|IndyWatch Aussie Politics Feed Archiver|
IndyWatch Aussie Politics Feed was generated at Australian News IndyWatch.
Australia has a two-party system, where the Labor Party and an
established Coalition of parties contend to form government. Each
of these parties (the Liberals in particular as the lead party in
the Coalition) have a responsibility to choose candidates worthy of
the responsibilities of government. It's easy to pick out examples
where you don't like an MP and use that as an example of systematic
failure, but the Coalition as the incumbent government have work to
do in vetting candidates and drawing a line under unacceptable
Australian Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights still not happy with the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Public Interest Advocates and Other Matters) North Coast Voices
My people were very concerned about absolute power. After the seventh king, Tarquinius Superbus, was deposed in 509 BC, we Romans became very concerned about vesting too much power in one person. Power tends to corrupt, as Lord Acton was inspired to remark.
So we divided the executive amongst two consuls, each serving one year. In extremis a dictator – like me – could be appointed for six months or less to deal with a threat to the Republic.
In due course our Constitution became a little cumbersome (although it remains in the oldest extant Republic – San Marino) and various civil wars led to a pseudo-dictatorship with a title such as princeps civitatis (first citizen) or Pater Patriae (father of the country). When we had great Emperors like Augustus, Trajan, Marcus Aurelius, Hadrian, Vespasian, Antoninus Pius etc Rome did well. At other times under the likes of Caligula, Nero etc Rome suffered.
Our problem was to constrain an autocracy.
Then the founding fathers of the United States, building a new Rome, decided to establish a republic and fetter the chief executive. A strict division between the executive, legislature and judiciary was established, and between the US and its (now) 50 states.
When we think of a Trump presidency, thank God for the founding fathers. They will limit the damage that lunatic will inflict upon a great country.
Yesterday morning an open letter to prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has delivered to each and every MP in Canberra.
The text of the open letter is here.
The author of the letter sets out a whole range of questions that need to be addressed. There are several, however, that I thought particularly noteworthy.
Did Sports Minister Sussan Ley, who is a member of the 12-man executive committee of WADA, fail to declare a major conflict of interest when ASADA chief executive Ben McDevitt gave up to $US100,000 of Australian taxpayers’ money to WADA to appeal the not guilty verdict of the AFL tribunal? It is incomprehensible that Ley allowed an official who reports to her to give taxpayers’ money to her foreign based organisation so that she could prosecute Australian citizens who have already been found not guilty in the Australian system. The fact that you saw no wrong in this is cause for great concern and pessimism.
I have been able to establish that Ley is on the WADA board and that ASADA provided $100,000 to WADA to conduct its appeal.
It is simply astonishing that Ley did not instruct her subordinate the exhaust domestic legal remedies before him giving US$100,000 of taxpayer funds to an organisation where she sits on the board! My Canberra sources have tried to explain this away by suggesting that Ley is simply the Australian government appointee and that she derives no benefit from being on the WADA board. No – I am not buying that.
Then there is this:
62. How did ASADA chief executive Ben McDevitt accept an offer from WADA of a free return airfare to Canada without making a single diary note or by sending an SMS or an email?
63. Did McD...
RenewEconomy's Giles Parkinson discusses the claim by power networks that solar households have abandoned their environmental aspirations. read now...
Last month we learned that Corrections Minister Judith Collins
spying on MPs visiting prisons. Now,
she wants all those visits to be run through her
A letter from Corrections Minister Judith Collins asking MPs to go through her office before visiting prisons is a "heavy-handed" attempt to reduce bad publicity, the Green Party says.
Collins denies the letter, sent to all MPs on Thursday morning, is about reducing transparency, saying she instead wants to keep politicians safe and improve their access to prisons.
The letter outlined "certain expectations and protocols" that MPs should follow when arranging a visit to a prison or raising issues on behalf of offenders.
Requests for visits should go through a Corrections private secretary in Collins' office, while MPs were asked to give "a reasonable amount of notice" before a visit.
Sensation de jour, global warming means we are all gonna die of starvation according to an Oxford University study published in the Lancet and widely reported in the media today. Well not quite all of us but half a million a year according to AAP. And there is some upside – the coming squeeze on global food output will mean a reduction in obesity deaths !
If you thought carbon dioxide was a plant fertilizer think again!
All this reduction in food surpluses has a silver lining for Australia in booming prices. So, as long as we can continue to produce we will be in clover!
But that’s a very big “if”. Government regulations on environmental protection and the ilk are doing their best to restrict farmers’ abilities to extract commercial produce from the land. And according to no less an authority than Professor Garnaut in his greenhouse forebodings the millennial drought that broke five years ago is going to last forever and there will be no irrigation possible in the Murray Darling where 40 per cent of Australian agriculture is located. That a forecast was picked up by the IPCC in its own catastrophian assessment so it must be correct.
Meanwhile the price bonanza that must accompany the food shortages is slow in coming. Real prices are lower than they were 50 years ago in spite of all the carbon dioxide being put into the atmosphere.
In contrast to persistent moves in Australia to reduce welfare entitlements and restrict eligibility, Dr Adnan Al-Daini evaluates the concept of Basic Income, an unconditional minimum wage payable to each and every citizen, currently under review in the UK. read now...
JLN Independent Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie has taken the National President of the Peace Makers and Peace Keepers Veterans Association (APPVA) Alan Thomas, to visit the Attorney-General in order to discuss a decision made by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) – which set a legal precedent that will allow Australian media access to all the private medical records of veterans, who appear before the AAT.
“Last year a Major General still serving in our Army, and also employed as a Commissioner at the AAT, made an extraordinary decision that gave a journalist employed by the Australian newspaper, full access to all my private medical records. Major General allows journalist to access Senator’s private medical records, is a 100% truthful headline,” said Senator Lambie.
“Not only did Major General Melick make a decision that allowed the media access to my private medical records, directly used by the AAT to make a ruling in my favor years ago – the decision also allowed the journalist access to all my private medical records indirectly attached to the documents used to make an AAT decision.
“And this astonishing breach of my privacy didn’t stop there. The Major General’s decision also allowed the media access to private letters from my solicitor, which of course are normally covered under client privilege,” said Senator Lambie.
“If the journalist had tried through Freedom of Information legislation, to access these highly private and privileged medico-legal information (which also involved close family members) – he would have naturally been denied access.
“But a loophole in the AAT legislation (section 35 – 3) has allowed the journalist, without any cost, to access all of my most private medical and legal documents. I called the meeting with the Attorney-General to make sure that he was aware of this outrageous legal loophole and that steps were taken to close it.
There is now a battle for the soul of conservatism, whether our Western way of life can be maintained, or whether we are going to be swamped by ideologues and profiteers at the cost of how we have lived. I keep using the image of progressive internationalists as the enemy, you know, the one-world, open-borders, the-nation-as-a-bus-depot sort of people. and it is a shared vision of both sides of politics, the Democrats more openly, with the Republicans the ones who shout, whatever you do, don’t throw us into the briar patch. Which is why we find How the GOP Insiders Plan to Steal the Nod from Trump.
Despite a growing string of victories in the Republican primaries, the DC-Wall Street cabal that has dominated the GOP since 1988 has no intention of letting the billionaire real estate mogul be nominated. None other than Karl Rove has insisted the stop-Trump effort is not too late and can succeed.
A new superPAC has dumped $10 million dollars into blistering negative TV ads against Trump in the last three days. The Koch brothers and their associates deny funding the effort but they denials are questionable at best. The New York Times reported Sunday that the Rubio and Kasich campaigns are now openly planning on a ‘brokered convention” to stop Trump in the back rooms in Cleveland. The New York Daily News reported that Barbara Bush has vowed revenge against Trump for ending the “low energy” campaign of her son Jeb, the anointed one and that the Bush clan is all-in in the effort to stop Trump. The News reported that Jeb may transfer the $25 to $30 million in SuperPAC funds he has left to an anti-Trump effort.
Trump thus no...
Last month I highlighted an
FYI request about the
Public Advisory Committee on Disarmament and Arms Control
(PACDAC), which appeared
not to be fulfilling its statutory duties. They haven't
performed their core function of advising the Minister of Foreign
Affairs on disarmament issues, or the Prime Minister on nuclear
issues, for the last six years - despite plenty of such issues
arising. Which invites the question: who are these people and how
much are we paying them to not do their job?
A followup on FYI has answered these questions. The membership of PACDEC, appointed in December 2015 without any public announcement, is Natasha Barnes, Treasa Dunworth, Ross Miller, Sarah Paterson, Kevin Riordan, Paul Sinclair, Angela Woodward, and (of course) former National MP and nuclear-ban-abolitionist Wayne Mapp. They're paid according to the standard Cabinet fees framework as a group 4, level 5 committee, which translates to $140 - $190 per meeting (and $190 - $245 for the chair). Which is appropriate for a group which largely spends its time handing out grants. At the same time, these people have a statutory duty, and no shortage of issues to advise on; shouldn't they be doing it?
Voters in Queensland will be voting on March 19 in local government elections, along with a referendum on fixed four-year terms for the state Parliament (which I’ve previously blogged about).
For the first time, I’ve put together a complete guide to the Brisbane City Council elections, similar to those I’ve done for state and federal elections.
The City of Brisbane is the biggest local government in Australia, with just over 1 million residents. The capital city councils in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide all cover a small inner-city section of the metropolitan area, but Brisbane covers a large expanse, more like big-city governments in places like London, New York or Auckland.
The Lord Mayor of Brisbane is directly elected, making it the biggest election of a single position in Australia. Campbell Newman won the position in 2004 after 13 years of Labor rule, and he was succeeded in 2011 by Graham Quirk, who dominated in 2012, winning a majority in all but one ward and winning 68.5% of the two-party-preferred vote.
The council consists of 26 councillors elected from 26 wards, w...
Last year, the British government established a strapped-chicken
review into the Freedom of Information Act. Composed of
establishment figures, including FOI-hater Jack Straw, the
"independent" review was
widely expected to recommend limiting the public's access to
information. All in the name of "better government" (of the
peasants), of course...
The commission reported back yesterday. And while they've made some fairly toxic recommendations around limiting appeal rights and the use of the Ministerial veto (short version: they want FOI decisions to be less able to be appealed, and for the government to be able to make them unappealable if they win the first round), they've backed away from their expected position on mandatory charges and broader protection for Cabinet documents. But more importantly, their recommendations don't matter anyway - because the government pre-emptively declared that they were not going to legislate to change the Act:
A government announcement that there will be “no legal changes” to the Freedom of Information legislation following a review of the act was being cautiously welcomed by campaigners on Monday.
The report of a commission established in July by Matthew Hancock, Cabinet Office minister, to examine whether the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act 2000 is too expensive and intrusive is to be published on Tuesday.
Pledging to encourage transparency in the public sector, Hancock said on the eve of publication: “After 10 years we took the decision to review the Freedom of Information Act and we have found it is working well.
“We will not make any legal changes to FoI. We will spread transparency throughout public services, making sure a...
From The Oz, Subsgate: Malcolm Turnbull fires shot across Tony Abbott’s bow. It begins:
Malcolm Turnbull has fired a warning shot at Tony Abbott over the growing disunity within government ranks, calling in the federal police to investigate a security leak as MPs worry about the political damage from the former leader’s actions.
Despite Mr Abbott’s denying he leaked classified documents, his colleagues criticised him for lending weight to a report in The Australian yesterday that highlighted delays in the development of a new submarine fleet.
Liberals warned that the “sniping” from the former leader had turned into a “full-frontal attack” that could lead to the destruction of the Turnbull government if it continued into an election campaign.
“This is not about a return to power, as with Kevin Rudd, this is a full-frontal attack,” said one MP, who believed Mr Abbott was intent on “blowing the place up” even if that meant the political death of his colleagues.
The thing is, these are issues people such as myself look on as high priority. And while you cannot entirely trust the author of the leaked story to be telling the truth, maybe he is:
The author of the report, The Australian’s foreign editor Greg Sheridan, told Sky News Mr Abbott was not his source.
“I can say this much to you … the source wasn’t Tony Abbott,’’ Sheridan said. “I went to Tony Abbott with my information and interviewed him on the record and, as he says, what he says is on the record.”
It is possible that the community does prefer an extra $10 a week than a stronger national defence, or maybe it doesn’t. But whichever it is, there is no percentage in hiding the debate until t...
Super Tuesday has come and gone. Ted Cruze has won in Texas and Oklahoma, otherwise the Donald has been successful. The real contest for the presidency is among the Democratic Party nominees.(This is despite the suggestion that the swings and roundabouts favour the Republican candidate this year.)
Things look bleak for Bernie. However, Robert Reich begs to differ. Making his assessment prior to the close of the polls he suggests the notion of momentum is a media fiction, and that upcoming primaries will be more favourable to Sanders. He argues the race is still much alive for three reasons:
1. In the next few months the primary map starts tilting in Bernie’s favor: In later March: Maine, Michigan, Florida, Ohio, Illinois, Arizona, Washington state, and Hawaii. In April: Wisconsin, New York, Connecticut, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island. In May: Indiana and Oregon. In June, California, New Jersey, and New Mexico.
2, Small-donor contributions continue to flow in to Bernie’s campaign. In February, the campaign raised a whopping $42 million. South Carolina’s loss didn’t stop the flow: The campaign received $6 million on Monday alone.
3. Bernie’s campaign is a movement. Americans know we must get big money out of politics and take back our economy from an incipient oligarchy. That’s why Bernie will take this movement all the way to the Democratic convention in, July 25-28 in Philadelphia (you might make plans to be there, too).
What do you think?
The last point is the most important. What happens to his
current supporters, and the set of groups that have aligned with
his campaign, when and if, he is trumped by Hillary, either before
or at the Convention?
Some groups will move over and support the campaign of Jill Stein, but most, I suspect, are not li...
The political donation system has been corrupted. It is designed to hide donations so the public are not aware of who is influencing government policy. This is why I am concerned about overseas political donations—they are in direct conflict with national sovereignty. The system is not in the national interest, and it is not in the public’s interest. It is, however, in the interest of some politicians’ retirement policy.
China’s donations to the major political parties are well documented and are a grave threat to the power and authority of the nation. I am not alone in my concern regarding our dealings with a country that does not respect our democratic values, that has widespread corruption and that lacks transparency. China’s political donations have already influenced our decisions on the China free trade agreement—an agreement that undermines our national and job security.
What has been proposed here is an improvement, but the gold standard is real time disclosure. My network reports donations on my website as we receive them—that is true transparency.
Question agreed to.
The committee hearing this morning into the Senate voting system was a bombshell. Recognised experts provided a valuable opportunity to learn more about our complicated Senate voting system and the Liberals’ and Greens’ radical electoral changes. I was very impressed by the testimony of Mr Malcolm Mackerras. He took a principled stand and said the Senate voting system has been and will be unconstitutional. Mr Mackerras referred to our Constitution as an authority, saying our voting system must be candidate based, not party based. He kindly drew our attention to section 7 of the Constitution to support his claim. It states:
The Senate shall be composed of senators for each State, directly chosen by the people of the State, voting, until the Parliament otherwise provides, as one electorate.
The system should be changed, but something this important should not be rushed.
The current system has evolved into one which Antony Green describes as ‘a herding process to force voters to vote above the line’. But the new system proposed by the Liberals and Greens is, as Mr Mackerras said, ‘breathtaking in its contempt for the Australian Constitution’. He called it a party-list system, because it can be gamed in favour of the big parties by running a just-vote-1 campaign. The Liberals want to change our voting system and then game our voting system by running a just-vote-1 campaign—they are quiet over there, aren’t they?—and the Greens are the Liberals’ enablers.
The Liberals are deliberately picking industrial fights in the construction and maritime sectors. In the short term they will bring our economy to its knees so that there will be a background of economic chaos and industrial unrest in the lead-up to the federal election in order to justify the inconvenience and expense of a double-D election on the Australian voter—every single one of them. Do you know what? You people should be ashamed of yo...
Senator LAMBIE (Tasmania) (14:36): My question without notice is to the Minister for Defence, Senator Payne. I refer the minister to her government’s $450 billion defence white paper and the fact that Tasmania’s businesses have been ignored for two decades when it comes to the fair awarding of defence contracts. I also refer the minister to comments made by Tasmanian businessman Michael Grainger, of Liferaft Systems Australia, who says:
It is ironic that we are dealing with the major defence forces around the world but not our own country
When it comes to the fair awarding of defence contracts, does the minister agree that it is the weak representation by Liberal members of this parliament for 20 years and being taken for granted that has guaranteed Tasmanian businesses, including those associated with Land 400, will continue to be ignored for another 20 years? How are you going over there Senator Abetz?
Senator PAYNE (New South Wales—Minister for Defence) (14:37): I thank Senator Lambie for her question. It will not surprise Senator Lambie to know that I do not agree with the premise of her question and her observations in relation to my extremely valued Senate colleagues. The exact idea behind the Defence Industry Policy Statement, which will be a bible, if you like, for those who are engaged in the defence industry across Australia—in particular for leading Tasmanian businesses, a number of which have already been drawn to my attention by our parliamentary colleagues from Tasmania—is that they will be able to work within the 2016 Defence Industry Policy Statement, which sets a new paradigm for the relationship between Defence and industry across Australia, in regional areas and around the nation, for small, medium and large enterprises.
There are over 3,000 defence related industries in Australia. A number of those are located in Tasmania. A number of t...
Twenty-five years ago Australia deployed 1,800 defence personnel to the first Gulf War to assist the US and several other countries push Iraq out of Kuwait. There were 146 casualties from the coalition, but Australia was fortunate enough not to lose one digger in this particular war. In the public gallery watching this debate today is a group of veterans from the Australian Peacekeeper and Peacemaker Veterans Association, one of whom, Rod Thompson, is an Australian Gulf War veteran who served on HMAS Adelaide. Thank you all for your service.
Tomorrow these veterans will join with hundreds of their fellow veterans—brothers and sisters—to rally on the lawns in front of Parliament House at 10am. They will protest at the dysfunctional way they are being treated by this government’s Department of Veterans’ Affairs. They will protest at the lack of respect shown by the Prime Minister and other senior government politicians. I urge all senators who are supportive to join the veterans and hear what they have to say. They have been ignored for far too long. They will suffer in silence no longer. Too many of them have taken their own lives. So it is time that the Canberra politicians and media listened.
The 1,800 Australians who participated in the Gulf War faced a more devastating battle with their minds and bodies after the Gulf War. A Monash University study, the Australian Gulf War Veterans’ Health Study 2003, has shown that Gulf War veterans suffered increasing psychological conditions in the years following the Gulf War—and not just PTSD either. The study showed the Australians deployed to the Gulf War were also suffering from anxiety disorders, depression and increasing problems with drinking as well.
This information is not new to the government. The Department of Veterans’ Affairs had this report—and, for that matter, the follow-up report—but sought ‘independent’ review from...
|IndyWatch Aussie Politics Feed Archiver|
IndyWatch Aussie Politics Feed was generated at Australian News IndyWatch.
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