Thursday, 7 March 2013

STATE OF PLAY: Australian Liberal-Nationals State Governments in 2013

Five out of the eight Australian state and territory governments are part of the Liberal-Nationals political network.
All is not well within that network………


THE resignation of trouble-prone Queensland arts minister Ros Bates has been followed by Campbell Newman's sacking of hand-picked public service boss Michael Caltabiano.
Just hours after Ms Bates resigned - the third minister to go since Mr Newman won office last year - the Premier announced he had given notice to Mr Caltabiano, a friend who he had personally appointed as director-general of the Department of Transport and Main Roads.
Mr Caltabiano, a fellow councillor with Mr Newman at Brisbane's city hall, was stood down as director-general last year over comments he made to an estimates hearing.
He is subject to an ongoing Crime and Misconduct Commission investigation into his department's appointment to a senior role of Benjamin Gommers, son of Ms Bates.
The former Liberal MP and factional powerbroker stepped down when he was referred to the parliamentary ethics committee for allegedly misinforming an estimates hearing about his work history. [The Australian 15 February 2013]

A complaint about former federal treasurer Peter Costello lodged with Queensland's Crime and Misconduct Commission highlights potential conflicts of interest between his job overseeing the future of the state's finances and his ownership of a lobby group representing companies that could benefit from state asset sales. [The Age 7 March 2013]

REDCLIFFE MP Scott Driscoll claims he has received "many calls and the personal support from Premier Campbell Newman" since revelations about links to a community association being probed over alleged financial irregularities were reported in The Courier-Mail.
Mr Driscoll last week wrote to local LNP members assuring them he had the Premier's backing amid what he called a "disgusting and base level campaign".
"We have shared several stories about the similar campaign of lies and slurs he and his family suffered from during the last state election campaign," Mr Driscoll wrote.
A spokesman for the Premier declined to comment on the letter or comment on whether taxpayer funds had been used to pay for the mail-out.
It comes as The Courier-Mail can reveal the premises of the taxpayer-funded Regional Community Association of Moreton Bay, linked to Mr Driscoll and under investigation by federal and state departments, have been provided free to the LNP for political meetings. [The Courier Mail 7 March 2013]


DENIS Napthine was last night sworn in as Victorian Premier after Ted Baillieu succumbed to the turmoil that has pushed the Coalition government close to collapse.
A tearful Mr Baillieu announced his resignation hours after the shock decision of backbencher Geoff Shaw to quit the parliamentary party and move to the crossbenches.
That decision means that the Coalition government could be ousted from office unless it can win Mr Shaw's support on key legislation, including the budget and any possible vote of no confidence. [The Australian 7 March 2013]


The leadership of Northern Territory Chief Minister Terry Mills may again be under a cloud, following the resignation of his deputy.
Mr Mills, who came to office last August in a landslide, has been under pressure after his party polled badly in a recent by-election.
There has been criticism of the Country Liberal Party's (CLP) decision to raise power prices by 30 per cent, and to commit to spending cutbacks, which the party said were needed to slash debt.
On Tuesday in a short statement, Robyn Lambley, who is Deputy Chief Minister, Treasurer and Education Minister among other portfolios, announced she was resigning her post as deputy. [Yahoo News 5 March 2013]

INDIGENOUS Advancement Minister Alison Anderson has threatened to bring down the Territory Government by taking her four-strong Bush Coalition out of the CLP. [Northern Territory News 7 March2013]

UPDATE: Sky news reported the Country Liberals partyroom voted 11-5 to unseat former leader Terry Mills, who is in Japan and was told by phone. [The Age 13 March 2013]


SECRET Cabinet documents reveal Colin Barnett met James Packer about Perth's $1 billion stadium months before approving the Burswood location - despite the Premier later telling Parliament the meeting "had nothing to do with'' the venue.
In revelations that will focus intense scrutiny on the Premier's dealings with billionaire casino magnate Mr Packer, the June 27, 2011, Cabinet document, in which Burswood is ratified as the preferred site, details how their meeting three months earlier specifically examined the stadium and its relationship to Mr Packer's nearby casino and entertainment complex. [Perth Now 2 February 2013]

The Liberal Party is a minority government, dependent on support from independents and the Nationals (who are not in a formal coalition). [The Australian 7 February 2013]


A PROMINENT Liberal Party figure known for his fund-raising prowess, Nick di Girolamo, was appointed to a $100,000 position on the board of a state-owned corporation by the NSW government last year. [The Sydney Morning Herald 2 March 2013]

Mr Lockley also concluded the $3 million the Obeids paid to Australian Water Holdings, which he said also came from the coal venture, was wrongly recorded in the Obeid accounts as a loan. Mr Lockley said it should have been recorded as an investment.
Nick di Girolamo, head of AWH and an Obeid family friend, has told the Herald the $3 million was a personal loan from Mr Obeid's son Eddie jnr. [The Sydney Morning Herald 6 March 2013]

Australian Water Holdings has extensive connections with the Liberal Party. In the past five years it has donated at least $80,000 to the Coalition, and has used Michael Photios, a member of the NSW Liberal Party's state executive, as a lobbyist.
Mr Di Girolamo said he had also held meetings with other members of the NSW cabinet, including the Water Minister, Greg Pearce, and the Treasurer, Mike Baird.
For a time, a director on the board of the company's Queensland subsidiary was Santo Santoro, a former minister in the Howard government who resigned in disgrace for failing to properly declare his shareholdings.
The company also employs John Wells, a spin doctor with extensive Liberal Party connections.
For almost three years until November last year, the federal senator and former finance director of the Liberal Party, Arthur Sinodinos, was the chairman of Australian Water Holdings.
Last week, Mr Sinodinos said he, too, had 5 per cent of the company as part of his role, and he has recorded a shareholding in the company in his parliamentary pecuniary interest register.
But Mr Sinodinos's name is absent from the company's official share register filed with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. Instead, Mr Sinodinos said, Mr Di Girolamo was holding the shares on his behalf.
Asked why the shares are not publicly registered with the corporate regulator, Mr Sinodinos said: ''Because it was on a gentleman's agreement.''
He said his agreement was that the trigger for the shares to be registered in his name was ''some realisation event''. He also said it would not be inaccurate to say a successful PPP was one such event.
Since 1992, the company has been paid $580 million to roll out infrastructure to new housing estates in Sydney's north-west on behalf of Sydney Water Corporation.
Mr Di Girolamo has already had a significant win since the Coalition took government in March last year.
In January this year, his company and Sydney Water entered a new 25-year exclusive agreement to give it the sole right to project manage the remaining half-a-billion dollars of water infrastructure work in the north-west growth centre. [The Sydney Morning Herald 12 December 2012]

A LEADING Sydney barrister has raised doubts about whether authorities properly investigated what criminal charges could be laid against the former state MP Steve Cansdell.
Greg James, QC, who is a retired Supreme Court judge, believes Mr Cansdell could be charged for making a false statement on oath under the provisions of the Crimes Act for his admission he lied on a statutory declaration to avoid losing his driver's licence.
Mr Cansdell, who was the member for Clarence and parliamentary secretary for police, quit the NSW Parliament shortly after the 2011 election after the admission. He said one of his then staff members, Kath Palmer, was driving when his car was caught by a speed camera in 2005. [The Sydney Morning Herald 28 February 2013]

1 comment:

sue said...

Thank you, as you have just made my day. The NT certainly has colourful Cabinet meetings and the reporting of it is even better.