Thursday, 25 December 2014

******Have a Merry Festive Season & A Happy New Year******

The blog will be on holidays between 25 - 31 December 2014
We looking forward to seeing you all again in 2015

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Santa's sleigh journey to Australia tonight

Notice issued by Airservices to all airlines operating in airspace over Australia on the night of Wednesday 24 December 2014 with flight details for SLEIGH RIDER 1:

This year Santa will be coming in from New Zealand and going first to Tasmania, flying up to Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory, then onto New South Wales and taking his sleigh further up into Queensland, before turning down again to South Australia and then going across to West Australia before finally going to the Northern Territory and then leaving Australia for Papua New Guinea and Indonesia.

All boys and girls need to be in bed once it gets dark outside.

Give 'em a good fright for Christmas

Despite the Martin Place siege having no apparent links to ISIL or to terrorism generally, Rupert and Tony are doing their best to usher in Christmas with a scary tale or two…….

There are people who would do us harm and can do us harm 
[Prime Minister Tony Abbott during his latest Christmas news conference]

Something to think about when disposing of all that festive season packaging

The estimated amount of plastic in the world's ocean represented by Blue Whales, the largest creature in the sea reaching up to 100 feet (30 meters) long and weighing over 200 tons (181 metric tons).
2150bluewhales From Grist 10 December 2014

IN LIMBO: NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption reports on Operation Credo & Operation Spicer investigations

To misquote a well known saying; the mills of justice grind slowly. So it is likely that voters in New South Wales will cast their ballots in the 28 March 2015 state election without knowing the Commission's recommendations regarding those politicians, political staffers and businessmen identified as having behaved in an allegedly corrupt manner.

These three media releases and one newspaper article encapsulate the legal difficulties facing current and possibly future corruption investigations by the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption.

ICAC Operation Hale public inquiry
Friday 5 December 2014

Today's majority decision of the NSW Court of Appeal with respect to the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC)'s Operation Hale public inquiry fundamentally affects the scope of the Commission's powers to conduct investigations into corrupt conduct.
It is critical to the exercise of the Commission's powers generally that the construction of section 8 of the ICAC Act is settled.
Accordingly, the ICAC will seek leave to appeal to the High Court of Australia.
The Commission will be making no further comment at this stage.
Media contact: ICAC Manager Communications & Media, Nicole Thomas, 02 8281 5799 / 0417 467 801

Statement regarding Operations Credo and Spicer
Friday 5 December 2014

The majority decision in Cunneen v ICAC [2014] NSWCA 421 fundamentally alters the basis of the Commission's powers with respect to significant parts of Operations Credo and Spicer.
 The Commission is seeking special leave in the High Court of Australia as a matter of urgency.
 Until the proceedings are resolved, the Commission will not complete the reports in Operations Credo and Spicer.
 The Commission will be making no further comment at this stage.

Media contact: ICAC Manager Communications & Media, Nicole Thomas, 02 8281 5799 / 0417 467 801

Law Courts Building, Queen's Square, Sydney

AT 2:15 PM


Matt Grey
Deputy Registrar

The Sydney Morning Herald 12 December 2014:

The High Court is set to have the final say about whether the Independent Commission Against Corruption can investigate Crown prosecutor Margaret Cunneen over allegations she perverted the course of justice.

Chief Justice Robert French on Friday referred the commission's application for special leave to appeal a ruling shutting down its investigation into Ms Cunneen, SC, to the full court of the High Court, which will hear the appeal in March.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

How much did Prime Minister Abbott's travel itinerary cost taxpayers in the first half of 2014?

Looks good doesn’t it? Nada costs for Tony’s domestic air flights and no plane charters according to the Summary of Parliamentary Expenditure for the first half of 2014.

Except that the gentleman in question often costs Australian taxpayers $1,000 plus for domestic flights in his VIP special purpose aircraft – and that’s by splitting the nominal (rather than actual) flight cost between him and every member of his entourage.

Then there are the ghost flights when an empty VIP special purpose aircraft has to pick up the Prime Minister, Ministers, MPs or the Governor-General away from Canberra or for an empty aircraft to return to its Canberra base.

These empty plane costs appear typical:

$14,520 Canberra to Perth
$12,540 Kununarra to Canberra
$12,540 Canberra to Tindal
$12,210 Darwin to Canberra
$11,220 Tindal to Canberra
$11,220 Pearce to Canberra
$6,270 Maryborough to Canberra
$5,610 Canberra to Maryborough
$4,950 Canberra to Adelaide
$4,290 Adelaide to Canberra
$2.640 Melbourne to Canberra
$1,980 Canberra to Sydney
$1,980 Sydney to Canberra

So when Abbott flies from Canberra to Sydney (with members of his personal staff in the 2013-14 end of year parliamentary break) for a total of $1,350 - it will cost taxpayers an additional $2,310 to fly the aircraft and crew back to Canberra.

Rather obligingly the Royal Australian Air Force makes its records public: