Sunday, 9 July 2017

Is the Turnbull Government trying to hide ramifications of the Abbott Government's clean energy blunder?

On 20 March 2014 the Abbott Liberal-Nationals Coalition Government’s Clean Energy Legislation (Carbon Tax Repeal) Act 2014 was passed by both houses of the Australian Parliament amid scenes of ministerial jubilation in the House of Representatives and became law on 17 July 2014.

Since then it appears that this ideologically driven move away from squarely facing the fact of climate change has seen Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions begin to rise once more, along with sharply rising energy costs to consumers.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 22 December 2016

Until it now seems the Turnbull Liberal-Nationals Coalition Government may be actively attempting to hide the increasingly bad news from the national electorate on whose behalf it purports to govern.

The federal government has been keeping almost a year's worth of pollution data secret, despite it being scheduled for release in May, documents obtained under freedom of information laws reveal.

Independent estimates suggest Australia's greenhouse gas emissions have risen sharply since the government last released its quarterly data in December – a trend that would make the nation's commitment to cutting emissions more disruptive and expensive.

Quarterly updates by the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory, described as "up-to-date information on emissions trends for business, policymakers and the public", have been released 28 times since 2009, but not since last year.

Documents obtained under FOI by the Australian Conservation Foundation reveal that while the government possesses data on greenhouse pollution for the two quarters leading up to the end of last year, it has failed to release them……

According to estimates by consultant NDEVR Environmental, Australia's overall emissions increased by 1.15 per cent in the first quarter of this year, while electricity sector emissions increased by 11 per cent.

The overall emissions increase is equivalent to an extra 2,308,846 cars on the road.

According to NDEVR Environmental, the increase is almost entirely attributable to electricity emissions, while other sectors such as transport emissions decreased over the quarter……


“For the December quarter 2016, national emissions levels, excluding the Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) sector, have increased 0.4 per cent relative to the previous quarter on a seasonally adjusted and weather normalised basis. For the year to December 2016, emissions increased 1.4 per cent on the previous year.”

Rumble in the Digital Jungle

Hiding behind this statement is the determined efforts to stop discussion of the alleged issue of a specific Remote Control Execution said to be vulnerable tMan-In-The-Middle (MITM) attacks, by one Simon Joseph Smith of & 
who styles himself as "Australian's most elite Computer Digital Forensics Private Investigator...renowned in Australias as "Today Tonight's" Cyber-bullying Expert" .

Mr. Smith appears incensed:

The resulting number of takedowns continues to grow.

As usual, getting this hissy online only results in more people having a look at the app in question's specifications and going on to make a snap judgment about the character of the hisser.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Snapshot of the Week

ABC TV, Adam Hills' The Last Leg, 14 June 2017

Quotes of the Week

"I use the word crisis deliberately because suicide rates are at a 10-year high. Eight Australians a day on average kill themselves, six of them are men. It's far higher than the national road toll.”  [Julia Gillard being quoted by ABC News online, 3 July 2016]

“Any leader that would use blackmail to demand loyalty from a few would not think twice about usin' the military to demand loyalty from all.” [@TeaPainUSA on Twitter, 2 July 2017]

He is political pornography — gripping, exciting, lewd, fascinating. [The Washigton Post, 3 July 2017] 

Friday, 7 July 2017

Capturing the national electorate's response to years of poor energy policy under Abbott then Turnbull

Snapshot of ABC TV Mad As Hell image

The fight continues in US Court of Appeal against Trump's 'Muslim Travel Ban'

Business Insider, 29 June 2017:

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) - The state of Hawaii asked a federal judge in Honolulu on Thursday to clarify a US Supreme Court ruling that reinstated parts of President Donald Trump's revised travel ban, arguing that the Trump administration had interpreted the court's decision too narrowly.

In a court filing, Hawaii said the US government intended to violate the Supreme Court's instructions by improperly excluding from the United States people who actually have a close family relationship to US persons.

The 90-day ban took effect at 8 p.m. ET along with a 120-day ban on all refugees.

On Monday, the Supreme Court revived parts of a travel ban on people from six Muslim-majority countries, narrowing the scope of lower court rulings that had blocked parts of a March 6 executive order and allowing his temporary ban to go into effect for people with no strong ties to the United States.

The court agreed to hear arguments during its next term starting in October to decide finally whether the ban is lawful.

The Supreme Court exempted from the ban travelers and refugees with a "bona fide relationship" with a person or entity in the United States. As an example, the court said those with a "close familial relationship" with someone in the United States would be covered.

The Trump administration decided on the basis of its interpretation of the court's language that grandparents, grandchildren and fiancés traveling from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen would be barred from obtaining visas while the ban was in place.

In its court filing, Hawaii echoed criticism from immigrant and refugee groups that the Trump administration had defined too narrowly who should be exempted.

Hawaii called the refusal to recognize grandparents, fiancés, and other relatives as an acceptable family relationship " a plain violation of the Supreme Court's command."

The State of Hawaii’s  latest motion is Civil Action No. 1:17-cv-00050- DKW-KSC EMERGENCY MOTION TO CLARIFY SCOPE OF PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION

Around the same time this motion was filed, the Trump administration announced on the US State Department website that it was removing “fiancé” from the list of relationships not considered bona fide:

Upon further review, fiances are now included as close family members.


U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit is reported in The Guardian to have ruled on 7 July 2017 that it did not have jurisdiction to weigh in on this particular aspect of the matter:

In a statement, Hawaii Attorney General Douglas S. Chin said the ruling “makes clear that Judge Watson does possess the ability to interpret and enforce the Supreme Court’s order, as well as the authority to enjoin against a party’s violation of the Supreme Court’s order placing effective limitations on the scope of the district court’s preliminary injunction.”

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Yet another Liberal-Nationals publicly funded program ripe for rorting by the private sector

Remember the pile on to hoover money from the Research and Development (R&D) Tax Incentive program administered by the Tax Office and the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science or the debacle which is the Vocational Education and Training program?

Well now the Turnbull Government has decided this is great idea. What could possibly go wrong?

HuffPost, 3 April 2017:

CANBERRA – A voluntary internship program, designed to get young people eventually into work, has just been kicked off by the Turnbull Government despite widespread concern about its efficacy and potential for youth exploitation.

Under the Youth Jobs PaTH Program, an unemployed or disadvantage young person under 25 years will be paid an extra $200 a fortnight "incentive" on top of the usual income support payments to complete an internship of between four to 12 weeks….

Businesses partaking in the program will receive an upfront bonus of $1,000 for taking on an intern and get an additional $6,500 if the internship turns into a job.

The Guardian, 3 April 2017:

The Turnbull government launched its Prepare, Train and Hire (PaTH) internship program on Monday despite the legislation for its full implementation being stuck in the Senate.

Implementing the internships without legislation could cost workers up to $42 a fortnight, because the $200 a fortnight they receive for taking on work placements will count as income that reduces their other social security payments.

HuffPost, 3 July 2017:

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull trumpeted a breakthrough for his government's controversial PaTH internship program on Monday, as he unveiled a plan for 10,000 retail interns, but the businesses onboard with the plan have come under fire over previous penalties for mistreating and underpaying workers.

The PaTH plan -- Prepare, Trial, Hire -- was announced in the 2016 budget, designed as a way to get young unemployed people into job training and work experience programs, with a view to getting them off welfare and into paid employment. The job skills training is compulsory, but participating in an internship is voluntary, and completing up to 25 hours a week gives "interns" an extra $200 on top of their existing welfare payments. Businesses that take on interns would also receive thousands in financial incentives.

Unions and workers groups slammed the idea, claiming it would lead to "churn" culture where businesses would stop employing casual or part-time employees who the business itself has to pay, and instead sign up to receive a revolving door of interns who the business not only does not pay, but actually gets paid to take on.

On Monday, Turnbull joined employment minister Michaelia Cash to announce the Australian Retailers Association would "partner" with the government to offer up to 10,000 internships through the PaTH program. News Corp reported that retailers including Battery World, Coffee Club, Bright Eyes and Bakers Delight will participate in the program, but opponents have seized on the recent history of some of those businesses.

"The employers that have signed up to the Youth Path program don't have a good track record treating their workers with respect," said Labor's shadow employment minister Brendan O'Connor and shadow minister for employment services Ed Husic.

"Bakers Delight apprentices, and assistants were reimbursed almost $40,000 after the Fair Work Ombudsman found they were being underpaid. A former Coffee Club franchisee in Brisbane was fined more than $180,000 in penalties for contraventions including an unlawful cash back payment."

The Coffee Club decision was announced on the government's own Fair Work Ombudsman website just two weeks ago.

"The Turnbull Government can't explain how the Youth PaTh program won't displace jobs that could go to full-paid employees. The Government has not outlined how its agreement with retailers will stop subsidised workers from being used by some retailers to avoid paying penalty rates -- by engaging subsidised, so-called 'interns' in penalty shifts that would normally be staffed by employees," Husic and O'Connor said.

SBS News, 4 July 2017:

On Monday, Minister Cash sought to assure potential interns that they would have a decent chance of getting a job at the end of their placement…..

Australian Council of Trade Unions president Ged Kearney said the program offered no path to qualification, employment or workforce protection.

"This is a government-sanctioned program that actually borders on slavery," she told reporters in Melbourne.

"If this does create new jobs, then pay the kids for the jobs. Pay them a wage. They're going to be productive. They're going to be contributing to the bottom line of these businesses."