Friday, November 23, 2012

Fri 23rd Nov Todays News

Happy birthday and many happy returns Lucy GuanQuoc Viet Nguyen and Christopher Vuu. Born on the same day, across the years. Remember, birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.

William "Boss" Tweed




[edit]Holidays and observances

GILLARD, WILSON STOLE MILLIONS... so why a mortgage? .. by Larry Pickering

Bruce Wilson could have paid cash for any house (on occasions he did) but he was smart enough to know it would attract attention in Melbourne. A deposit and mortgage was an exercise in normality and barely caused a ripple. But there was another reason.

Union officials are paid “LAHA” (living away from home allowance). In Wilson’s case it would
 have been at least $700 per week or $100 per day, plus extras (in today’s money around $2,000). He was also drawing two AWU wages. One from his WA position and one from his self-promotion to Victoria.

The LAHA alone would have been sufficient to service the mortgage and conduct the usual renovations. Renovations to a house, including Gillard’s, was an excellent money-laundering technique as it was lost in normal housing inflation rates.

The latest media interest surrounds a piddling amount of $400,000.

When Left wing journos finally get around to following trails west they may begin to at last understand the extent to which their beloved little Julia was involved in union corruption.

Only then will they begin to understand what we blogging “nutjobs” have been harping on about for months.

Known amounts that have been extorted from construction companies including Thiess, who knew of and were complicit in the corruption, amount to over $2million (God knows how much that is in today’s money). The total figure is almost certainly higher than $2million because we have only been able to scratch the surface.

Those companies that weren’t complicit were documented in Ian Cambridge’s diary: "Wilson then went on to make astounding revelations about the nature of the construction industry and some of the things that occurred such as the requirement to have a barbeque and beer put on at the return to work after any stoppage. He also then revealed that he and others such as Ralph Blewitt had been involved in the practice of damaging plant and equipment, such as setting fire to backhoes or other earthmoving equipment, or getting a battery-operated drill and drilling out tyres, essentially rendering the tyres useless."

Most disturbing of all is the extent to which the AWU was determined to cover this up. When the AWU fraud was discovered, incredibly they paid the culprits $100,000 in severance pay including Wilson and his bodyguard “Bill the Greek” (aka Vassilis Telikostoglou).

This money was used to hurriedly pay back extorted funds to confused developers. A stupid idea really as that only highlighted the fraud.

Now, Bill the Greek was responsible for Wilson’s welfare and Gillard’s renovations. He is a 6’ 3’’ overweight bouncer with a long black ponytail.

No-one argued with Bill even when he rorted his own Greek community of thousands of dollars. Stories abound of Bill the Greek. He has now fled the country (but that’s another story).

It is believed his cousin “Con” owned the now defunct Town Mode through which the renovations money was laundered.

Bongiorno, Grattan, Oakes and minor Gillard sycophants Pascoe, Murray and van Onselen are still in embarrassing denial. So here’s a little something for you all to chew on:

Australian Bar Review, vol 5 No 1 March 1989 page 1 refers to conspiracy to defraud and aiding and abetting a breach of the law as the two areas of the criminal law which potentially apply to professional advice.

His Honour McHugh J said (in part) “...when the lawyer goes beyond advice and draws documents for the purpose of enabling a client to achieve an objective, it is, I think, almost impossible to contend that the adviser does not aid the commission of any offence which results.”

Welcome to the real world of investigative journalism, fellas, you have all been asleep.


Abuse inquiry ignores the kids most at risk

Piers Akerman – Thursday, November 22, 2012 (5:52pm)

THE royal commission announced by the Prime Minister 11 days ago will do nothing for the majority of victims or those most vulnerable to child abuse - poor and Aboriginal children. 



Tim Blair – Friday, November 23, 2012 (2:12pm)

Peace is dead
Peace, one of two turkeys pardoned by President Obama last year, was euthanized Monday, according to an official who insisted the timing of the death – days before the Thanksgiving holiday – was not suspicious. 
Some birds, of course, are immune from execution. Back in 2008
Blair admits despite blogdom’s best efforts some stories, no matter how wrong, are repeated over and over again as if true. Blair points to the mythical plastic Thanksgiving Day turkey Bush is ?alleged to have served to the troops in Iraq. ‘Even though that story has been shown to be bogus, some reporters and columnists won’t – or can’t – let go of it,’ Blair laments.
On further reflection, Blair admits that he’d be disappointed if the plastic turkey faded away altogether. ‘It’s been around so long, I think many bloggers, myself included, have become attached to it. That turkey has become part of the lore of the early days of the revolution now sweeping the media,’ Blair says somewhat wistfully. 
The legend of the fake turkey was born in 2003 and grows stronger by the year. Thanks to squinty semi-beardo Bob Cesca, the great bird now celebrates its 3254th day among the living: 
The whole thing echoed Paul Ryan’s phony-baloney soup kitchen photo op during which he washed pots and pans that were already clean. Two displays of totally fake selfless volunteering from two wholly fake candidates. Not only do they utterly lack authenticity, but their photo ops appear to be torn out of the George W. Bush playbook — the “Give a Fake Turkey to the Troops” chapter. 
(Via Alan R.M. Jones) 



Tim Blair – Friday, November 23, 2012 (1:50pm)

The prison hanging of Islamist terrorist Ajmal Kasab meets approval from Indians and Pakistanisalike: 
Manzur Hussain from Kasur said, “If Kasab committed a crime as India claims, he deserved to be hanged.”
He also said the media across the border did not rake up the issue. “I did not see anyone raising slogans against India or in favour of Kasab. Markets were open, people were not glued to TV sets and everything was normal. Even fundamentalists did not make the expected hue and cry,” he said. 
Well, the Taliban bitched about it, but that’s the Taliban for you. 



Tim Blair – Friday, November 23, 2012 (1:30pm)

From the deplorably parochial coverage in the U.S. media, you’d almost get the impression that those iconic American delicacies of Twinkies and Wonder Bread have ceased production. That’s not true. They’ve just ceased production for Americans. Up north, the streets are paved with Twinkies, and every Canadian is walking in a Winter Wonderbreadland. 
Sadly, in the US Wonder Bread now only lives in the form of 1931’s beautiful Wonder Bread Special.


The Bolt Report on Sunday

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER232012(8:04pm)

On Sunday’s show, on Channel 10 at 10am and 4.30pm:
Nationals leader Warren Truss, former Labor Senator John Black (who campaigned against a certain former boyfriend of Julia Gillard’s) and former Finance Minister Nick Minchin.
Boats, the AWU scandal and whether we’re about to be too mean to boat people.


A Liberal leader stands for free speech. Hope Abbott makes it two

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER232012(8:01pm)

On this issue alone, I would back Barry O’Farrell as Premier, so important is free speech - and so endangered is it under the Gillard Government:
NSW will block the Gillard government’s attempts to gag the media if it pushes ahead with a plan to strip newspapers of privacy protections unless they submit to government-imposed self regulators.
Premier Barry O’Farrell has revealed proposals expected to go before the federal cabinet next week could be in conflict with current NSW laws, and would be scuttled by the state government if they were sought to be introduced.

Mr O’Farrell, in a letter to News Limited CEO Kim Williams, said he would reject any attempts by the Commonwealth to water down existing NSW media shield laws, which among other things protect the identity of sources, claiming such a move would be an “insidious assault on the freedoms of Australians”.

“I am alarmed and disturbed that these freedoms, which I believe are fundamental to a strong liberal democracy and robust free market economy, are under threat from Commonwealth actions,” Mr O’Farrell said.
“Plans by senior Commonwealth ministers for regulators with ‘more teeth’ in association with the context of proposals by the Commonwealth government’s reviews are, in my view, antithetic in a liberal democracy and an insidious assault on the freedoms of Australians...”


ABC offers diversity of everything but opinions

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER232012(3:39pm)

Gerard Henderson’s excellent Media Watch Dog sadly fails to surprise: 
Number of weeks since Mark Scott promised greater diversity on ABC: Total: 317
Number of conservative presenters/producers/editors on prominent ABC Radio/ABC TV/ABC Online outlets: Total: Zip
Diversity like that explains commentary like this, by Mohammed El-Leissy, discussing on the “newspapers” segment on ABC 1 News Breakfast an AC Nielsen poll showing huge support for the Royal Commission into Child Sexual Assault:
Mohammed El-Leissy: It’s very rare for a political decision like this to have such wide support….But it hasn’t helped Labor, unfortunately, at the polls.


2GB, November 22

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER232012(2:53pm)

With Steve Price from 8pm. Listen live here.
Last night’s show: Ralph Blewitt, lawyer Nick Styant-Browne and the deepening AWU slush fund scandal. With guest Senator George Brandis. Listen here.


AWU scandal - Blewitt tells police of Gillard’s renovations

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER232012(2:32pm)

 The AWU scandal
I’ve long thought allegations over who paid for Julia Gillard’s renovations were a red herring. Gillard has insisted claims some of the work was paid for by her boyfriend’s union was false, and I have seen no evidence to contradict her.
That said, the third topic of conversation today between Victoria Police and Ralph Blewitt, former bagman of that boyfriend, Bruce Wilson, may prove interesting. From a statement by Blewitt’s lawyers, Galbally Rolfe:
The statements made [to police today] cover:
1. The incorporation of the Australian Workers Union – Workplace Reform Association Inc in 1992. He, as the authorized officer of the association applied to incorporate the association to the Western Australian Commissioner of Corporate Affairs following legal advice from Slater & Gordon at their Melbourne offices.
2. The purchase of 85 Kerr Street, Fitzroy in the State of Victoria in 1993 in which Slater & Gordon acted as his lawyers in the transaction to purchase the property and acted as his lawyers in a loan in the sum of $150,000 secured against the property.
3. The operation of the AWU – Workplace Reform Association between 1992 and 1995 including the conduct of various parties involved in the renovation in 1994/5 of a property owned by Ms Gillard and located at 36 St Phillips Street, Abbotsford.
Our client has provided documents to Victoria Police to assist them in their enquiries and will be cooperating with their investigation.


Ruining a family twice over

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER232012(9:51am)

Unbelievable. How to destroy a family and faith in being a foster parent:
But in a move that could leave the family financially ruined, the State Government is taking action against the mother, alleging she is partly responsible for the alleged rape because she should have been supervising the children and protecting her son.
And all this while the State Government conducts an inquiry into child protection that is aimed at improving the lives of vulnerable children.
The Courier-Mail can today publish a special investigation into the plight of a southeast Queensland family torn apart by its decision to take in a teenager who had been abandoned by his family and placed in state care.


Government gets tough on boat people in ways it should formalise

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER232012(8:56am)

Years too late, and in possible breach of unrealistically lax refugee conventions, the Gillard Government gets tough on economic refugees:
The Gillard government’s new focus includes regular forced returns of Sri Lankans to their home country, Australian Federal Police working in Sri Lanka to target people-smugglers, quickly classifying illegal arrivals as economic migrants, refusing “reintegration assistance” for those forcibly returned and sending the most recent arrivals to Nauru and Manus Island.
In the three months since the government announced its policy of putting asylum-seekers in detention centres in Nauru and Papua New Guinea for five years, more than 3500 Sri Lankans have arrived illegally by boat, with most not being from the Tamil minority that lost the civil war three years ago.
This new approach may eventually have an impact, but it looks like nothing Labor ever claimed to stand for. It seems driven by a new onviction that boat people should be judged not by their personal circumstances but point of origin. I’ve said before this is probably the inevitable direction of refugee policy in a world of cheap travel and cheaper communication, with millions on the move from the Third World. We can no longer cope with a system that demands we treat each claim for refugee status individually, but should probably now declare which countries we’d consider a source of possible genuine refugees and which not.
The Gillard Government seems to have, de facto, done that already with Sri Lanka. The danger is that it has not translated that approach into legislation.
The refugee intake was lifted to 20,000 a year to allegedly cut the number of boat people. That plan failed, so the only remaining political function of the rise is to prevent the embarrassment of having more refugees arrive by boat than we have places for in our refugee intake:
Tony Abbott has responded to the government’s failure on offshore processing by declaring the Coalition will not agree to the government’s plan to expand the humanitarian refugee intake.
In a policy and budget cut promise to be given in a speech today, the Opposition Leader says: “If elected . . . the Coalition will save around $1.3 billion over the forward estimates by not proceeding with the government’s plan to increase the level of Australia’s humanitarian intake from 13,750 a year to 20,000.
“The Coalition will always support a generous humanitarian program. However, it should not be expanded while the government cannot afford to pay for it.”
Abbott is right to warn the Government’s latest plan - to put boat people on benefits of just $31 a day and ban them from working for some five years - simply creates an underclass of people whose introduction to life in Australia is enforced welfarism and poverty.
So while I support his plan to at least offer work in exchange for the welfare, I hope we’ll offer more than what really are starvation wages:
Unable to send to Nauru or Manus Island the thousands who continue to arrive by boat, the government will release them into the community but under the same no-advantage conditions as if they were on one of the Pacific islands… The Immigration Minister, Chris Bowen, said this could be up to five years.
In the interim, they will be given bridging visas which forbid them to work and forbid family reunions, but to help them get by, they will receive about $435 a fortnight in welfare payments.
Mr Abbott said on Thursday that consigning people to welfare for five years was a poor way to prepare them to become citizens.


AWU scandal - I don’t believe Gillard for a second

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER232012(8:01am)

Julia Gillard claimed to her Slater & Gordon partners in 1995 she had no idea the firm had provided a $150,000 mortgage for the purchase of a Melbourne house for her then boyfriend, who’d used stolen money for the deposit:
Peter Gordon: “Were you aware at any time that the balance of the funds to make up the capital was to be provided by contributory mortgage of which Jonathan Rothfield (a Slater & Gordon partner) was trustee?”
Julia Gillard: “I don’t, I don’t think I knew that at the time, where the source of funds was. It’s subsequently been raised with me that that was done through the Slater & Gordon mortgage register but I didn’t have any recollection of that.”
NICK STYANT-BROWNE:  Now what those documents [from the conveyancing file] show is that there is no doubt Ms Gillard knew of the mortgage from Slater & Gordon in March of 1993. And just to give you some examples, she personally arranged for the mortgage insurance for the Kerr Street property through the Commonwealth Bank and a letter was faxed to her on March 22 of 1993 from the Commonwealth Bank marked for her attention noting that the insurance had been renewed and further advising that the Slater & Gordon mortgage interest was noted on the policy of insurance…
What I can say is this: that there is absolutely no doubt that Ms Gillard not only knew of the Slater & Gordon mortgage in March of 1993, but was specifically involved in taking steps to facilitate that mortgage. Now, that’s a matter of documents; it’s not a matter of assertion or hearsay. Now, you then have a situation where two and a half years later in September of 1995 Ms Gillard is asserting that the first she heard it was a Slater & Gordon mortgage was in August of 1995. Now, it’s up to others to make the judgment about her credibility. 
A Commonwealth Bank letter sent to Ms Gillard on March 22, 1993, shows she was involved in the property’s insurance, a prerequisite for the mortgage.
Addressed “Attention: Julia Gillard” and headed “Certificate of Currency”, the letter from the bank’s insurance department confirms the Kerr Street unit had been insured in the name of Ralph E. Blewitt [the bagman in whose name Wilson’s house was bought, using a power of attorney witnessed by Gillard]…
On the same day the letter was sent, a handwritten note in the file headed “Bruce Wilson” refers to the certificate of currency from the Commonwealth Bank and adds: “Ralph spoke to Julia Gillard”.
The conveyancing for the Kerr Street property was handled by Olive Brosnahan, a paralegal, under the oversight of Nick Styant-Browne, the relevant partner. A note in Ms Brosnahan’s handwriting appears on the publicly available file dated 22 March 1993. It states that Ralph (Blewitt) was chasing up the Commonwealth Bank in relation to the Certificate of Currency. It also records the making of a phone call to Ms Gillard which resulted in a message being left for Ms Gillard. The file contains no evidence of Ms Gillard returning this call.
What this entry on the file shows is that Mr Blewitt was personally attending to dealing with the Commonwealth Bank about the certificate of currency.
Ms Gillard has no recollection of seeing the correspondence from the Commonwealth Bank dated 23 March 1993.
Ms Gillard stands by her statements in the Slater and Gordon interview of 11 September 1995 as her best recollection of events two and a half years earlier.
There is no contradiction in anything you have put to us.
That excuse already seems highly implausible. Worse for Gillard is that the Commonwealth Bank letter is not the only documentary evidence she knew of the Slater & Gordon mortgage for her boyfriend in 1993, two years before she said she did.
That letter contained this clause on penalty interest: 
By the most unlikely coincidence, Gillard’s PA days earlier noted Gillard wanted to know from “NOB” (conveyancing paralegal Olive Bresnahan) how penalty interest was triggered: 
Bresnahan on March 12, three days before the letter to offer to Wilson, explains the conditions: 
Julia Gillard did not know her firm had provided her boyfriend or his associate a mortgage for the purchase of his home?
I do not believe her.


Their hands on your throat

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER232012(7:30am)

Simon Breheny on the Gillard Government’s continuing war against free speech:
The regime will provide a new weapon in the war on free speech by even including “political opinion” as a ground on which people can be discriminated against.
This extraordinary change makes even innocuous political expressions subject to the law - a person need only be offended or insulted in order to make out a claim. Shop owners displaying signs in support of a political candidate may now be legally discriminating against employees who want the other guy to win…
Not only do the changes represent an extraordinary attack on freedom of speech, they also undermine fundamental legal principles derived from 800 years of common law. They would reverse the onus of proof, forcing employers to prove that they are innocent of discrimination.


Rinehart writes

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER232012(12:43am)

I’ll be speaking at the Melbourne launch today of Gina Rinehart’s book of speeches and essays, Northern Australia and Then Some — Changes We Need to Make Our Country Rich
Mrs Rinehart has been a passionate critic of the mining and carbon taxes, and said too few Australians realised the consequences of the nation’s declining competitiveness.
“We don’t want to see Australia continue on a course with too many heads buried in the sand, critical investors discouraged by bad policies, even hated, too few understanding the problems while Australia moves towards being another Greece, Spain or Portugal,” she said.
The launch was timed to coincide with the 60th anniversary of an epic flight made by [father Lang] Hancock, when he was blown off course flying south from the Pilbara to Perth in his small Auster aircraft. It was then that he came across the huge iron ore bodies which were later to make his fortune.
Two passages from the book explain only too well Rinehart’s antipathy to Big Government and the stifling of individualism - not least in business. Maybe it explains her stubborn refusal to bow to popular myths - particularly government-backed global warming apocalyptis.
First, Rinehart relates how her father struggled against a federal government embargo on iron ore exports - of all things - after discovering ore deposits in the Pilbara:
However, the federal government in its wisdom, and based largely on the then government reports, had decided that Australia was ore-deficient and would be importing iron ore by 1963. This wasted eight years of my father’s life as he tried to convince the government to change its decision and lift the export embargo.
A laughable misreading of our future. And a decade wasted.
Gina Rinehart has known the dead hand of Big Government in other ways. In opening coal mining in Queensland’s rich Galilee Basin two years ago, she noted her group’s projects there were “subject to receiving more than 1500 government approvals, permits and licences”.
More than 1500? How many of those approvals, permits and licences could have been safely scrapped without any harm coming to anyone? How much delay and cost is involved in just doing the compliance work?
Many in the media prefer to see Rinehart as a strange relic from another planet. Faintly menacing.
Had they known the responsibility of trying to build projects against that kind of statism, perhaps they might understand rather better the politics she preaches.
(Declaration: Rinehart is a shareholder in Network 10, and also in Fairfax, competitor to News Ltd.)


Calling out the great divider

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER232012(12:40am)

This is more like it - naming that tactic and defying it: 
Promising to unite the nation, Mr Abbott said he would never “deliberately set out to divide Australian against Australian”.
“You will never find from me invocation of a false class war,” the Opposition Leader said.
Hitting back at the Prime Minister’s now famous misogyny attack, Mr Abbott said: “I think I can say with absolute confidence that you will never find from me any attempt to invoke the gender war against my political opponents.
“Never, ever, will I attempt to say that as a man I have been the victim of powerful forces beyond my control and how dare any prime minister of Australia play the victim card.”


AWU scandal - Another Labor MP drawn in

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER232012(12:28am)

 The AWU scandal
I suspect Julia Gillard will drag a few Labor MPs down with her:
The Labor member for Fowler in western Sydney yesterday declined to comment on allegations, which are contained in the diary of Ian Cambridge, the Australian Workers Union joint national secretary who in the 90s was trying to root out corruption in the union.
But another union official who became a Labor senator, Michael Forshaw, rejected as “absolute rubbish” any suggestion contained in the diary that he was involved in the meetings with the oil and gas producer Woodside Petroleum.
The diary of Mr Cambridge has been obtained by The Australian. Mr Cambridge, now a commissioner for Fair Work Australia, has confirmed that the diary is an accurate reflection of what he was told during a tumultuous period in which he and AWU president Bill Ludwig led a crackdown on fraud perpetrated by Julia Gillard’s then boyfriend, Bruce Wilson. The Prime Minister has admitted setting up an association for Mr Wilson, which the then AWU state secretary and his bagman Ralph Blewitt later used to defraud hundreds of thousands of dollars by soliciting payments from companies…
Ms Gillard later described the AWU Workplace Reform Association as a “slush fund” for the re-election of union officials. She has repeatedly denied wrongdoing, saying she knew nothing of the operations of the fund.
The diary discloses that on August 15, 1995, Mr Cambridge met Mr Wilson in Melbourne ...
“During the course of the evening discussion emerged regarding some of the moneys in the funds in Victoria and at one point Wilson indicated that we were in the same restaurant which is Cerabonas in which discussions regarding the payments by Woodside in respect to one of these employer ‘donations’ was concluded and that involved discussions with himself, then secretary Michael Forshaw, assistant secretary Chris Hayes and two representatives from Woodside who he named, but I cannot remember their names,” the diary says…
Mr Forshaw, who was a high-ranking official of the AWU and then a Labor senator for NSW from 1994 until his retirement last year, strenuously denied the account attributed to Mr Wilson in the diary, including that he and Mr Hayes were present at such a meeting.
POLICE from the West Australian fraud squad have contacted a confessed union fraudster and are considering reopening their 1996 investigation into the Australian Workers Union fraud.
Ralph Blewitt’s lawyers were contacted yesterday by a fraud squad officer to seek his co-operation and a visit to Perth.
Mr Blewitt flew to Australia from Malaysia this week, saying he wanted to co-operate with police in Victoria and in Perth over a fraud that revolved around a slush fund called the Australian Workers Union Workplace Reform Association…
Mr Blewitt arrived in Melbourne on Wednesday for a meeting with his legal advisers, pending a conference with Victorian police today.
One story is what the Prime Minister did for her then boyfriend as a partner in a law firm.  The other story is how key figures in the Canberra press gallery and the ABC not only refused to cover the scandal but tried to shout down those who dared. Here’s the latest “what scandal?” quotes.
Michael Smith tries to get in a few words as ABC host Jon Faine maintains a diatribe of denial. Listen here.

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