Friday, 22 June 2018

Liberals continue to behave badly in 2018 - Part Four


FIGHTING

Police said they were called to Naji's Charcoal Chicken & Kebabs eatery on Firth Street in Arncliffe just after seven o'clock on Monday night, following reports of a "brawl". The roast chook shop is owned by Michael Nagi, a Liberal councillor for Bayside Council.

The meeting is understood to have turned ugly after an attempt by the moderate faction, which includes Nagi, to allow into the Bayside branch a nearby area, Earlwood, which is controlled by the moderates and has never been a part of the Bayside branch.

This would have constituted what those on the right of the party would class as a "hostile takeover" of their factional control, but a resolution was never reached because the disagreement turned violent.

Police said a man believed to be aged in his forties was taken to St George Hospital and treated for minor injuries.

"Police are now attempting to piece together exactly what happened and how many people were involved," a statement read.

"They are appealing for anyone who may have vision of the incident to come forward."

The Liberal Party said it would "fully cooperate" with police, as well as make their own inquiries.

"An internal investigation will also be undertaken and disciplinary action taken against those responsible," the party said.

"The Liberal Party strongly condemns the kind of behaviour that is alleged to have occurred."

ABC News, 19 June 2018:

One witness, who did not want to be identified, described the situation as an attempted "hostile takeover" of the branch.

"Just before the meeting started, there was an altercation where some people were intimidating and swearing and pushing and shoving of the others who belonged to the meeting," he said.

"Others outside were blocked from entering the meeting."

The man said an elderly lady inside the cafe was "trampled on", and a man who tried to intervene was "ganged up on".

"They started bashing him … they took him outside and started kicking him.

"To be honest I thought he was going to die."

The man also said some people tried to film the incident, but their phones were taken and smashed.

COMPLAINTS, DEBTS AND WORKING THE SYSTEM

“Two hundred thousand Australian dollars.….that’s not a lot of money” [Liberal Sen. Lucy Gichuhi speaking about here Australian parliamentary salary package on Kenyan television in January 2018]
Daily Mail, 20 June 2018:

Embattled Liberal senator Lucy Gichuhi was taken to court seven times for failing to pay $8,359 worth of council rates and $1,372 in water bills.

Court documents obtained exclusively by Daily Mail Australia show the Kenyan-born federal MP faced legal action from City of Port Adelaide Enfield council, Whyalla City Council and the South Australian Water Corporation in 2013, 2014 and 2017.

The Turnbull Government senator, who is on a $203,000 salary, was ordered by local court magistrates to pay $9,731 in seven unpaid bills, related to two investment properties in Adelaide and one in regional Whyalla.

One unpaid council bill went to court just three weeks before she was sworn in last year as a senator, and another bill was taken to a magistrate four months after she became a member of Parliament.  

The backbencher, who owns four houses in South Australia with her husband William, had failed to pay $8,359 worth council rates and $1,372 in water bills.

On her pecuniary interest register, Senator Gichuhi declares she is the owner of investment properties in the Adelaide suburbs of Dernancourt and Gilles Plains, along with another home in the steelworks city of Whyalla.

The senator and mother-of-three, who moved to Australia from Kenya in 1999, received five arrears from the Port of Adelaide Enfield Council and one from Whyalla City Council, in areas where she owns three investment properties.

According to her Statement of Registerable Interests the senator in partnership with her husband owns 6 residential properties in South Australia and 3 properties in Kenya.

She appears to receive rental income on a number of these properties. 

The Advertiser, 21 June 2018, p.6:

Senator Gichuhi, already under pressure after spending thousands of taxpayer dollars flying her family to Canberra, was provided with staff, office space, a car, driver and entertainment by one of Kenya’s richest men. The SA senator spoke at events organised by Equity Bank and its wealthy chief executive James Mwangi.

Disclosure documents lodged earlier this year show Dr Mwangi provided Senator Gichuhi with “a car and a driver … to attend various events and functions”.

“Dr Mwangi also provided office facilities, refreshments and access to his staff to enable me to prepare speeches for Nairobi University and other functions,” the document reads.

Dr Mwangi, who is worth $230 million, invited Senator Gichuhi to speak at Equity Bank events including on January 4, where she addressed the bank’s Wings To Fly scholars….

Disclosures show Senator Gichuhi received free accommodation from another wealthy Kenyan businessman, Linus Gitahi, who she described as her “long-term friend”.

The Advertiser, 19 June 2018, p.5:

South Australian senator Lucy Gichuhi billed taxpayers more than $4500 to fly six family travellers to Canberra during the week she was sworn into Federal Parliament prompting calls for a tightening of expenses.

According to parliamentary records, Senator Gichuhi claimed three return flights from Adelaide, two from Darwin and a one-way flight from Sydney taken during the second week of May last year.

She has previously defended her decision to accept free accommodation from the High Commission of Kenya in Canberra for her family to attend her swearing-in on May 9 last year 2017, because they struggled to find accommodation.

Junkee, 19 June 2018:

Gichuhi billed taxpayers $2139 for two return flights from Darwin to Adelaide, which were used to fly family members to her birthday party in October last year. She has since agreed to pay that cost back in full, saying it was “an administrative error involving misunderstanding of travel rules”.

And while we’re on the point of corrections, it wasn’t even her 50th birthday party — Gichuhi is 55. She actually titled the birthday party her “50 plus GST” birthday, the omitted 5 years being the GST. In the speech she gave at the event, which is inexplicably available on her website, she told guests that “I have now also taught you to deduct 10 percent off your own age — if you want to!”….

Gichuhi has also come under fire for billing taxpayers around $12,000 for a number of trips to Sydney, which she listed as “electorate business”, despite her electorate actually being in South Australia.


After watching this video the next two years of US domestic and international politics will hardly surprise



Thursday, 21 June 2018

At last! A way to gaol the entire Turnbull Government



Excerpts from the  Explanatory Memorandum for CRIMINAL CODE AMENDMENT (IMPERSONATING A COMMONWEALTH BODY) BILL 2017

The Criminal Code Amendment (Impersonating a Commonwealth Body) Bill 2017 (the Bill) will introduce new offences and a new injunction power to prohibit and prevent conduct amounting to false representation of a Commonwealth body….

It is essential that the public can trust in the legitimacy and accuracy of statements made by Commonwealth bodies. The amendments are critical to ensure the public has confidence in the legitimacy of communications emanating from Commonwealth bodies, thereby safeguarding the proper functioning of Government…..

The Bill introduces a primary offence where the person is reckless as to whether their conduct will result in, or is reasonably capable of resulting in, a false representation. These amendments also create a new aggravated offence where a person engages in such conduct with the intent to obtain a gain, cause a loss, or influence the exercise of a public duty.

This bill finally passed both house of the Australian Parliament on 18 June 2018.

Of course the bill doesn’t actually allow the gaoling of every member of the Turnbull Coalition Government for two to five years.

A government whose members have turned the uttering of outright lies and the continual misrepresentation of fact into art forms. Who only pretend to be governing in the interests of the people.

But a voter can dream, can't she?

This bill was created with the sole purpose of providing the Turnbull Government with a weapon to use during the forthcoming election campaign.

Trump's Truth


Trump’s ‘truth’









The Truth

Reuters, 15 June 2018:

MUNICH, Germany (Reuters) - Jean-Claude Juncker has been called many things during his premiership of Luxembourg and presidency of the European Commission, but probably never what he says U.S. President Donald Trump called him at the weekend: “a brutal killer”….

“I think he meant it as a compliment, but I am not sure.”…..

European Union countries on Thursday unanimously backed a plan to impose import duties on 2.8 billion euros’ ($3.3 billion) worth of U.S. products in response to U.S. tariffs on EU steel and aluminum, EU sources said.

Express UK, 10 May 2018:

EU chief Jean-Claude Juncker has said Europe needs to “replace” the United States as a world superpower in the midst of an angry outburst after President Donald Trump confirmed he was pulling the US out of the Iran nuclear deal.

Euro News, 3 March 2018:

European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker has vowed to fight back against US President Donald Trump's threat of a 25% tariff on steel and 10% on aluminium imports.

"So now we will also impose import tariffs. This is basically a stupid process, the fact that we have to do this. But we have to do it. We will now impose tariffs on motorcycles, Harley Davidson, on blue jeans, Levis, on Bourbon. We can also do stupid. We also have to be this stupid," he said in Hamburg on Friday evening.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Majority believe that funding for all ABC services should be increased or maintained, according to Essential Research survey


In May 2018 the Turnbull Government 'slashed' the ABC's 2019-2021 funding by $84 million.

Is this another example of this federal government's tin ear?

Because the Essential Report of 19 June 2018 shows majority support for ABC funding levels to be maintained or increased:

Perhaps Turnbull and Co should stop listening to the Institute of Public Affairs and seek opinion from outside that fetid conservative hothouse and places other than Parliament Drive or News Corp headquarters.

Over $4 billion of taxpayers money being spent on Snowy 2.0 and they get what?


The Turnbull Coalition Government in Canberra and the Hodgman Liberal Government in Tasmania have laboured to produce two new energy schemes - Snowy 2.0 and the "Battery of the Nation".

These schemes are being touted as ‘clean energy’ providing stability across the nation’s power networks, supply into the future and cheaper consumer costs.

One small problem……

Both are pumped hydro systems which will actually use more power than they generate as their electricity consumption will be high.

That is, the total megawatts of electricity from other sources required to pump the water into the hydroelectric plant will exceed the megawatts of electricity produced by the plant.

Not all the potential electricity produced by the plant is realised, because pumping water uphill and, the conversions of the potential energy to kinetic energy to electricity is less than 100% efficient across each stage of the entire process. It seems efficiency loss would run somewhere between 20% to 40%.

Then there are the environmental effects.


Hydropower projects can reduce the flows in rivers downstream if the upstream flows are trapped behind a reservoir and/or diverted into canals that take the water off stream to a generation unit. Lowering the flows in a river can alter water temperatures and degrade habitat for plants and animals. Less water in the river can also reduce oxygen levels which damage water quality.

Water is typically stored behind a dam and released through the turbines when power is needed. This creates artificial flow patterns in the downstream river that may be very different from the flow patterns a river would naturally experience. For example, rivers fed mostly by snowmelt may experience much higher flows in the winter and spring than the summer and fall. Hydropower operations may differ from these natural flow patterns, which has implications for downstream riparian and aquatic species.  If water levels downstream of a hydropower project fluctuate wildly because of generation operations, fish could be stranded in suddenly shallow waters. If operations cause a more static flow schedule throughout the year than what the river would normally experience, the movement of sediment along a river section could be disrupted, reducing habitat for aquatic species. Fewer seasonal flow events could also cause a riparian corridor to thicken into a less dynamic channel as saplings that would usually be seasonally thinned by high flows are able to mature.

Dams can also block the migration of fish that swim upstream to reach spawning grounds. 

In addition, large dams created in heavily forested areas have been known to produce high levels of methane into the water and air in the period following construction.

The Snowy Mountains Scheme already contains one power station which includes capacity for pumped hydro - Tumut 3 Power Station at Talbingo Dam. It has a maximum 600 MW capacity and reportedly rarely uses its pumped hydro due to at least 30% efficiency loss. For every 1MWh of pumping the amount of generation that results is only 0.7 MWh of electricity. Operating hours when storage full is 40 hours.

The proposed Snowy 2.0 hydro scheme will have a maximum 2,000 MW capacity and will run an energy deficit as there will be an est. 24% difference between the amount of energy required to pump the water in and turn it into electricity and the amount of electricity the scheme actually produces. Operating hours when storage full is expected to be up to 7.3 days.

Its pumping storage is expected to have a life time of 40-60 years and for that the Australian taxpayer is expected to watch at least $4.5$ billion leave general revenue and go towards its construction.

It will the eighth power plant constructed within the Snowy Mountain Scheme.

Snowy 2.0 will be inserted 1km underground somewhere between Talbingo and Tantangra reservoirs. 

Rivers which feed the Snowy Mountain Scheme are the Tumbarumba, Tooma, Tumut, Eucumbene, Snowy, Jindabyne and Goodradigbee - their flows are expected to decrease over time due to climate change and, it is predicted that median water runoff into the scheme will be 13% lower within the next 50 years.

The bottom line is that the entire Snowy Mountains scheme (including 2.0) will very likely be water hungry in the lifetime of today's primary school kids and operating on ageing infrastructure. It is also likely that by that time the amount of electricity it can produce will have fallen.

It is a continuing marvel that the Howard, Abbott and Turnbull governments all only seriously considered those energy schemes which are at the higher end of the negative impact scale. 

The 2006 Howard Government's Switkowski report into the feasibility of nuclear power generation is a case in point. Now in approaching a large-scale renewable energy project this current federal government again choses one with a long list of potential negatives.

For the life of me I cannot see why solar, wind and wave power frightens Liberal and Nationals MPs and senators so much, when overseas experience shows just how successfully these can be harnessed by national governments that believe in climate change and the need for mitigation measures.

Reference Material


Snowy 2.0 feasibility study information and reports:

A short summary booklet on the feasibility study is available, click here.

To view the publicly available chapters of the feasibility study, go to the 2.0 Feasibility Study page here.

The Marsden Jacob Associates report (an independent expert economic analysis of the changing energy market) commissioned as part of the Snowy 2.0 feasibility study is available, click here.


Map found at Wikipedia

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

OUR ABC: Will voters be foolish enough to believe Turnbull Government protestations of innocence?


The Liberal Party of Australia Federal Council comprises 14 delegates from each State and the ACT - the State / Territory President, the State / Territory Parliamentary Leader, the President of the Young Liberal Movement, the President / Chairman of the Women’s Council and 10 other delegates.


More than 100 Liberal Party MPs, senators and party members were in Sydney on 16 June 2018 for the party’s 60th annual federal council which is expected to be the last one before the next federal election.

Here are some of the smiling faces at the event readers might recognise.

Twitter: A bevy of Liberal ministers: Sen. Mitch Fifield, Sen. Mathias Cormann, Julie Bishop MP & Malcolm Turnbull MP

The Young Liberals put forward the motionThat federal council calls for the full privatisation of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, except for services into regional areas that are not commercially viable” and on a more than 2 to 1 show of hands the council voted in favour this motion.

Fairfax media snapshot of ABC privatisation vote

Council delegate Mitchell Collier, federal vice president of the Young Liberals, asserted there was no economic case to keep the broadcaster in public hands.


At the end of the motion debate Mitch Fifield reluctantly got to his feet at the urging of the Chair to offer “comments and observations” but did not condemn the idea of privatisation or oppose the motion outright.

As the vote was on a show of hands only with no official count taken there is no record of how Fifield voted.

Four members of the party’s federal executive voted in favour of the call for privatisation -  Federal Liberal vice-presidents Karina Okotel and Trish Worth, Young Liberal president Josh Manuatu and vice president Mitchell Collier who moved the motion. Incoming Federal Liberal vice-president NSW member Teena McQueen also voted for privatisation.

The federal council also voted in favour of an efficiency review of the SBS network.

After the vote became public two Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) members made statements to the media.

RMIT University professor and IPA Senior Research Fellow Sinclair Davidson said privatisation of the ABC should be the “default” Coalition policy as the Liberals were the party of small government which supported private enterprise.

He also told Sky News that ‘Selling the ABC to Gina Rinehart would be magnificent’

IPA research fellow Chris Berg said the preferred option would be for ownership to be transferred to ABC staff or Australian taxpayers.

The Australian Minister for Communications and yet another IPA member, Senator Mitch Fifield, who has previously stated that there is “merit in the proposal to privatise the ABC is currently trying to hose down alarm in the national electorate over that federal council vote.

His claims that the Turnbull Government supports the Australian public broadcaster and denies it has any intention of selling off the ABC.

Given past behaviour of the Abbott and Turnbull governments, the belligerence displayed towards the ABC and the stable from which Fifield comes, I don’t believe a word of his denial.

Just as the Prime Minister's denial is not one on which I would depend.