Thursday 31 May 2012

Abbott votes with Thomson in Parliament on the morning of 30 May 2012

TONY Abbott says the Gillard government only survives because of the tainted vote of Craig Thomson and he’s challenged the Prime Minister to bar the central coast MP from voting. [The Australian 30 May 2012]

In which Abbott, Entsch and Pyne show just how silly they can be on 30 May 2012.....

In a media doorstop Australian Opposition Leader Tony Abbott himself called, he at first denied outright that he had voted with Independent MP Craig Thomson against a motion to gag Opposition Treasury spokesperson Joe Hockey.

Commonwealth Hansard states differently at approximately 9.10am:

In division—
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Leader of the Opposition was on the floor at the time—that is the chamber. We will now proceed with the vote. The question is that the member be no longer heard.

Abbott, AJ
Alexander, JG
Andrews, KJ
Andrews, KL
Bandt, AP
Billson, BF
Bishop, BK
Bishop, JI
Briggs, JE
Broadbent, RE
Buchholz, S
Chester, D
Christensen, GR
Ciobo, SM
Cobb, JK
Coulton, M (teller)
Crook, AJ
Dutton, PC
Entsch, WG
Fletcher, PW
Frydenberg, JA
Gambaro, T
Gash, J
Griggs, NL
Haase, BW
Hartsuyker, L***
Hawke, AG
Hockey, JB
Hunt, GA
Irons, SJ
Jensen, DG
Jones, ET
Kelly, C
Laming, A
Ley, SP
Macfarlane, IE
Marino, NB
Matheson, RG
McCormack, MF
Mirabella, S
Morrison, SJ
Moylan, JE
Neville, PC
Oakeshott, RJM
O'Dowd, KD
O'Dwyer, KM
Prentice, J
Ramsey, RE
Randall, DJ
Robb, AJ
Robert, SR
Roy, WB
Ruddock, PM
Schultz, AJ
Scott, BC
Secker, PD (teller)
Simpkins, LXL
Smith, ADH
Somlyay, AM
Southcott, AJ
Stone, SN
Tehan, DT
Thomson, CR
Truss, WE
Tudge, AE
Turnbull, MB
Van Manen, AJ
Vasta, RX
Washer, MJ
Wilkie, AD
Windsor, AHC
Wyatt, KG

***The NSW Nationals Member for Cowper, Luke Hartsuyker, on the NSW North Coast also voted with Thomson.

While the above video of the House of Representatives just prior to the vote shows Abbott’s attempt to leave the Chamber, improperly and in defiance of parliamentary procedure, after the Acting Speaker had called for the doors to be locked on a division.

Not being so swift when not clad in Lycra, he was caught by the Acting Speaker and forced to return to his seat to then take part in the vote.

The Acting Speaker, Deputy Speaker Anna Burke had the last word on the subject: is not for the opposition or the government to accept a member's vote. We need to clarify this: it is for the parliament to accept a member's vote...

End of story.

A Special Event For Australia: Venus crosses the face of the Sun on 6 June 2012

Transit of Venus 2004 from Google Images

On the 6th June, Venus will line up directly with the Sun and we'll get to see the planet as a small black dot against the bright Sun. It's an astronomical curiosity today, but in times past it prompted major scientific expeditions. Men devoted their lives to the Transit – some were successful and there were also many tales of despair – as they tried to unlock the true size of the Solar System.
Only six transits have occurred since the phenomenon was discovered – 1639, 1761, 1769, 1874, 1882 and the most recent in 2004. Each has its own story. Like the transit of 1769 that provided the public reason for James Cook's voyage to the Pacific but led him to chart the east coast of Australia.
The transit in June will be the last in our lifetimes. No one will witness this event again until 2117……

The best time to view this phenomenon is thought to be between 8.16am and 8.35am EST as it first moves onto the Sun's face.

Forget Gina - Kev's better half finally made it into The Rich 200 in 2012

Wednesday 30 May 2012

What Chris said yesterday ...

The Member for Clarence, Chris Gulaptis, provided these little gems yesterday:
"... the Australian public love the monarchy. ... The love of the monarchy has even extended to Pippa's derrière—we just cannot enough of it."
(Mr Christopher Gulaptis (Clarence) [6.34 p.m.]: speaking to the Constitution Amendment (Restoration of Oaths of Allegiance) Bill 2011)

Cripes! We pay good money to have a local represent us in Macquarie Street and that is what we get. Is the bloke for real or is he a fruit cake?

Barham speaks out but Gulaptis keeps quiet on NSW Northern Rivers arts funding

Hansard, NSW Legislative Council, 24 May 2012:

The Hon. JAN BARHAM [10.49 a.m.]: I support the motion moved by the Hon. Mick Veitch. Because the House has important business to deal with today I will speak briefly, but I want to put on the record my support for the motion condemning the closure of regional development offices, particularly in the Tweed. I have had a great deal of involvement with the Tweed office over the years. Over the past 10 years five local government areas on the North Coast have worked collaboratively to develop a strategy for the growth of the creative industries, and we have had some great successes. Future successes will be put in doubt by this move by the Government. It is regrettable, and I hope the Government will review its decision.

The North Coast region is struggling. We are a long way from Sydney, but we have tried to be resilient by looking at opportunities that will benefit the area. The region's reliance on tourism is a matter of concern and the creative industries are seen as an area for jobs creation. The acclaimed author and academic Richard Florida, who writes on the rise of the creative industries, has identified that regions that protect their cultural identity and natural environment attract creative people, and that has certainly been the case on the North Coast. The North Coast has seen the fastest growth in the creative industries sector in Australia, outside the capital cities. The previous Government recognised that growth and provided support. The Tweed regional office has been very successful, with, for example, projects under the Creative Industries Brokers Project resulting in significant outcomes.

Arts Northern Rivers wrote to Mr Andrew Stoner, the Deputy Premier, and Minister for Trade and Investment, raising its concerns. The letter referred to 727 creative industries practitioners in the fashion, music and screen-digital sectors who are registered on the Arts Northern Rivers database. It referred to 416 practitioners who took part in sector-specific professional development and networking events. The letter also informed him about 20 businesses selected for intensive one-on-one business development support, 60 market linkage success stories and The Hive, the Northern Rivers creative industries website. The industry has been working on these projects in a strategic way, guided by evidence-based documents and research, so that in the future we will have an industry that can sit alongside tourism and grow opportunities in our region. That is one reason for the strong support for the rollout of broadband in our area.

The tragedy is that the Government has not recognised the flow-on effect. Often these groups seek support from government agencies, such as NSW Industry and Investment. If they do not receive that support, it may put in doubt their access to other support. I fear this is the case with a related project under NSW Trade and Investment. The reduction in the Regional Industries Investment Fund will have a great impact on the Screenworks organisation, which promotes the development of a screen industry on the North Coast. Filmmakers are flooding to the North Coast to set up their work and home base. The ABC series East of Everything was produced in the region. They said it could not be done, but nearly two years of lobbying resulted in the show being produced there. For many of the screen industry practitioners who are located in the area it was the first time they were able to work professionally and then go home and sleep in their own beds. Most of them have had to travel. It demonstrates that the North Coast has the capability in the screen industry, and Screenworks has been integral in promoting the professionals who are located in the region and attracting business to the area.

Why would the Government put all that at risk? After a decade of planning and working together, this is our future. Local government has been working with the State Government to grow the creative industries sector. This sector provides offsets to tourism and other industries and also supports cultural diversity in the area, an aspect much sought after by the tourism industry. I strongly support this motion. My community on the North Coast is shocked that funding sources and support services are being taken away, after so many years of government commitment. Unfortunately, this move demonstrates a lack of long-term strategic planning by the Government, as well as a lack of respect for the energetic commitment to the North Coast made by many organisations in the region. These organisations have worked hard to convince the Government of an alternative future for the North Coast. A minimal investment will return so much.

In a letter to Mr Stoner, Arts Northern Rivers states that it is very concerned about the decision to reduce activities by NSW Trade and Investment in the Tweed office and the impact it will have on the creative industries. I ask the Government to recognise the concerns that have been voiced. There is no shame in recognising that a mistake has been made. The Government should reverse the decision and work with the people in the region. The amount of money involved is minimal. I appeal to the Government to acknowledge the support for this motion and to reconsider its decision. This is a dangerous move that will have a dramatic impact in the future. Reconsideration of this decision by the Government is important to the people on the North Coast.

So far Clarence MP Gulaptis has kept his mouth firmly shut on this subject. Which is surprising given that the arts are a vital part of regional tourism and of local communities in his electorate.

It's official - size matters!

Tuesday 29 May 2012

The Coal Seam Gas Debate in May 2012

He said:
She said:
I might take Ian MacFarlane’s indignation a little more seriously - if his Statement of Members' Interests didn't show him accepting air flights and/or hospitality from mining groups, Chevron Australia, Beach Energy and EDI Downer.
Of course he's not alone in accepting the perks of industry lobbying.

What one voter thinks of the Member for Clarence

The email received by North Coast Voices was short 'n' sweet and produced a guffaw when passed around:

He wouldn’t have the faintest idea about this.  

How right this voter is.
I wonder if ‘Steve’ Gulaptis stands in front of the bathroom mirror to practice the words written for him? How many times does he have to rehearse each piece before he stops stumbling over sentences?

A smoking gun in the Thomson vs Media saga?

In 2009 then Victorian ALP state secretary Stephen Newnham was one of the first people to start accusing Craig Thomson of alleged
brothel creeping during his time at the Health Services Union.
After being forced to resign this senior Labor position in that same year, Newnham and former adviser to senior federal Coalition frontbenchers  Rick Brown later turn up as principals of a registered lobby group which had been contracted to provide political analysis (on the upcoming elections in Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia in 2010) to a newspaper in the News Ltd Group.
By 2012 both Newnham and Brown were writing articles critical of the Gillard Government for the Herald-Sun.
Does this set of interlocking relationships with Murdoch's minions go some way to explaining why large slabs of the meeja uncritically swallow whole Abbott & Co’s vitriol concerning this MP?
Might it also explain why the veracity of this 2011 2UE954 News Talk image of Thomson's alleged credit card details (showing a misspelled surname on the face of this card imprint) is not being questioned? A set of 1st-8th April 2005 documents which appear to have been eventually handed over to VIC or NSW Police by HSU officials as evidence of Thomson's alleged 'guilt', if the accompanying interview with Kathy Jackson is to be believed.

In the transcript of a 1st August 2011 2UE Michael Smith interview with Thomson this section stands out:

Michael Smith: "The card was also used to pay for escort agency services.
I have a copy of one of the escort agency credit card vouchers. It’s the old style one, where you put the card on the plastic slider machine, put the carbon paper voucher on top of it and swipe the slider over the voucher.
The carbon paper makes a clear embossed impression of the card. You can plainly see that the credit card that was present on that night had this on the front of it – Craig Thomson, Health Services Union."

At best this is sloppy reporting. At worst the information in red bolding is a bald lie. Thompson is not Thomson, no matter how you spin it, and any reputable credit card agency would reject the slip in question - rightly worried about the possiblity of identity theft.

Monday 28 May 2012

100% Ready Clean Energy Forum, 6 to 8pm at Lismore on 12 June 2012

The Nature Conservation Council (NCC) of NSW, as part of the 100% Ready campaign, is holding a FREE public forum on clean energy in Lismore on Tuesday 12 June  2012.

Showcasing real stories from the clean energy frontline that prove we’re 100% ready to start making the switch. Many stories are already out there about how renewable energy has the power to transform our lives, communities and society.  Followed by a unique one-hour workshop open to all attendees, with a specific focus on how we can reach 20% renewable energy in the local area by 2020.

Lismore Clean Energy Forum
When: Tuesday 12 June, 6 to 8pm (workshop 8pm to 9pm)
Where: Lismore City Bowling Club, Spinks Park, Molesworth Street, Lismore
Speakers: Paul Cruickshank (Office of Environment and Heritage), Jeff Johnson (Beyond Zero Emissions), Tim Barker (Permaculture Research Institute), Natalie Meyer (Nimbin Community Solar Farm), James Sturch (North Coast Energy Entity) and Warwick Johnston (Sunwiz)

For more information and to register, please visit

Scoop Teh Northern Territory News Missed!

Has ‘Planet America’ been invaded by aliens?

L: Minature alien spaceship as it begins
approach to Chas Licciardello’s right ear

R: Same alien craft as it exits by
Chas Licciardello’s left ear

*Gasp* *Horror* Will Chas survive?

Sunday 27 May 2012

The Thomson Saga: Just how unlucky can a person be?

      Craig Thomson
       circa 2003-2005

The Northern Leader 25 May 2012:

Records obtained by the Herald indicate a $770 fee was charged to Mr Thomson's HSU credit card on May 7, 2005. The transaction was billed to ''Internat Immobiliare''.

So what is known about this corporation?

Well ASIC lists four companies with similar names:





The first company on the list was under a court-ordered liquidation which commenced in 2001 and was eventually deregistered on 1 October 2003.
In October 2003 the second company was registered eight days later and deregistered on 15 March 2008. It has no documents lodged on the ASIC website after its registration document. However the ASIC Gazette lists INTERNATIONAL IMMOBILIARE PTY LTD ACN 106 620 900 as a deregistered company on 31 January 2006.
The third wasn’t registered until 18 October 2010.
While the fourth wasn’t registered until 23 January 2006.

There are also two International Immobiliare Limited - one registered in New Zealand and the other in Britain.

Now if the Internat Immobiliare mentioned in the media was actually a holding company associated with a Sydney escort agency; if this name also represents one of the companies listed by ASIC; and if allegedly the name did turn up as a debit on a Health Services Union credit card account in 2005 – then one would have to be very unlucky to have had the transaction occur in what was the last seven months this company was trading.

Doubly unlucky would best describe anyone who in patronising Internat Immobiliare’s escort agency did not realise that they were also using a business which had a reputation for disputed dalliance claims about its workers and ‘famous’ people and, in at least one case in 2004, a worker had allegedly received a large sum from a media outlet to tell the story.

Terminally unlucky is a phrase which springs to mind when one considers there were also allegations of the agency’s books being cooked by management sometime between 2003 and 2008.

At the same time one might characterize a journalist who found credit card documents  pertaining to a long-defunct company strewn across his investigative path - records which at least two police investigations and a Fair Work Australia investigation apparently failed to find - as nothing less than an incredibily fortunate member of the Fourth Estate.

Indeed Lady Luck has been staggering across the public square in such a way as to make one suspect that she is more than a little inebriated.

However, not quite as inebriated as Channel Nine's A Current Affair which appears to be relying on the memory of a former sex worker, who allegedly met a union official once seven years ago (before he lost weight, his hair went gray and that bald patch developed) and was willing to indentify him this year from a photograph - in exchange for an undisclosed payment.

** The former owner of this escort agency apparently now resides near Mission Beach in New Zealand where he is still finding his way into the news and the New Zealand woman interviewed by A Current Affair is believed to be living in Cabarita Beach area on the NSW North Coast.

NEWS FLASH: CSG miners have HUGE bladders?

The Daily Examiner 8th  May 2012:

IN YESTERDAY'S Daily Examiner it was reported Metgasco's booth at the Grafton Show was not manned on Friday and Saturday.
This is incorrect. Metgasco staff, including CEO Peter Henderson, manned the booth from 9am-5pm on both days.
The Daily Examiner apologises to Metgasco and its staff for any problems this error may have caused.  

Sounds very like The Daily Examiner committed another blooper, doesn’t it? Except that neither the newspaper nor journalist Claire Simmons said that this CSG mining corporation’s stall was unmanned all day on Friday and Saturday.

What The Daily Examiner actually wrote on 7th  May 2012 was:

Mining company Metgasco established an information stand at the Grafton Show, but their opponents were unable to locate any mining foot soldiers.
"We were disappointed we were unable to locate any Metgasco representatives at their stall at the Grafton Show," said Denise Deane of the Clarence Valley Against CSG Alliance.

What one earth was the editor thinking in publishing that craven apology for something the newspaper never wrote? Even the Australian Press Council wouldn't have required a retraction in this language, so how heavy was Metgasco playing it with APN management?
And was Metgasco telling The Egg Timer that its representatives have bladders of prodigious capacity and the internal fortitude of camels – that on two consecutive days, for eight hours at a time, none of them ever left that stall for either food, drink or a comfort stop?
Pull the other one lads!

Saturday 26 May 2012

Baselines tell the real story on NSW main greenhouse gas emissions

The story: Emissions from energy grew by 1.7%, with an increase in the use of coal-fired generation more than offsetting decreased use of gas and petroleum………

Last week:
  • Emissions from energy grew by 1.7%, or 34,000 tonnes, with an increase in the use of coal-fired generation more than offsetting decreased use of gas and petroleum.
  • Emissions from coal-fired generation, which accounted for 91% of electricity generation, grew by 4.6% or 48,000 tonnes.
  • Emissions from gas fell by 4.3%, or 9,000 tonnes.
  • Emissions from petroleum fell by 0.8% or 6,000 tonnes.
  • Electricity demand grew by 2.3%.
  • NSW met 10% of its electricity demand with imports from other states, compared with 9.0% the previous week.
Last year:
  • This week’s indicator is 12% lower than the same week in 2011.
  • Total emissions to this stage of 2012 were 6.7% lower than at a similar stage last year.
  • 1990: 22% above
  • 2000: 4.5% above

Growing dirt pile is getting closer to NSW O'Farrell Government Resources and Energy Minister, Chris Hartcher - Part Three


It would appear that the Ashby virus is spreading……………….

The Sydney Morning Herald 19 May 2012:

POLICE are investigating a claim Senator Bill Heffernan assaulted an employee of Chris Hartcher, the NSW Energy Minister, in an alleged homophobic attack at a fractious Liberal Party meeting on the central coast.

Ray Carter, 67, has accused Senator Heffernan of assaulting him and, according to sources, vilifying him over his sexuality at a gathering of party members in the federal electorate of Robertson.

Senator Heffernan was acting as an emissary of Tony Abbott at the Breakers Country Club at Wamberal on May 3. A Liberal source said the pair had been seen to physically clash on two occasions during the evening and also alleged that Senator Heffernan had aimed ''homophobic slurs'' at Mr Carter. In a statutory declaration, Mr Carter alleges Senator Heffernan hit him on his shoulder, causing him to fall into his seat, and later saying to him: ''I didn't know you were a poofter.''……..

Mr Carter, who has been suspended from Mr Hartcher's electorate office over a donation scandal, waited nearly a fortnight to report the allegation to Gosford police.

 Part One here.