Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Tue 4th Dec Todays News

Happy birthday and many happy returns John LaMantia,Jenina NguyenKenny Thai and Se Hong Win. Born on the same day, across the years. Remember, birthdays are good for. The Lord gives the most to those who live longest
David Daniel Ball John LaMantia has brilliance .. check out his music athttp://www.icompositions.com/artists/BossHook

December 4Navy Day in India
The Mary Celeste




[edit]Holidays and observances


Heiner at risk from legal games

Piers Akerman – Tuesday, December 04, 2012 (7:46am)

THE LID is slowly being lifted on the infamous child abuse file shredding Heiner Affair.
Without being too optimistic, there is the possibility that those seeking justice may finally be heard though the process will be exhaustive.
Yesterday, the Newman government’s inquiry was told that lawyers advised Queensland’sGoss Labor government to destroy secret evidence into allegations of mismanagement at the John Oxley youth detention facility amid a flurry of union legal threats 23 years ago.
The Child Protection Inquiry was told confusion reigned about the legal standing and immunity for witnesses to former magistrate Noel Heiner’s inquiry after it was created in late November 1989.
At the heart of the long-running controversy is the decision taken by the Goss Labor government in March 1990 to shred material including staff interviews and tapes from the ill-fated Heiner investigation into allegations of abuse and bullying when it was known that some of the documents were needed as evidence.
Counsel assisting the inquiry, Michael Copley SC, has submitted 153 detailed exhibits from late 1989 and 1990 revealing how tensions at the centre rose, the inquiry commenced, and was almost immediately derailed by concerns over its constitution.
Crown Solicitor legal officer Barry Thomas was the first to advise the government, in January 1990, to destroy evidence created by Mr Heiner due to concerns over witness protection from prosecution given the defamatory nature of some evidence.
“I believe the safest course would be the immediate destruction of them to ensure confidentiality and to overcome any claim of bias if such documents somehow became available to a new investigation,” he wrote at the time in a letter submitted at the inquiry.
The crown solicitor, Kenneth O’Shea, the state archivist and eventually cabinet all approved the destruction of the information.
But the shredding occurred despite threats of legal action from John Oxley centre manager Peter Coyne.
He was concerned about possible imputations against him contained in the evidence. Contemporaneous legal letters from solicitor Ian Berry, now a backbencher in the Newman government, also threatened legal action from the centre’s deputy manager.
It also emerged Mr Heiner, who died in 2008, refused to continue the inquiry from January 19, 1990, amid concerns it was invalid, and had sought government immunity.
Political figures from the era, including premier Wayne Goss and his chief-of-staff Kevin Rudd, could be among more than 140 witnesses to give evidence in this section of the inquiry.
The inquiry also heard staff complained they were “forced” to handcuff children at the centre for discipline.
Another key aspect of the inquiry will focus on the rape of at least one Aboriginal girl in custody at the centre.
Questions of conflict still hang over former Family Court judge Tim Carmody, who is heading the inquiry.
Just getting to this point is a small victory for those who have been demanding a hearing over the past two decades.
But there is a very long way to go and hearings can take off on tangents that sometimes lead into legal deserts.
Sharp focus will have to be maintained to ensure that those who stand to lose the most do not frustrate this inquiry with legalistic games.


Bishop presents the case for slush fund inquiry

Piers Akerman – Monday, December 03, 2012 (1:07pm)

DEFENDERS of Julia Gillard have demanded a case be made against her - well, here’s the case presented by Deputy Opposition leader Julie Bishop.
Bishop outlined the following earlier today.
I look forward to comments.
The Australian Workers’ Union fraud took place between 1992 and 1996.
Hundreds of thousands of dollars went missing and to date no one has been charged.
Many of the missing pieces rest within the knowledge of Prime Minister Julia Gillard and her former partner Bruce Wilson, neither of whom have given testimony to police about their respective roles.
It all began with Gillard’s legal advice on the incorporation of an association in the name of the AWU.
It was a sham from the outset.
According to Gillard, Ralph Blewitt, who lived in Western Australia, was to be the responsible officer for an entity located in WA with Western Australian members, set up under Western Australian laws and registered by the Western Australian Commissioner for Corporate Affairs.
Why wouldn’t a solicitor in the Western Australian office of Slater and Gordon, familiar with the relevant local laws do the work?
After all, that is why national law firms have offices in other states.
Had the Perth office taken such instructions they may have asked awkward questions, like whether Wilson or Blewitt were authorised to set up an entity using the name of the AWU. We now know that neither was authorised.
Instead, Gillard, a partner of the firm in Melbourne, did all the work alone and in secret. She sought no advice from experts in the firm and did not use the firm’s precedents for drafting the relevant rules.
No one else within the firm appears to have any idea what she was up to at the time.
Neither, as it turns out, did the firm’s major client, the AWU, for Gillard did not open a file on the firm’s record-keeping system.
This is a critical point.
Given that the whole point of opening a file is to guard against conflicts of interest, it is simply inconceivable that Gillard overlooked this basic duty to her partners.
Secondly, it was incumbent on her to ensure her partner, Bruce Wilson, and her friend, Ralph Blewitt, had the authority of the AWU to set up a separate legal entity in its name.
She cannot claim that as they were union officials she was entitled to assume they had the authority.
They did not.
Had she opened a file, a routine conflict check would have prevented her from proceeding further.
Gillard completed the application with the name of the association “Australian Workers Union Workplace Reform Association”.
Its purpose was stated to be “Development of changes to work to achieve safe workplaces”.
Yet Gillard described it as a “slush fund” in her exit interview, “into which the leadership team puts its money so they can finance their next election campaign”.
She said that her “thinking” was that it was “better to have an incorporated association, a legal entity, into which people could participate as members, that was the holder of the account.”
Her advice offended against section 8 of the WA Associations Incorporation Act 1987, which provides that an association cannot have a name “likely to mislead” as to the object or purpose of the
association it was a slush fund for elections, not about safe workplaces.
The name was also “identical with or likely to be confused with” the name of another entity, in this case the AWU.
There were only two members of the association, Wilson and Blewitt, and not the requisite “more than five members”.
Not surprisingly, the Commissioner of Corporate Affairs questioned the application.
Gillard wrote to the commissioner “arguing for its incorporation”.
On whose behalf did she claim to be acting Wilson and/or Blewitt as officers of the AWU?
Using the authority of her standing as a partner in a law firm, Gillard was able to convince the commissioner that the association had the authority of the AWU, that it was for the purpose of workplace safety, and that it had more than five members.
It is an offence under section 43 of the act to knowingly make false and misleading statements.
Once the association was registered, it is alleged that Wilson fraudulently obtained hundreds of thousands of dollars from building companies, who believed they were dealing with the AWU, for workplace safety and training purposes.
The fraudulent activities continued with various twists and turns but the existence of this slush fund was not detected until 1996.
The federal opposition contends that in relation to the setting up of the incorporation, Wilson, Blewitt and Gillard have a case to answer under Section 43 of the act.
Section 170 of the Criminal Code is also relevant, which provides that “any person who being required ... to give information ... knowingly gives information. .. that is false in material particular is guilty of a crime ... “
Section 409 of the Criminal Code sets out the elements of the criminal act of fraud.
“Where’s the smoking gun?” was a familiar refrain in the years before an incriminating transcript came to light during the Watergate investigations that led to President Richard Nixon’s resignation.
In the case of the AWU fraud, the ground is already littered with spent cartridges.
Given that the Prime Minister refuses to answer to the Parliament, the only way to get to the bottom of this matter is for there to be a judicial inquiry.
In 1996 there was a formal request by former AWU official and current Fair Work Australia commissioner Ian Cambridge for a royal commission into this fraud.
Former WA AWU official Tim Daley has also requested a formal investigation and has been joined in recent days by former NSW Labor treasurer Michael Costa.
This will be the only way that light can be shed on a dark chapter in the history of the AWU. 


Gillard once backed this investment in “poles and wires” - for a good reason

Andrew BoltDECEMBER042012(11:53am)

Julia Gillard is against “gold-plating” of the electricity supply - lots of investment in “poles and wires”:
The Prime Minister will today announce her plan to stop the “gold plating” or over-investment in poles and wires that has led to big price hikes and develop new independent national reliability standards…

While the states have fought a strong campaign against the impact of the carbon tax on power bills, Ms Gillard will argue it is the gold plating issue that has delivered the biggest hit to consumers.
“Australian families are under too much pressure from their electricity bills that states keep increasing,” Ms Gillard told The Sunday Telegraph.

“They need action to cut their bills. This plan will give real help to every home.Australians have paid too much for too long due to the gold plating of networks and over-investment in poles and wires.”
Two things about Gillard’s latest position make no sense.
First, why is it good to increase power prices with a carbon tax, but bad to increase power prices by investing in poles and wires? At least investing in poles and wires gives you ... poles and wires. paying a carbon tax gives you nothing at all, and especially not a change in the climate.
Second, Julia Gillard today is against big invesments in poles and wires. Just two years ago she was for them - because she knew then what she won’t admit now, that investing in poles and wires was needed to make sure the power stayed on even on the hottest days::
Gillard in December 2010:
Australians are rightly concerned about electricity prices. They’ve seen big increases, and in part they’ve seen those big increases because we’ve had a decade of underinvestment in base load electricity generation, partly as a result of uncertainty about carbon pricing. 

Well, as Prime Minister I am not going to allow the next decade to be the same as the last, meaning Australians will face ever-escalating electricity prices and the risk - the real risk - of black outs in peaks period of usage.
Gillard on ABC radio in December 2010: 
HOST: So, is that a good time to add on a carbon price?

PM: Well, we have to, as a country, grapple with this issue (putting a price on carbon dioxide emissions), and I don’t want the next 10 years to be another 10 years of underinvestment in electricity generation causing pressure on prices and the real risk of black outs because we haven’t grappled with this issue. 
Gillard in October 2010: 
The current price rises in a number of states have been principally caused by a sustained period of under-investment… Significant investment is required to replace ageing network infrastructure and deliver energy security.
Malcolm Roberts, chief executive of Energy Networks Association, puts the matter in clear English - always the enemy of Government spin: 

So-called gold plating is also required by legislated reliability standards, introduced many years ago by the previous state governments in NSW and Queensland. These higher standards were set in response to costly blackouts.

At that time, governments believed the community was willing to pay for new infrastructure to improve reliability.
PS: Is Gillard also against “gold-plating” Internet access? If so, there’s an NBN she should discuss.


Mining boom over. Nothing to show. Harder times ahead

Andrew BoltDECEMBER042012(8:56am)

I repeat: the crisis we face is that the mining boom is over with nothing to replace it. And what on earth did we do with all that easy money? What trash did we buy? What surpluses squander? 
The Reserve Bank of Australia is on the cusp of returning official interest rates to the emergency lows of the global financial crisis after economic data stoked fears of unemployment above 6 per cent, falling wages and a crunch on mining profits…

Reserve Bank governor Glenn ­Stevens and the Reserve Bank board are?scrambling to kick-start growth amid signs the resources investment boom will start to taper off next year…

Retail sales stopped growing in October after two months of gains, led by the biggest fall in purchases of household goods in almost a year. David Jones and Myer shares slumped after yesterday’s report.

Wages fell 0.2 per cent in the three months ended September, the first quarterly drop since 2009. Company profits slumped for a fourth con­secutive quarter, led by a 12.2 per cent?plunge in the mining sector.

ANZ Bank’s index of internet and newspaper job ads fell for an eighth straight month and is 17 per cent lower than a year ago.
THE complex political and business battle over the $40 billion Browse gas project off Western Australia’s northwest coast could signal the beginning of the end of Australia’s natural gas boom…

More broadly, the outcome - or non-outcome - for Browse could mark the first serious crumbling of the “cliff-edge.” That’s the resources investment cliff, over which the entire Australian economy could so devastatingly tumble.
Resource industry leaders have been trying to get this fundamental message across to our political leadership, including in direct private meetings with both the PM and treasurer.
The message has been blunt and very simple. The global demand outlook for our commodities is weakening; while at the same time we are making Australia an increasingly unattractive place to invest. From a combination of raw cost escalation, and regulatory, environmental and sheer bureaucratic bastardry.
Plus of course, the dollar, which could face its own cliff.
But Resources Minister Martin Ferguson conspicuously aside, their warnings have been met by complete incomprehension, driven by a basic lack of understanding and an over-exuberant belief that we’ve got it all and people just have to buy from us…
This manana arrogance assumes that the massive gas export projects planned on both sides of Australia - conventional gas off WA and the Northern Territory, coal seam gas in Queensland - will just keep the resources music playing.
That they will take up, in a sense, from where the massive expansions that have taken place for BHP Billiton’s and Rio Tinto’s Pilbara iron ore projects, leave off.

Yes, they might. In the short-to-medium term. But after them, there is now nothing. Almost literally nothing. That’s the looming resources cliff.
Mark Ryder, Australian investment chief for UBS, says we are reaching just such an inflexion point as China’s manic construction phase gives way to more sedate growth, and Europe, America, and Japan take their fiscal medicine. “The commodity super cycle’s end is at hand. The scene is set for a momentum shift,” he said.

This view is daily dinner talk in Australia, a country that lives off iron ore and coal sales to China - and described contentiously by Dylan Grice from Societe Generale as “a credit bubble built on a commodity market built on an even bigger Chinese credit bubble”.
It is starting to take hold as the new consensus in the City where funds are keeping a close eye on the mining trio of BHP Biliton, Rio Tinto, and Brazil’s Vale. All three are battening down the hatches as hopes fade that this year’s 23pc fall in iron ore prices will soon reverse. Rio is cutting $5bn in spending by 2014. Vale is expected to pare back its $40bn investment plans next week.
But it is a report by Citigroup’s Edward Morse that has most rattled resource. He claims that America’s shale gas revolution—which has cut US natural gas prices by 70pc—is a taste of what will happen across the gamut of commodities as vast investment comes on stream…

It is the classic pincer movement of supply and demand, with Chinese imports of iron, copper, coal, and oil cooling at just the wrong moment. “It is now clear the commodity super-cycle is over. The overall slowing and the restructuring of the Chinese growth model should mark a watershed in global commodity markets. For many industrial metals, China, in fact, was responsible for all of net global demand growth after 1995,” he said.
To be precise, China’s share of total world demand in 2011 was: soya (27pc) cotton (38pc), aluminium (40pc) iron ore (40pc), coal (42pc), zinc (42pc), lead (43pc), copper (43pc), and lean-hogs (50pc).

Mr Morse says China’s growth will slow from 10.5pc to 5.5pc by 2020 - Credit Suisse thinks it could be as low as 4pc, and the US Conference Board 3.7pc - but the crucial twist is that appetite for resources will wane as the Politburo calls time on history’s greatest building boom in history and opts instead for a modern, sleek, consumer and service-driven economy...
On the other hand:
In any case, the Reserve Bank of Australia—keenly alert to the China’s story—disputes the basic premise. It argues in a report that construction will not peak in absolute terms for another five years as 20m rural migrants pour into the cities each year… The RBA said China’s growth will become more “steel-intense”—not less—as building shifts to high-rise blocks and urban sophistication.
(Thanks to reader Phillip.)


2GB, December 3

Andrew BoltDECEMBER042012(8:20am)

With Steve Price from 8pm. Listen live here.
Last night’s show: on warming alarmism, living in a box in the green way and other matters. And, no, despite unkind suggestions from listeners, I did not have a drop to drink other than Lapsang Souchong tea. Listen here.
Last night’s program, with the help of a listener, stumbled on the winning slogan for Tony Abbott: “Vote Liberal. They couldn’t do any worse.”


Yet another of those brawls

Andrew BoltDECEMBER042012(8:03am)

I am not convinced integration of this latest refugee intake is proceeding as it should:

Police said a young Sudanese woman was at the centre of the street fight in Willmot near Mt Druitt, western Sydney on Sunday afternoon.

Up to 30 people were involved in the incident, which left behind a crime scene spanning almost 2km along Palmyra Ave.
And that’s just at a soccer game. Imagine if it had been another beauty pageant.
(Thanks to reader Jono.)


Fearmongers’ shame: reader fears warming will kill their children

Andrew BoltDECEMBER042012(7:30am)

It is grotesque, how Labor’s scare-mongering has so terrified so many people. Consider the following facts: the world hasn’t warmed in 16 years, the carbon tax would make at very most about 0.0038 degrees difference in a century, and modest warming could even leave us better off. Consider also man’s astonishing ability to adapt, and the rapid progress in wealth, health and technology.
Yet reader T&J, in all seriousness, writes today:
My tip is to all the climate change non believers. Stop listening to Liberal propaganda and start doing your bit by supporting the carbon tax, it is working and more needs to done. Save our kids from a horrendous doomsday.
Those who have left such people so scared are no friends of humanity.
I blame reckless, fact-free, professional alarmists such as Greens leader Christine Milne - and a media too complicit to hold them to account. From Insiders on Sunday:

There’s also people really worrying about how they’re going to deal with the impacts of the extreme weather events we’re suffering right now....
And particularly in the context of climate change and in the context of the environment, because people are living with the destruction of their environment right in their face.
.... climate change is accelerating. This year we’re going to have more extreme weather events over the summer…

This astonishing alarmism comes when the number of cyclones has, if anygthing, fallen, the “permanent” drought has broken, the predicted biannual bleaching of the Barrier Reef has not occurred, the predicted emptying of the city dams has reversed and the predicted global warming has stalled for 16 years.
Note also that when it comes to real climate change, we’ve seen nothing in the past half century that the world hasn’t already experienced worse. Here’s how the NSW Chief Climate Scientist, albeit a warmist, describes past sea level rises:

Sea level change has been a constant characteristic of earth systems. 20,000 years ago oceans were estimated to be 140m below current levels, and 100,000 years before that, the level of the sea is estimated at 4-6m above today’s level…
Glacial melting between 20,000 and 6000 years ago resulted in sea level rise rates in ranges of 1m per century up to a rate of 4m per century (CSIRO,http://www.cmar.csiro.au/sealevel/index.html). Sea levels have been estimated to have reached heights up to 4 to 6m (or more) above present day sea levels during the last interglacial period, about 120,000 years ago (CSIRO,http://www.cmar.csiro.au/sealevel/index.html)…

Coastal sediment cores and other paleontological sea-level data, tide gauge data records (beginning early 1800s), reconstructions of 20th century sea levels and satellite altimetry data indicate that the rate of sea level rise has increased from a few tenths of a millimetre per year over the previous millennium to about 1.7mm/year during the 20th century and to over 3 mm/year since 1993 when satellite altimetry technology first became available (Figure 2) (Church, Aarup, Woodworth, Wilson, Nicholls, Rayner, Lambeck, Mitchum, Steffan, Cazenave, Blewitt, Mitovica, and Lowe, 2010)..
The difference between tide gauge data and space based data is over 100% ... 1.5 mm/yr versus 3.2mm/yr. Of course those who claim that sea level rise is accelerating accept this data without question, but obviously one of the two data sets (or possibly both) is not representative of reality
But bottom line:  past sea level rises, entirely natural, have been as dramatic as 4 metres in a century. Now we’re told apocalyptic man-made warming - on top of the natural rise - is giving us sea level rises at a rate of 0.31 metres a century.
Chill. We’ll be so much richer in a century, I suspect we’ll be able to afford to adapt to anything coming our way.
(Thanks to readers Mark and Steve.) 


Paying NBN execs more for less

Andrew BoltDECEMBER042012(7:22am)

Liberal MP Paul Fletcher was once director of corporate and regulatory affairs at Optus, and notes roll-outs go a lot, lot slower at the government’s NBN:

IN April 2009, the Rudd-Gillard government announced its plans to build the National Broadband Network.
The fibre-optic network is supposed to pass 12.2 million premises around Australia by 2021.
More than three years later, as at June 30, 2012, it had passed just 38,914 - less than one third of 1 per cent towards the finish line.
Yet NBN Co’s corporate plan, issued in December 2010, promised to pass 317,000 premises by June 30, 2012. Another comparison: in 1994, Telstra announced it would build a national hybrid fibre coax network. By June 1997, three years on, the network passed 2.1 million homes.

Salaries are also a lot, lot higher when the Government is paying:
NBN Co is splashing around money with abandon. It pays extremely generous salaries. Average remuneration cost per head was $172,000 in 2011-12, more than 50 per cent higher than the comparable figure at Telstra.

Yet it has barely any customers and barely any revenue. It earned less than $2m from providing telecommunications services in 2011-12.
(Thanks to reader Peter.) 


My own show doesn’t rely on taxpayers and the panellists always split 50-50

Andrew BoltDECEMBER042012(6:57am)

How is it possible to have such a miss-match in a country that four times elected John Howard, and is inclined to now elect Tony Abbott? How can ABC panels be so unreflective of the public the ABC is pledged to serve, and whose taxes it takes?
Interesting apology from the ABC to Hedley Thomas at the end of the transcript - the interest being in the assumption that led to its mistake. Labor’s spin has had its effect. 
(Thanks to reader michelle2.)


The rise of the Lebanon lobby

Andrew BoltDECEMBER042012(6:43am)

Gerard Henderson suggests journalists talk about the “Lebanon lobby” for balance:

On Meet the Press on Sunday, presenter Paul Bongiorno put it to the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, that the “Israel lobby and the opposition are very unhappy you were rolled on Australia’s vote in the United Nations giving the Palestinian Authority observer status”.
The fact is that there are no Israelis in Australia who lobby for Israel. Presumably, what Bongiorno intended to say was that there are Jewish Australians who support Israel.
In the extensive leaking which followed Gillard’s forced backdown, Labor frontbenchers and backbenchers alike appeared to brief journalists that a reason for the decision turned on the need to appeal to the Muslim vote in potentially marginal seats, particularly in western and south-west Sydney. Australian Bureau of Statistics data indicates that there is a high concentration of Muslims in such seats as Blaxland (held by Jason Clare), Watson (Tony Burke), Reid (John Murphy), Werriwa (Laurie Ferguson), Parramatta (Julie Owens), Barton (Robert McClelland), Fowler (Chris Hayes), Banks (Daryl Melham), McMahon (Chris Bowen) and Greenway (Michelle Rowland).

In recent times it has been fashionable for critics of Israel – on both the left and the right – to refer to the Jewish vote. In fact, the total number of Jews in Australia would not exceed 130,000. According to my contacts in the Muslim community, the total number of Muslim Lebanese in Australia is more than 400,000. In other words, the political weight of the Australians of Muslim Lebanese background far exceeds that of Jewish Australians. Then there are other Muslim minorities in addition to other Arab groupings.
And more with every second boat. 


Why slush funds are invitations to corruption

Andrew BoltDECEMBER042012(6:18am)

 The AWU scandal

The fact that AWU was used in the title of the AWU Workplace Reform Association is a critical part of the story. This ruse enabled [Gillard’s friends and clients Bruce Wilson and Ralph Blewitt] to pass off the association as part and parcel of the AWU. In so doing, companies were led to believe they were dealing with the union proper.
Let’s be clear about one thing. Even under the laws that operated at the time, it was not permissible for union officials to sell industrial peace or to extract certain favours in exchange for encouraging members to undertake work that they might otherwise, and quite legitimately, be reluctant to do.
It has been reported that work undertaken by AWU members on a site with contaminated soil was sanctioned by Wilson and Blewitt, even though one of the purported aims of the association was to promote workplace safety.
One of the excuses Julia Gillard gave all those years ago for her role in the incorporation of the AWU Workplace Reform Association was its purpose to fund the re-election of the union officials…
Where the situation can become more dubious is the holding of special fundraising events, such as dinners, the proceeds of which can be added to these special re-election bank accounts. Indeed, Gillard even referred to dinners as being an example of slush fund activity in her exit interview from Slater & Gordon.
Companies will sometimes be asked to send representatives to attend these dinners, with the price of attendance completely out of line with the actual cost of the dinner… The implicit message is that industrial co-operation can be assisted as a consequence of these donations…
Do these sorts of arrangements help the actual members of the union? I think not…

What is required is a broad-ranging inquiry into the governance and conduct of trade unions, leading to a series of recommendations that will ensure that union officials can act only in ways that benefit, and are accountable to, the members.
(Gillard insist she did not know of Wilson and Blewitt’s frauds and did not benefit from them.)
Reader dissident ex-Victorian corrects:

The Judith Sloan analysis is good but it is factually incorrect. This is mixing up the two scams.

The scam that was first uncovered was the one in Victoria and it had nothing to do with Ralph Blewitt. Money relating to the Victorian scam did not go to the Association account, but went instead to the AWU Members Welfare Association no 1 account. Ralph Blewitt was not involved in the contaminated soil issue. When he recently heard about this matter, it was according to him the information that tipped his hand, and caused him to decide to go to the police. That scam was Wilson… The WA scam involved getting money from Thiess for training on worker health and safety that never happened. The third strand is the Widows and Orphans fund from Boulder.
IF anyone, apart from Julia Gillard, thinks an inquiry into union maladministration is unnecessary, we would refer them to the transcript of the Prime Minister’s press conference eight days ago. Ms Gillard sees nothing particularly odd, apparently, about union officials running slush funds. “This did not strike me as a non-standard transaction,” she said… It was “a matter that at the time struck me as pretty routine, pretty low-level. Indeed, so low-level that I didn’t even charge for it.”

What does it say about trade unions that people such as Ms Gillard, who have spent their adult lives in the labour movement, describe these sort of shenanigans as “pretty routine”? There is no suggestion Ms Gillard was aware of the large-scale embezzlement that later occurred. Her only role was to provide legal advice to her then boyfriend Bruce Wilson and his bagman Ralph Blewitt, that enabled them to incorporate an association with the WA Corporate Affairs Commission. As Ms Gillard understood it, Mr Blewitt and Mr Wilson were operating what she describes as a low-level slush fund, the kind that organised fundraising dinners and made payroll deductions. It seemed to her to be unremarkable; apparently it is commonplace behaviour for union officials .

To those outside the union movement, however, even this kind of slush fund is evidence that something is deeply amiss… Even uglier, however, is the evidence of standover tactics to extort a ransom from construction companies in return for industrial peace. A former AWU administrator, Wayne Hem, tells how industrial disputes would inexplicably “go away”. This mobster behaviour would be called blackmail in any other walk of life…


Government biggest deterrent now challenged

Andrew BoltDECEMBER042012(5:50am)

 Boat people policy
This new tick-and-flick policy of instant rejection was always headed to the courts under the present laws:

The Refugee Action Coalition brought the challenge on behalf of the Sri Lankans, who claim they were due to be deported on the orders of Immigration Minister Chris Bowen this morning. At 4.30pm yesterday, they sought an injunction to stop their removal and received an undertaking that they would not be removed before their case was heard again on Thursday…
No injunction has yet been granted by the High Court and the government denies having had any plans to remove the group today. Government sources say the group tried to injunct a transfer that “wasn’t happening”....
High Court judge Dyson Heydon ordered the government to provide more evidence about the policies and procedures of the “screening out” process, used to deport people who were found not to be asylum-seekers or refugees under Australia’s international obligations…
Refugee Action Coalition spokesman Ian Rintoul said: “There was a request for the minister’s solicitor to provide the evidence, to show our side exactly what process these (Sri Lankans) have supposedly been through. They have complained the interviews to determine their status have been short and precisely worded, to make it easier for the government to claim they are not genuine.”

The Labor government has previously claimed some boat arrivals from Sri Lanka are economic refugees and not genuinely in fear of persecution. It has removed more than 543 Sri Lankans involuntarily on this basis.

Post a Comment