Showing posts with label Liberal Party of Australia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Liberal Party of Australia. Show all posts

Thursday, 9 August 2018

Is Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton value for money?


Australia's millionaire Minister for Home Affairs and Liberal MP for Dickson Peter Dutton has gathered to himself a lucrative salary worth in the vicinity of $478,068 per annum, before any parliamentary entitlements are realised.

The Prime Minister's annual salary is only a little under $50,000 more than this, while the U.S, President's annual salary is apparently around AU$70,000 less than Dutton's annual payment for services rendered.

So is Peter Dutton giving taxpayers value for the revenue dollars they supply.

It honestly doesn't appear to be the case if this audit is any indication.


On 18 July 2017, the Prime Minister announced that the government had decided to establish a Home Affairs portfolio which would have responsibility for:

federal law enforcement;
national security;
transport security;
criminal justice;
emergency management;
immigration and multicultural affairs; and
border-related functions.

The Department of Home Affairs has assumed all of the department’s functions (including the ABF) in addition to functions from each of the Departments of Prime Minister and Cabinet; Social Services; Infrastructure and Regional Development and the Attorney-General’s department.

In addition to the ABF, the Home Affairs portfolio also includes the following entities:

the Australian Federal Police;
the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission;
the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre; and
the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation. …..

Conclusion

10. The Department of Immigration and Border Protection achieved the integration of DIBP and ACBPS and the creation of the Australian Border Force in a structural sense and is also progressing with the implementation of a suite of reform projects. However, it is not achieving commitments made to government in relation to additional revenue, and is not in a position to provide the government with assurance that the claimed benefits of integration have been achieved.

11. The department established largely effective governance arrangements which were revised over time in response to emerging issues.

12. The department’s record keeping continues to be poor.

13. The department is effectively managing a suite of 38 capability reform projects and has developed sound monitoring arrangements, although the Executive Committee does not have visibility of the overall status of individual projects.

14. The efficiency savings committed to by the department were removed from its forward estimates and have thus been incorporated in the budget. However, the department has not verified whether efficiencies have been delivered in the specific areas which were nominated in the Integration Business Case.

15. Based on progress to the end of December 2017, if collections continue at the current rate the department will only collect 31.6 per cent of the additional customs duty revenue to which it committed in the Integration Business Case.

16. In the Integration Business Case, the department committed to a detailed Benefits Realisation Plan. The plan was not implemented despite several reviews identifying this omission. As a result, the department cannot demonstrate to the government that the claimed benefits of integration have been achieved….

18. Reporting to the Executive focused primarily on integration and organisational reform, with minimal coverage of progress in delivery of the suite of 38 capability reform projects. Following the identification of this as a gap in the 2017 Gateway Review, an Enterprise Transformation Blueprint was established to provide the Executive Committee with greater visibility over the progress of activity across the department.

19. There was no evidence identified to indicate that written briefings were provided to the Minister on progress throughout the implementation process.

20. Detailed communication plans were established and implemented to support the integration process. ‘Pulse Check’ surveys were regularly taken to evaluate staff satisfaction and engagement with the process.

21. The audit found that the department did not maintain adequate records of the integration process. This finding repeats the outcomes of a substantial number of audits and reviews going back to 2005. The department’s own assessment is that its records and information management is in a critically poor state. The problems and their solutions are known to the department, and it has an action plan to address them, although numerous previous attempts to do so have not been successful.

22. The department also experienced a loss of corporate memory due to the level of turn-over of SES staff, with almost half of SES officers present in July 2015 no longer in the department at July 2017.

23. The department initially identified possible risks to effective integration. However, regular reporting against those risks ceased when the Reform and Integration Task Force was disbanded.

24. The department made extensive use of consultants to assist it with the integration process. Despite a requirement to evaluate contracts upon completion, this did not occur in 31 out of 33 (94 per cent) of contracts with a value of more than $1 million examined by the ANAO, and therefore it is unclear whether these services represented value for money…..

The Assurance Partner [Third Horizon] was engaged by DIBP as a consultant for the period 19 June 2014 to 18 June 2016 with a contract value of $2 million The total paid to the consultant was $1.6 million. Due to the department’s concerns with the Assurance Partner’s performance, the engagement ended early in August 2015……


The initial allocation of funds for the Portfolio Reform Program in the 2014–15 budget was $710.4 million.5 Additional funds were approved in successive budgets which brought the total funding for the Program to $977.8 million. [my yellow highlighting]

BRIEF BACKGROUND

North Coast Voices, 26 June 2018, Australia’s Border Farce lives down to its nickname


Thursday, 19 July 2018

Is Philip Gaetjens the consummate public servant or in 2018 has he devolved into a right-wing ideological warrior?



On 31 July 2018 Philip Gaetjens will become Secretary to the Australian Treasury reporting to the Australian Treasurer.

Now from 2011 to 2015 he was head of the NSW Treasury under a Baird Coalition Government and before that did a stint at the SA Treasury in 1995 to 1997 spanning the terms of two Liberal premiers, so he will bring some experience to the position.

However, he has also been both chief of staff to former federal treasurer and Liberal MP Peter Costello during the Howard Coalition Government and chief of staff to current federal treasurer and Liberal MP for Cook Scott Morrison in the Turnbull Coalition Government.

There is a question this curriculum vitae raises – “Is Philip Gaetjens the consummate public servant or in 2018 has he devolved into a right-wing ideological warrior?”

Will treasury advice still be seen as authoritative during his tenure?

With Treasury already gaining a reputation as an enabler of Scott Morrison’s worst partisan public pronouncements in election years will Gaetjens make the situation even more difficult for ordinary voters trying to decipher truth in the midst of relentless political spin?

In August Gaetjens will be joined in Treasury by Liberal Senator and Australian Finance Minister Mathias Cormann's chief of staff Simon Atkinson as Deputy Secretary of the Fiscal Group.

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

WHat did the IPA do with all those millions?


The Daily Telegraph, 6 July 2018, p.23:

…a mysterious foundation, CEF, which received $4 million from Hancock Prospecting in the year to June 2015, and the conservative Institute of Public Affairs think tank, which received $4.5 million from Hancock Prospecting. The Institute did not declare Hancock Prospecting’s donation in its annual report, and after receiving the funds awarded Mrs Rinehart life membership. [my yellow highlighting]

So one of the big donors to that lobby group passing itself off as a public policy think tank, the Institute Of Public Affairs Limitedendorsed as a Deductible Gift Recipient since 30 March 2006 - has been revealed.

I wonder what the Institute of  Public Affairs Limited or the The Trustee For Institute Of Public Affairs Research Trust did with all those millions?

Because IPA annual reports do not show a $4.5 million spike. By 30 June 2015 its revenue which is primarily derived from membership fees and donations stood at $3.24 million (down from $3.47 million in June 2014) and only rose by $1.75 million as at 30 June 2016. In fact between June 2015 and June 2017 IPA revenue only rose by a total of $2.86 million.

By the end of the 2017 financial year the Trustee was telling the Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission that it was still only a “medium sized charity” run by 5 volunteers holding only $1,140,497 in cash or cash equivalents and this was the trust’s total assets.

In fact that $4.5 million donation isn’t recorded in any of the financial reports submitted to the charities commission either.

Even though the IPA is supposedly a think tank and the trust fund was set up for the public charitable object of undertaking scientific research one is tempted to question this omission. 

June 2015 was less than a year out from the 2016 federal election campaign. Given their ‘joined at the hip’ relationship, did the IPA use part or most of these millions to assist the Liberal Party election campaign in some manner?

Perhaps the IPA Board* would like to enlighten us all on that point?


Institute of Public Affairs Limiter Board Members

The Hon. Rod Kemp,  Chair
John Roskam, Executive Director
Dr Janet Albrechtsen
Harold Clough
Dr Tim Duncan
Dr Michael Folie
Michael Hickinbotham
Geoff Hone
Rod Menzies
William Morgan
Maurice O’Shannassy 

Institute of Public Affairs Research Trust Board Members

KEMP, CHARLES RODERICK, Chair
ALBRECHTSEN, JANET KIM
CLOUGH, WILLIAM HAROLD
DUNCAN, WILLIAM TIMOTHY
FOLIE, GEOFFREY MICHAEL
HICKINBOTHAM, MICHAEL ROBB
HONE, GEOFFREY WILLIAM
MENZIES, RODNEY WILLIAM
MORGAN, WILLIAM HUGH MATHESO
O'SHANNASSY, MAURICE JOSEPH
ROSKAM, JOHN PETER


Friday, 6 July 2018

A CERTAIN RMS ASPHALT BATCHING PLANT: Open Letter to NSW Premier & Liberal MP for Willoughby, Gladys Berejiklian, as well as Minister for Roads Maritime and Freight & Nationals MP for Oxley, Melinda Pavey


Dear Premier Berejiklian and Minister Pavey,

Communities in the Clarence River estuary are concerned about an aspect of the NSW Government's current Pacific Highway construction planning.

Below are some of those concerns expressed to local newspaper The Daily Examiner with regard to a Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) plan to install a temporary asphalt batching plant at Woombah on the Clarence River flood plain.

The build is scheduled to start this month and the plant will operate for the next two and a half years.

Please note the attitude – local residents are not amused at the high-handed way in which the NSW Government and RMS went about a cursory declaration of intent.

“What they’re not happy about is an asphalt batching plant being built right near their houses, using their only connecting road to the villages”

“We want the highway, and we want the asphalt plant to be somewhere, but we want it to be away from our communities where it won’t impact on our health and safety”

“The plant will add a reported 500 truck moments and 100 car movements per day at peak, or one every minute, and residents are concerned the additional traffic will create safety problems, and a bottleneck at their intersection, which they already describe as “tight” after it was temporarily re-routed. They also cite concerns over possible health affects the dust may cause for nearby residents.”

We have a resident as close as 450 metres from the plant who is suffering from lung cancer….Although Pacific Complete have been made aware of this, since they were first told they have failed to take action to acknowledge her.”

“We live within one kilometre of the plant and we found out two weeks ago by letterbox drop”

“We found out last Wednesday they didn’t tell anyone else. We’ve been around to other residents who are just outside the area and they had no idea the plant was coming at all.”

I also draw your attention to the content of emails coming out of Iluka:

Woombah is surrounded by World Heritage National Park. Within the waterways affected by run off from the proposed asphalt plant is the organic Solum Farm. Woombah Coffee will also be affected. Not to mention the multiple organic gardners who sell at the Yamba Markets and those who grow their own food.

The small community of Woombah and its neighbour Iluka are places that welcome tourists for the natural and clean beauty of the environment. An asphalt plant WILL threaten that. 

In addition, the Esk River at Woombah is fed by many of the creeks and waterways in the bushland where the asphalt plant is proposed. They will be adversely affected, which will flow into the Esk which will flow into the Clarence which will affect the fishing, oyster and prawn industries, on which many make their living. Not to mention the tourist industry that survives because our area offers a clean environment with unpolluted air and water.

This proposal is an outrage. Teven said NO. Woombah says NO as well.​”

“What about our kids on school buses with no seatbelts and the increase in traffic particularly trucks”

“Iluka Naturally, turn off at the asphalt plant, how ironic.”

For my own part I would add to these expressions of concern the fact that the 80ha, NPWS-managed Mororo Creek Nature Reserve is only est. 98 metres from the western end of the southern boundary of the proposed asphalt batching site. 

This protected land parcel is one of the reserves which form part of a forested corridor linking Bundjalung National Park to the east and the protected areas of the Richmond Range to the west. It lies within the boundaries of the Yaegl Local Aboriginal Land Council area, the Clarence Valley Local Government Area and the Northern Rivers Catchment Management Authority.

The Mororo Creek Reserve conserves areas of endangered swamp sclerophyll forest, coastal saltmarsh, subtropical coastal floodplain forest and swamp oak floodplain forest.

Most importantly, Mororo Creek and several of its tributaries which run through this reserve empty into the Clarence River Estuary less than est. 2km from the proposed asphalt batching site.

Now I have no idea why the NSW Government decided that a brief three-page information sheet and invitation to comment published online at http://www.rms.nsw.gov.au/documents/projects/northern-nsw/woolgoolga-to-ballina/w2b-woombah-batch-plant-notification-2018-06.pdf was to be the limit of its community consultation effort or why a similar document was sent at short notice to such a small number of Woombah residents.

I don’t pretend to understand why the information sheet contained just one small image of a section of a Pillar Valley temporary asphalt batching plant with no description of typical batching plant infrastructure and no Woombah site layout plan at all, much less one to scale.

There was not a hint in the information sheet of the range of known issues which can arise during site construction, plant operation and site rehabilitation.

Those residents who were originally invited to comment were supplied with less than rudimentary information on which to assess the desirability of a batching plant on the designated site.

Given that the proposed Woombah asphalt batching plant site is est. 2 to 2.5kms as the crow flies from Clarence River estuary waters which:

(1) are covered by Yaegl Native Title;

(2) at certain points are covered by international treaties, including JAMBA, CAMBA, ROKAMBA;

(3) contain the second largest area of seagrass (83 ha), the largest area of mangroves (765 ha) and the third largest area of saltmarsh (290ha) in the northern rivers region [Williams et al 2006 in Northern Rivers Regional Biodiversity Management Plan 2010];

(4) are part of the largest combined river-ocean fishery in NSW containing high fisheries value marine species; and

(5) are a vital component of regional tourism, 

perhaps Premier Berejiklian and Minister Pavey can answer two vital questions.

1. Is the Woombah asphalt batching plant site above the 100 year flood level for the lower Clarence Valley flood plain?

Because if it is not, then the NSW Government’s cavalier attitude to flood risk management would potentially see toxic waste from asphalt batching flow into the Clarence River estuary during a flood event – including solid waste and any organic solvents/hydrocarbons captured in holding ponds for the life of the plant – along with any nearby excavated plant/road construction materials. After all, extreme flood event height predictions for that general area are 3.5 to 4.5 mAHD.

2. Why on earth was a decision made to site the asphalt batching plant and access road at a point along the Pacific Highway where it would cause the maximum damage to Iluka’s clean, green destination image and vital tourism trade?

When the NSW Government first mooted the Pacific Highway upgrade on the North Coast one of the advantages it canvassed was an increase in tourism numbers due to better road conditions.


Most of these visitors holidayed along the Clarence Coast and Iluka is a strong component of that coastal tourism.

If the NSW Government seriously believes that leaving Woombah-Iluka with only one safe, unimpeded access point for day, weekend and long-stay visitors, the Yamba to Iluka foot passenger only ferry, will not significantly affect tourism numbers over the course of two and a half years, one has to wonder if it bothered to investigate the issue at all before signing off on the proposed plant site.

The effect of siting the asphalt batching plant and access road on the designated site will in all likelihood have the effect of diminishing not growing tourism traffic to Iluka for a period beyond the years it actually takes to complete the Maclean to Devil’s Pulpit section of the highway upgrade, as visitor perception of a holiday area can change when industrial level activity becomes visually prominent.

When it comes to commitment to the community consultation process, the NSW Government obviously hasn’t insisted that Roads and Maritime Services live up to its undertaking to engage with communities to understand their needs and consider these when making decisions.

In fact, looking at satellite images of the site one cannot escape the suspicion that pre-construction ground preparation had already commenced before any information was sent out to selected Woombah residents.

Since news of the asphalt batching plan site reached the Lower Clarence and residents began to approach their local state member, there appears to have been a promise made to hold a "drop-in information session" at an unspecified date.

Having experienced NSW departmental drop-in information sessions, I am well aware that they are of limited value as purveyors of anything other that the meagre degree of information found in the aforementioned three page RMS document and, ineffectual as vehicles for genuine community consultation.

The people of Woombah and Iluka deserve better.  They deserve a formal information night which canvasses all the issues, with representatives from RMS and the Pacific Highway project team prepared to address concerns and answer questions, as well as representatives of both the Premier and Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight in attendance as observers.

I’m sure that all residents and business owners in both Woombah and Iluka would appreciate both Premier and Minster taking the time to consider these questions and ensure government genuinely consults with both village communities before considering proceeding with any Roads and Maritime Servces site proposal.

Sincerely,


Clarence  Girl

The Lib-Nats class war continues apace and General Turnbull reminds us of another victory


On 1 July 2018 Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Bligh Turnbull proudly reminded his fellow Australians that the planned personal income tax cuts had started that day.




He was careful not to point out that to get that $530 tax refund next year this nurse or school teacher would have to earn above the average full-time wage in their respective professions.

Turnbull was also careful not to mention that these personal tax cuts excluded the lowest income earners - many of whom would be hit with the second tranche of penalty rate cuts which came into force on 1 July as well.

While the fact that on 1 July he just happens to get a 2 per cent parliamentary pay rise for the third year in a row, during a period of extremely low wage growth for ordinary workers, passes without mention as well.

It did not go unnoticed...........

The Guardian, 1 July 2018:

This week saw criticism of Labor starting a class war. But the real class war is being fought by those who seek to erase people on low and middle incomes from the debate. And too often the media are willing participants in this erasure.

Let us be honest: Australia is a nation whose politicians are for the most part drawn from similar socioeconomic (and education) backgrounds, covered by journalists who (including myself) come from similar backgrounds, and where any interruption to this course of events – such as when Ricky Muir was elected to the Senate – is greeted with a barely disguised level of condescension that someone not university educated or white collar has deigned to enter the sanctum.

It is a situation of course not solely devoted to income – gender and especially race are also major factors at play. In positions of power we remain a very white, relatively well-paid male nation (and I speak as one of that group).

It is not a situation without consequences.

Retirement age of 70? Well, that seems doable to one who sits behind a desk. The shift of jobs to the services sector? Well, after all, who would want to work in a factory? Low levels of industrial disputes? That must be good – let me quote some measure of international competitiveness while I pass over these record low wages growth and wonder at the coincidence.

It’s the type of thinking that has journalists asking “Is $120,000 the new rich” because that will generate a headline without even caring that it is more than double the median income.

And it is why I have little time for the theatre criticism that can infest political coverage where journalists writing for publications whose target audience is the very wealthiest in our society talk about how Labor’s “class war” attacks on Malcolm Turnbull are poor politics that won’t fly, and are divisive.

That’s pretty rich given today low-paid fast-food, hospitality, pharmacy and retail workers around the country are seeing cuts to their penalty rates.

Let us not fall into the trap of believing we can’t suggest that the situation and wealth of those in power has no impact on the policies they put forward, even while such policies actually benefit those same people who are putting them in place.

Oh no, we must instead keep to the myth that Australia is some egalitarian paradise where our history is one of everyone buckling down and working together to forge a nation against the odds. Bugger the rum rebellion, put John Macarthur on the $2 note, and bask in the warmth of misremembered history……

We see this erasure in his speeches where he talks of “school principals and police superintendents” to describe those deserving of a tax cuts as being somehow not wealthy – indeed as very much middle class.

The base level salary for a Victorian police superintendent is $154,412, the median salary for a Victorian school principal in 2015-16 was $113,446. That someone would use such incomes to talk up tax cuts says all you need to know about who he sees as the most deserving.

And here I must admit the media is often hostage to this erasure as well.

Upon the passing of the income tax cuts, one newspaper ran the line “What do low-medium income earners get?” and noted that “From July next year, Australians who earn up to $125,333 will get up to $530 cash-back when they lodge their tax return”.

In 2017 the median income was $52,988 and the top 10% of employees earned more than $109,668. Congratulations to those in the top 10%, you’re now officially middle-income Australia.

It means those who are actually middle and low-income workers are effectively erased from the debate – their situation ignored, and where to even raise it draws a rebuke – how dare you play the class war card! Why do you hate deserving middle class like the police superintendent?

The budget, despite what we might be led to believe, given the tax cuts that have just been passed without any savings measures attached, is not a magic pudding. Money spent on tax cuts to those presented as middle class but who are actually wealthy, means less money for those on actual low and middle incomes.

We do have a class war in Australia, and right now it is being won by those who not only would have you believe it is not occurring – and should not be mentioned – but who also would have you believe that those who are actually well off are doing it tough.

We need to be honest about who makes decisions in this country, how they are made and who they benefit. And we need to be honest about what is the reality for people on low and middle incomes. Failure to do so not only erases them from the debate, it ensures the system remains unchanged.

Read the full article here.

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Council for Civil Liberties condemns regulations allowing for bans on public gatherings on public land



Excerpt from New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties post, 20 June 2018:

NSW Civil Liberties Council (CCL) is appalled to learn that in 12 days, the NSW State Government will have incredibly wide powers to disperse or ban protests, rallies, and virtually any public gathering across about half of all land across the state.

On 16 March this year, the NSW State Government published the Crown Land Management Regulation 2018(NSW). Included was a provision which provided that public officials would have broad power to “direct a person” to stop “Taking part in any gathering, meeting or assembly”. The only exception provided for is “in the case of a cemetery, for the purpose of a religious or other ceremony of burial or commemoration”. Alternatively, public officials have broad discretion to affix a conspicuous sign prohibiting any gathering, meeting or assembly – again, unless the public gathering was a funeral.

Police, Local Council officials, and even so-far unspecified categories of people or government employees could soon have the power to ban people from holding public gatherings on public land. The territory where these incredibly broad powers would apply are called Crown Land - land owned by the State Government. This includes town squares, parks, roads, beaches, community halls and more.

These powers will come into effect from 1 July. If these regulations are allowed to stand, the effect will not just be that protests, rallies and demonstrations can only occur at the sufferance of police and other officials. It will be that virtually all public events will only occur with the tolerance of public officials. Our right to assemble on public land will become something less than a license. That right may temporarily be granted by public officials, but it may just as easily be withdrawn, at any time, for any reason. The penalty for defying such a ban or order to stop meeting in public could be up to $11 000……

The time to speak out against these regulations is now. CCL objects to these regulations in the strongest possible terms, and urges their immediate and unconditional repeal……

Excerpts from Crown Land Management Regulation 2018 under the Crown Land Management Act 2016:

9 Conduct prohibited in dedicated or reserved Crown land

(1) A person must not do any of the following on dedicated or reserved Crown land:

(e) remain in or on the land or any part of the land or any structure or enclosure in or on the land when reasonably requested to leave by an authorised person,  

Maximum penalty: 50 penalty units.

13 Activities that can be prohibited on Crown land by direction or notice under Part 9 of Act (1) Each of the activities specified in the following Table is prescribed for the purposes of sections 9.4 (1) (b), 9.5 (1) (b) and 9.5 (2) of the Act:

3 Holding a meeting or performance or conducting entertainment for money or consideration of any kind, or in a manner likely to cause a nuisance to any person

4 Taking part in any gathering, meeting or assembly (except, in the case of a cemetery, for the purpose of a religious or other ceremony of burial or commemoration)

6 Displaying or causing any sign or notice to be displayed

7 Distributing any circular,


1.7   Definition of “Crown land”

Subject to this Division, each of the following is Crown land for the purposes of this Act:

(a)  land that was Crown land as defined in the Crown Lands Act 1989 immediately before the Act’s repeal,

(b)  land that becomes Crown land because of the operation of a provision of this Act or a declaration made under section 4.4,

(c)  land vested, on and from the repeal of the Crown Lands Act 1989, in the Crown (including when it is vested in the name of the State).

Note.
 Clause 6 of Schedule 7 provides for certain land under Acts repealed by Schedule 8 to become Crown land under this Act. Section 1.10 then provides for this land to be vested in the Crown.
Land that will become Crown land under this Act includes land vested in the Crown that is dedicated for a public purpose. This land was previously excluded from the definition of Crown land in the Crown Lands Act 1989. See also section 1.8 (2).

Monday, 25 June 2018

Hands off! The ABC pays its own way, says ABC boss



ABC boss Michelle Guthrie has dramatically hit back at the Liberal Party over its call to privatise the public broadcaster, vowing the ABC will not be a "punching bag" for political and vested interests, and labelling the attacks as cynical, misplaced and ignorant.

In a provocative speech intended to "call out" the ABC's critics, Ms Guthrie also presented new data showing the broadcaster generates as much annual economic activity as it receives from taxpayers.

And she declared the public views the ABC as a "priceless asset" that should not be sold, no matter how much a commercial buyer might be prepared to fork out.

"[Australians] regard the ABC as one of the great national institutions [and] deeply resent it being used as a punching bag by narrow political, commercial or ideological interests", Ms Guthrie said.

"Inherent in the drive against the independent public broadcaster is a belief that it can be pushed and prodded into different shapes to suit the prevailing climate. It can't. Nor should it be."

Ms Guthrie said she wanted to respond specifically to the motion passed by the Liberal Party federal council at the weekend calling for the ABC to be sold off, "even if others are keen to downplay it".

ABC Managing Director, Michelle Guthrie, speech at the Melbourne Press Club, 19 June 2018:

For those who prefer an abacus-type approach to this debate, I have some fresh information. How do you put a price on the value of the ABC? In pursuit of that answer, the ABC has commissioned Deloitte Access Economics to do some research. Their report is still being compiled and will be released next month. The early findings are interesting. They show that the ABC contributed more than $1 billion to the Australian economy in the last financial year - on a par with the public investment in the organisation.  Far from being a drain on the public purse, the audience, community and economic value stemming from ABC activity is a real and tangible benefit.....

Deloitte calculates that the ABC is helping to sustain more than 6000 full-time equivalent jobs across the economy. It means that for every 3 full-time equivalent jobs created by the ABC, there are another 2 supported in our supply chain – local artists, writers, technicians, transport workers and many more. In hard figures, the research shows that the ABC helps to sustain 2,500 full-time equivalent jobs in addition to the 4000 women and men who are directly employed by the public broadcaster.

The Turnbull Government and the Liberal Party are well aware that the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) generates income and the government is a beneficiary.

The 2016-17 annual report, which like all the public broadcaster's annual reports is tabled in parliament, shows the ABC received $1.03 billion in federal government funding.

It also received $70.4 million in own-source revenue (sale goods/rendering services etc.) and recorded a total of $1.03 billion in own-source income.

In addition, that same financial year the ABC paid the Turnbull Federal Government a one-off dividend of $14 million.

But then again, the repeated funding cuts have never been about the ABC living within its means or paying its own way, 

The Liberal and Nationals only ever seem to want to privatise government agencies which return money to treasury - after all their silvertail mates are not interested in cheaply buying businesses that aren't capable of being turned into private enterprise cash cows.

Friday, 22 June 2018

Liberals continue to behave badly in 2018 - Part Four


FIGHTING

Police said they were called to Naji's Charcoal Chicken & Kebabs eatery on Firth Street in Arncliffe just after seven o'clock on Monday night, following reports of a "brawl". The roast chook shop is owned by Michael Nagi, a Liberal councillor for Bayside Council.

The meeting is understood to have turned ugly after an attempt by the moderate faction, which includes Nagi, to allow into the Bayside branch a nearby area, Earlwood, which is controlled by the moderates and has never been a part of the Bayside branch.

This would have constituted what those on the right of the party would class as a "hostile takeover" of their factional control, but a resolution was never reached because the disagreement turned violent.

Police said a man believed to be aged in his forties was taken to St George Hospital and treated for minor injuries.

"Police are now attempting to piece together exactly what happened and how many people were involved," a statement read.

"They are appealing for anyone who may have vision of the incident to come forward."

The Liberal Party said it would "fully cooperate" with police, as well as make their own inquiries.

"An internal investigation will also be undertaken and disciplinary action taken against those responsible," the party said.

"The Liberal Party strongly condemns the kind of behaviour that is alleged to have occurred."

ABC News, 19 June 2018:

One witness, who did not want to be identified, described the situation as an attempted "hostile takeover" of the branch.

"Just before the meeting started, there was an altercation where some people were intimidating and swearing and pushing and shoving of the others who belonged to the meeting," he said.

"Others outside were blocked from entering the meeting."

The man said an elderly lady inside the cafe was "trampled on", and a man who tried to intervene was "ganged up on".

"They started bashing him … they took him outside and started kicking him.

"To be honest I thought he was going to die."

The man also said some people tried to film the incident, but their phones were taken and smashed.

COMPLAINTS, DEBTS AND WORKING THE SYSTEM

“Two hundred thousand Australian dollars.….that’s not a lot of money” [Liberal Sen. Lucy Gichuhi speaking about here Australian parliamentary salary package on Kenyan television in January 2018]
Daily Mail, 20 June 2018:

Embattled Liberal senator Lucy Gichuhi was taken to court seven times for failing to pay $8,359 worth of council rates and $1,372 in water bills.

Court documents obtained exclusively by Daily Mail Australia show the Kenyan-born federal MP faced legal action from City of Port Adelaide Enfield council, Whyalla City Council and the South Australian Water Corporation in 2013, 2014 and 2017.

The Turnbull Government senator, who is on a $203,000 salary, was ordered by local court magistrates to pay $9,731 in seven unpaid bills, related to two investment properties in Adelaide and one in regional Whyalla.

One unpaid council bill went to court just three weeks before she was sworn in last year as a senator, and another bill was taken to a magistrate four months after she became a member of Parliament.  

The backbencher, who owns four houses in South Australia with her husband William, had failed to pay $8,359 worth council rates and $1,372 in water bills.

On her pecuniary interest register, Senator Gichuhi declares she is the owner of investment properties in the Adelaide suburbs of Dernancourt and Gilles Plains, along with another home in the steelworks city of Whyalla.

The senator and mother-of-three, who moved to Australia from Kenya in 1999, received five arrears from the Port of Adelaide Enfield Council and one from Whyalla City Council, in areas where she owns three investment properties.

According to her Statement of Registerable Interests the senator in partnership with her husband owns 6 residential properties in South Australia and 3 properties in Kenya.

She appears to receive rental income on a number of these properties. 

The Advertiser, 21 June 2018, p.6:

Senator Gichuhi, already under pressure after spending thousands of taxpayer dollars flying her family to Canberra, was provided with staff, office space, a car, driver and entertainment by one of Kenya’s richest men. The SA senator spoke at events organised by Equity Bank and its wealthy chief executive James Mwangi.

Disclosure documents lodged earlier this year show Dr Mwangi provided Senator Gichuhi with “a car and a driver … to attend various events and functions”.

“Dr Mwangi also provided office facilities, refreshments and access to his staff to enable me to prepare speeches for Nairobi University and other functions,” the document reads.

Dr Mwangi, who is worth $230 million, invited Senator Gichuhi to speak at Equity Bank events including on January 4, where she addressed the bank’s Wings To Fly scholars….

Disclosures show Senator Gichuhi received free accommodation from another wealthy Kenyan businessman, Linus Gitahi, who she described as her “long-term friend”.

The Advertiser, 19 June 2018, p.5:

South Australian senator Lucy Gichuhi billed taxpayers more than $4500 to fly six family travellers to Canberra during the week she was sworn into Federal Parliament prompting calls for a tightening of expenses.

According to parliamentary records, Senator Gichuhi claimed three return flights from Adelaide, two from Darwin and a one-way flight from Sydney taken during the second week of May last year.

She has previously defended her decision to accept free accommodation from the High Commission of Kenya in Canberra for her family to attend her swearing-in on May 9 last year 2017, because they struggled to find accommodation.

Junkee, 19 June 2018:

Gichuhi billed taxpayers $2139 for two return flights from Darwin to Adelaide, which were used to fly family members to her birthday party in October last year. She has since agreed to pay that cost back in full, saying it was “an administrative error involving misunderstanding of travel rules”.

And while we’re on the point of corrections, it wasn’t even her 50th birthday party — Gichuhi is 55. She actually titled the birthday party her “50 plus GST” birthday, the omitted 5 years being the GST. In the speech she gave at the event, which is inexplicably available on her website, she told guests that “I have now also taught you to deduct 10 percent off your own age — if you want to!”….

Gichuhi has also come under fire for billing taxpayers around $12,000 for a number of trips to Sydney, which she listed as “electorate business”, despite her electorate actually being in South Australia.