years ago in relation to Get Up donations to the ROC, but in doing so had pressed the regulator to provide it with information about the political interference by the Turnbull government in this matter.

“Disturbingly, the ROC has refused to hand over all file notes of its communications with Minister Cash and her office and we  will continue to seek all such documents as part of the federal court case,” he said.

Under the agreed timetable evidence must be obtained from all parties next month, with the respondents required to file their defence by 1 December 2017. A substantive hearing will be held in December at a date to be set, following the filing of defences.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
BACKGROUND

In 2015 the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption considered matters relating to seven unions, one of which was the Australian Workers Union (AWU).

AWU activity during the years 2003-2010 were examined by the Royal Commission, including financial records which would have included donations by AWU to outside organisations/groups, including the $100k donation to the activist groupGetUp!

No evidence appears to have been presented during Commission hearings relating to GetUp! or to the 2006 AWU donation to this group and, there were no adverse findings made against Bill Shorten in the Commission's December 2015 Final Report.


As far as I’m aware a reporting unit such as the Australian Workers Union New South Wales Branch or Australian Workers Victorian Branch is only legally obliged to hold records for 7 years and it appears Ms. Cash was ignoring the fact that a) there was no obligation to supply her with this so-called evidence and b) these documents could have been lawfully disposed of anytime after 2013 if the union had so decided.

On 20 October 2017 in response to Senator Cash’s referral ROC began an investigation into the AWU.


Despite that fact ROC applied for search warrants for AWU branch offices in Sydney and Melbourne and these were issued before 10am on 24 October 2017.

The Australian Federal Police scheduled what it thought was an unpublicized search late on the afternoon of 24 October 2017.

Police were greeted outside the union offices by an assorted collection of mainstream print and television media who had been alerted to the time and place of the ‘raid’ by Senator Cash’s office.

An unknown number of union records were removed by the police.


Financial Review, excerpt from Media leaks about AFP AWU raids a disaster for Turnbull, Cash and government, 26 October 2017:

Thursday, 26 October 2017

A clear example of political prostitution - with Malcolm Turnbull acting as 'the john' and One Nation playing 'the tom'


 The Courier Mail, 19 October 2017:

BARNABY Joyce has warned Malcolm Turnbull to stop gifting Pauline Hanson cash to make Government announcements.

The warning came during a face-to-face meeting sparked by ropeable Queensland Coalition backbenchers.

The frank discussion, held on Monday at 8am in the Prime Minister’s office during a scheduled meeting, was in part dominated by the decision to give the One Nation leader $15 million for projects Coalition MPs wanted to announce themselves.

Mr Joyce, who has a good relationship with the PM, laid bare his fury after he was bombarded with complaints from the Queensland backbench.

It is also understood Mr Turnbull’s office received complaints but the PM did not know intimate details of the deals with Senator Hanson.

Highly-placed sources said Queensland Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls and the state LNP had been thrown under the bus so the Turnbull Government could curry favour with Senator Hanson to get votes through the Senate.

Outraged state and federal Coalition MPs and Senators — plus the organisational wing of the LNP — said it looked like the Turnbull Government was bankrolling One Nation election announcements, which sparked the warning by Mr Joyce.

Some protagonists have threatened to go rogue in federal Parliament if it continued….

Queensland MPs are threatening to cause the Government trouble — and work as a separate bloc — if the sweetheart deals continue.

“Queenslanders in the House and the Senate will make sure Queensland’s interests are coming first,” one source said.

With the Government’s tenuous hold on both the House and Senate, Queensland Federal MPs hold significant power if pushed to use it.

Another warned “voters punished the Liberal party for dealing with One Nation in WA” and feared the same would happen in Queensland.

They also warn that allowing Senator Hanson “to stand with big cheques with the Australian Government crest” undermines arguments that voters should not vote for One Nation because they are not in power and cannot get anything done.

In the past month, Senator Hanson has announced a $8.9 million convention and evacuation centre in Ipswich and $5 million for a Driver Education and Motorsport Facility.

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