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Mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the most corrupt of all?

When Malcolm Turnbull wrote to the Governor General requesting the urgent recalling of parliament he gave the following reason:

“The Government regards this legislation as of great importance for promoting jobs and growth, improving productivity and also promoting workplace safety through taking strong measures to deal with widespread and systematic criminality in the building and construction industry.”

The only problem is, as Dave Noonan, National Secretary of the CFMEU, pointed out in his debate with Innes Willox at the National Press Club this week, the ABCC is an industrial relations regulator that cannot deal with corruption or criminality.

This fact was also expressed by CEO of Master Builders Australia, Wilhelm Harnisch, who told the ABC “those people who are saying this is about dealing with criminality and corruption are missing the point about the ABCC bills.  The matter of criminality and fraud are totally separate from the Australian Building and Construction Commission.”

Michaelia Cash, in an interview with David Speers, said the case for the establishment of the ABCC had been made 13 years ago by the Cole Royal Commission.  What she neglected to mention was that the Cole RC led to no prosecutions and that the ABCC would not have the power to investigate allegations of corruption or criminal breaches the law.

From the outset, the Heydon RC telegraphed its intent.  Even the title, and the terms of reference, assumed its findings in advance – Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption.

Justice Minister Michael Keenan, told parliament the commission had “revealed” crimes including “blackmail, extortion, kickbacks, intimidation and cartel behaviour” before any court proceedings had taken place.

Their first attempt at prosecution for “blackmail” was against John Lomax.  The charge stemmed from evidence at the commission, where it was alleged that Mr Lomax blackmailed a Canberra painting company and its principal into signing a union enterprise bargaining agreement in April 2014.

The business owner alleged the EBA forced him to pay much higher wages to workers, and that he signed the deal because he believed he would be blocked from working in the ACT and NSW if he refused.

Police alleged the owner suffered a financial loss as a result because the EBA required him to pay his workers $26 an hour, when he claimed he could have paid as low as $17.

In October last year, the charges against Mr Lomax were dropped and costs were awarded against the Department of Public Prosecutions.  Mr Lomax’s lawyers are considering whether the prosecution was malicious in nature and may take legal action for the damage to Mr Lomax’s reputation.

As Dave Noonan said, “He negotiated a pay rise for workers, that’s not a crime in any civilised country in the world.”

Another blackmail case is being prosecuted against CFMEU unionists John Setka and Shaun Reardon stemming from the Grocon dispute and alleged approaches to Boral to block supply to Grocon with threats to boycott Boral if they failed to comply.

In June 2015, the CFMEU reluctantly agreed to pay $3.55 million to building company Grocon over the blockade of several of its sites in Melbourne in 2012.

Dave Noonan said the dispute was always about the safety of workers and that the payout was not an admission of liability.

“This company has by far the worst occupational health and safety record in the construction industry and the situation is that the money that’s been paid is paid with great reluctance,” he said.  “But the legal advice is that the union need to settle this and it represents payment essentially of the company’s legal costs.”

In 2014, Grocon pled guilty to a breach of a workplace safety law which resulted in the death of three people when a large brick wall blew over in Carlton.  It was fined $250,000.

The fines seem disproportionate.  As John Setka said, “we get fined for protesting about safety and yet people kill people at work, innocent people at work and they get a $250,000 fine.”

Rather than going to union headquarters where both men work to arrest Mr Setka and Mr Reardon, Mr Setka was pulled over by police while driving with his family and two young children.  Mr Reardon was also arrested in front of his family.

Dave Noonan said treating union officials like fugitives was designed to create maximum political damage, with little regard for their families.

“The CFMEU has co-operated with every request from the royal commission, and the police could have conducted their business at the office during working hours,” he said.

An article published in the Herald Sun quoted Council Assisting Jeremy Stoljar as saying “Mr Setka committed the offence of blackmail.”  What it didn’t say was that Stoljar chose not to call Mr Setka, or any other union witness, to give evidence before reaching his conclusion.

The case has been adjourned until November when the men intend to plead not guilty.

The unions have complied with every request made of them, paid fines when directed to do so, and been prepared to defend themselves in court when required.

Unlike the Liberal Party who have delayed providing information until the three year statute of limitations has expired.

Not only have they refused to comply with the electoral commission’s requirement for them to disclose political donors, today, Kate McClymont revealed that when Arthur “I don’t recall” Sinodinis, along with a number of AWH’s former and current directors, was being sued in the Federal Court for misleading and deceptive conduct, he apparently settled out of court leaving the other defendants high and dry.

“The other defendants, who deny the claims, were furious. To this day they still do not know on what terms Senator Sinodinos, who had separate legal representation, extricated himself from the case.

One of the plaintiffs in the case confirmed to Fairfax Media that a confidential settlement had been reached with Senator Sinodinos.”

Mr Sinodinis is also threatening legal action if his name is not removed from the statement by the electoral commission freezing electoral funding on the grounds that they never asked him to provide the requested documentation and it wasn’t his job to do so.  We’ll just ignore him not recalling a donation from a company he was the Chairman of to an organisation he was Treasurer of.

The findings of the Heydon Royal Commission have been splashed all over the press while ICAC’s have been withheld.  Legal battles have delayed the release of the findings of these two investigations.

Operation Spicer investigated allegations that certain members of parliament and others corruptly solicited, received and concealed payments from various sources in return for certain members of parliament and others favouring the interests of those responsible for the payments. It is also alleged that certain members of parliament and others solicited and failed to disclose political donations from companies, including prohibited donors, contrary to the Election Funding, Expenditure and Disclosures Act 1981.

Operation Credo investigated allegations that persons with an interest in Australian Water Holdings Pty Ltd (AWH) obtained a financial benefit through adversely affecting the official functions of Sydney Water Corporation (SWC) by: including expenses incurred in other business pursuits in claims made on SWC for work on the North West Growth Centre; drawing from funds allocated for other purposes; and preventing SWC from ascertaining the true financial position, including the level of the executives’ remuneration.

The Commission also investigated whether public officials and others were involved in the falsification of a cabinet minute relating to a public private partnership proposal made by AWH intended to mislead the NSW Government Budget Cabinet Committee and obtain a benefit for AWH, and other related matters.

Who is more corrupt – unions who fight for workplace health and safety and a decent wage for their members or politicians who accept illegal payments and who use their position to seek financial benefit for themselves or their donors?

81 comments

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  1. Jaquix

    Clearer and clearer – we need a Royal Commission into Corruption EVERYWHERE in Australia. And also Malcolm’s case for a DD looking increasingly shaky.

  2. townsvilleblog

    They seem corrupt to the core, yet we are supposed to believe that they have “our” best interests at heart, I think not, and will be placing them last on both ballot papers on 2nd of July election.

  3. townsvilleblog

    Yes I support Senator Lazarus when he called for a federal ICAC, this story seems to give yet more reason for same.

  4. Antisquaddie

    The Greens negotiated as part of their deal with Gillard to guarantee confidence that there be a National Integrity Commission set up (Federal ICAC). The ALP later backed out of the commitment, so the Greens moved it as a bill to the Senate.

    It’s still there – stalled by both major parties.

  5. Terry2

    Great research, Kaye – it would be ironic if the only person to be prosecuted criminally as a result of the Heydon Royal Commission was Kathy Jackson who effectively blew the whistle on herself.

  6. Kaye Lee

    The Turnbull government intends to keep secret the report into former Fair Work Commission vice-president Michael Lawler’s epic sickie.
    Mr Lawler resigned from his $435,000-a-year job last week, a day before he was due to respond to an investigation into the 215 sick days he allegedly took to help his partner, disgraced union boss Kathy Jackson.

    Ms Cash has decided to keep the report secret.

    It’s understood she believes that because the report was commissioned to help Parliament decide whether to expel him – and his resignation means that’s no longer an issue – there is no compelling reason to make it public.

    Ms Cash declined to comment.

    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/report-into-michael-lawlers-epic-sickie-from-the-fair-work-commission-to-be-kept-secret-20160304-gnapvk.html#ixzz43yMqQD6f

  7. metadatalata

    If you want to know who the secret donors to the Liberal Party slush fund are, you just have to look at some of the loony decisions Malcolm has made since he became PM:
    * the Christian lobby: Continue obfuscation in equality of marriage legislation
    * the Coal and fossil fuel lobby: Continued push-back against any form of Renewable Energy
    * US military: Backing of oil war on Syria and Iraq with no evidence of any benefit to citizens of these countries or of citizens of Australia and the rubber-stamping of massive military hardware build-up,
    * Property developers: LNP favoring company tax breaks but opposed to reducing negative gearing of capital gains tax.

    Just follow the money trail!

    Vote below the line and put the LNP last.

  8. Kaye Lee

    Senate debates

    Tuesday, 8 September 2015

    “The treatment of Kathy Jackson, who was recently found guilty of misappropriating $1.4 million from the Health Services Union, is a damning case that clearly demonstrates the hypocrisy and prejudicial nature of this royal commission. Following the specified procedures, the HSU tried to submit comprehensive evidence related to Kathy Jackson’s misappropriation of union members’ money. A massive amount of documents were submitted, alleging that Kathy Jackson had stolen money from the members of the HSU. What do you think the royal commission did with this evidence? Stepping up to protect the Prime Minister’s star witness and chief slanderer, Dyson Heydon rejected the evidence—and this is in writing, in his own words—on the grounds that it was not relevant to proceedings before the commission. I just want to go through that again. A royal commission into corruption of the trade union movement is given evidence of corruption in the trade union movement and the commissioner says that it is not relevant. The very same evidence is then tested in a court in Victoria, and Kathy Jackson is found guilty. But Dyson Heydon said it was not relevant to a royal commission into corruption of the trade union movement.

    But it got worse! What could me more relevant to a royal commission charged with examining governance than evidence subsequently used to convict someone of fraud. This was not the end of Jackson’s special treatment at the hands of the royal commission. It was uncovered today that staff at the royal commission provided Kathy Jackson with briefings regarding the questions that would be put to her on the stand. Pamela Williams at the Australian newspaper has uncovered file notes written by royal commission staff detailing their advice to Kathy Jackson and her defence team. To be very clear for those opposite, this is a clear-cut case of coaching a witness. Furthermore, royal commission staff secretly provided Kathy Jackson with advanced evidence detail and organised commission hearings—and I quote directly from a royal commission staffer—to:

    “… give Kathy the chance to respond to the evidence and to some of the claims being made in the media …”

    So what have we got here? We have got a royal commission into the corruption of trade unions that is provided evidence that is subsequently used to convict a thief but is rejected as irrelevant. Instead of investigating this crook, Kathy Jackson, the royal commission decides that it wants to give her a chance to respond to news stories about her alleged activities—which are now proven. This is a royal commission that did not actually investigate corruption but helped corruption—it helped cover up corruption; it helped cover up Kathy Jackson’s corruption—because it was politically convenient for Dyson Heydon and Mr Stoljar to do that. It was political convenience.

    I can assure you here in the Senate that not all witnesses were treated in this way. When Dyson Heydon called the Leader of the Opposition to appear, thousands of pages of evidence were dumped on Mr Shorten just days beforehand. Mr Shorten received no coaching from royal commission staff and was treated by Dyson Heydon with the contempt that we have come to expect from this prejudicial commissioner—this Liberal stooge. The hypocritical double-standards of Dyson Heydon and the royal commission are clear for all to see. Those witnesses who assist Mr Abbott’s efforts to attack his political opponents are provided with the support to do so.

    I have not finished with Kathy Jackson yet. When she took the stand days after being prepped, the royal commission was shamed into asking a couple of questions about the media stories—not just ‘Oh, would you like to respond’ or ‘Tell us all about how you spent this money.’ They actually asked her a couple of questions. They were shamed into it. What did Kathy Jackson do? She said: ‘Just a minute, this isn’t part of the plan. This isn’t what we agreed beforehand.’ Do you know what Dyson Heydon did? He intervened to stop the line of questioning. This is a man who has helped cover up for a crook.”

  9. Kaye Lee

    Donations to Malcolm Turnbull’s Wentworth Forum in 2007-08:

    Seven head KERRY STOKES $11,000 Wentworth Forum sponsor in 2008.
    Former Macquarie Bank chief ALAN MOSS $2500 donation in 2007.
    ROS PACKER, widow of Kerry: $11,000 sponsor in 2007.
    Property developer BOB ROSE $55,000 governor in 2007.
    Westfield Group boss FRANK LOWY $25,000 donation 2007.
    Meriton property group boss HARRY TRIGUBOFF $11,000 sponsor in 2007, $10,000 donation in 2008.
    Former Babcock and Brown chief PHIL GREEN $16,500 patron in 2007.
    Servcorp chief ALF MOUFARRIGE$16,500 patron in 2007.
    Henroth director STANLEY ROTH $11,500 donation in 2007.
    Aussie Home Loans boss JOHN SYMOND $10,000 donation in 2007.
    Aristocrat gaming machine founder LEN AINSWORTH $5500 member in 2007.
    Goldman Sachs adviser CHARLES CURRAN $5500 member in 2007.
    Marketing firm Salmat founder PHILIP SALTER $5500 member, 2007.
    Former Murdoch Magazines chairman MATT HANDBURY $5500 member, 2007.
    Owner of property giant Bevillesta, JOHN BEVILLE $5500 member, 2007.
    Chairman of cinema/hotel group AHL ALAN RYDGE $5000 donation, 2007.

    The forum has accepted money from British American Tobacco, with a senior executive paying $16,500 for a “patron” membership.
    The forum also attracted a $64,000 donation from New York businessman Peter Briger, despite Mr Turnbull’s previous call to ban foreign political donations. Mr Briger was chairman of a controversial US company, Fortress Investment Group, which had attracted criticism for being a “vulture company” that preys upon vulnerable companies.

  10. jim

    Boot this criminal Liberal party out this election, do we really want to be owned/run by big corporations? Bill Shorten;..On Thursday opposition leader Bill Shorten said the Labor party would “always pick people first” by prioritising health and education spending and pensions over “giving large corporations a tax cut”.

    “Turnbull and the Liberals will always pick the big end of town, with corporate tax reductions,” he said.

    “They must be truly out of touch if they think that Australians want to see cuts to company taxes ahead of making sure that people can get into a hospital, an emergency ward without waiting for hours or that they want to make sure their child with special needs get a teacher’s aide or do they want to make sure that part-funded retirees and pensioners shouldn’t get their pensions cut.”….LNP….STINKS…..

  11. keerti

    strangly it never seems to enter the minds of the average member of pblic in australia that their own government might be as corrupt as any 3rd world governement! It didn’t even seem strange when their government paid Cambodia, one of the worst, to tae it’s refugees. Any australian living in Cambodiacould and many did tell the government where the australian tax payers money would end up. Paying bribes by businesses in overseas countries by australian business is a crime. Did this amount to anything more than a bribe.

  12. Kaye Lee

    Australia stands accused of failing to tackle bribery by its multinational companies. In a recent report, the OECD was scathing of Australia’s record, pointing out that Australia “has only one case that has led to foreign bribery prosecutions, out of 28 foreign bribery referrals received by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) … this is of serious concern”.

    One of the 28 cases referred to the AFP related to two properties in Chinese Macau part owned by James Packer’s company, Crown.

    A former Macau official is currently serving a 289-year sentence for accepting bribes of up to $100 million, with various suspect projects named, including the casinos.

    The OECD report notes Australian police did not launch a domestic investigation into any possibility of Crown’s involvement.

    Another of the 28 cases referred to by the OECD relates to payments made by BHP Billiton in China who allegedly provided gifts and lavish hospitality to woo high-ranking Chinese dignitaries and steel industry executives.

    The only foreign bribery investigation that has resulted in prosecutions in Australia is the highly publicised case involving the Reserve Bank subsidiaries Securency and Note Printing Australia. Reporting of the case was subject to a suppression order.

    The OECD’s lead examiners expressed concern that the “AFP may have closed foreign bribery cases before thoroughly investigating the allegations”.

    In another scandal, former Leighton Holdings construction boss Wal King has rejected suggestions he should step down from other directorships, denying all knowledge of a $42 million bribe Leighton is accused of having paid in Iraq.

    In October 2013, Qantas chairman Leigh Clifford also faced calls to stand down, following reports that when he was a director of Barclays Bank in Britain, Barclays allegedly paid secret fees of $500 million to a company associated with Qatar’s royal family to secure emergency funding during the global financial crisis.

    In 2011, the Federal Government proposed Australia join the UK and Canada in outlawing facilitation payments.

    But the idea met with fierce resistance, particularly from 220 mid-sized Australian mining companies operating across Africa, led by Anvil Mining CEO Bill Turner.

    His company famously provided the transport for government troops who massacred villagers in the Congo in 2004.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-01-06/australia-accused-of-failing-to-tackle-bribery-among-multinatio/5187070

  13. vivienne29

    I love Kaye Lee. Thorough, honest, reliable – qualities we need in our PM and don’t have.

  14. diannaart

    The appointment of the ABCC is simply to aid the Libs in continuing the campaign of aspersions of the CFMEU – Libs don’t want the Commission to have any real power, for that may result in building companies and related allies as being caught out as corrupt. Which is why requests for federal ICAC continue to be evaded.

  15. missymush

    I get sooooo angry when these politicians call Australia a ‘Democracy’
    How can a true Democracy be governed by business interests who undermine the true definition of what democracy is, by controlling the government for it’s own self interest with no concern for the nation as a whole?

  16. Ella

    Kaye Lee,
    you must have put in a LOT of time to give us such a comprehensive insight into corruption.Thanks and more thanks.

    Wish our parliamentarians were as brave as you.

    I have not read a document as clear and to the point as yours.

    At the moment I am reading Niki Savva’s book “The Road to ruin”.
    Your comment about TA, that “those who assist …to attack his political opponents are provided with the support to do so”
    From what I have read in just the first chapter of the book , I would ad that those who didn’t support Mr. Abbott’s and Credlin’s
    agenda to keep the PM in office were destroyed or forced to resign, or they got out of the PM’s office by finding other jobs.
    Everyone in the LNP knew what was going on but were GUTLESS and did not stand up for what was right.
    That includes the cabinet and the back bench.

    So is it any wonder that there is and was so much corruption when the PM’s office was preoccupied with destroying his enemies rather than governing the country.

    You know I am getting the feeling that some of that culture still remains as evidenced by the Sinodinos fiasco to just name one.
    Thanks again for a very informative article.

  17. David

    Excellent heads up Kaye Lee have posted to twitter and having good response with re tweets…the phony PM teflon Mal is looking a disaster area and many of his colleagues have no intention of saving him. Payback is underway big time for eliminating their idiot idol Abbott

  18. Florence nee Fedup

    The worse thing about TURC is that it covered up not reveal much of the corruption going on in the construction industry. Abbott’s terms of reference forbid employers and others being investigated. No evidence against the accusers was allowed.

    It covered up not only Jackson but Lawler and others. Lawler was not sacked over taking sick days. Findings was he was indeed sick. Hinted from his involvement with Jackson. He was sacked over actions of his that happened 2007 or 2008. No details given.

    Anyone that followed the day to day hearings of the evidence given won’t be surprised so many are not reaching the courts or being thrown out.

  19. crypt0

    A federal ICAC is clearly what is required.
    There are many sectors in Australia worthy of scrutiny with teeth, but …
    The abbott/turnbull government antics alone make this abundantly clear.
    Ask your candidates for the upcoming election where they stand on the federal ICAC issue.
    Any candidate not prepared to declare his/her support for such is obviously suspect.

  20. philgorman2014

    Once more a Senate committee is looking into the possibility of establishing a National Integrity Commission. If enough of us make the issue impossible to ignore there may even be a chance its recommendations won’t be shelved with all the others. To have your say make a submission before 20th April.

    This should be the major issue leading up to the forthcoming elections but neither major party wants to touch it with a bargepole.

    Extract from Hansard:

    “On 24 February 2016, the Senate resolved to establish the Select Committee relating to the establishment of a National Integrity Commission. The committee is to inquire into the adequacy of the Australian Government’s legislative, institutional and policy framework in addressing corruption and misconduct and whether a national integrity commission should be established.

    The closing date for submissions is 20 April 2016. The committee is required to report to the Senate on or before 22 September 2016.

    Committee Secretariat contact:

    Committee Secretary
    Select Committee on the establishment of a National Integrity Commission
    PO Box 6100
    Parliament House
    Canberra ACT 2600

    Phone: +61 2 6277 3585
    Fax: +61 2 6277 5794
    nic.sen@aph.gov.au

    http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Establishment_of_a_National_Integrity_Commission/NIC

    http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/OnlineSubmission

    http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary…/Committees/Senate/…/Submissions

    http://www.theguardian.com › World › Australia › George Brandis

    “Most inquiries accept submissions via the online system. Submitting online is secure and is suitable for uploading sensitive and confidential material. Log in to see a list of inquiries currently accepting submissions.
    Submitting for the first time

    If this is your first time submitting online to an inquiry you will need to create a My Parliament log in.

    Submitted previously

    If you have previously submitted to an inquiry and have a user account with the parliament you can log into that account and upload your submission: log in

    Please note: accounts established before 19 August 2013 are no longer valid due to a system upgrade. However, if you have set up a My Parliament account you can log in using these credentials.

    Let’s do it people.

  21. Kaye Lee

    Thanks to everyone for your comments.

    I have always fought for what I believe in but only started writing political articles when it looked like Tony Abbott may become my Prime Minister. Having known him at uni and watched his political progression in bewilderment, I was flabbergasted that this inconsequential, anachronistic, inadequate bully boy was getting away with telling lies that the media, and consequently those who rely on the MSM; just accepted. The most cursory investigation showed up the bullshit. If you wanted to know, you could see how Abbott was groomed and by whom, you could investigate the validity of sources, you could check the lies. But people are too tired and stressed, or too ingrained in their thinking, or too apathetic to look for truth.

    I hate politics. I think the word should be blown up. I think our elected representatives should stop spending time plotting how they can defeat their opponents at the next election and start doing the job they are being paid for – governing. Fancy if the 226 people we elected collectively listened to the experts, considered alternatives, and together decided what would be in the best interest of the country .

    Does anyone else feel like all we do is pay for a three year presentation of a job application where merit and achievement are immaterial but advertising, usually false, roolz?

  22. Phil

    Thanks Kaye for all your work. I read quite widely and I can say without doubt in my experience that I know of no other writer who presents such clarity of purpose and content. Your forensic research and ability to render complex issues understandable without loss of context and clarity is something to be treasured by us all. I guess the best that the rest of us can do is post links and create access to your writing as widely as possible and let your writing speak for itself. Thank you.

    On another note, I wonder if one of the undisclosed donors in the Liberal Party/Sinodinos imbroglio with the Electoral Commission might happen to be Grocon?

  23. Möbius Ecko

    “I hate politics. I think the word should be blown up.”

    Telling isn’t it that along with politicians being the least trusted and liked on any of the many published lists out there, the word “politics” itself has now become synonymous with deceit and mistrust. The politicians themselves no less add to the denigration of the word by stating things like; “they are not being honest but are playing politics.”

    When the politicians, currently the most distrusted occupation in Australia, use the word politics as a derogatory it’s ingrained as a negative. So we now have a situation where the word politician is a substitute for liar and the word politics exemplifies distrust and dishonesty.

    How and when did it come to this?

  24. David

    Möbius Ecko….in my humble, I believe from the days of Howard. While there have always been the broken promise here and there, Howard made lying an art form his loyal troops catching on with rapidity and expertise. Not confined these days to any particular Pollie or party. It seems to be a badge of honour with many of them

  25. Florence nee Fedup

    How does ABCC. Lead to a safer workplace considering last time we had one, the accident rare rose? How many working on building sites, big and small belong to a union?

  26. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Great article Kaye. Great reference material to spread around and to act upon when the Federal ICAC with teeth is established.

    Thanks also to philgorman2014,

    I, for one, will make a submission to the Senate Committee by the closing date of 20 April 2016 for having a Federal ICAC with teeth instituted. I would love to be a fly on Arfur Sinodinos’ wall once it is announced the Fed ICAC is going ahead. Same goes for all the other crooks who disguise themselves as public officials.

  27. Peter Harden (@hardenuppete)

    Another excellent article Kaye exposing the deeply entrenched corruption in Australia. We are so good at it (corruption) we should export it as a service industry (we may in fact already do this via Woodside, BHP etc). When we think about the NSW Woods Royal Commission, the QLD Fitzgerald Inquiry, the Reserve Bank note printing scandal, Australia Wheat Board dodgy deals with IRAQ or the current royal commission into the Catholic Church we are lulled into thinking these things all happened in the past and surely are behind us now as a nation.

    However as ICAC operations Spicer and Credo and the failed Newman QLD Gov’t have shown very clearly that corruption is very much alive and well in this country. The ABC 4corners episode on the Italian Mafia in Australia revealed just how deep the corruption goes with people like Paul Nicolou facilitating donations for the LNP via the Millennium forum.

    Of course all of this is beyond the interest or understanding of the Australian citizen who just wants things to stay the way they are, so they do.

    Thankfully people like yourself, Frances Jones, David Donovan, Simone Marsh and many other activists and independent media outlets are not willing to accept this as the status quo. Keep up the great work.

    PS: What’s your twitter handle Kaye?

  28. Tony Shorter

    Kaye. Would you be willing to stand for a senate seat. We need an honest independent with great forensic skills to stick it up both parties.
    We have six votes for you in this household and if all the NSW followers of your articles on the AIM network voted you would have a good chance of success, especially in a full senate election.
    I’ll throw in a hundred for your campaign.

  29. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Go for it, Kaye. Take up Tony Shorter’s offer and stand as an Independent in the Senate.

    Please however, if you do, remember The Alliance of the Greens, Left and Centre Labor, progressive micro parties and other Sane Independents with whom you will form The Alliance.

    Australians everywhere will be counted including people of substance talking our talk and walking our walk.

    Better still, we need them to allow mobile members of Aussie people like all of us on AIM Network to do the same without repression.

  30. cornlegend

    Hey Jennifer,
    Hows the Alliance going?
    Micros and Greens cooperating ?

  31. Kaye Lee

    cornie,

    Stop deliberately poking.

    Thanks to those who have expressed their support but I don’t think I am politician material. I think, with all of your help, I have greater reach here. A few thousand read the article, they speak to others…the ripple in the pond spreads. I would be more than happy to help someone who was prepared to enter the circus but having your photo taken is not my thing.

    PS I am only just learning to use a mobile phone. I have not entered the world of Twitter.

  32. Kaye Lee

    For people in NSW looking for a very hardworking honest Senator to vote for, I would recommend Deb O’Neill. I watch Senate Committees…she is on lots of important ones asking very good questions in a very constructive manner. She turns up…when I look at the empty benches in the Senate…there she is. She certainly deserves to be high in preferences and will be my number 1 choice.

  33. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Kaye,

    don’t worry about my response to ‘Cornie’. Even I can take a poke without your esteemed support!

    I was wondering when ‘Cornie’ was going to rear his sweet old head again.

    Yes mate, I still harbour belief in the Greens, some residual (not many) sane Left and Centre Labor types, upcoming progressive parties and sane Indies to join forces!!!

    Who would have thunk someone would still be thunking this way???

    Perhaps you’d better put a few sweet words into Billy’s ears so he can administer how the next stage of the Labor electoral campaign can proceed, as long as it includes the other participants of The Alliance.

  34. Kaye Lee

    JMS,

    I am sure you are more than capable of defending your view. I am sorry if my comment inferred otherwise. But you are also poking back in your response and I was hoping that we would focus on the mutual enemy. Sniping at each other cannot be useful at this stage. We are out of time. We have to find what we agree about, which is the vast majority of stuff, and start actively telling our politicians the society that we want.

  35. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    I stand corrected KL, but I would have thought you, of all people, would have recognised that that is exactly what I have been advocating for 2-3 years since we were ALL inflicted by this monstrous LNP Degenerate government.

  36. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Labor won’t win this election alone.

    Labor doesn’t deserve to win this election alone.

    LNP deserves destruction. LNP will be destroyed.

    All above statements are correct.

    How will Labor address its weaknesses in policies, politics and procedures so it moulds a winning Alliance that serves the needs of a wide demographic that is now wider than the traditional base?

  37. cornlegend

    Kaye Lee,
    Jennifer and I have been to and fro and mostly friendly banter about her Alliance .
    She knows my opinion, I know hers and I’m sure we are both capable of dealing with that

  38. Matters Not

    We are out of time. We have to find what we agree about, which is the vast majority of stuff, and start actively telling our politicians the society that we want

    Yes we are almost out of time. And yes we tend to agree as to what we want. Most articles here (and elsewhere) are strong on what we don’t like about the ‘is’ – the current arrangements, broadly defined.. And there is general agreement about the ‘ought’ we want – the desirable future. But what we seem to lack are suggestions/ideas as to how that might be achieved.

    We need to explore how we get from A to B. The ‘means’. We need to be about the ‘how’. And we need to be realistic at the same time. Hoping for some type of ‘miracle’ in the form of some sort of Alliance is not for the ‘now’ and maybe not even for the future.

    Wishing and hoping won’t get you into …

  39. Kaye Lee

    I agree MN. But I also get so despondent discussing the how because we have been doing it for years. So much of it seems bleedin’ obvious but we are distracted by trivial things all the time. Could we start by cancelling the 58 extra dud jets Tony ordered?

    I think I have come across as preaching. I apologise.

  40. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Well I don’t agree Matters Not,

    The Alliance is a vision for Labor to save themselves. Otherwise, say goodbye to Labor.

    Yeah, you apparatchiks might help the party structure fall over the electoral line when the LNP implode but I tell you the rest of us will hate you empty bastards just as much when you show the same lack of passion, compassion and inclusiveness as the LNP bastards do.

    The only worse part about hating you more than LNP will be that once Labor was great and now it is just administered by a bunch of middle range minions who have never been challenged and who are just as sycophantic to monied and old industry interests as the neo-con LNP.

    Save yourselves Labor or bid goodbye to any credibility.

  41. Matters Not

    Could we start by cancelling the 58 extra dud jets

    That would be a good start. Trudeau did exactly that. And was applauded. Shorten could promise that he would appoint an international ‘expert’ (carefully chosen) panel to evaluate same and suspend purchases until that report is delivered. In the meantime, promise the available monies will be redirected to boost schools and hospitals and other essential (rather than ‘aspirational’) services. Play hardball..

    Provide both a ‘stick’ and a ‘carrot’. Besides that would breathe life into an Abbott ‘resurrection’. Appropriate for this time of the year, I would’ve thought.

    At the same time, publicise appropriate reports that demonstrate why the jets are ‘dud’ and how Turnbull’s judgement again must be called into question by not reviewing same. Why is it good enough for Canada but not for Australia? And so on.

    Take Turnbull on a Gish Gallop. Set an agenda.

  42. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    MN,

    despite your apparent wisdom, you have not answered what my last post posed.

  43. Matters Not

    The Alliance is a vision for Labor to save themselves. Otherwise, say goodbye to Labor.

    Certainly it is a ‘vision’ but it’s your ‘vision’; one that is not widely shared and not likely to be entertained in the foreseeable future.

    As for saying ‘goodbye to Labor’. Really. ? ?

    Comments like that say more than you realise.

    And JMS, I make no claim to ‘wisdom’. Apparent (to you but not me) or otherwise.

  44. Florence nee Fedup

    I want RC into fibre. From the time Howard sold off Telstra. #auspol

  45. Matters Not

    Shorten talks about $100 000.00 Degrees. A real fear of going down the US track. And he’s made that point very well. Most seem to accept that. But don’t like it.

    But how about he begins a conversation headlined by no Fees for Under Graduate Degrees. Germany can do it, and not only for German students but for international students as well, including many, many from the USA. (While the US operates on the assumption that returns from ‘education’ accrue to the individual. Germany and many other European nations work on the assumption that returns from education accrue to the Nation as a whole.) It’s a bit more complex than that but hey, we are talking about politics here.

    Shorten should proceed on the notion that: Everyone can be ‘agile’ and ‘aspirational’ while Australia will become the ‘innovation’ Nation.

    Why even the grandparents will buy that and perhaps even change their vote.

  46. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    True Matters Not,

    I never said it was anything but my vision. But I also said it could be Labor’s vision and if not entertained, revised and enacted, then to Labor’s current loser neo-lib detriment.

    People like you can advocate a change in the inner Labor circle thinking. Not to do so is detrimental to any immediate challenge to the LNP Degenerates.

    If you can advocate No Fees for Uni Students and other revisionist policies, then consider other wider socio-economic political packages that can help wide demographics in our wide communties.

  47. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Pray tell MN,

    how does one do that quaint symbol of the broad laughter?

    I’d like to engage in that myself when I read such comments that warrant it.

    🙂 🙂

  48. David

    Well noted Kaye Lee, Deb is a hard working unsung trooper.

  49. Matters Not

    Here’s another thought or two as to how Shorten can be in with a chance in the coming election. (And let’s be clear I work on the assumption he will only have one chance to occupy the top job.)

    He must promise a federal ICAC (or its equivalent). Most punters are sick to death of ‘corruption’ and want an agency to deal with same. And at all levels and across all aspects of social, political and economic life but not limited to same.. A brief that is not limited to employee and employer unions but extending also to economic activity across the broad spectrum.

    I should stress I give my first preference to the Greens these days with the expectation that Labor will be the ultimate beneficiary, at least in the longer term.

    JMS, here’s a link. http://www.copyandpasteemoji.com/

  50. nurses1968

    The one thing I have found here on the AIMN and on other sites is the number of Greens,Greens supporters or those who vote other than Labor,quite eager to tell Bill shorten what he should do, or how he should do it.
    I’m quite sure Bill,Labor and their strategists would have all that in hand, and may I suggest that their time may well be better spent
    telling their leader Richard De Natale of the error of his ways and how best he may save them from becoming a version of the Australian Democrats,It seems it is Richard, not Bill who could benefit from his members and supporters advice

  51. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Thanks MN and Bacchus,

    for the emoji pages.

    🙂

  52. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    nurses1968,

    fair comment with regards to Di Natale’s unwise timing and siding with Turnbull’s assault on the micro parties. However, don’t pretend Labor wouldn’t have done the same if it suited them.

    Bill will gain more of my support if I see him pulling and dragging current Labor to Centre Left and Left from its self-satisfied neo-liberal party position on the Right.

    Perhaps nurses1968, you are not one of the vulnerable people on welfare and perhaps you haven’t had any dealings with vulnerable people in offshore detention? If you had such experiences, perhaps you too would be critical of Bill’s and Labor’s lacklustre performance in advocating against these situations and you would be demanding better of Labor too!

  53. nurses1968

    Jennifer Meyer-Smith
    my point ,although I seemed to have explained it poorly, is that those who have spent the whole of Bills term of leadership bad mouthing him, have no intention of voting for him, and had continued to be critical of him right up to the mention of an election, now expect him to address all their demands.
    Bill is not going to do what you expect. He is from the right faction/AWU.
    Why are you, and the other Greens supporters taking De Natale to task for his blunders and campaigning strongly for him and being straight up and declaring you Greens position?
    “Bill will gain more of my support if I see him pulling and dragging current Labor to Centre Left and Left”
    Now surely, even you must know this isn’t going to happen?
    I wpuld suggest you spend less time worrying about a Leader and Party you DON’T support and getting behind De Natale if you see him as the saviour.
    Good luck with that .
    Other than that, you will have till 2019 to contemplate where it all went so wrong

  54. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Unfortunately nurses1968,

    I think you miss the point. Bill’s Labor should make itself worthwhile voting for. If sufficient voters don’t agree with you that Bill’s Labor is worthwhile enough, then shame for you too until 2019 and good luck to all of us for surviving another 3 years of austerity.

    So, the point I’ve been trying desperately to imprint upon Labor rusted-on supporters is that Labor needs allies and the allies need Labor. Hence, you would be wise to stop whipping up anti-Greens sentiments because all you are achieving is a Win for the LNP Degenerates.

    The bonus for Labor will be (and I have some internal insight into this) is that if Labor shows itself capable of leaving its wimpy neo-liberal safeground on the Right and return to a progressive Left and Centre Left political position in policy development and delivery, then Labor will enjoy considerable support from the progressive micro parties too. What is current Labor waiting for?

  55. nurses1968

    “Bill’s Labor should make itself worthwhile voting for”
    I think he is working for that with the broad community, but no matter what he did, you Greens supporters would never be satisfied
    If Shorten wins in will not be because of the Greens supporters here, but in spite of them.
    He is currently working to appeal to middle Australia and it seems with some success.
    Now the Greens need to concentrate on their own team and start whipping them into shape

  56. David

    Nurse 1968..your advice good as it is, will fall on deaf ears.

  57. nurses1968

    David
    I am not a political animal and have no firm political allegiances, though I favor SA
    From that perspective I can sit back and be a bit objective when I read comments
    As a working nurse, my Union is critical to me and the attacks on penalty rates ,conditions etc means I give more time to my Union than to a political party .
    I do however see one clear choice in the protection of the rights of workers and that is Labor
    I am one of the broad majority who are more concerned with the bread and butter issues in politics

  58. Kaye Lee

    JMS,

    You say “you would be wise to stop whipping up anti-Greens sentiments”. I would say the same about anti-Labor sentiment. The time has come to face the common enemy. I think it was Malcolm Turnbull who said “we mustn’t let perfection get in the way of good.”

    We are all agreed that the most important outcome is to rid ourselves of this incompetent government. The only other party that has a chance of forming government is the Labor Party possibly in conjunction with a few crossbenchers. Continually denigrating them is counterproductive to the goal.

    I know you are keen on the Alliance idea but it isn’t going to happen in time for the election so we must work with the options we have.

  59. Lee

    I’m quite happy with the senate voting reform and look forward to reform in the lower house too. When the ALP decides to move back to the left of the political arena, I’ll consider voting for them again. Their current position is further to the right than Malcolm Fraser’s government. I’m not making any demands of Bill Shorten or his party. I’m simply exercising my right not to vote for something that I don’t want.

  60. Kaye Lee

    Dr John Falzon, Chief Executive Officer, St Vincent de Paul Society, National Council of Australia

    “It is life that has taught us that an injury to one is an injury to all, and that in the face of these injuries our only weapon
    is our solidarity.

    We are injured when government, on behalf of the rich, steals from the poor. We are injured when unemployment and
    underemployment are blamed on the individual instead of fixed by the government. We are injured when instead of a
    Jobs Plan we’re served up a putting-the-boot-into-the-unemployed-plan.

    We are injured when universal healthcare is hammered, when public education is attacked, when TAFE is undermined,
    when universities are deregulated. We are injured when the public sector is dismembered and the common good is
    wrecked, when people are forced into poverty, compelled to rely on charity when all they long for is justice. We are
    injured when the maximisation of profits takes priority over the rights of workers, including the residualised and
    discarded, the unpaid, the low-paid, the underemployed and the unemployed.

    We have only one common enemy. It is called inequality. And no matter how long it takes we will win against this
    enemy.

    Humanity will win against humiliation. For our solidarity is stronger than our sadness. And even though our struggle
    is enormous, so too is our hope.”

  61. nurses1968

    Lee,
    That’s your right .
    It is also a likely fact that you will be accepting a further 3 years of Malcolm.
    It seems some have the old “having your cake and eating it too” attitude although it rarely ever works .
    I assume there will be no ctiticism of Mal 2016-2019? , and certainly no need to be critical of Bill or the ALP ,
    It is time you started spruiking for your team, the silence is deafening from Greens and Indi supporters

  62. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Kaye Lee (and nurses1968 if you’re listening),

    yes we all want the same thing. Protection from the ruthless, heartless measures of the neo-liberal LNP Degenerates. We want good governance that aims and succeeds in lifting the standard of living of grassroots people whether they are employed or unemployed, able-bodied or disabled and various other important examples.

    Dr John Falzon is a visionary. I really hope the new alternative government (whatever way it is made up) listens intently to Falzon’s inclusive and reformist advocacy.

  63. nurses1968

    From all the wishy washy comments I’ve read on so called progressive sites , and the “I’m not voting for the ALP , or SHorten, BUT….”
    I think we can safely say Malcolm will get another term
    I really hope I’m wrong, but nothing I’ve read today fills me with any warm inner glow

  64. nurses1968

    Jennifer Meyer-Smith
    As it has been pointed out here on the AIMN, come Julyy 2 or whenever, the will either be an ALP or LNP Government
    Your vote will determine that, and if people want to go off on tangents, then be prepared to accept the inevitable and that will give some 3 more years to raise their indignation at the unfolding events .
    Even though I support SA I will be voting Labor and at least then, I can say I gave my best shot at turfing Malcolm, or Tony or whoever is leading them

  65. David

    nurses 1968…like yourself I have very strong Union links from way back, member, activist and delegate. I am immensely proud of what has been achieved for hard working dedicated members, many of whom have been helped in both work and home situations.
    The general public know nothing of the wonderful humanitarian lawful results that have benefited tens of thousands of members and their families.
    This is what the Torys don’t want revealed, for them it is all about a few headliners, used for political purposes and a desire to destroy that which they see as an obstacle to their quest for power and wealth. Their latest addition to the ranks of the loud, hysterical Union bashing team, the crazy Sen Cash continues that line of would be attack dogs.

    Not as long as I can do something to stop them.

  66. Lee

    “As it has been pointed out here on the AIMN, come Julyy 2 or whenever, the will either be an ALP or LNP Government
    Your vote will determine that, and if people want to go off on tangents, then be prepared to accept the inevitable and that will give some 3 more years to raise their indignation at the unfolding events .”

    Nurses1968, the voters are not responsible for Labor policy. It is Labor’s responsibility to be a party that people want to elect. When we vote for them, do you think they will interpret it as an endorsement of their policies or as a means to keep the Liberals out? Since when has voting for the best of a bad bunch ever worked? Take your bullying elsewhere.

  67. Lee

    “It is time you started spruiking for your team, the silence is deafening from Greens and Indi supporters”

    Nurses1968, it’s evident that you will vote Labor come hell or high water. What benefit is there to gain by me spruiking at you to vote for anyone else? I check out the policies of the candidates available in my electorate, ask questions of them and the parties they represent when clarification is needed and read numerous sources in the media, like any responsible voter should. I’m sure you can do the same if you’re as interested in and concerned about the future of our nation as you claim to be.

  68. David

    Lee you are seriously deluded about how the electoral system operates. To make any sense out of your comments re how you vote it requires the breakdown of your electorate, sitting member party, the rest.
    Your current method of deciding determines if for example, the sitting member is Liberal or National and you like their (party’s) current policies even if that sitting candidate is Peter Dutton, you will vote for Dutton. Example only but you get my drift?

  69. Lee

    David, do you know anyone who likes the sitting member’s party’s policies and votes against the sitting member? Have you noticed that some people are blaming the Greens for senate reform and keeping the micro parties out, when those same people do not intend to vote for micro parties and are telling others not to vote for them either?

    You are free to vote for the party of your choice. Kindly respect the rights of others to do the same.

  70. Florence nee Fedup

    I agree one should look closely at all candidates. Problem arises when the local MP is terrific but belongs to a party that is horrendous, one you don’t want in power?

    It would be a little naive to go with the local candidate, hoping they can change the party they represent.

    I am a little amused that so many what appear to be Green supporters spend so much time telling all that will listen what Shorten has to do.

    I can’t see myself, telling them what the Green’s leader has to do. Mainly because what they do, just doesn’t interest me. Well might when I am looking at preferences.

    Greens have not supported Labor at times. That is their right, just as it is Labor’s to vote against them.

    Some of the legislation they oppose in retrospect been better passed. Especially Gillard’s Malaysian Solution. The result is a much worse solution being put in place, that benefits no one, not even Liberals in long run.

    Politics is about choice, art of the possible. There is always more than one answer for most problems, policies.

    Very little in life is black and white.

    Challenge Shorten’s policies to your heart content, but please say why it is wrong in your eyes, offer alternates. That is what productive debate is about.

    Shorten has put 70 odd policies out. Should keep us busy enough raking through them, pulling them apart.

    We can do the same for the government, that is if they get around to putting policies with details on the table. One simply can’t debate slogans and buzzwords. Especially when what policies they hint at, change every day.

    There are things that worry me about the greens. Same goes for Labor. I am in my 7th decade, can’t recall a time when I though anyone party had all the answers. Some of the hottest debates about Labor policies has occurred at regular local Labor meetings.

    I must admit it is a long time since I have been in agreement with Liberal policies. Back to Gorton. Even liked couple things MacMahon did. Same goes for Fraser. I draw a blank when it comes to Howard and those who have followed him.

  71. nurses1968

    Lee
    “You are free to vote for the party of your choice. Kindly respect the rights of others to do the same.”
    I’m quite prepared to do that
    Are you prepared to not bitch and whinge when the LNP gets back in?
    I blame the Greens for the attack on Micros and will be voting Labor in the House of Representatives, where the Government is determined
    I have also stated the first 6 votes on my Senate paper will be for Micros and the 7-12 Labor.
    I used to vote Green in the Senate but no longer and i am encouraging my workmates and friends to do likewise
    “when those same people do not intend to vote for micro parties and are telling others not to vote for them either? ”
    could you show me where?

  72. Lee

    I agreed with Howard’s stance on gun control and still do.

  73. Lee

    “Are you prepared to not bitch and whinge when the LNP gets back in?”

    Nurses1968, aas a voting citizen of this country, I have every right to criticise the government when they make a decision that is not in the best interests of the nation as a whole. I don’t vote Liberal, therefore I am not responsible for electing them.

    “I used to vote Green in the Senate but no longer and i am encouraging my workmates and friends to do likewise”

    So you’re lying about respecting others’ rights to vote for the party of their choice.

    Get it through your thick head: my vote is my business. Mind your own business. You have no right to tell anyone else how to vote.

  74. David

    Lee you are a very good example of the having and eating cake at the same time syndrome….you are a lost cause…. le dénouement

  75. nurses1968

    Lee
    You do really have a comprehension problem
    “So you’re lying about respecting others’ rights to vote for the party of their choice.”
    No, and how on earth can you come up with that doozie?
    I said ” i am encouraging my workmates and friends to do likewise”
    ENCOURAGING
    Can your thick head tell the difference

  76. Lee

    Gee David, I thought we were living in a democracy. I choose to vote for the candidate that most closely matches the issues I see as important for the future of this country. It’s probably difficult for you to comprehend, but that is a normal thing to do in a democracy.

  77. Lee

    Nurses1968, at March 29, 2016 at 1:01 pm you said “Even though I support SA I will be voting Labor and at least then, I can say I gave my best shot at turfing Malcolm, or Tony or whoever is leading them”

    At March 29, 2016 at 2:42 pm you stated “I have also stated the first 6 votes on my Senate paper will be for Micros and the 7-12 Labor.”

    Perhaps you need to sort yourself out before you tell others how to vote. You can’t even keep your lies straight.

  78. nurses1968

    For the House of Representatives
    I suppose it would be stretching your credibilty to admit on numerous occasions on the AIM ,and in the last week I had said I would be voting Micros 1-6 Labor 7-12
    House of Reps, Senate ,
    You do understand the difference?

  79. Lee

    Forgive me, nurses1968. I’m not so enthralled by your posts that I feel compelled to follow you to every thread and read every word you write. Many of us only follow some of the threads, myself included.

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