Showing posts with label #MorrisonGovernmentFAIL. Show all posts
Showing posts with label #MorrisonGovernmentFAIL. Show all posts

Thursday, 2 May 2019

Dozens of Centrelink clients have had their names published on Facebook by a Commonwealth-funded work-for-the-dole provider



ABC News, 26 April 2019:

Dozens of Centrelink clients have had their names published online in what has been described as a "shocking" abuse of privacy.

A Commonwealth-funded work-for-the-dole provider uploaded lists of people who were required to attend client meetings to a public Facebook page.

"We are at a loss as to why anyone would post about workers' appointments online," union official Lara Watson said.

"We were shocked at the publication of names on a social media platform."

The incidents are the latest to emerge from the Government's flagship remote employment scheme, the Community Development Programme (CDP).

Nearly 50 people from the Northern Territory community of Galiwinku, located 500 kilometres east of Darwin, were affected.

The job service provider, the Arnhem Land Progress Association (ALPA), established the social media page apparently with the intention of uploading such lists.

"Welcome to our Facebook page where we will be posting appointments, courses and CDP information," it wrote last month.

The two sheets of names were posted to the Galiwinku CDP page on March 11 and 12.

Both images were shared to another local Facebook group titled Elcho Island Notice Board, which has more than 2,000 members.

One CDP insider denounced the online uploads, saying they were unprecedented and could have placed job seekers at risk.

"If a person has a family violence order in place to protect them, then perhaps the perpetrator would know where she was," said the source, who requested anonymity.

"It advertised that a person is accessing welfare services, and unfortunately in Australia there's discrimination against people accessing welfare services.

"People can be bullied for being unemployed."

The Galiwinku CDP page appears to have since been removed from the internet but the organisation denied any wrongdoing.

"We do not believe that this is a breach of confidentiality," an ALPA spokeswoman said.....

"All ALPA CDP participants give … media consent when they commence as a participant."......

Friday, 26 April 2019

"Stop Adani" convoy gets good reception as it passes through the NSW Northern Rivers region


Supporters at Ferry Park, Maclean, on Pacific Highway heading north
Photo: The Daily Examiner online

The Daily Examiner
, 22 April 2019, p.4:

Protesters came out in support of the anti-Adani convoy as it made its way through the Clarence Valley yesterday.

Up to 180 cars, many of them electric, decorated in “Stop Adani” paraphernalia made their way along the Pacific Highway as part of a two-week campaign, organised by conservationist Bob Brown, to stop the proposed Carmichael coal mine.

Karen von Ahlefeldt said many in the convoy stopped for a chat and were “boosted” by the show of support.

“A lot of people standing there wished they could be on the convoy, this was a good chance for them to be part of it,” Ms von Ahlefeldt said.

Clarence Valley Councillor and Greens party member Greg Clancy stood at South Grafton waving on the cars as they made their way north.

“Politicians are not listening, and some of the public don’t understand,” Cr Clancy said.

“They think it is jobs, we need coal, but we don’t, we are phasing it out. Coal is not the future, it is the past.”

He said it was unthinkable to “dig up more of the Galilee Basin” and the proposed coal mine would be “contributing to climate change”.

Cr Clancy said movements such as the convoy were important steps to making change.

“Bob Brown has said this is going to be another Franklin River issue,” he said.
“People are not going to stand by. There will be protests, there will be arrests, it will be big.”

“You just have to look at how many vehicles have gone past today to know it’s going to be big.”

Mr Clancy called on politicians to commit to oppose the Queensland mine ahead of the federal election next month.

Friday, 19 April 2019

In the face of grave concerns Morrison Government pushes through Adani mining consent ahead of the 18 May general election, CSIRO rolls over & Geoscience lets the cat out of the bag


The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) attempts to avoid embarrassing the Morrison Coalition Government on the day it announced a federal election date:

CSIRO Statement, 11 April 2019:

In late 2018 and early 2019 CSIRO and Geoscience Australia wrote two reports for the Federal Government on specific questions on groundwater monitoring, management and modelling planned by Adani Pty Ltd for its Carmichael mine proposal in central Queensland.

This advice was limited to answering discrete inquiries on whether elements of Adani's proposed plans would be adequate to protect nationally significant environmental assets.
CSIRO identified inadequacies in the plans and was subsequently asked to review Adani's response to the recommendations CSIRO made to address the issues raised, as summarised by the Department of the Environment and Energy. Adani had committed to address the modelling limitations identified by the CSIRO and GA review in a groundwater model re-run to be undertaken within two years.
CSIRO considered that this commitment satisfied its recommendations, while also acknowledging there were still some issues that need to be addressed in future approvals, particularly confirming the source of the ecologically-important Doongmabulla Springs.
CSIRO has provided robust, peer-reviewed science on specific groundwater modelling-related questions about the plans. CSIRO's role is to provide scientific advice to inform approval processes, but it does not have any role in making approval decisions.

The public broadcaster reports in greater detail and with less reticence when detailing facts of the matter…….

ABC News, 18 April 2019:

Handwritten documents obtained by the ABC appear to directly contradict the Environment Minister Melissa Price that Adani "accepted in full" changes sought by scientists to limit the impact of its controversial Queensland coal mine.

Announcing her decision to approve Adani's water management plans for its Carmichael mine earlier this month, Ms Price said Adani "accepted in full" advice from the CSIRO and Geoscience Australia.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison also maintained the Government would "make all decisions based on the expert advice from ... Geoscience Australia and the CSIRO".
"We have always been following the advice of the scientists and we'll continue to do that," he said.

The advice was provided in a damning review in February of the company's plans.
But documents provided to the ABC showed Adani refused to accept key scientific findings and recommendations about its water management plans.

The ABC has obtained notes taken by three attendees of a phone hook up on April 5 involving senior officials from the Department of Environment and Energy and staff from Geoscience Australia.

The documents show the government science agency was concerned the water plans could allow Adani's mine to breach the conditions of its environment approval.

However, Adani would not accept the need for corrective action if that occurred.

The notes said that Adani refused to:
  • acknowledge the scientists' key finding that the model Adani used to estimate the mine's impacts was not fit for purpose;
  • accept that a new model could show that the mine's impacts would breach environmental approvals; and
  • commit to corrective action if the new model showed greater impacts on the environment than Adani had claimed would occur.
A separate briefing note from the Department of Environment and Energy shows Adani also refused to consider scaling back its mining operation to minimise its impacts, despite being asked to do so.

The ABC requested the meeting notes under freedom of information (FOI) laws, but Geoscience Australia took the unusual step of releasing the documents immediately instead.

The briefing happened after the Department of Environment and Energy had already advised the Minister to approve the plans, which had been finalised the previous month.

One set of notes was taken by Geoscience Australia chief Dr James Johnson, another by head of environmental geoscience Dr Stuart Minchin, and the third by senior executive Dr Richard Blewett.

A handwritten note by Dr Blewett mentions concerns held by Jane Coram, the head of CSIRO's land and water division.

She complained the science agencies had "not seen the revised plan" set to be approved, and that they were expected to take the summary of it at "face value".

After the meeting, Ms Price published a statement announcing, "Geoscience Australia and the CSIRO have provided written assurances that these steps address their recommendations."

A spokesman for Ms Price said she was not present at the meeting.

"Decisions were made between the department officers, Geoscience Australia and the CSIRO on the proper scientific assessment of the issues and no other factor," the spokesman said.

But the notes show the scientific agencies were asked by the Minister's department to give formal assurances that Adani's commitments met their concerns in language acceptable to the Government.

"Gov[ernment] is keen for assurance," the notes taken by CEO of Geoscience Australia, James Johnson said.

"Ideal for gov[ernment]: letter from me to [Mr Finn Pratt] saying based on extensive briefing from [Department of Environment and Energy] on Adani addresses the concerns raised."

Fin Pratt is the head of the Department of Environment and Energy.

In his handwritten notes of the meeting, Mr Johnson said the Government was keen for an assurance "based on discussion briefing" from the department, but he scribbled that out and changed it to "based on extensive briefing".

The Minister subsequently published a letter from Mr Johnson to Mr Pratt saying: "Thank you for the extensive briefing ... Based on this briefing Geoscience Australia is of the view that Adani have addressed the issues and concerns raised in our recommendations."

Ms Price's spokesman told the ABC no pressure was placed on the science agencies.

"Any suggestion of pressure in that process is rejected in the strongest possible terms and is insulting to the integrity of the experts concerned," he said.

Adani said in a statement it could not comment on the content of the documents.

"Adani was not privy to internal briefing documents or discussions that the Federal Department of Environment and Energy may have provided to Geoscience Australia and CSIRO, consequently we are unable to comment as to their contents."

'Advice to Adani that they refused'

The briefing notes listed in point form the "advice to Adani that they refused".

These included a recommendation Adani acknowledge their modelling "is not fit for purpose" and that a "new model could revise impacts [to be] greater than [what] has been approved".

"So told Adani — if new model shows greater impact than current model, they have to sort it out [with] corrective [actions]", the notes said.

"They refused."

Before the verbal briefing to Geoscience Australia, the Department Environment and Energy prepared a summary of Adani's response to concerns raised by Geoscience Australia and the CSIRO, which was provided to the two agencies.

The summary was published by the Department of Environment and Energy.

That document shows Adani declined to commit to a reduced mine plan, or to cutting back coal extraction, as suggested by the Department Environment and Energy in response to the damning report on its groundwater management model and plans by Geoscience Australia and the CSIRO.

It also shows Adani negotiated compromise outcomes in response to some of the scientists' concerns and rejected other measures that the two agencies sought.

There were gaps between what was included in that document and what was apparently outlined in the verbal briefing to Geoscience Australia staff.

The notes of the verbal briefing the department gave to the scientists said that Adani committed to a "maximum timetable of three months" for conducting an investigation if water use limits were triggered — a demand of both CSIRO and Geoscience Australia.

In fact, the response Adani formally agreed to is less watertight: "If the groundwater level thresholds exceedance is because of authorised mining activities, the investigation will be prioritised and, depending on the nature of the impact, completed within three months."

Adani told the ABC it was not provided directly with the advice by CSIRO and Geoscience Australia until after the Government approved the plans. Instead it responded to summaries made by the Department of Environment and Energy.

Minister faced intense pressure to approve mine

Ms Price faced intense pressure from her own side of politics to approve Adani's water management plans before the federal election was called.

Queensland LNP Senator James McGrath warned he would publicly call for Ms Price's resignation unless she did the "right thing" by Adani, and Queensland's LNP executive condemned what it called her "delay" in approval.

In the wake of the Federal Government's sign-off on the water management plans, Adani is pressing the Queensland Government to complete a series of other, state-based approvals that are needed before mining can commence.

When Ms Price announced that she had approved the water management plans — just one working day after CSIRO and Geoscience Australia were briefed on Adani's responses to their concerns — the Environment Minister said:
"I have accepted the scientific advice and therefore approved the groundwater management plans for the Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail Infrastructure project under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
"Both CSIRO and Geoscience Australia have confirmed the revised plans meet strict scientific requirements."

The Queensland Government is yet to approve construction as it seeks to protect a colony of black-throated finches around the mine site.

Even if construction is fully signed off, the project still requires more approvals to be granted from the Queensland and Commonwealth governments before coal can be dug out of the ground.

In an official statement to the ABC, a spokesperson for Geoscience Australia said it stood by their earlier statement that Adani's actions addressed the concerns raised in their technical advice.

"Adani did not acknowledge our advice that their groundwater model was not fit for purpose, and indicated they would not revise the model in the short term," the spokesperson said.

They said despite that, additional monitoring and mitigation Adani did agree to do satisfied their concerns.

Geoscience Australia said it was not pressured to provide the Government assurance.

The United Nations has taken a position on Adani Group mining consents after the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners Council put their case to this international body last year and, it has asked the Australian Government not to proceed with granting consents until after the High Court appeal by this traditional owners group is heard in May 2019

A request the Morrison Government saw fit to ignore.

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

No matter how had they dance and prance Scott Morrison & Co just can't turn Newspoll around


Only 32 days out from the 2019 federal election and the losing streak is not yet over for the Morrison Government.

The last time the Coalition were ahead on a Newspoll Two Party Preferred (TPP) basis was on 2 July 2016 when the Turnbull Government stood at 50.5 per cent on the day of the 2016 federal election.

Which means the losing streak has now stretched to a little over 33 months.

52nd Newpoll results – published 15 April 2019:

Primary Vote – Labor 39 percent (up 2 points) to Liberal-Nationals 39 per cent (up 1 point), The Greens 9 per cent (unchanged), One Nation 4 per cent (down 2 points).

Two Party Preferred (TPP) - Labor 52 per cent (unchanged) to Liberal-Nationals Coalition 48 per cent (up 1 point).

Voter Net Satisfaction With Leaders’ Performance – Prime Minister Scott Morrison 1 point (down 1 point) and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten -14 points (unchanged).

If a federal election had been held on14 April 2019 based of the preference flow in July 2016, then Labor would have won government with a majority 82 seats (unchanged since 7 April poll ) to the Coalition's 63 seats (unchanged since 7 April poll) in the House of Representatives.

According to Antony Green's Swing Calculator the 11-14 April 2019 Newspoll results will see Labor gain the Page electorate and retain the Richmond electorate, with Cowper electorate being retained by the Nationals.

Sunday, 14 April 2019

Morrison Government caught out attempting to retrospectively censor native bird export information


The Guardian, 4 April 2019:

The Australian government has attempted to retrospectively censor critical information related to exports of rare and exotic birds to a German organisation headed by a convicted kidnapper, fraudster and extortionist.

Guardian Australia revealed late last year that Australia had permitted the export of 232 birds, some worth tens of thousands of dollars, to the Brandenburg-based Association for the Conservation of Threatened Parrots (ACTP) between 2015 and November 2018.

Conservation groups and federal politicians had repeatedly expressed concern about the group, which is headed by Martin Guth, a man with multiple criminal convictions.
The Guardian’s investigation relied on internal government documents secured through freedom of information laws, released in August.

Guardian Australia made subsequent freedom of information requests and received further documents in January. But the federal department of environment has now attempted to retrospectively redact parts of the documents, saying it accidentally released information it shouldn’t have.

Some of the inadvertently released information could “facilitate fraudulent export applications”, the department said. The department had also accidentally released “personal information, such as birth dates and name, and confidential business information”.

The department has asked Guardian Australia to destroy its copies of the documents, and not further disseminate the newly redacted details.

“While we understand that the FOI decisions have already been made, and that you are under no obligation to follow the department’s wishes, we kindly request that you either: destroy the documents that the department has previously released to you and instead, use the redacted documents attached to this letter; or otherwise ensure that the information in question … is not further disclosed or made publicly available,” the department said in a letter emailed to the Guardian on Wednesday, but dated last month.

The documents have not been published on the department’s online FOI disclosure log. The department’s stance suggests that other parties – journalists or conservation groups, for example – would be subject to the newly introduced redactions if they requested the same documents.

Freedom of information experts say the government’s actions have “no legal basis”……

The new redactions remove details that made it possible for Guardian Australia to establish that the operator of ACTP’s Netherlands facility was convicted in 2015 of involvement as a buyer in a trading ring that was illegally selling protected exotic birds.

The department has also removed identification numbers for the birds that were exported to Germany, arguing that its original decision to release that information could lead to “fraudulent” exports of Australian birds overseas.

It has also blacked out permit numbers from the export permits issued in Australia, the names of individuals who operate other ACTP facilities in Germany and in other countries, and removed information relating to ACTP’s exemption status from corporate tax.

The redactions remove images of ACTP’s main breeding facility and maps that illustrate its layout.

In recent months, Guardian Australia has been trying to establish whether the department undertook adequate due diligence to ensure that all of the birds sent to ACTP were legally captive bred.

But the department has refused to release names of suppliers in Australia that would show the chain of custody for each of the birds before they were exported to Germany. Those details were redacted from FoI documents released to the Guardian in January and from documents tabled after an order for the production of documents in parliament.

Attempts by government agencies to retrospectively recover or redact FOI documents have previously been found to have no lawful basis under NSW freedom of information law. Landcom, the NSW government’s land and property development organisation, attempted to retrieve documents it had accidentally released to a school committee group in 2005, and took its case to the NSW Administrative Decisions Tribunal.

The tribunal found it had no power whatsoever to retrieve previously released FOI documents.

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

National Redress Scheme: Morrison Government's deviation from royal commission recommendations without sound evidence had been "to the detriment of the scheme and against the interests of survivors"


Sadly Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his political cronies continue to wage war on the poor and vulnerable without exception.

This time it is victims of insitutional child sexual abuse they are trying to deny access to compensation and to unfairly limit the amount of compensation recommended by the Royal Commission into Insitutional Response to Child Sexual Abuse.

Herald Sun, 4 April 2019:

THE Federal Government must explain how it capped National Redress Scheme payments to child sex survivors at $150,000 rather than a recommended $200,000, said a parliamentary committee left "deeply dissatisfied" when it was unable to find an answer during a review of the scheme.

The $150,000 cap was rammed into legislation after the Turnbull Government warned any push to lift it would delay the scheme's implementation by 18 months.

But the committee's unsuccessful attempts to solve the mystery has left survivors believing $150,000 was chosen because it matched Anglican and Catholic maximum payments, a joint select committee reviewing the scheme found.

"The committee is deeply dissatisfied that the maximum payment amount has been reduced and that no clear explanation has been provided about why this occurred or who advocated for this reduction," the report released on Wednesday said.

"The committee has tried to ascertain the reason for the reduction in the maximum payment and has put this question to various witnesses, including Department of Social Services and the Department of Human Services on numerous occasions. 

However, apart from acknowledging that $150,000 was the amount agreed to between the Commonwealth, states, and territories, the committee has not received any explanation or rationale about this discrepancy."

The committee, headed by Senator Derryn Hinch with Newcastle MP Sharon Claydon as deputy chair, was told more than 3000 people had applied for redress by February 28 after its launch on July 1, 2018, but only 88 cases were finalised, with fewer than 10 survivors paid between $100,000 and $150,000.

At least one person received the maximum $150,000.

"The committee recommends that the government clearly and openly explain how the maximum payments came to be set at $150,000 rather than $200,000, and the rationale for this decision," it said in one of 29 recommendations. The committee recommended amending legislation to lift the cap to $200,000.

The cross-party committee made up of four Liberal members, three Labor, one Green and Senator Hinch issued a damning assessment of parts of the redress scheme that vary from recommendations by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in 2017.

They include an assessment matrix that restricts maximum payments to penetrative child sexual abuse, counselling capped at $5000 and excluding people with serious criminal convictions or making applications from jail.

The criminal conviction and jail exclusions would "disproportionately impact" Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who made up almost one third of survivors seen by royal commissioners during private sessions in jail.
"This is an alarming statistic," the committee said.

Ms Claydon said the Federal Government's deviation from royal commission recommendations without sound evidence had been "to the detriment of the scheme and against the interests of survivors".

BACKGROUND


On 20 June 2017 the House of Representatives agreed to a Senate resolution that a joint select committee on oversight of the implementation of redress related recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse be established following the tabling of the final report of the Royal Commission.

Excerpts from Joint Committee's report:

Intrinsic to a survivor's access to redress are the institutions responsible for the sexual abuse and their decision to join the scheme. While all states and territories are now participating in the scheme, there are no mechanisms to force private institutions to join the scheme. Yet survivors will not be able to obtain redress if the institution responsible for their abuse refuses to join the scheme. This is both unfair and unacceptable. Plainly, more needs to be done to pressure non-participating institutions to join the scheme, and provide survivors with access to redress....

Central to the redress scheme are the survivors. Wherever possible, the scheme should be an inclusive scheme that does not exclude groups of survivors. Currently, certain groups of survivors are either not eligible for redress or are subject to potentially arbitrary decisions when seeking permission to apply for redress. The government has suggested that some of these exclusions are necessary to protect the scheme from particular risks, such as fraud, while others are necessary to ensure the efficient administration of the scheme. These are not sufficient justifications to unilaterally exclude large groups of survivors, who would otherwise have a legitimate claim, from accessing redress.

Recommendation 14
8.94 The committee recommends that the government clearly and openly explain how the maximum payments came to be set at $150 000 rather than $200 000, and the rationale for this decision.

Recommendation 15
8.95 In line with the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, the committee recommends that Commonwealth, state and territory governments agree to increase the maximum redress payment from $150 000 to $200 000.

Recommendation 16
8.100 In line with the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, the committee recommends that Commonwealth, state and territory governments implement a minimum payment of $10 000 for the monetary component of redress, noting that in practice some offers may be lower than $10 000 after relevant prior payments to the survivor by the responsible institution are considered, or after calculating a non-participating institution's share of the costs.

The full April 2019 Joint Standing Committee report can be read here.

NOTE:

The Anglican Diocese of Grafton on the NSW North Coast has now joined the National Redress Scheme.

Monday, 8 April 2019

The Morrison Government's Budget 2019-20 appears to be fooling very few



By 26 August 2018 North Coast Voices was posting this……


On this list are individuals who have:
* not yet been approved for home care;
* been previously assessed and approved, but who have not yet been assigned a home care package; or
* are receiving care at an interim level awaiting assignment of a home care package at their approved level.

Waiting time is calculated from the date of a home care package approval and this is not a an ideal situation, given package approval times range from est. 27 to 98 days and the time taken to approve high level home care packages is now [more] than twelve months - with actual delivery dates occurring at least 12 months later on average….

By June 2017 New South Wales had the largest number of persons on the home care waiting list at 30,685.

Given the high number of residents over 60 years of age in regional areas like the Northern Rivers, this waiting list gives pause for thought.

This was the Morrison Government announcement of 17 December 2018 reported online…….

Community Care Review magazine, 17 December 2018:

The federal government has announced $553 million in aged care spending including the release of 10,000 home care packages and increased residential supplements for the homeless and people in regional areas.

The splash-out is a centerpiece of the federal government’s Mid Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook, which forecasts a return to budget surplus and a raft of new aged care spending initiatives.

The new high-care home care packages will be available within weeks, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said. Funding will be split across 5,000 level 3 and 5,000 level 4 care packages, providing up to $50,000 per person in services each year.

This is the Morrison Government pretending that the 10,000 aged care packages it announced last year are a new round of age care packages in Budget 2019-20……

Budget Papers 2019-20:

To support older Australians who choose to remain in their own homes for longer, the Government is providing $282.4 million for 10,000 home care packages….

However, not everyone was fooled……

The Conversation, 2 April 2019:

In aged care, the government will fund 10,000 home care packages, which have been previously announced, at a cost of $282 million over five years, and will allocate $84 million for carer respite. But long wait times for home care packages remain.