Showing posts with label lobby groups. Show all posts
Showing posts with label lobby groups. Show all posts

Monday, 3 July 2017

Is the Liberal Party of Australia taking a leaf out of Steve Bannon's playbook

This was a ‘news’ banner on the Liberal Party of Australia’s The Fair Go website on 27 June 2016:
The short eight sentence long spiel behind the login wall began with:

Where does Getup get its money from and what is the real agenda behind the bluster?

From Open Society to Podesta to The Sunrise Project, Avaaz to GetUp in Australia! There’s certainly been a lot of US money a-flowing toward Aussie Leftists groups. So, who is giving who how much and where is it all going?

And ended with this image:

However it did not disclose any “secret money trails” and appeared to base its claims in part on 'fake news' produced during the 2016 US presidential election and the political donations disclosures GetUp! (Getup Limited est. 29 April 2005) regularly submits to the Australian Electoral Commission which can be found on the commission’s website as well as on a GetUp! web page.

According to the staff writers at The Fair Go the villain of the piece is George Soros – one of the people Donald Trump likes to hate – who is supposedly nefariously funding GetUp! through Avaaz.

Of course no mention is made of the fact that two co-founders and current board members of GetUp! were later also co-founders of Avaaz, so there is an existing and acknowledged relationship which has seen these two groups work together on climate change campaigns.

Instead this little gem made it off a staff writer’s keyboard and onto the website:

Getup alone spent $10m on pro-Union, pro-Green, anti-development, anti-jobs agenda last year. They have been getting some help from American organisation Avaaz with $275,000 in donations over the last two years.

But where does Avaaz get their funding from? Open Society Foundation of course! 

All roads lead back to George Soros.

Small problem with the maths though. The figure for the last two Third Party Return of Political Expenditure forms submitted by GetUp! show zero donations from Avaaz in 2015-16 and a single $99,985 donation in 2014-15. Even if one goes back to the 2013-14 form, that included donation would only bring the Avaaz donation total to $195,605 over the last three financial years declared to date.

It should come as no surprise to find that Avaaz also publishes its US expenditure declarations which means that there is even less to The Fair Go’s secrecy claims. Avaaz received a general support grant in 2008-09 from the Open Society Institute (OSI est. 1979) and since then does not appear to have accepted donations from “foundations or corporations”.

As for George Soros and the Open Society Foundations (formerly OSI) – well that registered philanthropic organisation operating world-wide produces annual budgets which show what programs it is involved with and where. Australia is not one of the countries in which it has a presence and, apart from attending at least one international conference which happen to be held in this country and including Australia in its “Case Watch” series and the occasional report, it does not appear to be active here.

The 2016 Open Society Foundations budget showed expected expenditure of US$544.6 million and the 2017 budget expenditure is expected to come in at US$940.7 million. This money goes to small and medium sized organisations such as those providing advocacy, legal aid, assistance to refugees, early childhood development and education and food security in the face of climate change programs, as well as to grass roots activism.

Who would you believe when it comes to “secret money trails”? A political party (with its own political donation probity issues) which couldn’t even come up with an original design for a website which appears to be using the Steve Bannon approach to facts and is aping one of Donald Trump’s pet conspiracy theories, or the publicly available political donation disclosures GetUp! has been submitting since 2006-07.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

A wolf in sheep's clothing in the human rights fold?

“We resource strategic legal cases that are related, either directly or indirectly, to the protection and advancement of freedom of thought, conscience and religion or belief. This includes cases relating to other rights and freedoms such as speech and association……The Human Rights Law Alliance is able to provide fully funded legal advocacy with respect to a limited number of highly strategic cases that have significant implications for fundamental freedoms. The purpose of our grant funding program is to ensure that no strategic case is under resourced on account of the victim’s inability to pay.” [Human Rights Law Alliance (HRLA), 10 September 2016]

Sounds legitimate, doesn’t it?

Well, this little group was established by the Australian Christian Lobby* as a “new initiative” and its interest in human rights appears to be restricted to defending the rights of ‘aggressively’ Christian individuals, those who are against abortion, anti-gay rights & same sex marriage and apparently would support a weakening of provisions in the Racial Discrimination Act 1975.

In addition to aiding Christian individuals this group makes submissions to government.

What the HRLA states on its website in 2017 is that:

“We arrange good lawyers and funding for cases where people are in trouble with the law for living out their faith. By providing this practical help, we also set freedom-protecting legal precedents……The Human Rights Law Alliance produces resources for faith-based organisations to better protect their freedom.

The HRLA is also of a mind that the Australian Human Rights Commission should be altered:

In a show of hypocrisy this pressure group also stated:

Being just twelve months old the AHRLA has few notches on its belt, but in the fetid far-right atmosphere of parliamentary corridors of power I don’t doubt it is getting a hearing.

This bears watching.

* Human Rights Law Alliance has been a registered business name since 25 May 2016. The managing director of the Human Rights Law Alliance since its inception is Martin Iles, former Chief of Staff at the Australian Christian Lobby. Donations made to this group are not tax deductable and “Because HRLA participates in some political activities, donations of over $13,000 may be subject to disclosure under Commonwealth laws.”

Friday, 5 May 2017

National Rural Health Alliance welcomes Labor commitment to National Rural Health Strategy and implementation

Medianet Logo
AAP Logo
 Medianet Release

26 Apr 2017 7:24 PM AEST - Welcome commitment to National Rural Health Strategy and implementation

The National Rural Health Alliance today welcomed the commitment of the Federal Opposition to the development of a dedicated National Rural Heath Strategy and Implementation Plan.

The commitment was made by Shadow Minister for Health Catherine King in the opening session of the 14th National Rural Health Conference, which started in Cairns today.

Alliance Chair, Geri Malone, said today that the commitment by Ms King represented an important breakthrough for the seven million people who live in rural and remote Australia.

"The Alliance has been encouraging broad, non-partisan support for a national strategy for rural and remote health and wellbeing," Ms Malone said.
"For too long, Australia has been without an overarching strategy and implementation plan which is dedicated to bridging the health divide between the city and the bush.

"There is overwhelming evidence which shows that where you live impacts on your health and wellbeing – that the further you are away from a capital city, the worse your health, and your access to services, tends to become.

"But we are now in a rare period in decades of rural health planning and reform where we do not have a current National Rural Health Strategy, and that needs to change."

Ms Malone said the first National Rural Health Strategy was released in 1994.
"There were various updates and revisions of the strategy over the ensuing years, with the last being the National Strategic Framework for Rural and Remote Health, endorsed by Health Ministers in November 2011. 
"At the time, the Alliance called for a National Rural and Remote Health Plan to be developed to operationalise the goals set out in the Framework, but it never eventuated.

"So the Framework has not been actioned in a consistent, comprehensive way, there are no national reports on progress against the Framework, and no action has been taken to update it."

Ms Malone said the Alliance recognised the effort being put into health workforce programs, including for rural and remote Australia.

"We also know workforce is only one part of a more complex equation about what's different and what needs to be done to fix the divide in health outcomes for rural Australia," she said.

"We constantly seem to have to remind the non-believers in our cause, be that politicians and funders, metro centric decision makers and influencers, that firstly as 30 percent of the Australian population, we are entitled to equity in health service provision. 

"This does not mean doing the same. One size does not fit all. We know there are many ways of achieving the same end result, but that requires adaptation and contextualization to make it work – contextualized to place, place-based and individualised care.

"It is not an easy task and it can become somewhat disheartening to have to plead our case repeatedly. 

"We therefore see a national rural health strategy and plan not as ends in themselves but rather they provide the framework within which policies should be developed, planned, implemented and measured.

Distributed by AAP Medianet

© Australian Associated Press, 2017  

Monday, 6 March 2017

The American Resistance has many faces and this is just one [or two or three or more] of them (5)

Every day, Americans across the political spectrum are recognizing that our country is at risk of sliding toward a modern form of authoritarianism. We are already seeing signs of that happening.
But we have stronger tools than those found anywhere else in the world to prevent this. We the People, armed with our Constitution and the rule of law, can act to stop it.
That is our mission. Linking together lawyers who served at the highest levels of our federal government, in service of all concerned Americans, we are United to Protect Democracy. Join us.

Politico, 23 February 2017:

Top lawyers who helped the Obama White House craft and hold to rules of conduct believe President Donald Trump and his staff will break ethics norms meant to guard against politicization of the government — and they’ve formed a new group to prepare, and fight…..

has already raised a $1.5 million operating budget, hired five staffers and has plans to double that in the coming months. They’ve incorporated as both a 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4), allowing them to operate as a nonprofit but participate in some forms of political advocacy as well…..

They started by submitting 50 Freedom of Information Act requests this week that they believe will confirm their suspicions. The plan is to bring what they find to reporters, build it into pressure for congressional oversight with the help of a campaign director they’ll hire, and, as necessary, to file lawsuits.

They’re also hoping to establish themselves as a base for government employees worried about ethics violations — up to and including becoming whistleblowers — and are hoping that their website,,can become a resource.

24 February 2017· 

The time for normalizing, dissembling, and explaining away Donald Trump has long since passed. The barring of respected journalistic outlets from the White House briefing is so far beyond the norms and traditions that have governed this republic for generations, that they must be seen as a real and present threat to our democracy. These are the dangers presidents are supposed to protect against, not create.
For all who excused Mr. Trump's rhetoric in the campaign as just talk, the reckoning has come. I hope it isn't true, but I fear Mr. Trump is nearing or perhaps already beyond any hope of redemption. And now the question is will enough pressure be turned to all those who enable his antics with their tacit encouragement. There has been a wall of unbending support from virtually every Republican in Congress, and even some Democrats. Among many people, this will be seen as anything approaching acceptable. And mind you, talk is cheap. No one needs to hear how you don't agree with the President. What are you going to do about it? Do you maintain that an Administration that seeks to subvert the protections of our Constitution is fit to rule unchecked? Or fit to rule at all?
This is an emergency that can no longer be placed solely at the feet of President Trump, or even the Trump Administration. This is a moment of judgement for everyone who willingly remains silent. It is gut check time, for those in a position of power, and for the nation.

Statement of Purpose
Those involved in Rogue Potus Staff are not part of a partisan attack against Republican politics. To the contrary, most of us are devout Republicans. We are, however, opposed to the egregious incompetence, idiocy, and pettiness of President Trump's White House, and the effective divorce from reality with which it is run. We aren't working to support Democratic victories. We want the American People to regain control of their government through civic engagement, careful contemplation, intellectual scrutiny, activism, and ultimately voting action. This is why we encourage people to be skeptical about who we claim to be, but we vigorously attack absurd reasoning and attacks against the movement.
If our actions were to inspire anything, we hope it would be to underscore the necessity for our country's civic process to be ruled by higher principles than those that characterize President Trump. Those who wish to rally in support of merely different principles have wandered into the wrong place (especially if those principles are equally petty as those offered by President Trump). Nero is fiddling while Rome burns. We all have a choice to make. We can either stand in opposition to the emperor's negligence that's causing the destruction and chaos, or we can take a stand against bad music. Those who choose the latter should not expect to find their cause championed by us.
We have no objection to anyone who does not want to sign the petition we created, or participate in an event we suggested. Everyone has the right to choose for his or her own self. We don't believe that a White House petition will magically make President Trump change his behavior. The success of a White House petition is in gaining enough signatures to require a response. It provides an opportunity to focus the public conversation. In this case, our petition hopes to demand for President Trump to address his negligence head on, and on the record. Maybe he makes excuses. Maybe he gaslights. By itself it may not have any substantive effect. But just like mounting pieces led to Flynn being forced out, the sum of many small chinks in the armor can eventually penetrate President Trump's aura of protected recklessness.
We are not whistleblowers of illegal activity. We are not a news agency. We are not here to leak secret information to the public. We don't offer news, we offer context. We are here to show people those truths that aren't news worthy. If any one of us decides to engage in leaking news to media sources, they do so with 100% separation from Rogue Potus Staff (and yes, it has happened). We are not heroes. We are not magical wizards, nor do we hold any special keys to take him down. The only way that our country can be spared the damage President Trump would exact upon us is through the power of the people.
Resistance is not about hitting a grand slam, or a barrage of knockout punches. It's about wearing down the target. It's about small successes that add up over time. It's about being asymmetrical against an overpowering opponent. It's not about instant gratification, it's about realigning yourself to persist against all odds. It's not about painting profanities on the wall to express your disdain, it's about doing the work to swing the hammer against the wall, even if it will take a million swings.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Fleeing Trump in 2017

Controversial global activist the Avaaz Foundation (website registered in France but headquartered in United States) has decided that it will not wait around until after the inauguration of U.S. president-elect Donald John Trump to find out what he may do to American freedom of speech and freedom of political association – it will leave the country before 20 January 2017.


Miami Herald, 1 November 2016:

A global activist group that opposes Donald Trump has filed a complaint with Florida elections officials claiming that his campaign CEO submitted false voter registration information.

The complaint says Stephen Bannon does not actually live at the Sarasota County address where he registered to vote in August.

“Under Florida law, to qualify as a registered voter, one must be a resident of the state,” states the one-page complaint filed Oct. 19 by Heather Reddick, chief operating officer of Avaaz.

“These allegations are a serious matter of public interest given Mr. Bannon's role as the chief executive officer of the Republican candidate's presidential campaign and warrants immediate investigation.”

Avaaz is an international online campaign organization that opposes Trump’s candidacy. The group has launched a campaign urging Americans living overseas, including in Mexico and Canada, to vote in the election.

Trump’s campaign did not respond to questions about Bannon’s voter registration. A spokeswoman for the Florida Division of Elections said that the office is reviewing the complaint.
Keep reading here.


Excerpt from Avaaz email seeking to raise money to leave the U.S.A., 21 December 2016:

Dear Avaazers,

I'm worried. Trump has a way to kill Avaaz.

Avaaz is a global organization, but like much of the internet, our servers, data, email list and website, are all housed in the US. 'President Trump' could shut us down in a heartbeat.

Would he do it? We campaigned hard against him -- we even filed a criminal suit against his top advisor for voter fraud. And if we've learned anything about Trump, it's that he holds a grudge.

So we have to move countries. And fast.

This won't be easy. Shifting all our technology will be costly. But if just 0.1% of us donate the price of a drink or a meal by Jan 1st, we can make Avaaz safe before Trump takes office. Let's trump-proof Avaaz…….

When the US government wanted to kill Wikileaks, they simply told companies like Visa, MasterCard and Paypal to stop processing their online donations. It shut them down for over a year. Trump could go even further to target firms that house our servers and email list. We might never recover.

Avaaz is particularly at risk because we're a global organization. Far-right nationalists everywhere rail against Avaaz and "foreign" organizations who challenge their hate and ignorance.

We can't afford to be unprepared for this assault, let's Trump-proof our movement……

The great beauty and legitimacy and strength of Avaaz is that all our power flows and comes from people. That's why we're so hard to intimidate - because you won't be. But our fearlessness has made us many enemies, and we need to be smart. Let's get ahead of what they'll do next.

With hope,
Ricken, Danny, Mia, Spyro and the Avaaz team


Avaaz—meaning "voice" in several European, Middle Eastern and Asian languages—launched in 2007 with a simple democratic mission: organize citizens of all nations to close the gap between the world we have and the world most people everywhere want.

The Avaaz community campaigns in 15 languages, served by a core team on 6 continents and thousands of volunteers. We take action -- signing petitions, funding media campaigns and direct actions, emailing, calling and lobbying governments, and organizing "offline" protests and events -- to ensure that the views and values of the world's people inform the decisions that affect us all. 

Avaaz online letter to Donald Trump alleged to have been signed by over 2 million people, April 2016:

Dear Mr. Trump,

This is not what greatness looks like.

The world rejects your fear, hate-mongering, and bigotry. We reject your support for torture, your calls for murdering civilians, and your general encouragement of violence. We reject your denigration of women, Muslims, Mexicans, and millions of others who don’t look like you, talk like you, or pray to the same god as you.

Facing your fear we choose compassion. Hearing your despair we choose hope. Seeing your ignorance we choose understanding.

As citizens of the world, we stand united against your brand of division.

[Add your name!] 

Whois Record ( last updated on 2016-12-21 )
Domain Name: AVAAZ.ORG
Domain ID: D952419-LROR
WHOIS Server:
Referral URL:
Updated Date: 2016-08-30T06:40:19Z
Creation Date: 1997-10-01T04:00:00Z
Registry Expiry Date: 2017-09-30T04:00:00Z
Sponsoring Registrar: Gandi SAS
Sponsoring Registrar IANA ID: 81
Domain Status: clientTransferProhibited
Registrant ID: MH4220-GANDI
Registrant Name: Ricken Patel
Registrant Organization: Avaaz Foundation
Registrant Street: Obfuscated whois Gandi-63-65 boulevard Massena
Registrant Street: Suite #500
Registrant City: Obfuscated whois Gandi-Paris
Registrant State/Province: Paris
Registrant Postal Code: 75013
Registrant Country: FR
Registrant Phone: +33.170377666
Registrant Phone Ext:
Registrant Fax: +33.143730576
Registrant Fax Ext:
Registrant Email:
Admin ID: MH4220-GANDI
Admin Name: Ricken Patel
Admin Organization: Avaaz Foundation
Admin Street: Obfuscated whois Gandi-63-65 boulevard Massena
Admin Street: Suite #500
Admin City: Obfuscated whois Gandi-Paris
Admin State/Province: Paris
Admin Postal Code: 75013
Admin Country: FR
Admin Phone: +33.170377666
Admin Phone Ext:
Admin Fax: +33.143730576
Admin Fax Ext:
Admin Email:
Tech ID: MH4220-GANDI
Tech Name: Ricken Patel
Tech Organization: Avaaz Foundation
Tech Street: Obfuscated whois Gandi-63-65 boulevard Massena
Tech Street: Suite #500
Tech City: Obfuscated whois Gandi-Paris
Tech State/Province: Paris
Tech Postal Code: 75013
Tech Country: FR
Tech Phone: +33.170377666
Tech Phone Ext:
Tech Fax: +33.143730576
Tech Fax Ext:
Tech Email:
DNSSEC: unsigned

For more information on Whois status codes, please visit

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Australian natural gas lobby groups caught lathering up the soft soap

The Guardian, 9 November 2016:

A coalition of natural gas lobby groups are planning a coordinated campaign to convince Australians gas is “a long-term necessity”, top industry lobbyists have revealed.

They also disclosed plans to undermine government attempts to regulate sections of the industry that have been identified by the competition watchdog for price gouging by offering the federal environment minister “something he can announce” – but which would not amount to regulation.

The president of the Australian Pipeline and Gas Association, Shaun Reardon, told a meeting of the gas industry in Perth last month that the industry had agreed on a message to sell to the public, the industry website Energy News Bulletin reported.

“Our objective is to have gas acknowledged as a long-term necessity by policymakers and the public,” Reardon was reported as saying.

The chief executive of gas association, Cheryl Cartwright, told Guardian Australia that representatives of each of the industry lobby groups had “agreed to a united view regarding gas”.
Cartwright said the industry needed to “improve the public perception of natural gas”.

“Basically, we represent the gas industry,” she said. “Natural gas is an important part of the energy mix as we encourage Australia to reduce carbon emissions. It’s cleaner burning than coal, and is an appropriate back-up fuel for renewable energy sources.”

A report released last month found unmeasured “fugitive emissions” from the gas industry were likely to be as big as those emitted by the entire transport sector. Since fugitive emissions are rarely measured, they are not properly accounted for, and could jeopardise any attempt to meet emissions reduction pledges made in Paris.

If fugitive emissions from the coal seam gas industry in Australia were anywhere near what they are in the US, coal seam gas would be worse for the climate than coal.

Cartwright said the industry should fight attempts to regulate gas pipelines. In April the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission found evidence that “a large number of pipeline operators have been engaging in monopoly pricing”.

The ACCC pointed out that other countries, such as New Zealand and the US, imposed much stronger regulation. Since pipelines are natural monopolies, they are able to dictate prices.
“It is well recognised in these jurisdictions that pipelines can wield substantial market power even where producers and users have a number of transportation options,” the ACCC said.

Cartwright told the conference the federal minister for the environment and energy, Josh Frydenberg, had told her he wanted to regulate gas pipelines.

“Minister Frydenberg actually said to me, quote, ‘I know supply needs to be addressed but we’re going to fix pipelines first,’’’ Cartwright was reported saying in Energy News Bulletin.

“Basically, they are convinced there is something wrong and they want to be able to make an announcement,” Cartwright reportedly said.

Cartwright told the gas industry meeting they needed to give Frydenberg “something to announce”.

“So this is what we are up against,” she said. “Not only do we need to fight back, we have to do it in a way that gives them something to announce and actually I think we can do it.”…..

Monday, 23 March 2015

Why do we still have Tony Abbott as Prime Minister of Australia? Perhaps we should blame rightwing Christian lobbyists

ABC News 16 March 2015:

ABC's Four Corners program has revealed the campaign was run by lobby group the National Civic Council (NCC), which emailed thousands of its members and associates, urging them to contact the Liberal MPs.

It follows the leak of a confidential message from party treasurer Philip Higginson pushing for Peta Credlin's removal as Mr Abbott's chief of staff.

The emails link to a live webpage hosted by sister organisation, The Australian Family Association, where almost 100 Liberal MPs could be contacted with a single click.

MPs described being deluged with emails leading up to the leadership spill.

"In the last few days the emails have been overwhelmingly flooding the office saying all this nonsense about leadership has gone far too far, and the emails are now overwhelmingly saying 'stick to the team you've got'," Senator Eric Abetz told ABC Hobart at the time.

Four Corners uncovered the campaign after a detailed instruction email was inadvertently sent to a Sydney barrister.

NCC vice president Patrick Byrne, who organised the email campaign, said it was effective.

"Our email campaign would've gone out to maybe 10,000 people; I'm not exactly sure and I don't have direct feedback, but I think it's had some influence," he told Four Corners.

One NCC email, obtained by Four Corners, warned about the possibility of either Malcolm Turnbull or Julie Bishop being elected to the leadership.

"Whatever his failings, the alternatives are Malcolm Turnbull, who failed as leader, and Julie Bishop, who was forced to resign as shadow treasurer due to dissatisfaction within Liberal ranks over her performance," one email read.

The emails credit Mr Abbott with holding the line on same-sex marriage and repealing the carbon tax.

The Prime Minister is held in high regard by the NCC.

Mr Abbott described its founder, Bob Santamaria, as, "my first political mentor", in his book Battlelines.

National Civic Council website here.


The Monthly April 2007:

In the aftermath of the Great Split in the Labor Party, in 1954-55, the Catholic-based anti-communist wing was driven out of all the states, other than New South Wales. The anti-communists, led by Bob Santamaria, then received the cold shoulder from Rome. They soldiered on, forming one of the most determined political forces in Australia. Through his organisation, the National Civic Council, and his newspaper column, his TV spot on the Nine Network and his regular contact with government ministers, Santamaria exerted the kind of influence which political activists and lobbyists these days can only dream of.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Coal seam/tight gas miner Metgasco Limited's major shareholder makes the news again as Australian Senate inquiry into Queensland Government continues

Metgasco Limited's major shareholder ERM Power gets a mention in the Brisbane Times on 24 November 2014:

State Energy Minister Mark McArdle held a Liberal National Party fundraiser at the offices of one of the nation's largest energy companies, but did not declare it in his ministerial diary.
The 2013 event was held in the boardroom of ERM Power, one of many meetings between the minister, the energy company and lobbying firm SAS Group, according to documents seen by Fairfax Media.
A spokesman for Mr McArdle said the minister always complied with the reporting obligations set down by Premier Campbell Newman's demand for the most transparent and accountable administraton in Queensland's history, but the boardroom fundraiser did not fall into the category of a reportable event.
"Fundraising is carried out by the party organisation in strict compliance with state and federal laws," the statement says.
A spokesman for ERM Power said political fundraising was a "legitimate exercise of the freedom of political association and expression".
"ERM Power complies with the regulatory framework in Queensland for such activities, making the required disclosures under the Electoral Act," he said.
The documents, which the Electrical Trades Union is expected to submit to the Senate Inquiry in to the Queensland Government, show meetings and meals between the government, ERM executives and their lobbyists stretch back to 2012, soon after the LNP took office.
Locations included Minister McArdle's office, the LNP state conference and the Queensland Club.
Mr McArdle's spokesman said the minister regularly met with a wide range of stakeholders in the energy and water sectors.
So far this year:
* Mr McArdle met ERM Power representatives at The Queensland Club on February 5 to discuss "renewable energy" on February 5;
* The state government announced on March 6 it was axing the 8 cent solar feed-in-tariff paid to 40,000 Queenslanders in favour of a system where customers negotiated directly with retailers; and
* On March 11 Mr McArdle was the guest at a lunch hosted by SAS Group in the lobbying company's boardroom. 
SAS Group did not declare the event on the contact register maintained by the state's Integrity Commissioner but Mr McArdle did, listing its purpose in his diary as "boardroom lunch" and naming the lobbyists as the organiser......
Fairfax Media last year revealed that ERM, which had previously predominately donated to the Labor Party, had donated more than $25,000 to the LNP since 2010, with $1500 going to the Labor Party in the same period. 
The government appointed the company's non-executive chair, Tony Bellas, as head of its Independent Review Panel into the electricity sector in May 2012.
An ERM Power spokesman said the company, whose Brisbane office was opened by Premier Campbell Newman in April 2013, was a major Queensland employer and ASX listed entity and as a matter of good business practice maintained appropriate relationships with all of its stakeholders, including the government and opposition.
The Senate Inquiry into the Queensland government will hold its next public hearing on November 28.

The question a number of voters on the NSW North Coast are asking is: How much is ERM Power donating to the NSW Liberal and Nationals election campaigns ahead of the March 2015 state election?

Because unless the current Liberal-Nationals Coalition Government headed by Premier Baird wins re-election Metgasco Limited will lose all its North Coast coal seam gas tenements and ERM Power the value of its investment.


Details of the Senate Select Committee inquiry into Certain Aspects of Queensland Government Administration related to Commonwealth Government Affairs can be found here.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Ex-News Corp journalist & Abbott propagandist Steve Lewis now a lobbyist with Newgate Communications

Steve Lewis, the former News Corp journalist who ran the ‘Abbott in Opposition’ political spin on many subjects, has joined Newgate Communications as a senior advisor. 

This company is a lobbyist at federal level for twenty-one companies – including Whitehaven Coal which has been mentioned in evidence in NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) Operation Jasper and Operation Spicer investigations.

Managing partner of the Australian branch of Newgate Communication is Brian Tyson who worked as a press secretary for the Greiner and Fahey NSW Coalition Governments - and states in his Linked in entry that he worked with then NSW Planning and Energy Minister Robert Webster.

Webster coincidentally is scheduled to appear at an ICAC Operation Spicer hearing today.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

How do you know when the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association is not telling the truth? It posts on its web site

Excerpt from a Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA) news and media web page dated 5 December 2013 :

Some commentators continue to grab the wrong end of the pineapple when assessing the impact of liquefied natural gas exports on greenhouse gas emissions.
Singling out LNG production with scant regard for Australia’s wider industrial processing and power generation sectors provides a remarkably narrow view of a big picture and one which ignores the role cleaner forms of energy, such as natural gas, play in helping reduce greenhouse emissions.....

The Dept. of Environment’s National Greenhouse Gas Inventory March 2013 quarterly update states:

Annual emissions for the year to March 2013 are estimated to be 557.0 Mt CO2-e. This represents zero growth in emissions when compared with the year to March 2012. For the year to March 2013, there was a decline in emissions from electricity (section 2.1), reflecting lower electricity demand and changes in the generation mix. This decline was largely offset by an increase in fugitive emissions (section 2.4), resulting from increased production activity in the coal mining and natural gas sub-sectors....
Fugitive emissions occur during the production, processing, transport, storage, transmission and distribution of fossil fuels such as black coal, crude oil and natural gas. Emissions from decommissioned underground coal mines are also included in this sector. In the year to March 2013, fugitive emissions accounted for 8% of Australia’s national inventory.
Fugitive emissions from fuel extraction have increased 3.8% in trend terms in the March quarter 2013.
Annual emissions in this sector have increased by 12.7% over the year to March 2013. This annual increase was driven by a 6.3% increase in raw black coal production and a 12.9% increase in production of natural gas...... [my red bolding]

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Has the Heartland Institute finally gone too far?

Heartland Institute media release:

May 03, 2012
May 3, 2012 – Billboards in Chicago paid for by The Heartland Institute point out that some of the world’s most notorious criminals say they “still believe in global warming” – and ask viewers if they do, too.
Heartland’s first digital billboard – along the inbound Eisenhower Expressway (I-290) in Maywood – is the latest effort by the free-market think tank to inform the public about what it views as the collapsing scientific, political, and public support for the theory of man-made global warming. It is also reminding viewers of the questionable ethics of global warming’s most prominent proponents.
“The most prominent advocates of global warming aren’t scientists,” said Heartland’s president, Joseph Bast. “They are Charles Manson, a mass murderer; Fidel Castro, a tyrant; and Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber. Global warming alarmists include Osama bin Laden and James J. Lee (who took hostages inside the headquarters of the Discovery Channel in 2010).
Bast added, “The leaders of the global warming movement have one thing in common: They are willing to use force and fraud to advance their fringe theory.” For more about the billboards and why Heartland says people should not still believe in global warming, click here……

The next day a statement from one sponser, Microsoft, distanced itself:

Microsoft believes climate change is a serious issue that demands immediate, worldwide attention and we are acting accordingly. We are pursuing strategies and taking actions to reduce our own impact as well as the impact of our products. In addition, Microsoft has adopted a broad policy statement on climate change that expresses support for government action to address climate change.
The Heartland Institute does not speak for Microsoft on climate change. In fact, the Heartland Institute’s position on climate change is diametrically opposed to Microsoft’s position. And we completely disagree with the group’s inflammatory and distasteful advertising campaign…….

Two days later The Guardian U.K. stated:

The London-based drinks giant, which owns brands such as Guinness, Smirnoff, Johnnie Walker and Moët & Chandon, said this year that it was "reviewing any further association with Heartland" following the release online of internal Heartland documents which revealed its corporate donors as well as a plan to promote an alternative climate change curriculum in US schools. Following the widespread outcry triggered by Heartland's billboards, a Diageo spokeswoman told the Guardian: "Diageo vigorously opposes climate scepticism and our actions are proof of this. Diageo's only association with the Heartland Institute was limited to a small contribution made two years ago specifically related to an excise tax issue. Diageo has no plans to work with the Heartland Institute in the future."…..

On 7 May E&E Publishing revealed another sponsorship withdrawal:

"It was disgusting. It was revolting," Brad Kading, president of the Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers, said of the ad in an interview over the weekend. "It was a terrible mistake."
His group, which donated $125,000 to Heartland over the last two years, told the libertarian president of Heartland, Joe Bast, that their relationship is "untenable" in a letter Friday evening.

While this letter to another sponsor was posted online as one academic fought back against Heartland’s advertising:

May 7, 2012
State Farm Insurance
One State Farm Plaza
Bloomington, IL 61710
Dear State Farm,
As per a recent conversation with Tony Ardise, my State Farm agent, I provided him two weeks’ notice that I intend to cancel all of my policies with State Farm Insurance because of its support of Heartland Institute. I have been a loyal customer for over 21 years and currently send almost $4500 per year to State Farm. I do not wish my money to be sent to Heartland Institute – a group that recently compared climate scientists and those concerned about climate change to “murderers, tyrants, and madmen” such as Ted Kaczynski (Unabomber), Charles Manson, Fidel Castro, and Osama bin Laden. Although Heartland stated that they will remove the public billboards, their official statement offers no apologies. It is obvious that the billboards represent Heartland’s true feelings.
This indefensible and un-American assault on climate science is just the latest attempt by Heartland to discourage action on climate change, but there is a long history. As has been widely reported in mainstream media, Heartland Institute has been leading the charge for years to confuse our policymakers, the general public, and our school children about well-understood climate change science.
The United States National Academy of Sciences tells us that the climate is warming, humans are responsible, and that this behavior is increasing risks across a broad spectrum of society. Every international academy of science agrees and recent studies show that 97-98% of publishing experts concur.
Who else is concerned? Military and intelligence experts warn that climate-induced crises could topple governments, feed terrorist movements or destabilize entire regions and health officials warn us that climate change could be the biggest global health threat of the 21st century. These are experts who are warning us of a serious problem. We need to listen to these experts and not to Heartland Institute.
State Farm states: “We’re working with organizations all across the country – organizations like the Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS), Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and Protecting America – to help protect you and your family from the human injuries, property destruction, and financial impact that can result from natural disasters.” Climate change has been shown to have increased the frequency and intensity of droughts, fires, heat waves, and floods. Along with sea level rise, these types of disasters have already cost your industry many billions of dollars according to financial experts. I find it quite disturbing that State Farm would send money to a group that is clearly hurting its bottom line. Would the American Lung Association send money to Philip Morris?
General Motors and AT&T have publicly stated they will no longer fund Heartland Institute. State Farm should immediately do the same. If so, I will remain a loyal customer. Otherwise, I will take my business elsewhere.
Scott A. Mandia

Two months ago when the names of Heartland Institute sponsors became public knowledge, General Motors publicly withdrew from the Institute’s funding pool, according to The Guardian:

In a statement, GM said that it now runs its business "as if climate change is real and believe we have a role to play in developing new cars, trucks and technologies that can make a difference".

The U.S. Blog Forecast The Facts is currently running an online petition urging all sponsors to follow suit.