Sunday, 17 May 2015

Notice to all North Coast Voices readers

Due to events beyond our control North Coast Voices will not be posting until further notice.

For this we apologize to all our regular readers and to those that just drop by from time to time on a whim.

Desmond John Euen is still hunting the Snark*

Never let it be said that Desmond John Euen’s self-aggrandisement is not a hardy plant.

A reader of this blog alerted me to the fact that there was yet another slide show posted on the Internet by Queensland’s former truck driver and wannabee infrastructure entrepreneur who would like to see the small coastal towns of the Lower Clarence River turned into residential precincts for a large container and coal loading port of impossible dimensions.

His latest effort includes this intriguing statement for which I can find no supporting evidence:

Mr. Euen’s enduring presence on the Internet in chronological order:

2015 (website for Mr.Euen’s incorporated entity Y.P.R. (AUST) PTY LTD registered in March 2014, in which he is sole director and secretary with all its shares owned by him through his first $1-1 share company AUSTRALIAN INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENTS PTY LTD in which in turn he appears to be the only director, shareholder and company secretary)

14 December 2014 (an undated and unsigned letter purporting to support Mr. Euen)

25 November 2013 (anonymous document alleged to be a presentation at two-day Regional Ports Conference in 2013)

* The Snark is an absurd creature in a nonsense poem by Lewis Carroll published on April Fool’s Day 1876.

Who is not telling the truth in these Question Time exchanges?

Excerpts from the Australian House of Representatives Hansard, 13 May 2015:

Ms MACKLIN (Jagajaga) (14:34): My question is to the Prime Minister. Does the Prime Minister agree with the Minister for Social Services that mums who get more than 18 weeks paid leave at home with their new babies are 'rorters'? Or does he agree with his Treasurer, who believes they are committing fraud?
Mr ABBOTT (WarringahPrime Minister) (14:35): The premise of the question is simply false. I have seen too many members of the Labor Party verbal members of the coalition to accept that.
Ms PLIBERSEK (SydneyDeputy Leader of the Opposition) (14:41): My question is to the Prime Minister. Is the Prime Minister aware that Woolworths workers have negotiated an extra eight weeks parental leave? Why does the Prime Minister want to take this extra bonding time away from mothers and their babies? Does he agree with his ministers—
Government members interjecting
The SPEAKER: There will be silence on my right!
Ms PLIBERSEK: that these mothers are rorters and fraudsters?
Mr ABBOTT (WarringahPrime Minister) (14:42): Members opposite should stop telling lies about ministers in this government. They really should stop telling lies about ministers in this government.
The SPEAKER: I would remind the Prime Minister that the term 'lies' is unparliamentary and I would ask him to withdraw.
Mr ABBOTT: I was not accusing any particular member opposite of telling lies. But, Madam Speaker, to assist you, of course, I will withdraw. The claims that have been made by members opposite about statements by ministers in this government are simply false. The assertion that was made by the minister who asked the question again is simply false
Mr SHORTEN (MaribyrnongLeader of the Opposition) (14:50): My question is to the Prime Minister. Is the Prime Minister aware that the Victorian nurses have negotiated, in return for forgone wages, an additional 10 weeks of parental leave on top of the minimum paid parental leave? In the light of that, why are the Prime Minister and his ministers describing nurses, and indeed Woolies workers and 80,000 other new mums, as rorters?
Mr ABBOTT (WarringahPrime Minister) (14:51): I say again that members opposite should tell the truth. They should tell the truth. They should not tell lies, Madam Speaker. They should not do that. A moment ago, we just heard the phraseology of the Leader of the Opposition. We heard the phraseology from the member for Sydney. We heard the phraseology in particular of the member for Jagajaga. The member for Jagajaga said that the Treasurer was calling people taking paid parental leave from their employer and from the government fraudsters. That is what she said. This is dead wrong. I have the transcript. I defy the member for Sydney or any other member opposite to point to any time where the Treasurer used that word 'fraud'. You know who used the word 'fraud'? It was Laurie Oakes. That is who used the word 'fraud'. He said, This is basically fraud, isn't it?' And the Treasurer made it very clear that he supports people on paid parental leave.
Journalist Katherine Murphy writing in The Guardian on 14 May 2015:

From Scott Morrison’s official transcript – Sky News, 11 May:
Q: Sometimes employers don’t give generous programs. I know of a lawyer in Canberra she gets six weeks, how is that generous?

Scott Morrison:
Well she will get the balance through the paid parental leave scheme which is provided by the taxpayer. She will get the same thing as someone working for the bakery and that’s the important thing here we are getting rid of what is an inequity and frankly in many cases I think is a rort.

Treasurer Joe Hockey being interviewed by Laurie Oakes on 11 May 2015:

But this is basically fraud, isn't it, taking an allowance twice effectively? Who is doing it?

Well, it is, in many cases it’s mostly people who go on parental leave that earn more than $90,000 a year. But there are people at various levels who have been claiming parental leave payments from taxpayers, as well as from their employers. Given that our own paid parental leave scheme is not proceeding, we want to make sure that the system is fairer and that’s exactly what we are doing. [my red bolding]

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Best Meme of Budget Week 2015

Want to know how responsible the NSW North Coast Member for Page is for our economic, environmental & social predicament?

It would appear that Kevin Hogan is your run-of-the-mill hypocrite.

This is how Nationals MP for Page for the NSW North Coast finally presented himself to the electorate up to May 2015:

FEDERAL Member for Page Kevin Hogan has told Federal Parliament how a visit to the coal seam gas mining fields in Chinchilla convinced him to continue his opposition to CSG in the Clarence Valley.
On Thursday Mr Hogan addressed Federal Parliament about his concerns about the impact of CSG mining in his electorate.
He said he came to the conclusion that CSG was inappropriate for Page after he visited Chinchilla in Queensland in January 2013 to speak with community members about the impact of the industry there.
"I tried to envisage what the industry would look like in my region," he said.
"I could not see how the industry could work without being extremely invasive given the nature of our topography and small land owning. It would be exceptionally detrimental to neighbouring properties."....

* This is how the member for the federal seat of  Page, Nationals MP actually voted on key issues since 2006, according to Open Australia:

*Voted very strongly against a carbon price. votes
*Voted moderately against increasing scrutiny of asylum seeker management. votes
*Voted very strongly against increasing trade unions' powers in the workplace. votes
*Voted moderately against implementing refugee and protection conventions. votes
*Voted moderately for temporary protection visas. votes
*Voted very strongly for increasing or removing the debt limit. votes
*Voted very strongly against a minerals resource rent tax . votes
*Voted very strongly against increasing protection of Australia's fresh water. votes
*Voted strongly for regional processing of asylum seekers. votes
*Voted very strongly against increasing marine conservation. votes
*Voted very strongly for unconventional gas mining. votes
*Voted very strongly against restricting foreign ownership. votes
*Voted very strongly against increasing investment in renewable energy. votes
*Voted very strongly for privatising government assets. votes
*Voted very strongly against increasing funding for university education. votes
*Voted very strongly for increasing the price of subsidised medicine. votes
*Voted very strongly against increasing the age pension. votes
*Voted very strongly for decreasing availability of welfare payments. votes
*Voted very strongly for an emissions reduction fund. votes
*Voted very strongly for increasing funding for road infrastructure. votes
*Voted very strongly for decreasing ABC and SBS funding. votes [my red bolding{

Never rebels against their party in this parliament.

The day after the 2015-16 Budget was delivered......

ReachTEL conducted an opinion poll the day after the Abbott Government delivered its second budget on 13 May 2014.

Due to a number of media releases and ministerial interviews in the weeks before Budget Night these respondents would have possibly been aware of some of what was in the 2015-16 Budget aside from the actual contents of the Treasurer's budget night speech.

There appears to have been no immediate positive bounce for the Coalition in voting intention numbers and Tony Abbott is not seen as the preferred prime minister.

The majority of respondents did not see the budget as making themselves and their families financially better off, while less than half of those respondents identifying themselves as small business owners were inclined to see this budget as one that benefits them directly.

Comparing the two genders, women seem slightly less impressed by this budget than men. 

Question 1:
If a Federal election were to be held today, which of the following would receive your first preference vote? If you are undecided to which do you even have a slight leaning?

Two party preferred result based on 2013 election distribution

Vote intention by employment status:

Question 2:
Who of the following do you think would make the better Prime Minister?

Question 6:
Thinking about the federal budget announced last night; do you think you and your family will be financially better or worse off as a result?

NOTE: This survey was conducted using an automated telephone based survey system among 3,180 voters. Telephone numbers and the person within the household were selected at random. The results have been weighted by gender and age to reflect the population according to ABS figures. Please note that due to rounding, not all tables necessarily total 100% and subtotals may also vary. 

As Australia begins to move further into drought the Bureau of Meteorology confirms an El Niño and the Abbott Government dismantles Water Commission and cuts water funding

Australian Bureau of Meteorology confirms tropical Pacific now at El Niño levels

Media Release, 12 May 2015

The Bureau of Meteorology’s latest update on the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) today confirms El Niño thresholds have been reached in the tropical Pacific for the first time since March 2010.

Assistant Director for Climate Information Services, Mr Neil Plummer, said El Niño is often associated with below average rainfall across eastern Australia in the second half of the year, and warmer than average daytime temperatures over the southern half of the country.
“The onset of El Niño in Australia in 2015 is a little earlier than usual. Typically El Niño events commence between June and November,” Mr Plummer said.
“Prolonged El Niño-like conditions have meant that some areas are more vulnerable to the impact of warmer temperatures and drier conditions.
“The failed northern wet season in 2012–13, compounded by poor wet seasons in 2013-14 and 2014-15, have contributed to drought in parts of inland Queensland and northern New South Wales,” he said.
Mr Plummer noted that while the El Niño is forecast to strengthen during winter, the strength of an
El Niño does not necessarily correspond with its impact on Australian rainfall. Australia experienced widespread drought during a weak El Niño in 2006–07, while stronger events such as the El Niño event in 1997–98 had only a modest impact on Australian rainfall.
“Recent significant rainfall and flooding along the east coast of Australia, associated with two almost back-to-back East Coast Lows, did not penetrate far into inland regions and therefore have done little to alleviate conditions in drought affected areas,” Mr Plummer said.
While El Niño increases the risk of drought, it does not guarantee it; of the 26 El Niño events since 1900, 17 have resulted in widespread drought.
Despite El Niño increasing the likelihood of drier conditions later this year, the Bureau’s May to July Climate Outlook (see link below) indicates much of Australia is likely to be wetter than average.
This is being driven by warmer than average Indian Ocean sea surface temperatures, which are dominating this outlook.
Further information:
* The Bureau’s ENSO Wrap-Up is published at
* A video entitled Understanding ENSO can be viewed on YouTube
* May to July Climate Outlook
* An El Niño explainer article is published in The Conversation

In the same month that the Bureau confirmed the existence of a Pacific El Niño and 80 per cent of Queensland was officially drought declared - with northern New South Wales inland of the Great Dividing Range and an area stretching from southeastern South Australia and western Victoria also experiencing drought - the Abbott Government began to dismantle the National Water Commission, abolished the River Murray Water Committee and cut funding to the Sustainable Rural Water Use and Infrastructure Programme by $22.7 million over the next two financial years.

It seems that men still want female partners who are attractive, sweet, deferential and nurturing homemakers

A graph which clearly indicates the truth behind Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr’s observationplus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

Quote of the Week

Truly, it is a full metal panic in Abbott circles now to become an acceptable centrist government. [Macro Business, 8 May 2015]

Friday, 15 May 2015

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott is not the Minister For Women - he is the Minister for Violent Men

Destroy the Joint tally as of 12 May 2015

After cutting $30 million from affordable housing and crisis housing services in late 2014, only extending the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness which helps fund domestic violence refuges for another two years, then calling the rate of violence against women an "epidemic" in March 2015, the self-appointed federal Minister for Women Tony Abbott cannot be surprised at these reactions to his paltry effort in the 2015-16 Budget.

The Sydney Morning Herald 13 May 2015:

A partially-funded awareness campaign was the only domestic violence measure announced in the federal budget, leaving frontline workers aghast at critical funding gaps.

Not one out of nine crucial funding areas identified by family violence experts in a pre-budget report was filled, said Renee Carr, executive director of Fair Agenda, a community organisation that consulted a dozen experts to determine what budget funding was required to address the issue.

The only announcement was a $30 million awareness campaign, to which the federal government offered $16.7 million.

Crisis and counselling hotlines, men's behaviour programs, community legal centres, primary prevention initiatives and services for indigenous or culturally diverse communities were ignored.

Treasurer Joe Hockey said on Wednesday morning that there would be more announcements in the coming weeks but Ms Carr said Tuesday night was a chance for the government to put domestic violence front and centre after recognising that it had become a national epidemic.

"Last night was a test of the government's commitment to dealing with Australia's domestic violence crisis, and it's a test they failed," she said.

"Instead, we heard no new announcements of funding to tackle this issue."

In 2013-4, 423 people were turned away from homelessness agencies every night, many of them women escaping violence. In the same year, 150,000 people were turned away from receiving legal help through community legal centres, Fair Agenda's report said. 

Last year, 18,631 phone calls to the national hotline 1800RESPECT went unanswered. Domestic and Family Violence Crisis Lines Australia also expects demand to grow 40 per cent in the next year.

Karen Willis, executive officer of Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia, which administers 1800RESPECT, said they required an extra $2 million to ensure one in four calls don't go unanswered.....

Analysis of the budget announcement shows (as at 14 May 2015):

* 1800 RESPECT – received no additional funding in the budget
* Community legal centres – had no additional funding provided in the budget; and with cuts in the funding model in some jurisdictions, and cuts made in the forward estimates (from mid 2017), NACLC expect turn aways from Community Legal Centres will get worse.
* Family Violence Prevention Legal Services – received no additional funding in the budget
* Homelessness – received the previously announced $230 million to extend the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness. This doesn't include indexation which means a real cut to services of $12.58 million (over the current year and two years of extension). Services can't meet the increasing demand without sufficient and fair increases, so we can expect more women will be turned away unless this is rectified.
* Men’s behavior change programs – received no new funding
* Primary prevention – no additional investment in strategies for primary prevention. Unless that becomes the focus of the still to be defined national awareness campaign. Regardless, investment is still vastly inadequate.
* Family & relationship services – it’s unclear if any additional funding has been provided for these services.
*Services for culturally and linguistically diverse communities – it’s unclear if any additional funding has been provided.