Showing posts with label Senate. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Senate. Show all posts

Friday, 28 July 2017

One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts' British citizenship renunciation timeline not clear

On Sunday 8 May 2016the Prime Minister announced there would be a federal election on 2 July that year.

Writs were issued on 16 May and the rolls closed 23 May 2016.

At 12 noon on Thursday 9 June 2016 close of nominations for both House of Representatives and Senate candidates occurred.

Early voting commenced on 14 June and Election Day ended at 6pm on 2 July 2016.

According to One Nation Senator Malcolm Ieuan Roberts as reported in The Age on 27 July 2017; he wrote to the British authorities on May 1 last year to ask them whether he was a British citizen, given he was born to a Welsh father in India.
He says he got no response so he wrote a further email on June 6 - three days before nominations closed - saying that if he was a citizen he fully renounced. He subsequently nominated as a candidate and won a Queensland Senate seat.

However, this tweet by Chief Political Correspondent, Sydney Morning Herald & The Age, James Massola, throws Malcolm Roberts assertion that he was not a British citizen at the time of nomination into doubt.

It appears that U.K. authorities and Mr. Roberts may possibly have different views of when he ceased to be a British citizen.

I strongly suspect that the High Court of Australia would be inclined to accept the word of the U.K. Government over that of Malcolm Roberts if this difference is confirmed.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Liberal Senator Matt Canavan reveals he has dual citizenship but refuses to resign from the Australian Parliament

COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA CONSTITUTION ACT - SECT 44, Disqualification, “Any person who: (i) is under any acknowledgment of allegiance, obedience, or adherence to a foreign power, or is a subject or a citizen or entitled to the rights or privileges of a subject or a citizen of a foreign power; “

Liberal Senator for Queensland Matthew “Matt” Canavan has admitted to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull that he held dual citizenship when he was nominated for the Australian Senate in 2013.

His mother Maria and he, along his brother and sister, were registered as Italian citizens in January 2007. He would have been 26 years of age at the time.

Mr. Canavan knew that his mother was an Italian citizen but would have the world believe that he was unaware that he was so registered until 18 July 2017.

This is the official spin the Turnbull Government is offering the national electorate:



Transcript of Statements on Senator Canavan’s Citizenship, Brisbane

25 July 2017 

ATTORNEY-GENERAL: Yesterday afternoon, Senator Canavan approached the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and me to tell us that he had received advice from the Italian Embassy that, according to their records, he was registered as an Italian citizen.   

Senator Canavan will explain circumstances in which he came to be registered as an Italian citizen. In brief, it occurred in 2006 when Senator Canavan’s mother, who is of Italian heritage, registered both herself and members of her family, including Senator Canavan, with the Italian consulate in Brisbane as an “Italian Resident abroad,” which is a form of citizenship. Senator Canavan, who was an adult at the time, did not authorise this to be done on his behalf. The first he became aware that she had done so was when she raised the matter with him on 18 July. He then sought urgent advice from the Italian embassy, which was only confirmed yesterday afternoon.

In the meanwhile, the Government has taken advice from the Solicitor-General and we are in the process of taking advice from experts in Italian citizenship law. It is the Government’s preliminary view that, because the registration was obtained without Senator Canavan’s knowledge or consent, that he is not in breach of s. 44 of the Constitution. Nevertheless, in view of the legal uncertainty concerning the matter, when the Senate convenes on Tuesday week, the Government will move to refer the matter for determination by the High Court.

MINISTER CANAVAN:  Well thank you, George. As George has outlined I have become aware that according to the Italian Government, I am a citizen of Italy. I was not born in Italy, I’ve never been to Italy and, to my knowledge, have never stepped foot in an Italian consulate or embassy. Until last week, I had no suspicion that I could possibly be an Italian citizen. In 2006, my mother lodged documents with the Italian consulate in Brisbane to become an Italian citizen. In doing so, it would appear that she made an application for me to become an Italian citizen as well. I was 25 years old at the time. My mother was born in Australia but was able to obtain Italian citizenship through her parents, who were both born in Italy. While I knew that my mother had become an Italian citizen, I had no knowledge that I myself had become an Italian citizen, nor had I requested to become an Italian citizen.

Following the reporting of Senator Ludlam and Senator Waters last week, my mother raised with me, the possibility that I was in fact an Italian citizen, on Tuesday evening. I have, since then, taken steps to check my citizenship status with the Italian authorities and that has confirmed that I was registered as an Italian citizen in January 2007. The Italian authorities have confirmed that the application for Italian citizenship was not signed by me. To my knowledge, until this week I have not received any correspondence from the Italian authorities about my citizenship status and they have not been able to provide any such records.

In the short time available, I have not been able to obtain definitive legal advice as to whether my registration as an Italian citizen, without my knowledge or consent, was valid under Italian law. I am seeking to obtain that advice presently. On the basis of the advice the Government has obtained, and that George outlined, it is not my intention to resign from the Senate. However given the uncertainty around this matter, I will stand aside until the matter is finally resolved and resign as the Minister for Resources and Northern Australia. I have informed the Prime Minister of that course of action. Thank you.

The bottom line for Mr. Canavan is that by 2013 when he nominated for the Australian Senate he had known his mother was an Italian citizen for at least five years and he did not take reasonable steps to discover if her citizenship by descent had any impact on his own citizenship status.

Matt Canavan should do the honourable thing and resign from parliament immediately as other members of parliament have done before him.


The Courier Mail, 26 July 2017:

It also emerged today that Senator Canavan discussed Italian citizenship with his mother almost a decade ago.

It has also been alleged that the Italian Government has sent him voting forms for the last ten years.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Should Derryn Hinch really be a senator?


Should Derryn Hinch really be a senator?......
One of the outcomes of Saturday's federal election is that Victorians now have as one of their 12 representatives in the Senate a man who has over the past 30 years been to jail twice and fined $100,000 for breaching court orders, and who has been roundly criticised by the High Court for undermining the right of an accused person to a fair trial. We are talking about broadcaster Derryn Hinch.
While Hinch is not disqualified under the constitution from being a candidate for the Senate because he is not serving or waiting to serve a sentence for an offence under Commonwealth or state law punishable by a prison sentence of 12 months or more, the broader question is whether a person with Hinch's record is fit to hold the office of a legislator whose role is to ensure that laws are enforceable and that the rule of law is upheld?


it was Senator Hinch - twice jailed for contempt - who declared "the system is rotten".
"The three ministers were well within their rights to do what they did," he told Fairfax Media. "If I was the minister I would have told them to go jump. Courts are not inviolate."…
"I watched the performance yesterday and those guys up there in their black robes, it was like something out of Kafka," he said. "If that's contempt of court, I couldn't give a shit."

What was started by three Turnbull Government ministers allegedly working in unison to attack the judiciary now threatens to widen into something that may not be able to be easily contained.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Liberal National Party Senator for Queensland, Ian Macdonald, acting badly in Senate Estimates

This is what happens when a government senator with an inflated sense of his own importance and few manners is chair during a Senate Estimates hearing........

Senator Macdonald tried to order Greens senator Nick McKim to leave the committee, which he doesn't have the power to do.
"I will not be leaving," Senator McKim says.
"You can't make me leave, mate. I'm not going. What are you going to do?...You are a tyrant and a dictator."
​Senator Macdonald said he would then refuse to recognise Senator McKim for the rest of the hearing which means he won't let him ask any questions. This is the political equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and singing "la la la la la la" until the other person just goes away.

Senator Macdonald threatens to evict Senator Wong and Senator Murray.
Again - he can't do this.
He takes some advice and offers the muttered, cross "sorry" a thwarted toddler sometimes offers: "I've been advised by the clerk that I do not have the power to evict anyone or prevent them from asking questions."

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Tony Abbott MP: the man who lied about a carbon tax is preparing to lie to voters once again

The week former chief of staff to Tony Abbott, Peta Credlin, confirmed that he had deliberately lied when characterising the Gillard Government’s price on carbon as a "carbon tax", The Sydney Morning Herald reported this:

Tony Abbott has laid out a five-point plan for the Coalition to have a chance at the "winnable" next election, including cutting back immigration and scrapping the Human Rights Commission.

In a major speech in Sydney at the launch of a new book, Making Australia Right, on Thursday evening, Mr Abbott gave the clearest signal yet he believed the Turnbull government is failing to cut through with voters, and that the contest of ideas - and for the soul of the modern Liberal Party - between the current and former prime minister has a long way to run.

Mr Abbott noted nearly 40 per cent of Australians didn't vote for the Coalition or Labor in the 2016 election: "It's easy to see why".

In a sign a return to the leadership was on his radar, Mr Abbott set out ideas on how to take the fight to Labor and win back Coalition voters thinking of defecting to Pauline Hanson's One Nation.

"In short, why not say to the people of Australia: we'll cut the RET [renewable energy target] to help with your power bills; we'll cut immigration to make housing more affordable; we'll scrap the Human Rights Commission to stop official bullying; we'll stop all new spending to end ripping off our grandkids; and we'll reform the Senate to have government, not gridlock?"
He said the next election was winnable for the Coalition, however, "our challenge is to be worth voting for. It's to win back the people who are giving up on us". [my highlighting]

So let’s look at this jumble of potential three-word slogans being readied for the next Coalition federal election campaign.

RET –renewable energy target

In 2014 the Abbott Government ordered a review of RET. This review found that RET tends to lower wholesale electricity prices and that the RET would have almost no impact on consumer prices over the period 2015–2030.

Despite Abbott's downgrading of RET targets when he was prime minister, in 2017 the Turnbull Coalition Government (of which Abbott is a member) continues its support of these targets.

According to the Dept of Industry, Innovation and Science network costs are the biggest factor driving up the cost of electricity and  a large part of these higher costs has been the need to replace or upgrade ageing power infrastructure, as most electricity networks were built throughout the 1960s and 1970s.

Housing affordability

In December 2016 the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) recorded 11.3 million houses/units/flats purchased by investors for rent or resale by individuals and a further 1.3 million for rent or resale by others. [ABS 5609.0 Housing Finance]

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) in June 2015 clearly indicated that purchase of housing stock by investors had increased to almost 23 per cent of all housing stock and, that increased investor activity and strong growth in housing prices were occurring along with an increase in negatively geared investment properties. [RBA, Submission to House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics Inquiry into Home Ownership]

The Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) put the matter bluntly in Fuel on the fire: negative gearing, capital gains tax & housing affordability - The tax system at both the federal and state level inflates housing costs, undermines affordability, and distorts the operation of housing markets. Tax settings are not the main reason for excessive growth in home prices, but they are an important part of the problem. They inflate demand for existing properties when the supply of new housing is insufficient to meet demand. Ironically, many public policies that are claimed to improve affordability - such as negative gearing arrangements, Capital Gains Tax breaks for investors, and first home owner grants for purchasers – make the problem worse.

Competition between investor-developers recently saw $1.3 million added to the sale price of an older house at a Sydney metropolitan auction.

Although population growth is a factor in competition for housing stock, nowhere in reputable studies or reports can I find mention of immigration levels significantly contributing to this competition.  Which is not surprising, given that natural population increase and increase through migration do not occur uniformly within Australian states & territories and natural increase will outstrip migration in some states and territories in a given year.

Human Rights Commission

On 26 December 1976 the Fraser Coalition Government announced its intention to establish a Human Rights Commission which would provide orderly and systematic procedures for the promotion of human rights and for ensuring that Australian laws were maintained in conformity with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and in order that citizens who felt they had been discriminated against under specific Commonwealth laws such as laws relating to discrimination on grounds of race or sex (but excluding laws in the employment area) would be able to have their complaints examined.

The Commission was created in 1981 by an act of the Australian Parliament and later rebirthed as the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission in 1986 by another act of the Australian Parliament.

Whilst ever no Commonwealth statute exists which sets out the core rights of Australian citizenship the federal parliament continues to fail to guarantee protection against its own legislative or regulatory excesses.

The Human Rights Commission is one of the few points at which ordinary citizens without considerable financial means can seek redress of a wrong or harm done to them.

No new spending

I simply refer readers to Tony Abbott’s economic record in the slightly less than two years he spent as Australian prime minister, when on his watch economic growth was slowing and living standards were falling.

Senate reform

This is Section 57 of the Australian Constitution which would have to be amended and is required to be taken to a national referendum before reform can occur:

Disagreement between the Houses
                   If the House of Representatives passes any proposed law, and the Senate rejects or fails to pass it, or passes it with amendments to which the House of Representatives will not agree, and if after an interval of three months the House of Representatives, in the same or the next session, again passes the proposed law with or without any amendments which have been made, suggested, or agreed to by the Senate, and the Senate rejects or fails to pass it, or passes it with amendments to which the House of Representatives will not agree, the Governor-General may dissolve the Senate and the House of Representatives simultaneously. But such dissolution shall not take place within six months before the date of the expiry of the House of Representatives by effluxion of time.
                   If after such dissolution the House of Representatives again passes the proposed law, with or without any amendments which have been made, suggested, or agreed to by the Senate, and the Senate rejects or fails to pass it, or passes it with amendments to which the House of Representatives will not agree, the Governor-General may convene a joint sitting of the members of the Senate and of the House of Representatives.
                   The members present at the joint sitting may deliberate and shall vote together upon the proposed law as last proposed by the House of Representatives, and upon amendments, if any, which have been made therein by one House and not agreed to by the other, and any such amendments which are affirmed by an absolute majority of the total number of the members of the Senate and House of Representatives shall be taken to have been carried, and if the proposed law, with the amendments, if any, so carried is affirmed by an absolute majority of the total number of the members of the Senate and House of Representatives, it shall be taken to have been duly passed by both Houses of the Parliament, and shall be presented to the Governor-General for the Queen's assent.

The last national referendum held in Australia was in 1999 and cost $66,820,894 according to the Australian Electoral Commission for a vote on two questions.

Like 34 of the 44 referendum questions before them these two questions did not carry. In fact the last referendum questions to be carried were in 1977.

Prospect of successful right-wing reform of the Senate? 

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Senate finds Attorney-General Brandis sought to undermine rule of law in Australia

Australian Senate, Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee, Inquiry into the  Nature and scope of the consultations prior to the making of the Legal Services Amendment (Solicitor-General Opinions) Direction 2016, 8 November 2016 – majority view:

4.9 It is the committee's view that the Attorney-General has sought to undermine the rule of law in Australia by failing to adequately consult the Solicitor-General and constraining the independence of the Solicitor-General….

4.27 The committee makes the following recommendations:

Recommendation 1 
4.28 That the Senate disallow the amendment to the Direction or the Attorney-General withdraw it immediately, and that the Guidance Note be revised accordingly.

Recommendation 2 
4.29 That the Attorney-General provide, within three sitting days, an explanation to the Senate responding to the matters raised in this report.

Recommendation 3 
4.30 That the Senate censure the Attorney-General for misleading the parliament and failing to discharge his duties as Attorney-General appropriately.

Full report here.

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Senators falling like skittles in Canberra

On 1 November 2016  it was the announcement that it was the intention of the Turnbull Government and  Australian Parliament to challenge the validity of the election of Family First Senator for South Australia Bob Day in the High Court on the basis of a potential non-direct pecuniary interest through Fullarton Investments Pty Ltd.

One day later and a similar announcement is made concerning One Nation Senator for West Australia Rod Cullerton in relation to a criminal conviction for larceny prior to the 2016 federal election.


Senator Rod Culleton
Last Saturday, I wrote to the President of the Senate, the Hon Stephen Parry, to draw to his attention an Opinion which I had received from the Solicitor-General concerning the election of Senator Rod Culleton as a Senator for Western Australia.  I received the Opinion late on Friday, 28 October 2016.  I also provided a copy of the Opinion to Senator Culleton.

The opinion was sought by me on 13 October 2016 in view of issues raised in proceedings commenced in the High Court against Senator Culleton by Mr Bruce Bell. 

It appears that the proceedings brought by Mr Bell are based on an allegation that, at the time of the last election, Senator Culleton had been convicted of an offence punishable by a sentence of imprisonment for one year or longer, and was therefore “incapable of being chosen” as a Senator under section 44(ii) of the Constitution.

The President of the Senate has written to me today to advise that he proposes to bring the matter to the attention of the Senate when it sits on 7 November 2016.  At that time, the Government will initiate a referral of the matter to the High Court pursuant to section 376 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act.

2 November 2016

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Please tell me how Family First Senator Bob Day has the gall to remain in the Australian Senate after announcing his resignation

s44. Any person who:
(i)is under any acknowledgment of allegiance, obedience, or adherence to a foreign power, or is a subject or a citizen or entitled to the rights or privileges of a subject or a citizen of a foreign power; or
(ii) is attainted of treason, or has been convicted and is under sentence, or subject to be sentenced, for any offence punishable under the law of the Commonwealth or of a State by imprisonment for one year or longer; or
(iii) is an undischarged bankrupt or insolvent; or
holds any office of profit under the Crown, or any pension payable during the pleasure of the Crown out of any of the revenues of the Commonwealth: or
(iv) has any direct or indirect pecuniary interest in any agreement with the Public Service of the Commonwealth otherwise than as a member and in common with the other members of an incorporated company consisting of more than twenty-five persons;
shall be incapable of being chosen or of sitting as a senator or a member of the House of Representatives.

s45. If a senator or member of the House of Representatives:
1. becomes subject to any of the disabilities mentioned in the last preceding section; or
2. takes the benefit, whether by assignment, composition, or otherwise, of any law relating to bankrupt or insolvent debtors; or
3. directly or indirectly takes or agrees to take any fee or honorarium for services rendered to the Commonwealth, or for services rendered in the Parliament to any person or State;
his place shall thereupon become vacant.

Make no mistake, the following represents the insolvent liquidation of companies owned by Family First Senator Bob Day and family (with Bob Day as sole director) and foreshadows personal insolvency.  There are 207 houses still under construction and building work halted, an unspecified number of employees having no guarantee of full payment of wages/superannuation/holiday pay owed and, an unknown number of business creditors who will presumably meet with the liquidator in November 2016.

The Australian, 18 October 2016:

Senator Day said Home Australia and its subsidiaries in South Australia. Western Australia, Victoria and New South Wales would be liquidated by McGrathNicol.

“As I have always agreed to sign personal guarantees to creditors, this closure also has serious implications for me and my family,” he said.

“Creditor liabilities greatly exceed our assets so we will also lose our family home.
“As for my role as a Senator, I will of course resign.”

Smart Company, 18 October 2016:

Matthew Caddy and Barry Kogan of McGrathNicol have been appointed as liquidators of parent company Home Australia Pty Ltd, as well as seven wholly owned subsidiaries: Homestead Homes Pty Ltd, Collier Homes Pty Ltd, Newstart Homes (SE QLD) Pty Ltd, Ashford Homes Pty Ltd, Huxley Homes Pty Ltd, Nationwide Australian Investments Pty Ltd, and Smart Road Property Rentals Pty Ltd.

Construction on all homes being built by Home Australia has ceased and the liquidators said in a statement on Monday their “immediate objective is to work constructively with relevant insurers and customers in an effort to facilitate the orderly recommencement of construction of uncompleted homes by alternative builders”.

McGrathNicol is also accepting expressions of interest from potential buyers for the entire Home Australia business or individual parts.

The Guardian, 27 October 2016:

Family First senator Bob Day’s collapsed house building empire owes a total of $37.8m, according to their liquidator.

A spokesman for liquidator McGrath Nichol told Guardian Australia on Thursday that the seven companies owe unsecured creditors a total of $19.6m.

The figure dwarfs initial estimates that unsecured creditors were owed $12.5m.

The companies owe a total of $18.2m in secured debt, of which National Australia Bank is owed $17.5m. Those debts will take priority over the unsecured creditors.

Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) 26 October 2016:
106 443 216
Registration date:
Next review date:
External Administration
Australian Proprietary Company, Limited By Shares
Locality of registered office:
Australian Securities & Investments Commission
Notification of Appointment of Liquidator (Creditors' (505J)
Voluntary Winding Up) 

Unfortunately for parliamentary democracy, Senator Day appears to have now rethought his statement of 17 October that he was resigning from the Senate and now intends to stay indefinitely as his announcement was apparently only one of future intent.

Wellington Times, 24 October 2016:

……Senator Day issued a short statement.
"I refer Fairfax to my statement last Monday expressing an intention to resign as a result of my family company's problems," he said.
One Adelaide-based expert in receivership and company administration said it was unlikely Senator Day's companies could be wound up quickly and suggested a possible bankruptcy was at least six months away.
Parliament will return on November 7 for three final sitting weeks of the year, with the Senate expected to vote on the two bills used for trigger the July 2 double dissolution election.
Senator Day's vote will be crucial as the government seeks nine out of 11 crossbenchers to support the legislation. If he is not present for the votes, he would seek a pair with Labor.


ABC News, 1 November 2016, 12:37pm:

Family First senator Bob Day has tendered his resignation, effective immediately.

Pressure had been mounting on the now-former senator to resign as his construction company crumbled.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Thank the gods! Senator Bob Day resigns

The Australian: Senator Bob Day at a home being built by his family firm in Broadview, Adelaide

Far-right politician and former Liberal Party member, Family First’s Senator Robert “Bob” Day, having run his building company into liquidation has resigned from the Australian Senate.

He had been a senator for just over 28 months and was the only member of the senate with a Facebook page dedicated to a financial disaster he oversaw.

During his time in office he strongly voted for:

He voted against:

Saturday, 15 October 2016

New Labor Senator for Victoria Kimberly Kitching - who is she?

This is newly appointed Senator for Victoria Kimberly Kitching in her own words on 23 August 2014:

“I speak 4 languages. I have tertiary qualifications, including a law degree.

I have been admitted as a Solicitor to the Supreme Court of Queensland. 

I have been elected as a Councillor of the City of Melbourne, a Corporation that at that time had a budget of approximately $300 million.

I have worked as a Senior Advisor to the Minister for Industry and Trade, Major Projects and Information and Communications Technology; and as a Senior Advisor to the Treasurer of Victoria who with the Premier and other members of the Expenditure Review Committee sets (at that time) a $45 billion State Budget (FY09- 10).

I have been employed in private enterprise: I was an employee at LookSmart, a technology company that went on to list on the NASDAQ, and was involved in the first tranche of its capital raising; I have also been employed at Drake International, the largest privately owned human resources company globally and was responsible for their Government and Corporate Relations, and for strategic human resources advice for clients.

I have been a Director on several boards, and have been a Vice President and Trustee of the Victorian Branch of the Australian Labor Party.

In late 2012 I was studying for the entrance exam to participate in the Victorian Bar Readers' Course.”

A fairly impressive resume.

The problem for the federal Labor Party is those words are taken from the first of two witness statements tendered to the Abbott Government’s notorious  Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption in which Kitching was giving evidence concerning her time as General Manager in the equally notorious Victoria No.1 Branch of the Health Services Union. [See here and here]

Her husband past president of Melbourne University Student Union and former political blogger, Andrew Landeryou, is not necessarily seen by all as an asset to her new career in the Senate – having been associated with the health union's past power struggles and then arrested in St. Kilda at 2.40am on the morning of the July 2016 federal election for allegedly vandalising Greens and Liberal polling material at multiple polling stations from Elwood to Port Melbourne, and allegedly driving at volunteers who tried to stop them.

Already a couple of media commentators are characterising Opposition Leader Bill Shorten’s endorsement of Kimberly Kitching as either “courageous” or “brave” – either way it is not meant as a compliment to Mr. Shorten’s judgment.

* Image found at @kimbakit