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

Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Shorter Residential Aged Care Industry Message in 2020: If you personally pay us more we will treat you better

"If we expect people to pay more [in the future], we have to deliver much better care" [Catholic Health Australia chief executive Pat Garcia quoted in The Sydney Morning Herald, 9 February 2020]

ABC News, 9 February 2020:

Sydney's streets were thick with smoke as the blazes took hold on December 5 last year. 

That may explain why few noticed or cared about the final sitting day in Canberra.

But what happened in the Senate that day shows just how strong the ties that bind the aged care lobby and government really are.

At 9.30 that day, some crucial amendments to aged care legislation were introduced which would force nursing home to reveal how they spent their $20 billion of taxpayer funds each year — specifically, how much went to staff, food and "the amounts paid out to parent bodies".

Unlike hospital and child care centres, aged care facilities can employ as few staff as they like because there are no staff-to-resident ratios in nursing homes.

When it comes to food, a study of 800 nursing homes shows the average spend is just $6 a day.

The Senate vote was taking place just five weeks after 
the scathing interim report from the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.

Among its findings of a "sad and shocking" system which was 
"inhumane, abusive and unjustified", the commissioners also commented on the lack of transparency in aged care, with the numbers of complaints, assaults and staff numbers all kept secret from the public.

"My amendments are all about transparency and accountability — 
and, boy, do we need more of this," said Senator Stirling Griff from Centre Alliance, who proposed the amendments.

When the crucial vote came, Labor, the Greens, Centre Alliance and Jacqui Lambie supported it. But the Government voted against it and, with the help of Pauline Hanson, the reform was defeated.

It might seem an odd choice for Pauline Hanson, who has previously rallied against the aged care sector for "rorting and malpractice", but it shouldn't be surprising that the Government voted it down.

The influence of lobbyists

The aged care industry has been successfully lobbying governments for years. The influence of the industry through government committees, think tanks and policies is well known and is being rightly questioned at the royal commission.

For example, when the Queensland Government proposed laws requiring nursing homes to publish their staff numbers last year, the federal Department of Health sent a six-page document arguing against it, saying it might "confuse or mislead" families and "appears to create a reporting burden on providers with no clear benefits to consumers".

If you think the Federal Government's objections sound a lot like those of the aged care lobby, you wouldn't be wrong.

In fact, the industry group Leading Aged Services Australia (LASA) argued in its own submission that few families would be interested in accessing a website with such information and that the numbers could be used "to push a particular medically based care model (which may be contrary to the preferences of residents)".

That's an argument LASA has been using for years. It's code for arguing against more registered nurses for fear it spoils the "home-like" atmosphere of an aged care facility.

Others might argue that the hundreds of stories told to the royal commission of poor wound care, misdiagnosis and failure to send sick residents to hospital may have something to do with that lack of a "medical model".

Currently there's no requirement, except in Victorian state run facilities, for an RN to be employed at a nursing home.

The aged care lobby doesn't want that to become a national trend.

Why can't we know how many staff there are?'

The industry and Federal Government's opposition to the argument against making the staff numbers public didn't wash with the Queensland Government.

"We report the number of teachers to students in classes, educators to children in child care, why the hell can't we know how many staff there are in aged care facilities?," said Queensland Health Minister Stephen Mills, who successfully passed the legislation and says he will "name and shame" nursing homes which refuse to make staff numbers public.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will argue that the Government voted against the federal moves for financial transparency because it doesn't want to introduce any major reforms before the final report from the royal commission.

However, that excuse didn't stop the Federal Government from its massive reform of putting the publicly funded Aged Care Assessment system out to tender last year.

The move to privatise it was widely denounced by state ministers (including from the NSW Liberal Government), advocates and the medical profession.

But the aged care lobby groups are big supporters of the change…...

Read the full article here.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 9 February 2020:

...the federal Health Department revealed it was yet to implement key recommendations of the Australian Law Reform Commission's 2017 report on elder abuse. 

Responding to a question taken on notice at a Senate estimates hearing, Health Department bureaucrats this week said a "scoping study" was being done on a register of aged care workers, while "preparatory work" was under way on a serious incident response scheme for assaults in care. 

Labor's aged care spokeswoman, Julie Collins, said older Australians at risk of abuse deserved "immediate action, not years of inaction and delays". 

Official data shows there were 5233 assaults in residential aged care facilities in 2018-19. 

Catholic Health Australia outlined its proposed new means-testing rules in a pre-budget submission to the federal government.

There is a question begging to be answered here. 

If Scott Morrison and his Lib-Nats cronies go down the path of attempting to permanenltly conceal what amounts to institutionalised elder abuse, allows residential aged care providers to further entrench differing levels of care based on an ability of the frail aged to pay and goes ahead with further aged care services privatisation in order to avoid accountability - has Morrison himself calculated just how many elderly Australians will be likely to commit suicide soon after being told they will be entering residential aged care?

Friday, 25 October 2019

A few facts about the NSW Minerals Council and how it operates as an industry lobbyist in 2019

Stephen John Galilee is currently Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the NSW Minerals Council, a private sector lobby group for the mining industry with less than 100 members – not all of which are directly engaged in mining activities.

The council conducts public and policy advocacy on behalf of the mining sector, with a staff of 15 full-time equivalent employees – 6 of whom are primarily engaged in work on policy and 5 or 6 engaged in public advocacy, communications & media activity.

Stephen Galilee’s previous employment was as chief of staff to then Liberal MP for Manly Mike Baird when he was Treasurer in the O’Farrell Coalition Government and, before that he was employed as chief of staff to Liberal MP for Groom Ian Mcfarlane when he was Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources.

On 21 October Galilee gave evidence under oath before a NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption inquiry into lobbying practises in this state.

During his evidence Galilee confirmed that the NSW Minerals Council:
  • income is derived from annual membership fees which are set at a percentage or proportion of the value of members commodity production;
  • annual revenue is between est. $4 million to $8 million;
  • is an associate member of the Minerals Council of Australia;
  • meets with government officials “on a regular basis” and such meeting are sometimes with government ministers;
  • probably has face-to-face meetings with between four or five individual ministers at some point during the year which include council policy directors and/or the CEO;
  • has a “regular engagement with the Deputy Premier in his capacity as Minister for Resources”;
  • requests to see ministers are generally submitted by letter to their chiefs of staff (with reasons given), then followed up with a ‘phone call;
  • shadow ministers are also lobbied on occasion;
  • CEO has met with between 8 and 10 NSW Government ministers over the last 2 to 3 years and with 10 to 15 ministerial chiefs of staff. These often involve follow up meetings with ministers' offices, departments or specific policy personnel;
  • meets with the Resources Regulator and Environmental Protection Authority “every couple of months” and with the Dept of Planning’s Division of Resources and Geoscience “every two or three months”;
  • in the past four years has made “around 150 public submissions in response to government proposals for changes to legislation, policy or regulations”;
  • at the moment is regularly engaging with the Department of Planning concerning planning system issues, in particular provisions in the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act;
  • does not use the official form required since 2017 to request meetings with the Dept. of Planning;
  • has meetings with the Dept. of Planning which are not minuted;
  • CEO does not keep records of meeting he attends - often his record comprises only diary entry of meeting date and "three dot points on a piece of paper" to aid memory;
  • current focus in relation to policy advocacy regarding planning system issues is to reduce financial risk for mining/commodity investors which has been spurred on by United Wambo determination, Bylong Project decision and actions of the Independent Planning Commission;
  • is currently "running a public campaign against the Planning Minister and his planning system".
  • states that the government departments “take a lot of industry money to deliver services for us. So we like to make sure those services are being delivered...”; and
  • holds "a lot of functions and events for the industry and we invite local MPs, for example, to attend and ministers and shadow ministers from time to time come along to our functions and events".

The NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment apparently considers the NSW Minerals Council an organisation containing 'inhouse' lobbyists not a third party lobbyist and therefore doesn't record contact with this group in its Lobbyist Contact Register to date.

Based on the evidence given  on 21 October, it is possible that there may have been times when no other person has been present at a meeting between a NSW Minister and the NSW Minerals Council.

It is also clear from the evidence that the NSW Minerals Council would be unhappy with any new legislation or regulations requiring a greater degree of transparency with regard to its lobbying activities.

At the same time the NSW Minerals Council does not appear to always trust that public officials and public authorities make decisions on cogent evidence in a balanced, detached, informative way - blaming public interest advocacy and "noisy objectors" for what it perceives as skewing outcomes.

As it now stands the NSW Minerals Council as a lobbyist group seems to be minimally regulated with regard to its activities.


NSW Minerals Council membership on its official website as of 23 October 2019:
Full Members
Anchor Resources Limited
Australian Pacific Coal Limited

Bengalla Mining Company Pty Ltd
The Bloomfield Group

Centennial Coal Company Ltd
Chase Mining Limited.
Cobalt Blue Holdings Ltd
China Molybdenum Co
Clean Teq
Evolution Mining
Fortescue Metals Group Ltd
Glencore Coal (NSW) Pty Limited

Gloucester Resources Ltd
Great Southern Energy Pty Ltd T/A Delta Coal
Heron Resources Limited
Hillgrove Mines Pty Ltd
Idemitsu Australia Resources Pty Ltd
Iluka Resources Pty Ltd
Kepco Bylong Australia Pty Ltd
Mach Energy Australia Pty Ltd

Newcrest Mining - Cadia Valley Operations
New South Resources Pty Ltd
Omya Australia Pty Ltd
Peabody Energy Australia
Regis Resources Limited
South 32 Illawarra Coal Holdings
Shenhua Watermark Coal Pty Limited
Shoalhaven Coal Pty Ltd
Silver Mines Ltd
Thiess Pty Ltd
Whitehaven Coal Limited
Wollongong Coal Limited
Wyong Areas Coal Joint Venture
Yancoal Australia Limited

Associate Members

Ampcontrol Pty Ltd
ARTC - Australian Rail Track Corporation
Aurizon Holdings LTD

B Marheine Holdings Ltd
Centre for Mined Land Rehabilitation
Civeo Pty Ltd
Coal Services Pty Ltd
Emeco International Pty Ltd
EMM Consulting
EMS Group Pty Ltd
Genesee & Wyoming Australia Pty Ltd

Gold and Copper Resources Pty Limited
Golden Cross Resources Ltd
Helix Resources Ltd
Herbert Smith Freehills
Hunter Business Chamber 
Hughes Mining Services
Hansen Bailey Pty Ltd
Jervois Mining Limited
Sydney Mining Club
Jennmar Australia
Johnson Winter Slattery

Geos Mining
McCullough Robertson
Mitsubishi Development Pty Ltd
MRS Services Group Pty Ltd
NuCoal Resources Ltd
NSW Aboriginal Land Council
Niche Environment & Heritage
Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group
Orica Australia Pty Ltd
Pacific National Pty Ltd
Paradigm Resources Pty Ltd
Peel Mining Ltd 
Port Waratah Coal Services Limited
Hetherington Exploration and Mining Title Services Pty Ltd

Hughes Mining Services
Rangott Mineral Exploration Pty Ltd

Quarry Mining & Construction Equipment P/L
Rimfire Pacific Mining NL
Resource Strategies Pty Ltd
RW Corkery and Company

Sapphire Resources
Seyfarth Shaw Australia
Silver City Minerals Limited
Sparke Helmore Lawyers
UNSW Mining Engineering
Thomson Resources Ltd
Umwelt (Australia) Pty Limited
University of Wollongong
XCoal Energy and Resources

Thursday, 28 March 2019

“Every year, the world's five largest publicly owned oil and gas companies spend approximately $200 million on lobbying designed to control, delay or block binding climate-motivated policy”

Forbes, 25 March 2019:

Every year, the world's five largest publicly owned oil and gas companies spend approximately $200 million on lobbying designed to control, delay or block binding climate-motivated policy. This has caused problems for governments seeking to implement policies in the wake of the Paris Agreement which are vital in meeting climate change targets. Companies are generally reluctant to disclose such lobbying expenditure and late last week, a report from InfluenceMap used a methodology focusing on the best available records along with intensive research of corporate messaging to gauge their level of influence on initiatives to halt climate change.…..

The research also found that the five companies listed support their lobbying expenditures with a financial outlay of $195 million annually for focused branding activities which suggest they support action against climate change. The most common tactics employed are drawing attention to low carbon, positioning the company as a climate expert and acknowledging climate concern while ignoring solutions. The report said that the campaigns are misleading the public given that the companies listed continue to expand their oil and gas extraction activities with only 3% of spending directed to low carbon projects. Both Shell and Chevron rejected the report's findings and reinforced their commitment to reducing greenhouse gases and addressing climate change.

Since 2013 these tactics appear to have been quite successful in shaping the political debate within the Liberal and National parties in Australia.

One again the Liberal-Nationals Coalition goes into a federal election campaign without a genuine climate change policy or a viable energy policy.

The fact that the fossil fuel industry made political donations to the Coalition of an est. $270,717 in 2016-17 and the top 10 fossil fuel donors gave a further est. $512,261 in 2017-18 can not be ruled out as a factor in the continuing absence of genuine climate change policies on the conservative side of politics, 

Friday, 30 November 2018

A not so new lobbyist on the block - just tired, old Lib-Nats supporters in a poor disguise

ABC News, 21 November 2018:

Australia has a new conservative lobby group that wants to knock on your door, get in your ear and ultimately swing your vote.

Advance Australia's named with a nod to our anthem and the hope it can rival the powerful left-wing lobby Get Up!

It has some prominent backers and a bold mission — but can it succeed?

The group's financially and ideologically backed by a group of prominent business leaders including storage king Sam Kennard, businessman and former ABC chairman Maurice Newman and the Australian Jewish Association's Dr David Adler.

Its national director is Gerard Benedet, who was the chief of staff to former Queensland LNP Treasurer Tim Nicholls in a previous life.

"We're not aligned to any political party," he told 7.30.

"We're an independent movement of mainstream Australians, who are determined to protect, advance and defend mainstream values and freedoms."

Get Up! National Director Paul Oosting says that's rubbish.

"Advance Australia is a group of rich white men on a campaign to make themselves richer," he said.

"They want to work on issues that are in their own self-interest, that are the vested interests of the corporate lobby they represent."

The Monthly, 26 November 2018:

The quest for a right-wing opponent to GetUp has been going on for almost as long as the quest for a right-wing Phillip Adams at the ABC – and with about as much success.

The latest wizard wheeze come from a stratospherically elite clique of rich, bored men looking for a hobby. It includes men like Maurice Newman, who preaches that climate science is a fraudulent conspiracy ensuring the establishment of a totalitarian socialist dictatorship under the United Nations, and James Power, currently fighting to prevent women from becoming members of Brisbane’s Tattersall’s Club.

After diligent market research, they have settled on the unoriginal name of Advance Australia, which is not only plagiarism but deeply misleading – the only way they want Australia to advance is either jogging on the spot, or, preferably, stumbling backwards.

They claim to be protecting mainstream Australian values, but just about the only ones they have come up with thus far are maintaining superannuation tax lurks for the rich, keeping tax deductions for those who have not paid tax in the first place, and not moving Australia Day from January 26. To date, mainstream Australia has resisted the urge to storm the barricades on their behalf.

The organisation’s oligarchs are predicting that they will have a million members in time for the federal election, but are coy about how they plan to recruit these hordes.

Perhaps they are assuming that sheer weight of money, of which they have plenty, will suffice, much in the way that Malcolm Turnbull bought his Wentworth preselection and, before then, Kerry Packer bought Australian cricket.

But mass campaigning does not work that way; buying up a rent-a-crowd is hardly likely to move swinging voters. You need a grassroots movement of enthusiasts and idealists, and for that you need not a top-heavy pyramid, but a bottom-up structure based on volunteers – like GetUp.

Saturday, 9 June 2018

Quotes of the Week

‘A progressive tax system “discriminates against Australians by income….Other forms of discrimination, such as by skin colour, race, or ethnicity, are rightly abhorred, yet the income tax system openly discriminates against people by income”’  [Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) 
quoted  by Sam Longford in Junkee, 5 June 2018]

just because he quacks like his misogynist homophobic predecessor while unequivocally cosying up to a deranged and ableist racist doesn't make him the milkshake duck of prime ministers cheesh fair go”  [Academic Ingrid Matthews on the subject of Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Bligh Turnbull and the Ramsey Centre for Western Civilisation’s attempt  to fund  a BA  university course,  Twitter, 7 June 2018]

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Sometimes it is hard to believe how bone-achingly stupid governments can be…… Part One

Before the Abbott Coalition Government appointed John Lloyd Australian Public Service Commissioner in 2014 he was Director, Workplace Relations and Productivity at the far-right pressure group, the Institute for Public Affairs - so this was all but inevitable....

The Prime Minister's department has refused to release emails relating to the public service commissioner John Lloyd and a right-wing think tank, saying they could prejudice an investigation into a possible breach of the law.

Mr Lloyd has previously rejected suggestions he gave special access and research to the Institute of Public Affairs after Labor senators last year raised an email he sent to a member of the group with an attachment showing what he described as "generous" provisions in public service enterprise agreements.

A freedom of information request sought emails held by Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet secretary Martin Parkinson mentioning Mr Lloyd and the IPA, and dated from October 23, after senators referred to the email in a Senate estimates hearing.

The department responded to the request last month by refusing to release two emails in Dr Parkinson's inbox, dated December 20 and December 22.

"I am satisfied that disclosure secretary Peter Rush wrote.

Releasing the documents could also "reasonably be expected to prejudice the impartial adjudication of a particular case", Mr Rush said.

One document is 30 pages long, and another is five pages.

The department and the Australian Public Service Commission have refused to answer repeated questions from Fairfax Media asking who is under investigation, who is conducting the probe, and the matters being investigated.

"The department has no comment," Prime Minister and Cabinet said in two separate statements.

The APS commission said it would not comment "on speculation about any investigation".

The issue of an investigation is still dogging John Lloyd and was addressed at a Finance And Public Administration Legislation Committee Estimates hearing on 21 May 2018, where at 1:57pm Lloyd went from professing unfamiliarity with a government act relevant to his current situation to this…….

Fairfax Media journalist tweeting about Senate Estimates hearing, 21 May 2018:

Yes, the Federal Coalition Government really opted for a member of the brains trust with  the appointment of John Lloyd.

Saturday, 21 April 2018

Miranda's IPA inspired rant

This was the News Corp mouthpiece for that far-right pressure group the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA), Miranda Devine, in full rant (though sticking closely to IPA's wish list) and under multiple mastheads on 18 April 2018:

Malcolm Turnbull has a rare opportunity to put a stop to the Left’s long march when the Race Discrimination Commissioner’s term expires in August
Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane’s term expires in August and the Turnbull government cannot afford to miss this opportunity to stake out its ground in the culture wars.

Conservatives are sick of ­Coalition governments that ­appease the Left, curl into a ball and try not to cause outrage while Labor-Green governments remake the culture in their own image.

The country always takes two steps to the Left with a Labor government and not much better than one step to the Right or even staying in place with the Coalition, which puts us on a very bad trajectory indeed…..

So government gets bigger and more intrusive, the ABC continues unimpeded, destructive quangos such as the Australian Human Rights Commission proliferate and the cancer of identity politics takes hold. Little by little, our remarkable nation is transformed, and division takes root. The self-reliance and entrepreneurial spirit of Australians is sapped and the bonds of mateship are eroded.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

The only way to arrest this dispiriting drift to the left is for Coalition governments to stop pretending there are no culture wars and get into the trenches and fight.

With a one-seat majority, a prime minister with fashionably progressive views and an election in the next year, we can’t expect bold actions by the Turnbull government that were beyond the Howard and Abbott governments. Such as closing down the Human Rights Commission.

But Malcolm Turnbull cannot ­afford to keep making mistakes like he did at the ABC when he appointed as chairman a man who is such a leftie he said he couldn’t see any bias.

The symbolic value cannot be over-estimated of replacing Soutphommasane with a commissioner who doesn’t want to use race to divide us.

That’s all this pesky 36-year-old French-born son of Laotian refugees has done since he was appointed to a five-year term by Kevin Rudd in 2013, a month before the Abbott government was elected. Despite the fact Australia gave Soutphommasane’s family a home, a free education at Hursltone Agricultural High and the University of Sydney, and a Commonwealth scholarship to Oxford University, he preaches that this is a racist country.

Despite the fact this is the most successful immigrant country in the world, which has mostly harmoniously absorbed as many as 200,000 new people each year from around the world, Soutphommasane tells us that the culture is toxic.

The former freelance journalist has bought the identity politics agenda, hook, line and sinker. He saw the great honours bestowed on him, such as membership of the board of the National Australia Day Council and the $340,000 gig at the Australian Human Rights Commission, as proof, not that this was a country that offered equality of opportunity to all comers, regardless of the colour of their skin. No, he saw it as more evidence of anti-white racism that needed to be set straight with social engineering.

He will never be forgiven for soliciting racial complaints against a cartoon by the late and much missed Bill Leak, whose persecution under Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act only really ended with his ­untimely death last year of a heart ­attack at 61.

Soutphommasane’s latest obsession is to impose ethnic diversity quotas on corporate Australia. He declared last year that there were too many white people running Australian companies.

In his five years he has just ­libelled Australia, created race-based social divisions and helped fuel a backlash against immigration.

So it’s not good enough for the government to appoint, as is mooted, an innocuous replacement who just avoids the headlines. Restitution is needed. If we must have a racial commissioner, then let it be a clear-eyed patriot who loves this country. Warren Mundine is the best person for the job. Well-respected, brimming with common sense and optimism, he has a proven track ­record as a businessman, and as an Aboriginal and political leader. He would unite us around what’s best about Australia.

This was a restrained Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane in rebuttal the following day: