Thursday 30 June 2016

Australian Federal Election 2016: 666 apprenticeships gone under Nationals in Page

Labor Candidate for Page Janelle Saffin, media release, 30 June 2016:

666 Apprenticeships gone in Page under the Nationals

New figures released by the Department of Education show that apprenticeship numbers in Page have fallen by 31.5 per cent in two years, with a loss of 666 apprenticeships in the Page electorate.

Janelle Saffin, Federal Labor Candidate for Page said disappointingly Mr Hogan and the rest of the Nationals have allowed this to happen, with these figures replicated across Australia, with 130,000 apprenticeships gone nationally.

The number of apprenticeships in Page dropped from 2,117 at 31 December 2013, to just 1,451 at 31 December 2015.

“The retreat from supporting apprentices and the vocational education and training sector started with Mr Abbott and Mr Truss, and it continues with Mr Turnbull and Mr Joyce,” Ms Saffin said.

“I am serious about investing in apprentices, skills and training in Page.

“The Nationals have cut $2.75 billion from the skills portfolio, including $1 billion in cuts to apprentices by scrapping the Tools for Your Trade program and access and mentoring programs.

“How can they talk ‘jobs and growth’ and then decimate apprenticeships and the VET sector?

“It’s vital that we train and retrain our workforce to improve participation, productivity, and innovation. This is what will drive growth in our region.

“Kevin Hogan and the Nationals have been missing in action on apprenticeships and jobs.”

Ms Saffin said Labor had a comprehensive set of policies to help apprentices, skills and training, including among other policy measures:

• A TAFE Funding Guarantee.

• $8,000 cap on VET FEE-HELP loans per year and a VET sector ombudsman.

• A sector-wide national review to ensure vocational education is able to meet the
training needs of the nation.

• Establishing Commonwealth Institutes of Higher Education to deliver new technical
and education opportunities to areas where access remains difficult and participation is too low.

• Boosting apprenticeships across the country by:

- creating new apprenticeship opportunities through setting a quota of
apprentices on major federally-funded projects.
- reintroducing the Tools for Your Trade program at $3,000 per apprentice to
support them from commencement to completion.
- restoring support for Group Training organisations.
- creating pathways into apprenticeships for 10,000 young people unemployed
people through the Apprentice Ready program.
- piloting a National Skills Recognition Entitlement program with 5,000 places to
help mature-aged, retrenched workers turn their extensive work experience into
formal qualifications.
- connecting potential apprentices with jobs and training through an
Apprenticeships Connect search portal.
- appointing a dedicated Apprentice Advocate.

“Only a Shorten Labor Government will deliver the support for apprentices and TAFE that local residents expect and a vocational education system that delivers a skilled workforce for the future,” Ms Saffin said.

Australian Federal Election 2016: friends of the Liberal Party

It is wise to be careful who you lie down with, a lesson the Abbott-Turnbull Government chooses to ignore.....
The Age, 17 June 2016:
Members of an extremist Christian sect which has covered up child sex abuse have given secret, coordinated donations to the Liberal Party.
Dozens of Exclusive Brethren members - who practice a radical doctrine of "separation" and are not permitted to vote - donated more than $67,000 to the Liberal Party on the same day in December 2010.
The donations were revealed in documents tabled at the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption during its inquiry into the source of funds flowing into Liberal Party coffers.
The Exclusive Brethren, recently rebranded the "Plymouth Brethren Christian Church", was described by former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd as "an extremist cult" which breaks up families. But the Liberal party operatives who accepted the en masse donations described them as "friends".
The church first came to public attention in 2006 when it was revealed the group had raised and spent $370,461 to influence the 2004 election on behalf of John Howard, with whom they were close……
Good Weekend today reveals that Mr Hales ordered that some victims of child sexual abuse be paid off to keep quiet. One victim was told his abuse was a "family matter," and nothing to do with the church, even though the church had placed the child with his abuser.
In 2003, the Brethren first excommunicated and then reinstated a man to the church despite overwhelming evidence that he had sexually abused two young girls who were living with him and attending the school where he was a trustee. The Brethren ignored the girls' letters, direct to Mr Hales, in which they begged him not to bring their abuser back. 
The man was later convicted and jailed for offences including sexual intercourse with a child under 10.
The Brethren have issued a number of legal threats in recent weeks to try to stop the Good Weekend story being published. In a statement it said it was "misinformed and plainly wrong" to suggest the church had a problem with sex abuse. The Church "considers any abuse of any member of society abhorrent," the statement said.
Documents tabled at the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption's Operation Spicer show 62 separate donors, all known members of the Brethren church, sent donations to the Liberal Party's alleged slush fund, the Free Enterprise Foundation.
Each donation was in individual amounts of $1500 or less, and appeared on a document labelled, "Friends". 
According to the NSW Electoral Commission, the Free Enterprise Foundation was used to "channel and disguise" donations "by major political donors, some of whom were prohibited donors" to the Liberal Party. While individually the Brethren were not "major" donors, together their contribution was well above the legal disclosure threshold. It suggests they may have deliberately tried to avoid any need to disclose their collective contribution…..
Brethren members run highly successful businesses, a network of charities, and received $26.6 million in government funding for their private school system…..

Read the full article here.

The Canberra Times, 18 June 2016:

Malcolm Turnbull says he has "no criticisms or complaints" to make of the controversial Exclusive Brethren and is happy for the extremist Christian sect to continue donating to the Liberal Party…..
Mr Turnbull says he has no problem with the sect and religious groups are entitled to manage their own affairs….
"I've got no criticisms or complaints about that organisation," he said. "As you know, everybody is free to make political contributions."…..
The Exclusive Brethren - recently rebranded the "Plymouth Brethren Christian Church" - practice a radical doctrine of "separation" and are not permitted to vote.
Brethren members cannot eat or socialise with "worldly" people, and excommunicated members are usually prevented from seeing their families, including their own children.
The group's wealthy leader, Sydney-based Bruce D. Hales - known as "the Elect" - has told his members to maintain an "utter hatred" of the outside world.
He recently addressed a sermon to a mentally tormented young member of his flock saying it would be better to "finish yourself off" with poison than communicate with members of his own family.
Fairfax Media has revealed Mr Hales ordered that some victims of child sexual abuse be paid off to keep quiet…..

The Age, 19 June 2016:

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's Wentworth electorate appears to operate an under-the-radar donations fund, with little disclosure of what it earns, from whom, or how it's spent.

A Fairfax Media investigation has revealed the Wentworth Forum, a fundraising vehicle that raised $1.4 million during Mr Turnbull's first stint as Liberal Party leader, appears still to be active, despite claims by a spokesman for the Prime Minster "the forum ceased to operate in 2009".

Other donors report putting cash into the "Wentworth FEC", although that body itself does not report receipts or distributions.

Australia's patchwork and opaque disclosure regime makes it virtually impossible to make sense of how much money is flowing in and out of Mr Turnbull's electorate's fundraising entities.
About 20 of Australia's richest 200 people, including billionaires Kerry Stokes and Frank Lowy, kicked in to the Wentworth Forum between 2007 and 2009, with membership then costing up to $55,000.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's Wentworth electorate appears to operate an under-the-radar donations fund, with little disclosure of what it earns, from whom, or how it's spent.

A Fairfax Media investigation has revealed the Wentworth Forum, a fundraising vehicle that raised $1.4 million during Mr Turnbull's first stint as Liberal Party leader, appears still to be active, despite claims by a spokesman for the Prime Minster "the forum ceased to operate in 2009".

Other donors report putting cash into the "Wentworth FEC", although that body itself does not report receipts or distributions.

Australia's patchwork and opaque disclosure regime makes it virtually impossible to make sense of how much money is flowing in and out of Mr Turnbull's electorate's fundraising entities.

About 20 of Australia's richest 200 people, including billionaires Kerry Stokes and Frank Lowy, kicked in to the Wentworth Forumbetween 2007 and 2009, with membership then costing up to $55,000.

"The Wentworth Forum" maintains an active Australian Business Number and is a trading name owned by the Wentworth Federal Electoral Conference (or FEC, a structure that incorporates all party branches located within the Prime Minister's federal seat).

The forum's website remains live, listing former party treasurer Michael Yabsley​ as honorary chairman and linking to Mr Turnbull's and the party's websites. Its domain registration was updated by an employee of the Prime Minister's private company, Turnbull and Partners Pty Ltd, last year.

An email inquiry sent via the site was answered within hours, but, in his reply, Mr Yabsley said he had not been involved in party fundraising since 2010 and "the Wentworth Forum has not operated since 2009". Mr Yabsley recently told the ABC's Four Corners that he had known of illegitimate fundraising by the Liberal Party, and called for root-and-branch reform.

The Wentworth FEC – like the broader party itself – is an unincorporated entity, a structure not-for-profit experts say is risky for an organisation handling significant sums of money. They have no reporting obligations, cannot hold assets in their own name, cannot be sued and may not pay tax.

Neither the Wentworth Forum nor Wentworth FEC make funding disclosures to the Australian Electoral Commission as an "associated entity", unlike many other fundraising bodies associated with current senior Liberal ministers.

However, according to disclosures by donors to the NSW Electoral Commission, "Wentworth," "Wentworth FEC", "Malcolm Turnbull" or the postal address of Mr Turnbull's electorate office, received a number of political donations…..

Tasmanian Times, 9 September 2015:

See the full story here.

What Labor's Janelle Saffin promises to deliver and fight for when it comes to local community & telecommunication infrastructure in Page

Labor Candidate For Page Janelle Saffin, media release, 18 June 2016:


Janelle Saffin, Labor candidate for Page, today announced a Labor Government would provide a $2.9 million Community Infrastructure Program to build and upgrade sport and recreational facilities for local families on the North Coast and Northern Rivers.

Ms Saffin said the program was designed to allow more people to enjoy healthy, active lifestyles, and to build more connected communities.

“Modern technology means that people are spending more time on computers and electronic devices – and less time being physically or socially active – than ever before.

“This is having a pronounced impact on the way our communities function – with fewer people getting involved in local organisations such as sporting clubs or community groups.

“It’s also having an impact on our health, with the alarming rise of chronic conditions such as diabetes.

“That’s why it’s so important that we invest in facilities that encourage people to get out of their lounge rooms, being active and social, and participating in community life.

“The Community Infrastructure Program will not only improve regional sporting facilities, it will ensure local families have access to playgrounds, parks and trails.”

Page Community Infrastructure Program

o   Woolgoolga Surf Life Saving Club - $1.2 million
o   Rushworth Park soccer complex upgrade - $1 million
o   Broadwater Skate Park - $210,000
o   Casino to Lismore Rail Trail feasibility study – $65,000
o   Woodburn Riverside Adventure Playground - $250,00
o   Casino Showgrounds Canteen Facility - $180,000
o   Woodburn Riverside Pontoon - $110,000
o   Colley Park Sports Centre - $150,000

Ms Saffin said a Labor Government would continue investing in local infrastructure as a priority.

“Unlike the Nationals, Labor believes that investing in local communities is more important that giving tax cuts to multinationals.

“I will always advocate for our local needs, because modest investments can make a major difference to community life.

“Labor is delivering on health, education, skills, training, and jobs. Labor has announced important programs like Work Futures to tackle youth unemployment, and renewable energy hubs that will have a significant impact on our local economy.”

Ms Saffin said she would also fight to deliver funding support for a range of other important local projects, including:

Alstonville Swimming Pool upgrade - $4m

Albert Park Baseball Complex upgrade - $4m
Oakes Oval upgrade (1.4m)
Replacing wooden bridges in Kyogle - $5m
Woolgoolga Multi-Purpose Centre - $2.5m
Sustainable Economy Jobs Officers - to be employed within local councils $3m
Small Towns & Villages scheme to upgrade local community facilities and encourage       use of solar energy - $3m
Grafton Men’s shed - $350,000

Shadow Minister for Regional Communications Stephen Jones and Labor Candidate For Page Janelle Saffin, joint media release, 28 June 2016:

Shadow Minister for Regional Communications, Stephen Jones, and Labor candidate for Page, Janelle Saffin, today announced that a Shorten Labor Government will provide funding to fix mobile blackspots in the Northern Rivers and North Coast region of NSW.
Fixing mobile black spots by building critical infrastructure will save lives and improve mobile communications for residents and businesses in regional NSW.
Stephen Jones said that only Labor was committed to improving the administration of the Mobile Black Spot program across Australia.
“Labor will not only match the Turnbull Government’s promises on mobile black spot funding, we will actually improve the administration of the Mobile Black Spot program and give priority to regional areas of Northern NSW prone to natural disasters, like bushfires and floods,” Mr Jones said.
“Mr Turnbull’s Mobile Black Spot program just isn’t up to scratch. There are some locations, such as Maclean, Wooli, Summerland Way and Woodenbong, that should have been funded but were not.
“We must do more to help regional communities when it comes to mobile black spots. This is vital infrastructure that people rely on,” Mr Jones said.
Labor candidate for Page, Janelle Saffin, said local communities have waited too long to have better or any mobile phone coverage.
“Mobile phone coverage saves lives in an emergency and is central to the daily life of our region,” Ms Saffin said.
“Many parts of our region are vulnerable to flood and bushfire, so these services are very important to the community.
“The lack of coverage is particularly problematic for the elderly members of our community who rely on these connections to stay in touch with family and friends.
“Of the 499 mobile towers funded in Round One of the Mobile Black Spot program, as of 4 May 2016 only 21 had been switched on.
“A Shorten Labor Government will ensure that the roll out continues and is focused on the getting better coverage for Northern NSW," Ms Saffin said.

Wednesday 29 June 2016

Climate policies of the major parties in 2016

Climate policy is one of the areas where there are very substantial differences between the major parties.
Many people concerned about Australia’s inadequate climate policy hoped that the change of Prime Minister would lead to a more effective climate policy.  However,  the Liberal and National sceptics are still controlling the Government’s climate policy with the aim of doing as little as possible to reduce the nation’s carbon emissions while claiming that the Government is taking the matter seriously.
A couple of events illustrate what a problem this is for Turnbull, the man who apparently still believes that climate change is a major concern which needs to be addressed.  Statements in April from two senior Coalition Ministers – Attorney-General George Brandis (Liberal Party) and Nationals Deputy Senator Fiona Nash highlight the division in the Government over this area.  Both claimed that the science on climate change was not yet settled.   And a NSW State Liberal Council meeting in early March  passed a resolution calling  on the federal government to “arrange and hold public debates/discussions” between scientists from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and “independent scientists” (presumably climate sceptics).  More than 70% of the delegates apparently supported this motion.  This indicates a high level of climate scepticism amongst NSW Liberals.
A further illustration of lack of interest in or commitment to the climate issue may be seen in a recent National Party booklet -   Protecting and improving our environment - available in the Page electorate.  This discusses the party’s policy in a variety of environmental areas but makes no mention of climate change or its impacts.  Surely one of the greatest environmental and economic threats to our nation should have been worthy of a mention!  Obviously Fiona Nash is not the only National who does not believe climate science is “settled”.
It is no wonder that the Coalition’s policy on climate change is so weak given the division in their parties over the issue.  The Coalition has committed to a target of a 26-28% reduction relative to 2005 levels by 2030.  They claim these reductions are to be achieved through their “Direct Action” policy which involves auctioning emissions reduction projects to the cheapest corporate bidder.  It’s a scheme involving paying polluters - from taxpayer funds - to limit pollution.  And these polluters are industries which have already had many years to clean up their acts.
Environment Minister Greg Hunt claims that the Government’s targets for 2020 will be achieved but does not acknowledge that this will only happen because of surplus credits Australia still has for land clearance. “Direct Action” alone will not do it.
The Labor Party presents a united front on the need for strong climate action and has a much stronger policy for addressing climate threats.  It has pledged reductions of 45% over the same time frame.  It intends to achieve the reductions through an emissions trading scheme and also has plans for a significant boost to the development of renewable energy, a sector which contracted during the Abbott prime ministership.
The Climate Change Authority believes that large reductions are necessary, recommending cuts of 40%-60% by 2030 relative to 2000 levels.  So Labor’s target is more in line with their recommendations than is the Coalition’s target.
The climate issue has not been a major one during the election campaign.  Understandably the Coalition wants to focus on what it believes are its strengths – and climate change policy certainly is not a strength because of party division and the weak policy Turnbull inherited from Abbott. 
Labor has endeavoured to raise the climate change profile in the campaign with its policy.  Predictably the launch of its proposal for an emissions trading scheme saw a Liberal scare campaign about Labor’s climate policy which has been debunked by The Guardian’s Lenore Taylor[1].  She concludes her article with: “And the barren, stupid climate wars and dumb fact-free scare campaigns are a guaranteed recipe for a terrible economic and environmental failure.”
While there might not be much stomach for effective climate action in the Coalition parties, a recent survey has found that the concern about climate is more widespread in the community than it was five years ago.  Deborah Cotton[2]  from the Sydney University of Technology found that 75% of people believe it is an important global issue and that 57% of respondents want Australia to act on climate change irrespective of whether other countries do or not.
“Inter-generational theft” was a term used by the Coalition during the first year or two of its current term.  They used it in connection with budget deficits.  We do not hear this term now that the Coalition itself has increased the budget deficit substantially.  However, “intergenerational theft” could be applied to what will be happening to future generations as a result of weak responses to the climate emergency. The impact of our lack of action now will place an intolerable burden on future generations.
If the Coalition is returned to Government, there will be a need for a vigorous campaign to force it to adopt much stronger measures to cut our emissions and do our share in the global effort to restrict the extent of global warming. The big question is whether Malcolm Turnbull will have the courage to stand up to the dinosaurs in his party and to act in the national interest and the interests of future generations of Australians.
Northern Rivers
28th June 2016


GuestSpeak is a feature of North Coast Voices allowing Northern Rivers residents to make satirical or serious comment on issues that concern them. Posts of 250-300 words or less can be submitted to ncvguestspeak AT for consideration. Longer posts will be considered on topical subjects.

Where does the Liberal Party find these people?

Another two Liberal candidates at the 2 July 2016 federal election joins the growing list of political blunderers who are presenting themselves to electors across the nation.

ABC News, 22 June 2016:

A Liberal candidate has been caught out threatening violence against people who describe the European settlement of Australia as Invasion Day.
The candidate for the safe Victorian Labor seat of Gellibrand, Ben Matthew Willis, wrote on his Facebook page on January 22 that people who describe Australia Day as Invasion Day needed, "a high five in the face. With a chair".

Herald Sun, 21 June 2016:
A LIBERAL Party candidate pushing for better road safety is in hot water after he was linked to a hoon video.

David Mulholland, 29, who is running in Jagajaga, in Melbourne’s northeastern suburbs, was involved in the production of a video featuring a man surfing on the bonnet of a car.
Mr Mulholland, who is facing off against incumbent Labor MP Jenny Macklin, edited the video for a university student competition and shared it on his YouTube page.
A Liberal Party spokesman said he did not appear in the film, which was made almost 10 years ago. It has since been removed.

Related posts

Laughing at the Nationals and Kevin Hogan in Page

If there’s one thing Australians can do better than most it is burst the pretentions of the political class and this effort in The Northern Star on 15 June 2016 is a classic example:

Casino theatre

WIKIPEDIA says an amphitheatre is an open-air venue used for entertainment, performances and sports. The term derives from the ancient Greek meaning "on both sides" or "around" and meaning "place for viewing".

The conundrum facing Kevin Hogan was: What does a politician seeking re-election promise to a town that has everything?

He took into account that all streets are already fully kerbed and guttered with more than adequate drainage. The main roads are all constructed to a standard suitable for B Double transport and the area has a superior internal public transport network with splendid connecting links to surrounding areas. The sometimes four-hour wait for ambulance transfer between hospitals can be considered adequate under NSW existing standards.

Stand by Casino: Mr Hogan has announced (NS 9/6) if he is re-elected he can commit 500,000 denarii, to match a similar amount from RVC, to supply the town with a 1000 tiered-seat amphitheatre so that picnicking families can enjoy "... carols by candlelight, opera under the stars and outdoor movies ...".

The Dept of Employment spokesman, Jobson Grothe, said that when construction is approved expressions of interest will be called for stonemasons to submit plans and quotes.


Kevin’s promise of bread and Circus Maximus for the populace found on his website:

Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan today said a re-elected Coalition Government would commit to the construction of a $1 million amphitheatre in Casino.
“This is great news for the Casino community and will provide a place for locals to come together in celebration,” he said.
Richmond Valley Council mayor Ernie Bennett welcomed the project and said the council will be matching the Federal Government’s $500,000 grant
“This new amphitheatre will be a great community asset for Casino,” he said.
The new amphitheatre will have tiered levels ensuring all visitors have a good vantage point to participate in community events, such as Carols by Candlelight, Opera Under the Stars or outdoor movies.
“Casino is a wonderful town but there really isn’t anywhere were a thousand or so people can comfortably come together,” Mr Hogan said.
“We know community spaces like this where families can have a picnic while watching a movie or singing Christmas carols, helps to strengthen the ties that bind us as a community.”
A re-elected Turnbull/Joyce Government will contribute $500,000 to the project, with Richmond Valley Council matching the amount.

Boy the Wonder Cat wants to know “Will there be lions?”

Tuesday 28 June 2016

The truth about Malcolm Turnbull's wealth

Malcolm Bligh Turnbull’s ‘truth’……

The rest of the world’s truth……

The Australian, 11 June 2016:

Last Sunday, Malcolm Turnbull sent out an email — Re: “My Dad” — inviting us all to reflect upon and share the story of his upbringing by his late father, Bruce. It was a deliberate decision by the Prime Minister to personalise the election campaign. The ­exercise was well calculated, but a couple of lines, about Bruce Turnbull in particular, were noticeably selective.

“We didn’t have much money. He was a hotel broker and for most of that time he was battling like a lot of people are — a lot of single parents are, certainly. He did well after a while. In the latter part of his life he kicked a few goals after a lot of effort …”

Malcolm Turnbull the politician has consistently downplayed his father’s success as a small businessman, and the substantial inheritance he received when Bruce died in a plane crash near Gloucester in 1982, age 56.

While researching my biography of the Prime Minister, Born to Rule, I spoke with old friends and business associates of Bruce. They remembered a fit man’s man, sharp witted and deal savvy. Many profiles over the years make the easy assumption that Malcolm Turnbull inherited his celebrated intelligence from his mother, the actor, writer and academic Coral Lansbury.
Having spoken to some of Bruce’s mates, I am not so sure.

Prestige property agent Bill Bridges, who has sold and resold many of Sydney’s best homes over a career spanning 50 years, was in a running club with Bruce that included Bruce Gyngell and NSW Supreme Court judge John Sackar. Bridges told me that “there was no one more streetwise than Bruce Turnbull, and that’s the best education you can get”.

Bruce Turnbull was a country boy and former electrician from Maitland, near Newcastle, who came to Sydney in his twenties. Bruce truly was self-made. He married Coral a year after Malcolm was born in 1954 and for the most part the couple lived in a flat on New South Head Road, Vaucluse, in Sydney’s salubrious eastern suburbs, which land title records show Bruce co-owned through a private company.

Young Malcolm lived here happily, walking to and from Vaucluse Public School. In 1963, he was sent to board at Sydney Grammar’s preparatory school at well-to-do but distant St Ives. What he would not have known is that his parents’ marriage was failing. Coral had fallen in love with another academic and she left Bruce suddenly, taking the furniture — and the cat — and moving to New Zealand, where she remarried.

This was undoubtedly a tough time for Bruce and his son. They moved out of the Vaucluse flat and into a series of rented flats — including one in Gladswood Gardens, a red-brick block in a dead-end street in Double Bay.

During the next five years, Bruce’s hotel business really hit its straps and by 1970, when Malcolm was in Year 10, he had bought a luxurious three-bedroom apartment in Point Piper — a stone’s throw from the waterfront mansion Malcolm Turnbull lives in now. The apartment had smashing water views and cost Bruce $36,000. Today it is worth millions. When not boarding at Randwick — where he moved once he reached high school — this was Malcolm’s base for most of the next decade.

Bruce added to his portfolio in the 1970s, buying a unit in Bellevue Hill and two houses in Randwick. He almost doubled his money on a slice of the historic Hermitage ­Estate in Vaucluse, which he sold within 18 months to a company owned by Kerry Packer, a powerful early ­patron to his son.

Malcolm, who worked as a journalist through his years of law study, inherited his ­father’s penchant for property investing, and started early: at age 23 he bought a semi-detached house in inner-Sydney Newtown for almost $50,000 and at age 25 he bought a Redfern terrace for $40,000. He sold both for tidy profits. Turnbull bought his own first home, for an undisclosed sum in Potts Point, after returning from his Rhodes scholarship at Oxford University and marrying Lucy Hughes.

Bruce Turnbull was semi-retired by 1982, when he laid down almost $600,000 to buy a stunning farm at Rossgole, near Scone, which Malcolm has since expanded and which ABC viewers have seen on Australian Story and Kitchen Cabinet.

It is difficult to get the full picture of Bruce’s estate because it was accumulated before property records were computerised, and pre-ASIC. But friends say he, like many a real estate agent, would keep the best hotel deals for himself and his partners, picking up watering holes in thirsty locations like St Marys in Sydney’s west, Warners Bay at Lake Macquarie, and Newcastle……

Malcolm was also a hotel ­licensee, and on top of all this was getting a steady income stream from a 10 per cent share of the earnings from his broking licence, which he had contracted out…..

A glowing 1988 magazine profile estimated Turnbull inherited about $2 million when his father died, which would be worth almost $7m in today’s dollars. To inherit such a sum at the age of 28 is a life-changing event in anyone’s language. Turnbull went on to make a motza, but people who knew both father and son well point out, “he inherited a motza, too”……

Certainly Turnbull carried some resentment at his father. A flash of insight comes from an unpublished screenplay about the 1986 Spycatcher trial, by Turnbull’s old friend the late Bob Ellis and Stephen Ramsay. The script was written with the creative collaboration of Malcolm. It is fascinating to read a section where Malcolm, talking to his wife during a low point in the trial, throws down his whisky glass in despair, smashing it, and tells Lucy:
Malcolm: I wish dad was alive.
Lucy: (alarmed by this) You hated him.
Malcolm: I know. (Getting up, punching the door) But I didn’t want him dead. Not so soon.

After his success in the Spycatcher case, Turnbull turned his back on his promising career in the law and used his inheritance to set up a cleaning company, Allcorp, with then recently resigned NSW premier Neville Wran. He also founded a merchant bank with Nicholas Whitlam, son of the former prime minister (both Packer and Larry Adler gave their financial backing for a short time).

Striking out on his own, Turnbull was hungry and savage. Packer famously said he would not like to come between the young Malcolm and a sack of gold. It was not the trappings of wealth he was chasing but the substance: the independence of not having to work for someone else and the security that comes with prime real estate.

Malcolm had his father’s nose for a deal. During the next 15 years, he made a fortune as a merchant banker, as an adviser to Fairfax, an investor in unbelievably risky ventures such as logging in the Solomon Islands and gold mining in Siberia, and as an early backer of OzEmail and shareholder and partner in Goldman Sachs, where he helped Rodney Adler sell doomed insurer FAI to HIH.

By 1999, Turnbull had debuted on the BRW Rich List with a fortune of $65m. After Goldman Sachs listed on the New York Stock Exchange the following year, Turnbull’s fortune was bumped up to $90m, and that was conservative. It has more than doubled since, mainly by appreciation. The building blocks were in place by 2001, when Turnbull turned his attention to politics.

Nowadays, people who know Turnbull say he wears his wealth rather like a hair shirt. The PM does not apologise for his success, but he goes close sometimes, acknowledging there are “taxi drivers that work harder than I did”.

The PM consistently downplays his father’s wealth and his inheritance because he wants to underline that he is a self-made man. This is a hot-button issue for voters: they respect someone who gets rich off their own effort, but not someone who inherits.

By any reckoning, Turnbull had unbelievable advantages. Reading through Twitter feed #MalcolmWasSoPoor gives a flavour of the cynicism surrounding Turnbull’s “battler” story. Could Turnbull have done it all without his inheritance? Given his abilities, connections and prodigious work ethic, almost certainly yes. But did he? No.

In 1957 when this article was published in The Sydney Morning Herald's Women's Section the average female annual income was £1,200 pounds a year. Malcolm's mother was earning over four times that income.

Prior to meeting Bruce Bligh Turnbull she had been the recipient of £9,000 a year (for life or until remarriage) from her late first husband's estate and, in November 1954 reached a lump-sum settlement of $3,100 in lieu of her interest in the the estate.

Malcolm's father would have had an annual income in 1957 that would probably never had fallen below average male earnings, so the combined household income would have been at least £8,700 to £9,700 a year.

I'm so over the Nationals fudging unemployment statistics during this federal election campaign

This was what voters were presented with when Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull came into the Northern Rivers to try and shore up Nationals MP for Page Kevin Hogan.

Echo NetDaily, 17 June 2016:

The prime minister will be campaigning in the marginal Nationals-held seat of Page on Friday, announcing a jobs and investment package.
Kevin Hogan holds Page with a 3.1 per cent margin over former Labor MP Janelle Saffin.
The coalition is desperate to hold Page, which is developing a reputation for being bellwether seat.
The region has one of the worst unemployment records in the state, with youth unemployment nearing 20 per cent in some areas.
The coalition hopes the $25 million investment will give businesses incentives to invest and help boost employment in the region, not to mention boosting their chances of re-election.
It includes providing business innovation grants to help adopt new technology, upgrading local infrastructure and delivering targeted skills and training programs for regional shortages.

Kevin Hogan quoted in the Echo NetDaily on the same day:

Page MP Kevin Hogan welcomed the announcement.
‘The jobless rate in the Clarence Coffs area has fallen to 4.2% – well below the NSW and national average (4.95% and 5.5% respectively),’ Mr Hogan said.
‘Since July almost 2500 people in Page have found on-going work through the Coalition’s Jobactive programme. But more still needs to be done.
‘I set up a local Job Strategy Group over six months ago to bring companies looking to expand to the North Coast. This package will certainly be an incentive for those businesses that have been thinking about making the move but aren’t ready to commit,” he said.

So is Hogan right about unemployment levels on the NSW Far North Coast and the Page electorate in particular?

Here are the facts which he appears to want to fudge by quoting the much broader statistical region – Clarence-Coffs – which extends as far south as the Bellingen area.

The March Quarter unemployment rate for all persons (released 10 June 2016) in relevant local government areas:

Tweed LGA – 7.6%
Richmond Valley LGA – 10.7%
Ballina LGA – 6.1%
Byron LGA – 9.3%
Kyogle LGA – 10.6%
Lismore LGA – 9.4%
Clarence Valley LGA - 6.5%
Coffs Harbour LGA – 5.3%

Ballina – 7,430 people
Ballina Region - 7,999 people
Casino - 5,044 people
Casino Region - 3,225 people
Evans Head – 2,180 people
Kyogle – 3,419 people
Lismore – 7,769 people
Lismore region – 8,166 people
Grafton – 8,756 people
Grafton Region – 7,406 people
Maclean-Yamba-Iluka – 6,880
Coffs Harbour North –  8,711 people

In April 2016 the Youth Unemployment Rate (15-24 years of age) for both the Clarence-Coffs and Tweed regions was 11.9%.
In May 2016 the Youth Unemployment Rate (15-24 years of age) for New South Wales was  11.4%.

And if readers want to know all Coalition's Job Active "ongoing-work" - I refer them to an excerpt from this previous post:

For that amount of money the Abbott-Turnbull Government expects the Jobactive scheme to have placed 380,000 jobseekers in often wage-subsidised employment in 2015-16, at a cost of est.$2,500 per placement covering Employment Fund expenditure, service fees and outcome payments.

Unfortunately 68% of these placements are likely to last only 4 weeks before the person is unemployed once more. I suspect the percentage of temporary jobs is so high because this allows service providers to bill the government again and again for ‘helping’ those same job seekers find other temporary jobs once the initial placement dissolves into thin air and, via the $1.2 billion national wage subsidy pool potentially allows employers to 'churn' new employees on short term contacts so that employers receive financial benefits from the pool but employees are unemployed at contract's end.

None of the departmental employment sustainability measures encompass positions lasting longer than six months, so it is unclear as to whether there is a genuine expectation that job service providers will assist in finding permanent employment for anyone.

In July 2015 when Jobactive Australia commenced, the real national unemployment rate was probably running at est. 8.7% and by March 2016 it had climbed to est.11% according Roy Morgan Research vs ABS Employment Estimates (1992-2016).
In November 2013 the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) seasonally adjusted combined unemployment and underemployment rate (underutilisation) was 13.5% and by February 2016 this combined rate was 14.2%.

In September 2013 the average number of weeks an unemployed person spent looking for a job was 39, with an est.134,400 people looking for 52 weeks and over.
Under the Abbott-Turnbull Government by March 2016 the average number of weeks had risen to 46.2, with an est. 181,700 people looking for 52 weeks and over. [Australian Bureau of Statistics, Labour Force, Australia, Detailed - Electronic Delivery, Mar 2016

In June 2014 an est. 123,800 15 to 24 year-olds were looking for full time or part-time work. By March 2016 the number of young people in this category had risen to 133,000. [ibid]

The Brotherhood of St. Laurence reported on 14 March 2016 that some rural and regional areas were grappling with youth unemployment rates above 20 per cent.

Richmond-Tweed (including Tweed Heads, Byron Bay, Lismore, Mullumbimby) in the NSW Northern Rivers region had a youth unemployment rate of 14.5% in January 2015 and by January 2016 this rate had risen to 17.4% [Brotherhood of St Laurence, Australia’s Youth Unemployment Hotspots: Snapshot March 2016, p. 3]