Wednesday, 19 September 2018

State of Play Australia 2018: 11 per cent of the workforce is unemployed and 8 per cent underemployed

Roy Morgan, media release excerpt, 13  September 2018:

Australian employment has grown solidly over the past year however the faster rate of overall growth in the Australian workforce due to more Australians looking for work means unemployment has increased to a two-year high of 11% in August.

The latest data for the Roy Morgan employment series for August shows:

* 11,940,000 Australians were employed in August, up 255,000 over the past year;

* The workforce which comprises employed and unemployed Australians is now 13,416,000, up 407,000 on a year ago;

* 1,476,000 Australians were unemployed (11% of the workforce); an increase of 152,000 (up 0.8%) on a year ago and the highest level of unemployment for over two years since March 2016;

* In addition 1,071,000 Australians (8.0% of the workforce) are now under-employed, working part-time and looking for more work, a fall of 170,000 in a year (down 1.5%);

* The increase in employment was driven by an increase in full-time employment which was up 323,000 to 7,761,000, while part-time employment fell 68,000 to 4,179,000;

* Roy Morgan’s real unemployment figure of 11% for August is more than twice as high as the current ABS estimate for July 2018 of 5.3%.

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source October 2005 – August 2018. Average monthly interviews 4,000.

Full media release can be found here.

The Morrison Government continues to internally haemorrhage

“On the local scene since the day of winning preselection in 2012, the local, self-determined senior Liberal has been leaking damaging material to the media and having publicity stunts that are completely against federal policy initiatives. And more recently he approached friends asking me to nominate my retirement date and then he'd call off his people.”  [Liberal MP for Gilmore Ann Sudmalis in House of Representatives Hansard, 17 September 2018, p.103]

As a Liberal Party candidate Ann Sudmalis was elected to the House of Representatives for Gilmore, New South Wales, in 2013 and 2016.

At 63 years of age with 5 years of parliamentary service behind her, it now appears the boys club has stack her home branch and attempting to squeeze her out as the Liberal Party’s preferred candidate at the next federal election in 2019.

The NSW boys club's preferred candidate is former Australian Federal Police sergeant, sometime public servant and now real estate agent Grant Schultz (left), son of the former member for Hume Abby Schultz.

This will be the son's second try to become the Liberal candidate for Gilmore and as not uncommon for male Liberal candidates he appears to have a bit of a past.

His mentor NSW Liberal MLC Gareth Ward appears to suffer from a similar image problem.

Ann Sudmalis told parliament on 17 September that; "I endeavoured to hold my decision in private until after the Wentworth byelection. Unfortunately, that is now not possible."

Prime Minister Scott Morrison endeavoured to do likewise.

A policy which was spectacularly unsuccessful....

Illawarra Mercury, 17 September 2018:

Federal Liberal MP Ann Sudmalis will not contest the next election after last ditch pleas by Prime Minister Scott Morrison for her to stay on, failed.

Ms Sudmalis, who holds the southern NSW coastal seat of Gilmore by just 0.7 per cent, has told The Australian Financial Review that she informed Mr Morrison at a meeting on Monday that she was withdrawing her nomination for preselection.

She did so after she lost control of her local federal electoral conference (FEC) when it was stacked by forces aligned to local state Liberal MP Gareth Ward.

While Ms Sudmalis believed she was still likely to win her preselection against challenger Grant Schultz, she said she would have been unable to work with the people stacked into her FEC, many of whom had no campaign experience.

"I can't work with the team there anymore, they don't know the electorate well, they don't know how to campaign."

SBS News, 17 September 2018:

In a statement to her electorate, Ms Sudmalis blamed one of her "state liberal colleagues" for her decision.

"The [Liberal] has been leaking damaging material to the media .. and has been unfair and unethical," she said.

"My decision has been made after six and a half years of holding my pledge to be a team player in the face of NSW Liberal Party bullying, intimidation, leaking and undermining."

ABC News, 18 September 2018:

"I've been contending with undermining and leaks at the local level for five-and-a-half years and it's been a slow, steady, aggravating, annoying process," she said.

In a statement, Ms Sudmalis went even further.

"My decision has been made in the face of NSW Liberal Party bullying, intimidation, leaking and undermining at a local level," she said.

Party insiders say Ms Sudmalis has a "toxic relationship" with New South Wales Liberal MP and party powerbroker Gareth Ward, and believe he has been behind the campaign to unseat her.

She makes reference to an unnamed "local self-determined senior Liberal" who she claims has been "leaking damaging material to the media and holding publicity stunts" that are "unfair and unethical".

But in a statement, Mr Ward said he had "enjoyed" working with Ms Sudmalis on local projects.

"I wish her and her family all the best for their retirement and look forward to working with her successor," he said….

Ms Sudmalis said she wrote to Mr Morrison last week telling him she wanted to withdraw her nomination, but that he refused to open the letter until yesterday.

"When he did open it, he was pretty disappointed," she said….

The Liberal MP said the final straw came when she lost her campaign team the weekend after the change in Liberal leadership.

"My fundraising committee, my campaign committee, my friends were all outvoted at the AGM," she said.

"It means my core group of people who've been my support for six years have been replaced."

Ms Sudmalis was facing a preselection challenge from local real estate agent Grant Schulz and while she believed she could still win, she said she simply "can't work with the team that's there currently".

"It's just ludicrous that these people have been put in this position," she said….

Ms Sudmalis's announcement will not only affect the Coalition's chances at the next election, it will also further reduce the number of women in Liberal Party ranks.

* Photograph from the South Coast Register.

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Prime Minister Shouty McShouty is just being his normal obnoxious self

There has been some advice offered to Australian Prime Minister and Liberal MP for Cook Scott Morrison by mainstream media.

Some journalists are suggesting that he should shout less.

That would be nigh impossible as it would be going against his very nature as the political version of a weekday schoolyard bully and a Sunday self-righteous prig.

Here are videos of his performance in the House of Representatives as Treasurer to demonstrate that he had little volume control even then :

When a prime minster fails to grasp the basics of climate change policy.....

The Australian Prime Minister for Fossil Fuels and Liberal MP for Cook, Scott Morrison, has been repeatedly insisting since he came to office on 24 August 2018 that Australia is on target to meet its Paris Agreement greenhouse gas emissions targets.

Apparently he is telling journalists that “the business-as-usual model gets us there in a canter”.

Business-as-usual of course includes those cuts to climate change mitigation programs Morrison made as federal treasurer - including no further funding for the Abbott Government's Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) which has so far failed to purchase enough abatement to outpace Australia's emissions growth.

Those agencies outside of Morrison's ‘magic circle’ are quite frankly contradicting his prediction of success.......

The COAG Energy Security Council’s Energy Security Board expects that Morrison’s refusal to revive National Energy Guarantee legislation will see the electricity sector “fall short of the emissions reduction target of 26% below 2005 levels”.

Annual emissions for the year to December 2017 are estimated to be 533.7 Mt CO2 -e. This represents a 1.5% increase in emissions when compared with the previous year. Over the year to December 2017, there were increases in emissions from the stationary energy (excluding electricity), transport, fugitive emissions, industrial processes and product use, waste and agriculture sectors. These increases were partially offset by a decline in emissions from the electricity sector. The annual increases in stationary energy (excluding electricity) and fugitive emissions were largely driven by an increase in LNG exports. [my yellow highlighting]

The independent Climate Works Australia reported on 6 September 2018:

Australia is not yet on track to meet its emissions reduction targets under the Paris Agreement but there are many opportunities to still get there, according to new research released today.

The ClimateWorks Australia report, Tracking Progress to net zero emissions, found Australia needed to double its emissions reduction progress to achieve the federal government’s target of 26-28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, and triple progress to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

The report found Australia’s emissions were 11 per cent below 2005 levels in 2017 but have been steadily increasing since 2013. If Australia sustained the rate of improvement in emissions intensity it had achieved between 2005 and 2013, it could meet the government's 2030 target. But progress has stalled in most sectors and reversed overall. [my yellow highlighting]

Climate Works’ latest report, Tracking progress to net zero emissions: National progress on reducing emissions across the Australian economy and outlook to 2030, was released in September 2018 and although cautiously optimistic it doesn’t suggest that a Morrison Government would be able to just canter towards the commitments given in Paris:

This report uses findings from the Deep Decarbonisation Pathways Project (DDPP) and compares these with the Australian Government's emissions data and projections to examine whether Australia is on track for a net zero pathway and for its first commitments under the Paris Agreement on climate change to reduce emissions by 26 to 28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. It assesses recent progress since 2005 and the outlook to 2030.

In common with 179 other countries who ratified the Paris Agreement, Australia has committed to keeping global warming well below 2 degrees, aiming to limit warming to 1.5 degrees and to reach net zero emissions. For developed countries like Australia, a 2 degree limit is generally accepted to mean reaching net zero emissions by 2050 – the majority of states and territories have agreed to this goal. Limiting global warming to well below 2 degrees or 1.5 degrees would require an earlier date.

Australia’s current emissions reduction target is 26 to 28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. This is less ambitious than the Climate Change Authority’s recommended target range of 45 to 65 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 for Australia’s contribution to a 2 degree goal (CCA 2015). To make sure the world is on track, all countries in the Paris Agreement have been asked to consider whether their current target is ambitious enough.

We already know Australia can reach net zero emissions by 2050. The Pathways to Deep Decarbonisation in 2050 (DDPP) report (ClimateWorks et al 2014) identified the emissions reductions potential to put Australia on a pathway to net zero in 2050 while the economy continues to grow…

In 2017 Australia’s emissions were around 11 per cent below 2005 levels. This is an increase from their lowest point in 2013. Overall progress was due to strong reductions in the land sector, while emissions rose in most other sectors. Although there were improvements at the whole of economy level and in some sectors, improvements on average were not equivalent to the pathway to net zero emissions by 2050.

Emissions are higher in buildings, industry and transport than they were in 2005. Emissions are lower in the land sector, with the reduction being larger than increases in other sectors. Electricity emissions fell slightly…

There were times of reasonable emissions intensity improvements in industry and buildings but, as with the electricity sector, these improvements then slowed or reversed. This occurred alongside the repeal of the carbon price and related policies. Energy intensity improved in these sectors, suggesting better energy efficiency, but not at the rate needed for net zero. And in industry, some of this improvement was driven by declines in energy-intensive manufacturing….

Without further policies, Australia will not be on track for the net zero pathway or the Government's 2030 target. ClimateWorks’ research previously identified potential emissions reductions on the net zero pathway and this report shows where this potential is not yet being unlocked. The national process of developing Australia’s long term emissions reduction strategy provides an opportunity to unlock this remaining potential and get on track to achieving net zero emissions by 2050, as do similar processes in many state and territory governments. [my yellow highlighting]

Monday, 17 September 2018

Castillo Copper Limited's Jackadgery Project: has spinning the truth already begun?

On 15 September 2018 The Daily Examiner reported that:

Concerns  about the health of the Mann and Clarence rivers have been raised by community members following explorations by Castillo Copper at Cangai, near the historic copper mine….

It’s the high grade of the finding that has some community members concerned, with the prospect of a mine opening in the area becoming more likely.

At a meeting attended by about 20 people, NSW Parliament Greens candidate for the Clarence Greg Clancy and John Edwards from the Clarence Valley Environment Centre explained their concerns with mining so close to the river.

After having trouble getting in contact with Castillo through its website, Mr Edwards took his inquiries about the exploration to the mining regulator.

“I got an email from their managing director … and he said they were just out there doing some investigation and it wasn’t very much to worry about,” he said.

But this has not eased his concerns about the future of the Clarence Valley’s rivers.

“It would be good to get out there and see what they are actually doing,” he said.

“They’ve been talking up their exploration finds to date … maybe that is to just get investors’ money, but it’s certainly in a bad position where the river is and where all this siltation and run-off and toxic crap that runs off when they mine copper, silver...

“It’s not going to be easy for them when they are at the top of a hill overlooking a river.”

Mr Clancy said the group would need to get more information so they could understand exactly how the ore would be mined.

“There is loss of vegetation and threatened species on the hill. This is going to be an open cut mine … and the water table may not be up there, but once they’ve got an open cut mine it will gather water and they have to use water in the process to get the minerals out.

“They will be creating their own artificial ponds and we would have to explore this further, but I know with (extracting) gold they use arsenic.

“There are a whole range of chemicals they could be using. Whatever projections they are supposed to use, they often don’t work.”

The group is planning to do more research and attempt to make contact with the company before they hold another meeting in one month’s time at the Grafton library.
[my yellow bolding]

Castillo Copper Limited (ASX:CCZ) is a West Australian base metal explorer listed on the stock exchange which has four subsidiaries:

Castillo Copper Chile Spa, Total Minerals Pty Ltd, Queensland Commodities Pty Ltd  and Total Iron Pty Ltd.

Castillo Copper Limited holds three mining exploration leases as part of its Jackadgery Project:

EL 8625 (1992) 17-Jul-2017 17-Jul-2020 35 UNITS About 43 km WNW of GRAFTON TOTAL MINERALS PTY LTD est. at 155 km2
EL 8635 (1992) 21-Aug-2017 21-Aug-2020 52 UNITS About 41 km WNW of GRAFTON TOTAL IRON PTY LTD
EL 8601 (1992)  21-Jun-2017 21-Jun 2020 51 UNITS About 38 km SE of DRAKE QUEENSLAND COMMODITIES PTY LTD.

Castillo Copper is not characterising its activities on these leases as "just doing some investigation".

In fact it is indicating to its shareholders and the stock exchange that the company has clear intentions to mine at the old Cangai Mine site before the end of the exploration on these leases:

* “Road to fast-track production taking shape”

* “Preliminary metallurgical test-work on samples from the two McDonough’s stockpiles, along the line of lode, has demonstrated the ore can be beneficiated materially….. Discussions continue with prospective off-take partners interested in processing ore as relevant information comes to hand …. Meanwhile, the geology team have approached the regulator for guidance on the optimal way forward to remove the stockpiles from site and capture the economic benefits”

“…they are an asset and could potentially generate early cashflow”

* “The clear options are third party processing locally or a direct shipping ore product once regulatory clearance is secured”.

 Castillo Copper Limited images

So who are the people behind Castillo Copper Limited?

Well, the board is composed of:

Peter Francis Meagher, company director since 2 February 2018, from East Freemantle, West Australia - position Chairman;

Peter Smith, on the board as but not officially listed as a director of Castillo Copper Limited - position Non-Executive Director; and

Alan David Stephen Armstrong, company director since 1 August 2017, from Canning Vale West Australia - position Executive Director.

Listed company director who is not included at is:

Neil Armstrong Hutchinson. company director since 1 August 2017, from Double View, Western Australia - position previously reported to be Technical Executive Director at Castillo Copper Limited since August 1, 2017. by Bloomberg.

NOTE; All three listed company directors appear to be shareholders in this miming company.

Castillo Copper Limited's Top 20 shareholders as of 20 September 2017 were:
Castillo Copper Limited Annual Report 2016-17

Will Dutton face the High Court?

On 23 August 2018 sixty-nine members of the Turnbull Coalition Government voted down a Labor motion to refer the Minister for Home Affairs and MP for Dickson, Peter Dutton, to the Court of Disputed Returns.

Included in this sixty-nine was Peter Dutton himself and most of the forty-five MPs who a day later refused to support Dutton's second leadership bid, as well as some reported to now be keeping their options open concerning referral to the Court. 

It seems that another motion is being prepared and there is no guarantee that the vote would go Dutton's way in a Morrison Coalition Government, 15 September 2018:

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has been dealt another legal blow as constitutional law expert Anne Twomey says her advice for his referral to the High Court is "stronger" than ever.

Professor Twomey told The Australian the Solicitor-General's opinion brings up information about funding for the child care centres owned by Mr Dutton's family trust which "raised considerably the risk of disqualification" under section 44 of the constitution.

This new assessment comes after Julie Bishop called for "clarity" over Mr Dutton's eligibility and backed former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull's calls for his referral.
Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen told reporters in Sydney on Saturday that it was "very important" that Mr Dutton be referred.

"I see one of Australia's most eminent constitutional lawyers, Anne Twomey, suggesting today that the case for the reference to the High Court has been increased, is now stronger," he said.

Mr Bowen wouldn't say if and when Labor would make a second attempt to move a motion to refer Mr Dutton to the High Court, only that "we'll keep our options open."

A Labor motion for a referral was defeated by just one vote on August 23.

Ms Bishop hasn't ruled out crossing the floor to support the motion, saying if a vote was called: "I will make up my mind at that time".

Crossbenchers Cathy McGowan and Rebekha Sharkie told The Conversation on Wednesday that they would vote for a referral.

Ms McGowan said, "it should be done quickly and efficiently and effectively and sorted out."

"I think it's taking up a huge amount of space in parliament at the moment," she said."

According to The Saturday Paper, Mr Dutton only absented from one cabinet discussion on child care, despite having regularly declared his family investments.

A spokesperson for Mr Dutton said: "The minister has complied with the Statement of Ministerial Standards and the Cabinet Handbook. Suggestions to the contrary are false"., 15 September 2018:

The Greens are preparing a vote in parliament to check Home Affairs minister's eligibility over questions about his family financial interest in two childcare centres.
A similar motion failed by just one vote on Malcolm Turnbull's second last day as prime minister.

"I have taken advice in relation to my position, which put the question beyond doubt," Mr Dutton told parliament on Thursday.

Section 44 of the constitution disqualifies anyone who has a "direct or indirect pecuniary interest" in any agreement with the Commonwealth.

Childcare centres now get direct funding from the Commonwealth, which is then passed through to parents.

"Every day he continues on in this place there's going to be a huge cloud over him and over the government," Greens leader Richard Di Natale told reporters on Friday.

Greens MP Adam Bandt has been speaking to Liberal MPs about voting to refer Mr Dutton to the High Court, and the Greens believe support is rising.....

At the height of the Liberal leadership crisis, Solicitor General Stephen Donaghue advised he could not categorically determine Mr Dutton's status and only the High Court could.

However Mr Donaghue found on balance Mr Dutton was "not incapable" of sitting as an MP.....

A News Corp report on Friday claimed two government MPs are considering voting with Labor in forcing Mr Dutton to the High Court.

The report understands the rogue MPs are planning to use the threat of crossing the floor to force Mr Morrison to refer Mr Dutton to the High Court.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says he won't act on Mr Turnbull's advice.

He's also checking whether Mr Dutton stepped out of cabinet when the childcare funding changes were discussed.

Sunday, 16 September 2018

The Scott Morrison Social Media Experience in 2018: expletives deleted

"QT was on fire today 🔥 Good work, team."

Three hours after he posted this tweet on 13 September 2018, Australian Prime Minister and Liberal MP for Cook Scott Morrison deleted it;

Some hours later he apologised for the profanity included in the Fat Man Scoop "Be Faithful" hip hop song, part of which he had embedded in video of that afternoon's HoR Question Time - pleading ignorance.

Remove that dodgy tweet from his Twitter account he may have, but the twitterverse being faster than Morrison's digits meant there was still an echo left on that social media platform:
The reason why the government benches were conspicuous for so many arms upstretched in unison in the video is because, in true tent revival-style, Morrison was asking his colleagues to raise their hands:

I'll ask those on this side of the House: who's ever run a small business here? Here we go! Who's ever worked in the private sector here? Here we go! Who's been a police officer here? Here we go! We've got a police officer up the back. Who is a farmer on this side of the House? We've got some farmers over here. We've got medical practitioners. Who has ever served in the Australian defence forces on this side of the House? The Liberal-National Party is the party of ordinary, everyday Australians going out there every day, having a go and getting a go.

For the record here is the musical choice he doesn't want you to associate with him.....

"Who F#ckin Tonight? Who F#ckin tonight?
Who F#ckin Tonight? Oh!Oh! Who F#ckin tonight?
Who f#ckin Tonight? Who F#ckin Tonight? Oh!Oh!
Stop Playin, Keep It Movin! Stop playin, keep it movin!
Stop playin, keep it movin! Keep movin movin movin movin!
Hey sing along!" 
[Fat Man Scoop's "Be Faithfull"]

I'm still wondering which age demographic he was trying to impress. Particularly as these lyrics appear to have originally been penned in 1999.

I am also curious as to why the Prime Minister of Australia chose to ignore the conditions imposed on use of footage of parliamentary proceedings.

In particular 15.12(c) broadcast material may not be digitally manipulated.

As for why the reason Morrison gave for deleting his tweet changed in the following days from inappropriate lyrics to being in breach of parliament's rules on use of video footage, well that is anyone's guess.