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Gina’s web

In 2011, as reported by Graham Readfern at Crikey, Gina Rinehart held a lunch at her house by the Swan River in Perth, at which West Australian Premier Colin Barnett, WA environment minister Bill Marmion and Chinese Ambassador Chen Yuming were in attendance to hear a presentation on climate change from the “sceptic” Professor Ian Plimer.

Plimer must have done well because, according to disclosures made to the Australians Securities and Investments Commission, Professor Plimer was appointed to the boards of Gina’s companies Roy Hill Holdings and Queensland Coal Investments on January 25 2012.

Dinner guest Environment Minister Bill Marmion’s chief of staff is Colin Edwardes, the husband of Cheryl Edwardes, who is the head of “external affairs, government relations and approvals” at Hancock Prospecting. Cheryl is also a former WA environment minister.

As PerthNow pointed out, Marmion was in the position of considering environmental approvals for Hancock Prospecting projects — of which there were four pending.

Let me just emphasise this.  The WA environment minister’s chief of staff’s wife is employed by Gina Rinehart to secure government approval for her mining ventures.

And of course it doesn’t stop there.

Even considering the Coalition’s self-confessed penchant for doing business at weddings at the taxpayers’ expense, three senior members of the Coalition travelling all the way to India to a wedding of someone they have never met, at the behest of someone who was not related to the couple and whose own family says is an untrustworthy person motivated by greed, should have rung alarm bells far greater than the thousands the politicians subsequently claimed in “study” expenses for the jaunt.

At the time of inviting the politicians to the wedding, Mrs Rinehart was about to clinch a $1 billion coal deal with the bride’s grandfather – G.V. Krishna Reddy, the founder of GVK, one of India’s largest energy and infrastructure companies.

Three months after the politicians joined Mrs Rinehart at the Indian wedding the GVK conglomerate bought a majority stake in the billionaire’s ”Alpha” coalmine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin for $US1.26 billion.

When Barnaby Joyce decided to run against Tony Windsor for the seat of New England, Gina Rinehart contributed $50,000 directly to his campaign though some reports had the contribution at $700,000.

Image from Facebook

Image from Facebook

When Gina turned up to his election victory party, Barnaby said “Gina is a great friend and I’m a good mate of Gina’s and she’s got an Australian company which employs Australian people which pays tax in this nation and I’m so proud,” he said.  “We need lots of Gina Rineharts, not one, [because] when we have a nation of lots of them we’re going to be a stronger nation.”

Barnaby Joyce hugged Gina Rinehart and told the waiting media he is proud to call her his “mate”.

“When we have someone like Gina, who is an Australian who actually is so different from other companies who are actually not Australian, then we should be proud of them [and] we shouldn’t kick them around,” he said.

“We should also be prepared to stand next to our mates because I’m a person who believes the Australian mateship quality is alive and well.”

And Gina stands by her man.

In November she flew to Canberra in her private jet to watch Barnaby’s inaugural speech in the House of Representatives which she viewed from the gallery as a “special guest”.

Some of Mrs Rinehart’s closest political friends, the Speaker Bronwyn Bishop and Liberal Party senators Cory Bernardi and Michaelia Cash, were invited to join the billionaire for an intimate gathering on the night before.

But getting back to the Alpha coalmine and the Indian connection…

A panel of independent scientific experts had raised concerns about groundwater, particularly the ability of Adani Group to model and monitor groundwater flows. In approving the mine, minister Hunt said he had accounted for the concerns

In April last year the Queensland Land Court, following a challenge by communities, said the Alpha mine should only proceed if the development meets further conditions on water use.

The court’s recommendations are not binding, and what happens next now rests with the Queensland government. In a statement, Acting Premier Jeff Seeney said: “We look forward to working with the project proponents to deliver jobs and economic benefits to Queenslanders.”

In all likelihood, the project will therefore get the go-ahead, subject to new conditions.

In September, the Mackay Conservation Group said the rail company Aurizon had walked away from an infrastructure plan it signed with GVK in 2013 that would see it build a 300km railway from proposed mines in the Galilee to port.  The group said the deal was off the table after Aurizon failed to produce an Environmental Impact Statement for the project.

However it appears that, because the Queensland government has declared the area over which the rail lines will be built a State Development Area, it meant an EIS was no longer required to be submitted at this stage.

Aurizon said it welcomed this change in process as a positive for the “regulation of development of necessary infrastructure to service this important area”.

A spokesman from GVK also confirmed the company is firmly committed to finalising its JV proposal with Aurizon.

The deal means Aurizon will take a 51 per cent share in Hancock Coal Infrastructure, which houses GVK Hancock’s rail and port projects.

The open-access infrastructure will service GVK Hancock’s Alpha, Alpha West and Kevin’s Corner coal projects in the Galilee Basin.

“This proposed transaction will provide development certainty for the rail and port projects and de-risks the Alpha Coal Project from a logistics point of view,” the spokesman said.

“The transaction will also provide a pathway for sufficient equity and debt funding for the rail and port projects to reach financial close.”

In November, Queensland Premier Campbell Newman announced that in addition to the open-ended royalty holiday already on offer to the first mover in the Galilee Basin, the state government was willing to invest hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to fund the associated rail and port projects.

Mr Seeney said the funding for the project would come from the asset leasing project the government will institute should it win the next election.

A spokesman for Clive Palmer said “On one hand this government wants to sell assets and now they want to invest in helping one company.”

In December, GVK Hancock said it is focused on finalising approvals for its Alpha coal project in the Galilee Basin before looking to finance the $10 billion project.  The comments came after French bank Societe Generale suspended its finance partnership with the project.  Citing the project’s lengthy delays, the bank said it no longer had involvement in a financing deal.

But GVK Hancock said it did not require the bank’s services at this point in the project timeline.

“The key focus for our projects at this point in time is finalising our approvals and addressing litigious challenges to our attained approvals.  Once we have finalised approvals we will then execute coal off-take agreements and work to finalise financing arrangements.”

Wall Street’s biggest banks are following the lead of UK and German financial institutions, and ruling out financing projects threatening Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.  Three of the largest investment banks in the world – Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase – have ruled out any investments in Queensland’s Abbot Point coal port.  The news follows Deutsche Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC and Barclays publicly ruling out investments in the coal port, leaving the Adani Group and GVK, who are seeking $26.5 billion to expand coal exports, dwindling options for finance. Australia’s ‘big four’ banks are now under pressure to join their US and EU counterparts.

Considering financiers, economists, and environmentalists are all questioning the viability of the project, it was somewhat surprising when, during Indian prime minister Narendra Modi’s maiden visit to Australia in November, Adani signed a MOU with the State Bank of India (SBI) for a $1 billion loan to fund the project in Queensland’s Galilee Basin.

Indian opposition MP Derek O’Brien raised the issue in the upper house of India’s parliament.

“Our understanding is these banks refused the loan, so our serious concern is why a $1 billion loan was given by SBI, knowing full well that these five banks have refused,” he said.

India’s coal minister said in October he hoped to stop imports of thermal coal within three years as domestic production stepped up.

“Two thirds of the produce of Carmichael will be imported back into India, so one of them is not talking the truth, speaking the truth. Because if India wants to reduce imports and two thirds of the capacity from the Australian mine is going to be imported back into India, it just doesn’t add up,” Mr O’Brien said.

Concerns have also been raised over prime minister Modi’s ties to Adani, the company behind the mine.

Over the past decade, Adani has prospered in the state of Gujurat, where Mr Modi was chief minister.

The company’s share price almost doubled as it became apparent Mr Modi would win the May election in a landslide.

Mr O’Brien said there were clear links between Mr Modi’s Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party and the Adani group.

“There is enough to suggest there is a cosy understanding and that is why this loan was approved, not taking into consideration the facts which were on the table,” Mr O’Brien said.

The company’s debt has risen substantially in recent years, much of it short-term debt.

Public interest lawyer Prashant Bhushan said recovering the loan may not be easy.

“When they can only recover it from the assets of Adani, but you see we don’t know. The total loans outstanding from the Adani group are in billions of dollars to various banks,” Mr Bhushan said.

Indian tweeters bemoaned Modi’s support for the Carmichael mine, calling it a repayment for billionaire friend, supporter and chairman of the Adani Group Gautam Adani, who accompanied Modi on his trip to Australia (and has apparently joined five of the PM’s six recent overseas jaunts).

It appears the coal barons have the governments caught in their web and we could well end up with a very expensive taxpayer funded railway to nowhere and the environmental consequences of dredging a port for a product that is no longer economically or environmentally viable to produce.

70 comments

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  1. Peter Ball

    No other word for it , but Corruption at the highest levels , we need to a Federal ICAC to keep these Liberals in check . What frightens me is the complete disregard for the ground water. In a country where water is already scarce , this gay abandon for the water is a crime against Australia . Maybe a bit of Jail time for these environmental vandals might work

  2. Paul Raymond Scahill

    Gina again with her good friend Barnaby. Who would wish to associate themselves with either, one can only hope that the groundwater and debt will swallow them both. I would think that Gina might find herself another husband in India. Dream, dream, dream, wish, wish, wish. What a despicable person she really is. I have nothing more to say.

  3. Pamela

    WATER

  4. Kaye Lee

    In the cabinet reshuffle, Abbott appointed Bob Baldwin to be the new parliamentary secretary for the environment. Baldwin is being investigated by ICAC after he wrote a letter to “implore” the NSW Coalition government to support Nathan Tinkler’s proposed coal-loader.

    A witness told the inquiry that Buildev, part owned by Nathan Tinkler and behind the loader pitch, gained the “ear” of Mr Baldwin following donations to his campaigns.

    The letter was addressed to the new resources minister, Chris Hartcher, and the minister for police, Mike Gallacher, who are both at the centre of the inquiry. It was also sent to ports minister Duncan Gay.

    It urged the NSW government to give it “immediate” in-principle support and “provide an approval process free of red tape”.

    Mr Baldwin also sent a copy of the letter as “FYI” to Buildev director David Sharpe, who replied: “Thanks Bob letter looks good”.

    Bob Baldwin, the man who once compared the impact of Australia’s man-made greenhouse gas emissions to that of a single strand of human hair on a 1km bridge, the man who, in a speech in China in 2010, at the APEC SME summit, said that the climate had been changing for millions of years – a favourite meme of the climate denier community – and even praised Rupert Murdoch as “the starting point for green innovation”.

    “There has been much debate, considered opinion, and a disparity of views from a wide range of eminently qualified experts on the issue of the contribution of mankind and our emissions to climate change.

    Facts have been disputed; reports have been discredited; and communities have been divided over the arguments, assumptions, conclusions, and indeed, the very existence of human-induced climate change.”

    Yep….he sounds like the man for the job.

  5. Wun Farlung

    Peter Ball
    Come on mate , corruption only happens in third world countries and countries that don’t adhere to USA imperialism.
    Don’t worry about it, look over there I think that’s a boat full of economic refugees that have come to steal our jobs and get on the dole

  6. Terry2

    When I first heard about this deep and abiding friendship between Gina and Barnaby I thought ‘that’s odd’ : he only entered parliament in 2005 and all of a sudden he has a benefactor and BFF in the form of Australia’s richest woman – I’m assuming that she hadn’t been fostering friendships with bush accountants in country New South Wales prior to that.

    Barnaby would be well advised to keep this type of influence peddler at arms length if he is to truly represent rural Australia.

  7. Wun Farlung

    This country stinks of corruption and it is only available to the rich and influential.
    Big business is littered with serving and former politicians of all stripes, political advisors and bureaucrats peddling influence and position themselves for ridiculous highly paid consultancy jobs.Just thinking about ‘donations’ to election campaigns and overseas ‘study’ tours makes me ill.
    Federal ICAC? I’ll be surprised if any of them has the guts

  8. Matters Not

    Let’s face it, Gina is a financial genius. She has that innate ability to pick trends and therefore make financial killings. Take her recent decision to invest $500 million into ‘dairy’ just days before the China ‘free trade’ deal. The timing was spot on. She not only understands the mining business but ‘dairy’ as well.

    Or could it be the case she was tipped off by her good mate who just happens to a Minister who was in the position to know?

    Now if we had a Federal ICAC …

  9. Kaye Lee

    The Chinese are also buying up dairy farms. The chairman of the Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Troy Harper, is setting up a new company called Linear Capital using Chinese money but doing the schmooze job saying “It is not a Chinese consortium. We are an Australian business. We have put together a group that has international investment and it also has Chinese investment.”

    Little is known about the entity behind the proposal or how close it is to achieving its aim.

    Farmer Power president Chris Gleeson said there was a distinct feeling of frustration among those at the meeting about the “steamroller” approach that the new investment group, industry representatives and local governments have been using to make the new venture a reality.

    The proposal, backed by Australian investment firm Linear Capital, plus a major Chinese dairy and food producer and possibly other investors, has received support from local to federal government as well as from lobby groups Australian Dairy Farmers and the Victorian Farmers Federation.

    Farmer Power wants to know why there is a lack of information about the proposal and why it is being pushed by industry representatives and local governments as a positive.

    “Industry representatives and local government members have failed to produce any real data as to how this new move will benefit the community,” Mr Gleeson said.

    Whether it is coal mines or dairy farms, the web spreads its threads. The FTAs are going to make some investors a lot of money but even Hockey’s own MYEFO states that the Japanese FTA will cause projected revenue to decrease $1.6 billion over the forward estimates. Rest assured, someone will be making money from the government decisions but it doesn’t appear to be us.

  10. Anomander

    @Terry2. I don’t think Bananababy needs any advice – he knows full well what he is doing. He is lining his pockets with money courtesy of Gina and her mining mates and in return he is ensuring government policy and decisions favour her and her companies. He is ensuring the path is clear of both red and green tape (community and environmental protections)and is paving the way to ensure the smooth flow of business (greater profits for Gina at the expense of the Australian people).

    He’s very good at wearing his moleskins and stetson and standing in a paddock, talking to farmers and making them believe he is listening and has their best interests at heart, when the truth is, he doesn’t give a toss about our farmers, our agriculture, our land or our water. We knows when his career in politics is done he will be laughing all the way to the back, between his cash and assets, his connections will also provide him with various directorships.

    Meanwhile our agriculture will be destroyed, our water polluted and despoiled, our farmers sold-out, rural communities further fragmented and isolated and unemployment will be sky-rocketing.

    But we’ll have some of the loveliest and most gargantuan open-cut mines in the world, employing cheap Indian and Chinese workers earning $2 per day, on 457 visas – for a few years anyway, until the world turns away form coal and we’re left with naught but giant gaping holes in the ground and destroyed environments, while those responsible take all their profits overseas, avoiding tax and any scrutiny and denying any responsibility.

    How on earth the people of New England went from a man like Tony Windsor to Bananababy Joyce is beyond comprehension.

  11. Kaye Lee

    “Barnaby Joyce concedes rural purchases may present conflict of interest

    ………This meant that by 2007 – between the two purchases made by the Joyces – CSG companies were boasting of gas reserves to the east, west and south of the properties. All indications were at this time that the gas rush was coming.

    In October 2007, Eastern Star appointed former Nationals leader and deputy prime minister John Anderson as its chairman to steer its proposed growth phase into a ”major gas developer”.

    Mr Anderson, who left Eastern Star when it was sold to Santos, is working as the campaign manager for Mr Joyce.

    Despite their close friendship, Mr Joyce said he had no idea Eastern Star had a petroleum exploration licence over the Pilliga, including his properties at Gwabegar.

    It was four years later in a 2011 parliamentary inquiry into CSG that Joyce first stated publicly that Eastern Star had an exploration licence over his property and that his neighbour had been informed that the company wanted to drill test wells in Gwabegar.”

    http://www.portnews.com.au/story/1728489/barnaby-joyce-concedes-rural-purchases-may-present-conflict-of-interest/?cs=3275

  12. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Bring on a Federal ICAC and put Bananababy Joyce on the priority list for investigation.

    When Bananababy’s head’s on the chopping block, prepare for the finger pointing to other political and business sleazebags’ abuses of environmental protections and public owned assets.

    Gina, we’re looking at you.

    And when found guilty, the penalty for each of them will be incarceration and a multi-million dollar fine. No mucking about.

    These monsters are aiding and abetting the rape and pillaging of our country.

    This does NOT need to be fatal for our environment and our demographic standards of living IF we act upon our consternation.

  13. Jeanette

    Blind Nellie could see what was going on, one can only hope that the time delay will make the Qld coal venture obsolete before i t starts. Newman building a rail link to nowhere, eventually he should be charged with crime against Queenslanders. Public pressure on Aust banks will bring the project tumbling down. We all need to remember the larger they are the bigger the fall. Coal is finished unfortunately it seems the race to the bottom is what is driving all this madness of dredging, new terminals, rail links it’s all crap in less than10 years Qld will be left with a ripped environment, poisoned water, destroyed farm production, rusted rail lines and decayed shipping terminal. Short term gain for a few with forever loss for future generations. Australia will be relegated to 3rd world status there will be no problems of boat people because those that can will be heading out, a non inhabitable dustbowl.
    Once a smart proud country I weep as this country through greed by a few destroys itself
    Australian voters have to become smarter and start demanding of politicians better outcomes for all. Liberals have always been tied to big business unfortunately for them Abbott is a dud fortunately regardless of any replacement will not save them from annihilation at the next election because Morrison alone will sink them. Labor has to extinguish all union influence and the Greens have to really step up to the plate.
    Don’t even get me started on the dairy industry, an industry that has been mistreated and abused for over 70 years, how do I know this, my father was a dairy farmer, it broke him. In 1945 the price of bread and a pint of milk were the same. Check out your bread price now compared to a litre of milk and that my friends does not give you the margin a dairy farmer gets..so if all the milk goes to China for a better margin and we are relegated to powdered milk from wherever maybe then will Australians WAKE UP!

  14. vivienne29

    More brilliant research and information.

  15. Salstarat

    The staggering overwhelming corruption and cronyism that intertwines the filthy mining industry with the LNP, at State and Federal levels, is now so pervasive, they don’t even bother to hide their blatant abuse of power! Such is their truly offensive contempt for ordinary Australians, they openly scorn everything about our egalitarian society – they are like salivating dogs licking at the feet of the elite and basking in personal benefit. Not a day goes passed that we are not confronted with yet another story of pervasive corruption, more lies, more broken promises, more cronyism and nepotism – criminal behaviour so constant that it is being “normalised” under a government that is totally and irreversibly morally bankrupt. A government who had the AUDACITY to judge the previous Labor government which, by their standards, were almost angelic by comparison! The LNPs ongoing self seeking elitism is revealing an abhorrent level of self entitlement that is, no doubt, increasing the personal wealth of many LNP MPs – in particular, Barnaby Joyce. You can also be sure that the cost to fly business class for every visit made by these hypocritical grasping LNP MPs to see Gina Rinehart, every night spent in 5 star luxury whilst they are sealing their underhanded deals to benefit Rinehart and themselves, will all be at taxpayer’s expense. The unending and increasing pork barrelling and self seeking corruption of the LNP from the top down is shocking and absolutely reprehensible especially in the light of their constant attacks, vilification and dehumanisation of the poor, the disabled, the homeless. The LNP are so out of touch with the desperate needs of so many ordinary Australians who, thanks to the LNP, have lost their jobs right before Christmas; the LNP believe their own bullshit, are forever trying to sell their thoroughly toxic “Greed is Good” propaganda and feeding it to the public through the twisted lies within the manipulative Murdoch press! The LNP are so self assured that they are entitled to feed the rich, to turn billionaires into trillionaires, penny pinching from the most vulnerable of our citizens to benefit the endless rapacity of the super rich. Wasting billions and billions of hard earned Australian taxpayer dollars on weapons of mass distraction whilst the numbers of unemployed youth, homeless children, destitute families grows under their inept mismanagement of our dying economy. The LNP screaming loud and long about debt and deficit which under the EPIC FAILURE of the worst treasurer in history, the sloppy in-the-hock Hockey, has literally DOUBLED in only 12 months!

    There they are, LNP oxygen thieves, rotten to the core, lying down with dogs in order to feather their own nests, using their political power for personal benefit … Abbott’s misuse of his power to attain personal benefit (eg the $60,000 faux scholarship for his own self entitled daughter) is just one example of repeated incidences so numerous, one could not possibly list them all here! The unending LIES, the broken promises, the wilful use of the public purse for their own gains (eg Abbott’s side visit to a hospital so that he could claim a personal trip to Victoria at the taxpayer expense) … it goes on and on and on! Abbott has set the disgraceful depraved tone to his despicable government with his ongoing pathological serial LIES, never ending broken promises – he has given the nod of approval to self seeking rapacity, to use power for personal benefit – this is the government that Abbott wants, this is the government the mindless idiots that put him into power deserve – this is the government from HELL!

    The rampant LNP pigs at a trough who are dining like Kings whilst they toss thousands of ordinary Australians on to the scrap heap of unemployment and destitution! How BAD does this government have to get before the Australian public DEMAND THEIR INSTANT REMOVAL! Here is the LNP, led by a depraved megalomaniacal psychopath who insists on exorbitantly expensive tax paid Royal Commissions and Investigations into everyone ELSE but whose own corruption permeates every level of its government. Abbott, once again, uses investigations, war and sanctimonious hypocrisy in a desperate attempt to DEFLECT attention away from his OWN malignant corruption … “Look over there! Look over there!” …. that may have worked ONCE, it certainly worked for the loathsome war monger, Howard – but you cannot fool ALL the people ALL the time … or can they? It is the perverse LNP that DESPERATELY needs to face a thorough and intense ICAC investigation to address their ongoing and increasing levels of blatant corruption and lack of transparency. Sadly, the newly knighted Governor General, the thoroughly disappointing Peter Cosgrove, is in the LNP pocket … we will never ever see justice through Cosgrove who BELONGS and is indebted to the LNP for his ignominious knighthood when he so quickly and willingly traded impartiality and decency for his own personal status … Abbott was counting on it! Abbott reintroduced the despised imperialistic and draconian knighthood system for that very reason = to “reward” his “mates” for services rendered or to maintain their “loyal” silence!

    Where is the justice? Who will speak on behalf of the asylum seekers whose brutal savage mistreatment at the hands of the psychopath, MoralsNone went on and on regardless and without consequence despite the MURDER and preventable death of at least four asylum seekers (that we know about)! …. and what happened? Morrison gets a promotion for his crimes against humanity! Unbelievable! Australians must rise up and DEMAND this government be gone …. their depravity has gone from bad to intolerable. The Abbott government, without doubt, is the single most DANGEROUS government in our history! They are absolute fascists, anti-Australian, anti-democracy … muzzling free speech, neoliberal dogs to the core, dancing to Murdoch’s tune and the malignant agenda of Murdoch’s IPA. Rise up Australia … our gormless complacency, our spineless apathy will see us go under and spell the END to what was, once, a beautiful, welcoming, egalitarian society – the best country in the world is now turning into a hateful, vile internationally despised haven to crass, thoroughly selfish, xenophobic racist BOGANS …. how far we have fallen in only 16 catastrophic months!

    This country is going to HELL in a hand basket. We have the WORST, most corrupt government in the western world, condemned and scorned internationally! We have a complete and totally corrupt, bible bashing, sanctimonious hypocrite at the helm …. like Nero, fiddling, whilst Australia burns and no one is doing ANYTHING to stop it.

  16. AndrewL

    Kaye Lee, as usual, excellent job with your article with your references and knowledge on environmental politics. Sadly as much as a federal ICAC is necessary, it seems that so many politicians stand to be exposed that there is no way it will happen if approval is to be required from parliament. A federal ICAC should form from our mainstream press but it seems that apart from AIM and a few other independent media organisations, there are no longer journalists with either integrity or the intelligence to research the backdeals of federal politicians.
    Our political system and decision-making is a disgrace now and until we get more reporting like you have undertaken and the pollies are held accountable for their actions, it will continue to get worse.

  17. Harquebus

    It has been said in the media that, Gina Reinhardt receives $2million an hour. No one deserves that much.
    Our nations finite resources are being pillaged and is why the rest of us have to pay income and sales tax.

  18. Kaye Lee

    From 2012…

    Riding Australia’s resources boom like no one else, BRW magazine’s annual rich list yesterday revealed the 58-year-old mining magnate’s wealth has ballooned by an unparalleled $18.87 billion in the past year to $29.17 billion.

    That equates to $598 a second, more than $1 million for every half an hour – and almost $52 million a day.

    http://www.heraldsun.com.au/business/gine-rinehart-the-worlds-richest-woman-will-one-day-own-it/story-fn7j19iv-1226365254014

  19. philgorman2014

    Corruption in endemic to the corpocracy that now rules Australia no matter which of the lib/lab parties is in power. Wel need a fully funded idependent system of federal and state ICACS with the full investigative powers of standing royal commissions.

    But first six squadrons of purple pigs will fly past every capital, sponsored by the MSM and the lib/lab criminals and clowns coalitions.

  20. Phi

    Both brazen and secretive corruption between state and federal liberal parties and big business, especially their coal quarrying mates, and the stratospheric rise in wealth inequality suggest Australia’s democracy is approaching, if not already at, the end of the road.

    Despite Australia having achieved universal literacy, there is an astounding and inexplicable depth of voter passivity and even wilful ignorance on the national and state polity.

    The nation is being run by thieves and crooks in grey suits with blue ties, and yet we seem to be unable or unwilling to abandon bizzare party allegiances to see that our country has been sold to a global corporate cabal.

    Is there a realistic and practical option for the immediate future so that we can set about reconfiguring our entire political, social and economic system?

    Yes, I think there is and here’s my two bobs worth:

    The LNP is irredeemable and therefore extremely dangerous – it should be abandoned due to its inbred cronyism and corruption. There will be considerable risk in this since a wounded and cornered beast will fight and fight dirty right to the end.

    The ALP has its problems but they are not of the magnitude of the LNP – it is a redeemable party – at least for the short term – provided it is put under immediate and severe pressure from a strongly active voting community in the lead up to 2016.

    The ALP needs to be put into government in 2016 as the people’s ‘holding administration’ to give the nation breathing space to rally, develop and understand the depth of change that is required and to commence implementation. The way forward at this 2016-19 stage is already being fleshed out in by number of independent news and blog sites including here at AIMN.

    The Abbott government has been the catalyst for the change we have to make. Enough Australians now know that Abbott and the LNP will never serve the national interest – that their time in power has served only to reveal in stark detail exactly what we don’t want.

    Bring on 2016 but in the meantime the Abbott government must be unrelentingly harassed and exposed, as the article above has done so well.

  21. guest

    Reading this article and the ensuing comments, one cannot ignore the egregious disparities revealed.

    There is talk of Coalition MPs who benefited from welfare, in their education, for example, and overseas in one obvious case. We might well be reminded of the number of expenses claims made by Coalition MPs to which they were not entitled. But not only that. The trip to India was more to do with business deals than anything else. Are such expenses also tax deductions?

    We remember Abbott’s claim for the $9 000 cost of promoting his book – a cost eventually paid for by his publisher, I believe.

    Not so for Peter Slipper. He was hounded for $600 worth of cab fares which he was denied the opportunity to repay because he ‘lied’.
    But those MPs did not lie when they made their application for recompense? They thought they were entitled.

    It reminds me of the fine of $10m made against Coles for bullying providers. Hardly a whisper about it. Craig Thomson is ruined by a judicial inquiry and court process prominent in the media over several years for a sum, in the end, of $3 500..

    We remember, too, how Slipper was hounded for years with accusations of misogyny and sexual harassment, only to have charges dropped once Slipper was ruined and a judge had described the case as a conspiracy to bring down a government. Slipper was left with no recourse to appeal.

    Then there is the story about Hockey renting a house belonging to his wife. The rent was apparently 100s of dollars a day, claimed by Hockey. Perfectly legitimate, but interesting, given Hockey’s views on entitlement.

    There is Barnaby Joyce’s possession of land which allows mineral exploration. Somehow. I cannot help but remember the Obeid case and the conspiracy entered into by Obeid and others, to play the aspirational, entrepreneurial game of investment in property, a game played widely with zeal and enthusiasm in Oz since the days of squatters.

    Has my mind been so poisoned that I see conspiracy everywhere, even where there is none? And what of the events and perpetrators which so far remain undisclosed? It is like a bad dream.

  22. John Fraser

    <

    @Kaye Lee

    Unfortunately you missed the part where the Queensland government removed the right of 16 landowners to negotiate directly with Adani for the rail line to pass through their properties.

    http://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au/news/planning-reform-needed-for-galilee-basin-seeney/2466466/

    "Seeney used "Call In" powers to deprive landowners the right to negotiate with coal miners between the Galilee Basin and the Coast.

    Link : http://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au/news/Government-to-approach-sixteen-landholders-rail/2364945/

    Now the newman LNP is spending the money from the proposed assets sale of public property to build ……. wait for it …… a railway line for a private coal mining company.

    Link : http://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au/news/qld-help-build-rail-line-galilee-basin-coal-miners/2454992/

    The newman LNP Treasurer Nicholls appears to be well on the way to selling Queenslands electricity assets …. its just that the papers have yet to be signed.

    Link : http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/tim-nicholls-meeting-with-singapore-power-lobbyist-not-immediately-declared-20141125-11tmas.html

    Why would anyone bother to vote at the next election ?

    All the "deals" have been done …. its now just a matter of putting them down on paper and pretending its 2015 and not the height of the Joh era. "

    I am "johnx74".

    As you can see by this Qld government document Jeff "Call in" Seeney has been busy ….. very, very busy.

    http://www.dsdip.qld.gov.au/resources/report/call-in-register-sep-2014.pdf

  23. townsvilleblog

    wheels within wheels, networking produces some unusual bed partners indeed.

  24. stephentardrew

    The incredible darkness of being.

  25. Loz

    If only this article could appear in the MS newspapers. Where are the investigative journalists that are of the same calibre as Kaye Lee?

  26. Michael Taylor

    They are all here, Loz. 🙂

  27. corvus boreus

    I would like to add that Mr Barnaby Joyce is not just a serial rorter who feels justified in slugging the public purse to jetset, get drunk at weddings and conduct dodgy dealings, he is also an apologist for terrorist-style murder.

    When environmental officer Glenn Turner was murdered at his duties (and his partner threatened with murder and assaulted) by a gun-toting criminal in repeated breach of existing laws, Mr Joyce expressed the view that this was indicative of a need to re-examine the legislation.

    How to best enact legislative change according to Barnaby; murder those who enforce the laws you don’t agree with.

  28. Matters Not

    Barnaby drowns cars as well. But the public pays. So not to worry.

    National Party Senate leader Barnaby Joyce drowned his government-purchased Toyota LandCruiser late last year, leaving the approximately-$80,000 vehicle a soggy write-off with damaged electrics.

    Mr Joyce explained he was driving to his farming property in northern New South Wales when he approached the swollen Burren Creek.

    The St George-based Queensland senator explained that although there was a sign warning to drive slowly the road had not been closed, and he said people were driving towards him when attempted to cross the creek

    You would think that ‘when people were driving towards him’ he would have twigged that they realised they couldn’t cross. Not so with Barnaby.

    http://www.caradvice.com.au/104812/barnaby-joyce-drowns-his-government-toyota-landcruiser/

  29. stephengb2014

    Kaye Lee
    I have read almost all of your articles in the AIMN and found them to be most enlightening. I believe all that you put into your articles to be true because I do not know how to varyify your comments, assertions, claims and quotes, but mostely because I see no reason to doubt your honesty.

    Having said that why, on th face it, have these people been anle to get away with this obvious potential corruption. Where are the safeguards in our system to stop what is happening.

    sorry just do not understand
    s

  30. Kaye Lee

    Stephen,

    I too am relying on others in what I write. I put the information together from information freely available to all on the net. Sometimes I am quoting from other articles, sometimes from source documents, sometimes from scientific or economic reports, occasionally from personal experience.

    I don’t consider myself an investigative journalist. I have a good memory, good research skills, and I just put together the work of other people. I have always loved learning and have always loved helping others to learn. Until Abbott took over I concentrated my teaching in mathematics. Now I feel it important to help Australian people understand the truth. I HATE being lied to.

    Everything I pass on is, to the best of my knowledge, the truth but I am certainly open to learning otherwise. I check the validity of my sources which has been an education within itself.

    I learn as much from everyone here as I pass on.

  31. Kaye Lee

    Well, well, well indeed. Perhaps they are finally starting to get the courage to at least start talking about the state-sanctioned criminal behaviour of the wealthy. Pity they sacked thousands from the tax office so they have no chance of chasing the ones who didn’t fess up.

  32. diannaart

    I had just managed to stop thinking about Gina Swinehart…

    My constant vigilance switch is back on.

  33. Sir ScotchMistery

    Can we all please not lose focus that it isn’t only LNP cosying up to this creature. ALP are also in there with their hands out for the “commissions” at the end of their time as our “representatives”.

    I’m currently researching the current roles of former politicians who lost their jobs at the last few elections. Looking forward to the outcomes.

  34. Harquebus

    @Sir ScotchMistery

    Mare Vale’s will be a doozy.

  35. philgorman2014

    Good for you Sir Scotch. I eagerly await the widespread publication of your findings by the stout hearted MSM. Otherwise I eagerly await your posting them on AIM and other inedependent media.

  36. Kaye Lee

    Sir ScotchMistery,

    A couple of contributions…..

    Peter Reith was appointed as a consultant to defence contractor Tenix immediately after resigning as defence minister. Health minister Michael Wooldridge signed a $5 million building deal for the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and days later, after resigning as health minister, was employed by the college as a consultant.

    And of course we have Alexander Downer…

    “The director-general of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service and his deputy instructed a team of ASIS technicians to travel to East Timor in an elaborate plan, using Australian aid programs relating to the renovation and construction of the cabinet offices in Dili, East Timor, to insert listening devices into the wall, of walls to be constructed under an Australian aid program,” he told the ABC.

    Mr Collaery says a star witness who ASIO questioned last night was “not some disaffected spy” but the former director of all technical operations at ASIS.

    He says the former ASIS operator decided to blow the whistle after learning Mr Downer had become an adviser to Woodside Petroleum in his years after politics.

    Amanda Vanstone….Australian Ambassador to Italy and on the Commission of Audit

    Nick Minchin….consul general to New York

    The list goes on and on and on….

  37. John Fraser

    <

    @Harquebus

    What would I do with 2 beards ?

  38. John Fraser

    <

    @Harquebus

    I have been following and railing against the TPP for quite some time now :

    http://www.theglobalmail.org/blog/hostile-environment-tpp-green-chapter-virtually-meaningless/807/index.html

    http://www.theglobalmail.org/blog/visualising-the-secret-tpp-talks-how-12-blocs-line-up/776/index.html

    http://www.theglobalmail.org/feature/whos-afraid-of-the-tpp/752/index.html

    http://www.theglobalmail.org/feature/abbott-open-for-business-and-multinational-lawsuits/700/index.html

    Even Howard refused to go along with the conditions Abbott had no trouble signing.

  39. David K

    “Under proposed changes to water regulations in Queensland, Adani’s Carmichael Mine may avoid requirements to obtain water licences to extract water,” Ms Smith said. “The company plans to extract up to 12.5 billions of litres of water every year from local aquifers and the Great Artesian Basin.”

    http://www.lockthegate.org.au/mining_companies_free_to_drain_unlimited_water

  40. Harquebus

    @John Fraser

    Thanks for the links and good question.
    I use mine for storing leftovers.

    Cheers

  41. Sir ScotchMistery

    Without wanting to cast cold water on our deliberations, can I raise momentarily, the spectre of capital punishment and how it sits astride this discussion about crime, punishment and raiding a case.

    As it sits, no illegal activity has occurred at this time. Ergo, talking about illegal /immoral/egregious behaviour or acts is moot.

    However, if we had 30 independents in both the house and the senate, that could be forced to change.

    Think along the “Lambie-esqe” lines of “if you don’t pass this bill, we won’t vote for yours”.

    Introduce a retrospective Federal ICAC, and without a star chamber, call into question the behaviour of Bananababy Joyce et al, and their links to the miners, the gas bastards, the steel bastards the oil rapists and all their mates.

    Then, and only then, jail the bastards. For a decent length of time.

  42. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Sir ScotchMistery,

    I like your thinking. Lengthy incarceration AND large fines that equate to all their ill-gotten gains, including income, should also be applied against them.

    These consequences should serve as effective and major deterrents!

    (I’m actually being nice because I could be decreeing that their incarceration must be served in high security prisons full of criminal scary types with nose rings and big black body tatts too!)

  43. corvus boreus

    Sir ScotchMystery,
    When I contemplate the visionary concept of a parliament of intelligent, reasonable and ethically principled independent representatives, I do not tend to think along “Lambie-esque” lines, any more than I saw any salvation in Pauline.
    The ex cherry-berry and former suicidal alcoholic, with her addiction to botox, love of silent wealthy males with huge schlongs, and simplistic espousal of both bigotry and rabidly anti-environmental attitudes, did not run run for parliament as an independent, but instead chose to ride in on the coat-tails (and cash) of a dodgy mining magnate(after the LNP and Labor rejected her candidacy).

    Having said that, it would be very interesting to see which way she (and the other new senators) would vote on another motion for a federal ICAC. The Greens (or others) should raise the proposal again(and again).

    As for contemplating capital punishment within the context of politics, I lack the mental discipline to do so without descending into dark fantasies of summary vigilantism.

    Ps, To satisfy my tendency to pedantry, I must also point out that a lack of proof grounded in the absence of investigation does not necessarily mean that no illegal activity has occurred.

  44. Peter

    I came to Australia in the 60’s when Liberal Bob Askin was premier and police minister. Corruption was widespread but always denied. I often sighted first hand police taking bribes of money in brown envelopes at gay “wine bar” run by Dawn O’Donnell who illegally sold sprits and beer under various code names after 10 o’clock. My first landlady’s grandson was a cop. Openly said he could always sort things out if we got in trouble (which I never have). My brother’s in-laws lived next door to Askin and related his dreadful corrupt practices from their various QC friends. Askin famously insisted he never had a single case, or corruption cross his desk as police minister or premier. Took another 25 years to set up NSW ICAC. I believe other states have emasculated, or no system..
    In another 25 years we may have a Federal ICAC. I doubt it. Australia has already slipped down international corruption list. Federal ICAC with serious powers of prosecution is desperately needed if a true democracy is ever to emerge.

  45. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Corvus,

    I doubt you are the only one who is experiencing such dark fantasies.

  46. Harquebus

    @Peter.
    Today’s politicians are truly a stupid lot but, a federal ICAC? Not even they are that stupid.

  47. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    @Harquebus

    If they see and hear our noise enough and realise there could be an overwhelming electoral advantage in it, then the savvy pollies whom I anticipate will come from the more visionary alliance of the Greens and Labor (with progressive parties/voices and sane Indies joining forces too), they will establish a Federal ICAC.

  48. Harquebus

    @Jennifer Meyer-Smith
    No way will our politicians allow a federal ICAC. Too much money and too many vested interests and reputations are at stake.

  49. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    @Harquebus

    I realise the ‘vested interests’ aspect would be the hidden reason while the ‘too much money’ argument would be the excuse.

    But, if we defeat the possibility before pressure can be borne on the frightened little dears, then as discerning voters, who want the best for ourselves and our country, we are just doing their dirty business for them.

    Advocating over and over again and demanding responses from our parliamentary representatives are our rights, their responsibilities and effective ways to get the frightened little pollies to sit up and listen.

  50. corvus boreus

    Harquebus,
    I understand negativity(I am not just saying words, I am a reasonably educated environmental realist who also suffers depression), but uber-cynical pooh-poohing of proposed solutions is counterproductive.

    Yes, aside from the general lack of elevated intellect, there is also deeply entrenched corruption throughout politics that will automatically raise barriers to implementing some measures of accountability, based upon protecting their own, and affiliated, interests.
    This will, of course, be reinforced with campaigns of propaganda disseminated by the commercial media interests that manipulate public perception for the agenda of the wealthy and powerful.
    All operating within a framework evolved to dilute the accuracy of the implementation of stated desires within the general electorate.

    However, there is still the fact that governance in this country does still hinge upon gaining the consent of the (sorta) majority of the electorate. They may seem to be slow learners in the main, and prone to absorbing falsehood by osmosis, but this also means that simple repetition of message can be effective. Thus with a drip, drip, drip, we say “ICAC, ICAC, ICAC”, so the meme may penetrate the collective consciousness until a re-awakening of the idea that there can actually be some kind of oversight and discipline of the ‘governance’ and ‘representation’ on ‘our behalf’ occurs, and that rampant corruption and deception is not something that should be fatalistically accepted as normal, nor even tolerated, becomes a societal truth.

    Some people are working on this concept for the betterment of future prospects (beyond the political), the same as some people are working on environmental solutions in defiance/denial of the possible inevitability of biospheric catastrophe.

    You may disagree with hopeful prospects, but is that reason to denigrate or sabotage attempts at remediation of existing problems based upon you own defeatist attitude?
    If it truly is hopeless, why bother contributing?
    .

  51. Kaye Lee

    When it gets to this time of night I think I should run as an independent in the next election, invest no money into advertising, but just say controversial stuff that will get me air time where I can say what I truly think. And I would call the pussies out on their refusal to be accountable. My business has to go through a government accreditation process every two years with ongoing random checks in between. All of my staff have to provide proof of credit points earned through ongoing education. There wouldn’t be a politician left standing if they had to satisfy the regulations they impose on me.

    They are going to get awful sick of me reiterating the essential cry for a Federal ICAC to restore integrity to politics. They are our employees, we have a right to expect a level of accountability at least equal to what they impose on us.

  52. Paola Cassoni

    Kaye, I also appreciate your articles. One addition to your statement ‘In all likelihood, the project will therefore get the go-ahead, subject to new conditions.’ I was one of the three landowners that took GVK to the Land Court and won on groundwater objections. Unfortunately you were right in your prediction. Minister Powell let GVK only know of his decision to give the mine the Environmental Authority approval, the media wasn’t notified and we weren’t worth the decency to be advised that a decision had been made to the contrary of the one delivered by the Court.
    The extra conditions were made worthless with the proposed new legislative amendments of the water act. It takes a bit of effort to mount a court challenge on the region’s groundwater.
    https://soundcloud.com/abc-western-queensland/gvk-hancock-granted-environmental-authority

  53. Kaye Lee

    Paola,

    I have followed your struggle with despair. How do we fight people who have billions of dollars at their disposal and governments in their thrall?

    My comp’s sound system is down so I will listen to your link tomorrow if I can borrow daughter’s comp.

    All I can say is that we must continue to share information and hope that enough people will take a stand….enough is enough. We do not have to be victims of corporate greed.

  54. Sir ScotchMistery

    @kaye see if you can get in touch with me via phone /email through Michael and see if I can’t fix your machine remotely. Michael that’s fine my end to put Kaye in touch.

    No charge.

  55. Terry2

    The problems with the ICAC system, as evidenced in NSW, is that politicians hold it in contempt : Sinodinos was a classic case where he could recall nothing of his involvements in Sydney Water, had no knowledge of the transmission of money to be laundered by the Liberal Party while he was state Treasurer. And whilst this is all going on, he and the Prime Minister are talking about his return to the Federal Cabinet.

    Talk about the muddle headed wombat, it’s amazing that he could actually make his way to the ICAC hearings without getting lost.

    They just don’t care and it could be because the ICAC system is merely enquiry based and actual sanctions can only follow with subsequent police and court action which frequently does not follow.

  56. Kaye Lee

    Even if it doesn’t lead to criminal prosecution, the fear of public shaming and political ostracisation may make them think twice before selling out to the highest bidder.

    Meanwhile Tony is spending many millions trying to find out what we think.

    “The government’s latest media monitoring deal came into force on New Year’s Day – a $170,000, six-month contract to monitor news for the media-sensitive Department of Immigration and Border Protection. Labor spent $110,000 for the same thing but the-then Coalition opposition listed it as one of “50 examples of Labor waste and mismanagement under the Gillard government” in it’s so-called Little book of big Labor waste.”

    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/abbott-government-spends-up-big-on-media-monitoring-20150104-12hj88.html

  57. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    I agree Kaye,

    we need a Federal ICAC and we need it to have criminal sanctions attached and enforced.

    The Greens need to push for this strengthened version of the proposed Fed ICAC and garner support from the sane Indies.

    Labor should either unequivocally join forces in calling loud and clear for the Fed ICAC with criminal consequences attached, but if it can’t muster enough guts for that, then Labor should allow a conscience vote for those many decent Labor pollies who want to clean up who we have as parliamentarians and what influence they allow vested business interests of the 1% or the 1% wannabees.

    This call for the Federal ICAC must be front and centre in ALL public discussions and repeated again and again and again.

    Play rabid Abbott at his own game with the 3 word slogan – Federal ICAC NOW.

  58. Harquebus

    There is no way that there is going to be a federal ICAC and you are wasting your time advocating one and if we had decent journalism in this country, we wouldn’t need one.
    I am not defeatist, I am combative. I regularly criticize journalists in fora, via email and such. So long as journalists think that they are doing a great job and they keep their “Aren’t I great” attitude, nothing is going to change or happen. Also, most are paid too much and write what they are told to write.

  59. corvus boreus

    Harquebus,
    “There is no way”, “you are wasting your time”,”nothing is going to change or happen”, “I am not defeatest”.

    Good luck with your epic battles with journos on blogs, I am sure it makes a difference.

  60. Sir ScotchMistery

    Apologies, Harqebus, but I have to agree on this one with Corvus.

    ‘All it takes for evil to win, is for good men to do nothing.’

    In a few years after this “government” of “equals” is gone, we will be able to point to the stand we took, if someone asks if we “voted for the bastards”.

    I’m not saying you are entirely off the mark, and it may be hard work since we have such a moronic electorate, but there has to be a point where you say “enough is enough”, and stand up, or march or shout or wear a T Shirt. We have to continue to do something, no matter how little it is, in the greater scheme of things.

  61. stephentardrew

    Right on Sir ScochyMistery unknowable person I will be out their placard and all.

  62. Kaye Lee

    My children are very pleased that I have another venue to express my political views. They are disgusted with politicians’ behaviour and are sick of me talking about it. But when I head off to marches with my placard I make very sure I remind them that I am fighting for my (possible) future grandchildren.

  63. John Fraser

    <

    @Harquebus

    When MSM Journalists are ignored they soon change their ways.

    With the Murdoch media they just get worse …. always appealing to the lowest common denominator.

  64. philgorman2014

    I’m just another insignificant littledrip. But if enough insignificant drips come together we can make an unstoppable torrent. We need a torrent to wash away the filthy corpocracy that’s soiled this country.

  65. Sir ScotchMistery

    This country was made by people acting alone to move mountains, in some cases literally.

    It wasn’t planned apart from being a place to stick criminals.

    Now the criminals are our politicians, and we need to stand up, and make a noise.

    I totally agree with you Phil.

  66. corvus boreus

    I retire to my fart-sack somewhat heartened. Thank you, people.

  67. Kaye Lee

    “One of Australia’s largest resource projects is operating without regulatory oversight on its carbon emissions because the West Australian government decided against reintroducing state controls that were lifted during the carbon tax era.

    Wheatstone, Chevron’s $30bn liquid natural gas project in the Pilbara, was one of two projects that applied in 2012 for an exemption to state-based emissions regulation in response to a policy that allowed the environment minister to extinguish regulations that were “non-complementary” to a federal scheme.

    The other project was the West Angelas open-cut iron ore mine near Newman, in which Rio Tinto owns a controlling interest.

    The state’s environment minister at the time, Bill Marmion, scrapped the requirement for both projects to have a greenhouse gas abatement plan that included setting targets and recording emissions.

    The decision was contrary to the recommendations of both the Environmental Protection Authority and an independent economic report commissioned by government.

    Piers Verstegen, director of the Conservation Council of Western Australia, said the decision to not reinstate emissions requirements took the state back to the 1980s.

    “Some of the the nation’s biggest polluters are located in WA and now have no controls on their carbon pollution whatsoever,” he said.

    “With the removal of a carbon price, both the state and commonwealth governments have completely abrogated their responsibility to control pollution, to protect our environment and to address climate change.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/jan/04/west-australian-30bn-lng-project-allowed-no-carbon-emission-targets?CMP=ema_632

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