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Search Results for: open letter

An Open Letter to Stuart Robert

The Hon Stuart Robert MP
Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme
Minister for Government Services
Parliament House
CANBERRA ACT 2600

Dear Mr Robert,

My name is Elliot Dolan-Evans and I am a voter in Footscray, Melbourne. I am currently completing a PhD at Monash University in political economy and feminist studies, I am a registered medical practitioner, and a law graduate awaiting admittance to the Supreme Court of Victoria.

I write this open letter to condemn the Robodebt Centrelink Scheme unequivocally and urge you to stop enforcing the unsubstantiated debts of vulnerable Australians. If this scheme is to continue at all, which it should not, then any Australian being contacted by Centrelink must be provided with all documents (including the Debt Schedule) that demonstrates the alleged debt, along with calculations and notes determining the alleged debt made by Centrelink, and free legal advice to effectively and fairly challenge it.

As a legal graduate, I am greatly concerned that the hundreds of thousands of Australians who have been contacted by Centrelink have not been given due process under the law. There is a lack of information provided by Centrelink in the first instance to their Robodebt, and even on subsequent requests for proof, Centrelink do not provide the required documents. I have been assisting several friends, colleagues and vulnerable members of the community, and not once has the Debt Schedule of the person alleged to have a debt ever voluntarily sent by Centrelink. Only through FOI requests does this occur, which is a process most Australians do not know how to initiate. Then, when the Debt Schedule is provided, there are no notes, no workings, and no indication as to how the Robodebt has been calculated. A vast majority of Australians do not understand their rights concerning Robodebt claims, do not know the correct process in obtaining documentation, and community legal clinics are so under-funded in this country, by the Australian government, there is no capacity to assist.

As a medical doctor, I am severely concerned that the harassment of vulnerable Australians with Robodebt claims is having a deleterious outcome on mental, and subsequently, physical health. The number of people that I have assisted, who are all predominantly university graduates and young, have been devastated mentally by the ordeal of Centrelink harassment and the quick referral to aggressive debt collectors. This is undeniably translating to poor physical health, and I have serious concerns for those more vulnerable. This is without mentioning the incredibly burdensome financial costs of unproven and unsubstantiated Robodebts. I assert, again, that these debts are unproven and unsubstantiated until Centrelink properly provides all documentation and explanation to those it is trying to extract money from. Otherwise, it is a complete abuse of government power and intimidation, towards people who generally do not have the tools and knowledge to challenge these Robodebts.

Again, I demand that the Centrelink Robodebt Scheme is immediately halted. The physical, financial, and mental impacts that it is having on Australians is absolutely and unequivocally damaging and is fundamentally unjust. For all of those who have been accused of having a debt, whether paid or not, Centrelink must provide all documentation relating to their debt immediately and provide free legal advice to help navigate these damaging accusations.

Kind Regards,

Elliot Dolan-Evans MBBS, LLB (Hons), BAppSci (Hons)

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An Open Letter to “The Left”

I am writing this letter to anyone who considers themselves as part of the left movement. Excuse my lack of salutation. I was going to address everyone with Dear Comrades; however, that only poses my first problem. I don’t know if comrades is even a fitting greeting anymore. I don’t even know where I fit in anymore.

I am almost 50 years old and since I was a young girl of about 12 years of age, through the words of the great Bob Hawke, I have felt a belonging and an affiliation with the labour movement. Through the greatness of Hawke and many other great Labor leaders, be they Prime Ministers, Party Leaders, Union Leaders, MPs or Senators, I have felt seen and understood by the labour movement. My whole life, regardless of paid membership, I have always identified as a member of Labor. Therefore, I have always considered myself as a member of “The Left”.

Until recent times, the majority of people on the left of politics, shared an affiliation and predominantly that affiliation was the heart felt desire to protect and progress the workers in this great country. Yes, there are variations of ‘the left’ however, the dominant strand of leftism in Australia has always been grounded in Marxist thought. That is, that a worker’s labour has value and progress was centered around the advancement of workers and anyone who could not work for whatever reason. Progressive ideas were and are still centered around egalitarianism and fairness. Progress has always been made for the worker-centric left through democratic socialism and pragmatism.

The reason I am writing this letter is that I see comments all the time that the Labor party has abandoned them. However, I hold a growing fear that people are abandoning the worker centric left. There appears to be an increasing demand that Labor also abandons the worker centric left and focus on major issues from a radical perspective, with no consideration for workers.

A few years ago, I started penning articles regarding the anti-worker approach of the Stop Adani movement. As someone who is very grounded in Marxist thought that labour has value and workers should have agency in the means of their work; I very wrongly assumed that these articles would be well received. I thought that there were more people who were like-minded and they too would raise their voices and insist workers be the focus of this looming urgent change. Sadly, not so.

The opposite of my intent occurred. Instead of being seen as someone standing up for workers in regional Australia, I have been frankly, targeted, abused, ridiculed, you name it for years now, by those on ‘the left.’ The spaces where this has occurred has been on Twitter, Facebook, blogs and also up close and personal. I am not talking about a one off instance, it has been constant for years.

Even today, someone who I don’t engage with that often, randomly tagged me in something about Adani and why there will be no jobs at all in coal. Because you know, I’m obviously the first person some people think of on Twitter when they feel relief that they have found something that really shoves the point back to me that coal workers no longer matter in the whole scheme of things, probably three months after the original discussion.

The sad thing is, this vindication they feel is not being vindicated for a left wing ideal at all. It is something that John Howard would be proud of. To increase profit with no human labour input costs at all. People are literally welcoming and rejoicing in automation that puts workers out of work, because it suits their key political issue of climate change.

At first, these attacks were highly distressing and very, very confusing. Because all my life I found where workers issues were raised, there was camaraderie, support and an engagement of how to ‘win that battle.’ I am writing this letter because in my view, that has died. It no longer exists. If workers are an inconvenience in addressing a challenge, the advocates are fine with workers being the negative consequence of action they demand. I have for about a year now, really tried to clarify that what I interpret is what is meant by really pushing people to clarify on Twitter.

Responses go from anything to the environmental leftists praising Margaret Thatcher for shutting down the mines and insisting that that didn’t cause any problems. Or that coal workers will just have to move to where jobs are. Or the most common, the stance that coal workers need to ‘have the guts’ to give up their jobs for the greater good.

Other comments centre around the ‘greed’ of coal workers for not giving up their jobs, or the laziness of coal workers for not pulling themselves up and thinking ahead and retraining themselves. And then of course the indignant ‘there are no jobs in this dying industry anyway and everything will be automated.’

And for others, the fact that Abbott shut down Car Manufacturing and ‘it didn’t affect anything and we all survived’ is a point made that coal can shut down and ‘coal workers will find other jobs, just like Holden workers did.’

By far the most damaging impact by the left on the left, is their top down authoritarian approach of demanding change. That is, targeting a particular region in Australia and then without any consultation or understanding of what that area is about, demanding that they close down their industry and give up their jobs. This movement is literally denying affected people the agency to be participants of change. Instead they take the approach that ‘they know what is best for them.’ I don’t know about others, but this is new to me. I’ve never known or understood the wider left movement in years gone by to deny affected people the agency to be participants in change. It goes against the grain of democratic socialism. And that is a huge fear and a driver for me writing this letter.

Not only are so many of these beliefs simply so ill informed, it is a very dangerous ideological territory that people are venturing into and embracing.

Every single example above is not a worker-centric left wing narrative. It is the language of John Howard and Tony Abbott. These ideas resonate with the ideology of the Australian Liberal party, that workers are a disposable commodity. It also centres on the Liberals key ideology of Individualism or ‘anti-socialism.’ The key ideology since Menzies, that it is the Individual’s responsibility for himself and the rejection of socialist intervention to assist those who can’t fend for themselves.

The examples above are also anti-community and are far from egalitarian. This movement is not advocating for everyone to do their fair share and abolish a range of practices and industries that may impact on climate change. They are placing the entire burden on regional Australians. When this burden was rejected the environmental left were shocked! Instead of understanding why this burden was rejected, they vilified regional QLDers as bogan, as a disgrace and a demand for a ‘Qexit’. Simply because these people still wanted food on their table, as no tangible, solution they can see, exists.

When there are thousands and thousands of people online everyday and thousands marching in the streets demanding to shut down jobs, this opens up the political opportunism of the right to take over this space. The right wing parties, took over this space and campaigned that they would protect jobs and workers. There is nowhere to go for Labor when that type of opportunity is allowed to occur and is in a context as such that it is believed. At the last election, that is what the left allowed to happen. Including the people with the decision making powers within the Labor party itself.

The key working class issues of the Change the Rules movement, around precarious employment, labour hire, dodgy contracting, unfair wages, penalty rates, protections for workers locked out or mine companies shutting down and opening and hiring more ‘compliant’ staff, and worker safety etc., etc., etc., were suffocated with Stop Adani and the convoy in QLD. These issues simply were not heard and were not given the respect and interest they would have been given in years gone by because they were simply drowned out – by ‘the left’.

In fact, within the Change the Rules movement with the Greens heavily involved, I felt awkward and out of place, listening to people in that movement sprout their hatred for the Labor party. I also felt it strange with not having the inclusiveness of unions and Labor at the booths. This is because it was seen as a ‘separate’ movement to the Labor party – that is separate to the only party who was able to legislate any of these demands being fought for. I’m not sure if this was nationwide, or just in my area of Capricornia, where our Labor candidate was a coal miner and the CFMEU were insisting upon protection of jobs and this made the Greens uncomfortable.

In addition to the above, further divisiveness and moving away from worker centric left, is the demands of radical action, over pragmatism. Also the demands and the ‘wedging’ of Labor on issues, by very vocal champions of the environmental left, that are impossible to act upon in opposition. Issues that require power, pragmatism and democratic leadership, giving affected people actual agency as participants in change.

The purist demands of radical action over pragmatism, are on the increase and fly in the face of how the left has overcome struggle for over a century. Labor has always led the way with great national reforms and have always either achieved progress through incremental change, or through the democratic leadership style of inclusiveness and listening to all voices.

However, in the modern day, affected individuals (i.e. coal workers and people in regional communities) are being increasingly voiced as a problem, rather than hearing or even wanting to hear their voices, because many on ‘the left’ don’t want to confront the ugly truths of what some of their demands mean to real people. These advocates, in abundance are applying great pressure to Labor to do the same.

When Labor finally after the election, came out and said they will stand by coal workers (remembering workers are a traditional ingrained reason for being Labor) this stance has been largely ridiculed online as ‘Right Wing!’ and ‘abandoning the base!”

When people like me who raise concerns about the affect on workers in the midst of great challenges and change are repeatedly attacked by a great number of people, there is a serious issue with the survival of ‘the left’.

When the Labor party stands by workers and this is shunned as being right wing, there is an even greater serious issue with survival of ‘the left’.

I’m not sure who ‘the left’ think the base is now, but the idea that you attack one worker you attack us all, is obviously also dead.

When standing up for workers is seen as ‘shifting to the right and bowing to the right’ I don’t just fear for the death of the left movement, I grieve the loss of our history, our common sense and most of all our compassion.

To me, these are the greatest challenges for the survival of the left of politics in Australia.

The rise of the environmental left is a key concern and a challenge for the left movement as a whole. Climate change is a major challenge for every single country and every individual on this planet. However, it is not the only issue.

People still live out their everyday lives on a daily basis. A challenge as great as climate change is a complex issue and approaches to address climate change, must respect the here and now of individuals and communities. To achieve progress and balance, a worker centric approach to climate change, must be taken. A fair and equal view of everyone sharing the burden, not just a few regional communities, also must be taken.

The current demands of the environmental left, are suffocating the issues of the working class left and every single vulnerable person in society. When workers perceive the choice of no job, or precarious employment, the chants of the union movement against precarious employment are insignificant and ‘the left’ is seen as the enemy.

This is the enabling environment we are currently building for the political opportunism on the right of politics and that means an enabling environment is built for them to win elections and hold power.

In a democracy, people will voice their opinions and we have great platforms now to do so. People will also be very passionate about their key issues. However, in a democracy it is also up to people to voice concerns and challenge others where approaches to change – climate or otherwise – place the worker second, vilify workers, or see workers as an inconvenient consequence and any negative impacts should just be accepted.

The Labor party also has a huge challenge in this democracy. They need to find a way to put forward very strong worker centric arguments and enable workable solutions to change that are acceptable to all. They need to find a way to rise above the purist demands and convince thousands of radical and unhappy voices that incremental change and democratic leadership, and the protection of all workers and is what has built this country in the face of some monumental challenges in the past. They need to find the right words and the right approach that Labor, will continue to do so in the future.

The Labor party are currently reviewing their policies and approach from the last election. I feel very strongly, that we no longer just need to counter the right wing of politics, but there are equal challenges on the left of politics to address. Labor needs to come up with innovative ways to ensure people feel included in decisions about change. The town halls were great, but there is an overwhelming amount of technology that bring people together and these are not being utilized. A new approach using modern technology could be used to make landmark changes to democratic action and progressive policy ideas. I urge Labor to think hard about this.

The result of the the divisiveness of ‘the left’ and pushing the workers secondary, we are living everyday. A paternalistic, degrading regime, with a hatred of unions and workers and a mass dehumanisation of the jobless. The fight against that is why Labor exists and we have three more years to watch this contempt on society by the Liberals from the sidelines.

The left of politics created the enabling environment for this to happen. It is time people looked at themselves and how they engage in politics and seriously ask themselves if their approach is actually helpful or harmful.

So thanks for reading. This is why, at almost 50 years old and a political awakening instigated by Hawke, I no longer know where I fit and I no longer feel a camaraderie with ‘the left.’ I am hoping that people will give me some hope after reading this, rather than reinforce my fears.

Trish.

p.s. Please do not respond with any but, but, buts about a just transition. Thousands of people day in day out targeting regional communities, angry contorted faces all over the internet demanding to shut down industry, gluing themselves to the footpath or chaining themselves to railway tracks, devising ways to ‘birddog’ Labor, creating a campaign that QLD Labor is corrupt, and taking a convoy to a small country town to protest their very existence, announcing a policy in an election to shut down all coal, causing a huge amount of fear in regional communities – is not a just transition. The intent has certainly not been displayed in the behaviour and when people vote, that is what counts.

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An open letter to Scott Morrison

Mr Scott Morrison
The Honourable Prime Minister of Australia
PO Box 1306
Cronulla, NSW, 2230

Dear Mr Morrison,

I hope this letter finds you well, my name is Elliot Dolan-Evans and I am a voter in Footscray, Melbourne. I am currently completing a PhD at Monash University in political economy and feminist studies, I am a registered medical practitioner, and a law graduate awaiting admittance to the Supreme Court of Victoria.

I write this open letter to politely request the reasons of Australia’s voting choices at the recent United Nations Human Rights Council (40th session).

Australia was the only country to vote ‘NO’ in all the following resolutions (Denmark and the United Kingdom voted ‘NO’ in four of these), discussed in the HRC meeting on 21 February 2019:

  • L.4 – Human rights in the occupied Syrian Golan;
  • L.25 – Ensuring accountability and justice for all violations of international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem;
  • L.26 – Right of the Palestinian people to self-determination;
  • L.27 – Human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem; and
  • L.28 – Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan.

As an Australian citizen and tax-payer, I want to know the reasons as to why Australia has opposed these resolutions in my name, and in the names of every Australian. With these votes, Australia has systematically opposed the will of the international community and international law, including in:

   The Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War (12 August 1949);

2     Charter of the United Nations;

a. in particular the provisions of Articles 1 and 55 thereof, which affirm the right of peoples to self-determination

 

3     The Universal Declaration of Human Rights;

   The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;

   The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights;

a. In particular the provisions of Article 1, which affirm that all peoples have the right to self-determination.

6     The Convention on the Rights of the Child;

7     The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women;

8     The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment;

   The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination;

10    The Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, adopted on 25 June 1993 by the World Conference on Human Rights;

a. in particular Part I, paragraphs 2 and 3, relating to the right of self-determination of all peoples and especially those subject to foreign occupation;

11    The statement of 15 July 1999 and the declarations adopted on 5 December 2001 and 17 December 2014 at the Conference of High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention on measures to enforce the Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem;

a. at which the High Contracting Parties reaffirmed, inter alia, their commitment to uphold their obligation to ensure respect for the Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.

12    UNHRC resolutions S-9/1 of 12 January 2009, 19/17 of 22 March 2012, S-21/1 of 23 July 2014 and S-28/1 of 18 May 2018;

13    UN Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) of 22 November 1967, 338 (1973) of 22 October 1973, 497 (1981) of 17 December 1981, 1397 (2002) of 12 March 2002 and 1402 (2002) of 30 March 2002;

14    UN General Assembly Resolutions 73/23 of 30 November 2018 and 73/100 of 7
December 2018;

a. In which the Assembly declared that Israel had failed to comply with Security Council resolution 497 (1981) and demanded that it withdraw from all the occupied Syrian Golan.

15    UN General Assembly Resolutions 181 A and B (II) of 29 November 1947, 194 (III) of 11 December 1948, ES-10/15 of 20 July 2004, ES10/17 of 15 December 2006, 67/19 of 29 November 2012, 72/86 of 7 December 2017 and 73/98 of 7 December 2018;

16    The advisory opinion rendered on 9 July 2004 by the International Court of Justice on the legal consequences of the construction of a wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory;

17    Recent reports of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967 (A/73/447 and A/HRC/40/73); and,

18    The results of the 2018 independent international commission of inquiry on the protests in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

I look forward to your comprehensive reply,

Kind Regards,
Elliot Dolan-Evans
MBBS, LLB (Hons), BAppSci (Hons)

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An open letter to Andrew Bolt

By Christian Marx

Once again, the shrill cries from Andrew Bolt can be seen in his latest crusade for “free” speech. According to his warped world view, hate-speech is acceptable and should never be censored.

Bolt has been all bent out of shape by the news that many sponsors have withdrawn their funding of Sky News after the white supremacist, Blair Cottrell appeared on Sky voicing his opinions. Bolt’s scatter-gun rant against Metro trains and public transport minister, Jacinta Allan is typical of Bolt. All deflection and no substance. Maybe he needs to be told …

Dear Andrew,

Once again you rave on about censorship. Interesting. Can you tell me why mainstream media is gagged from reporting on your boss, Rupert Murdoch`s Middle Eastern interests? I have never seen mention of this either at the ABC or any commercial networks. Could it be that the ABC is being silenced by the hard-right apparatchiks infesting the ABC boards? Or perhaps the relentless attacks from the LNP/IPA have cowed the ABC into silence? Or at least it seems that way. Your hypocrisy appears to be breathtaking! For those who are unaware of Murdoch and his Middle Eastern financial interests, here is an expose on his company Geanie Energy that you might like to read, and here is another.

In your article from last week, you go on to accuse the ALP state government as “Tin Pot dictators”. Absolutely laughable. You then assert that $400,000 has been stolen from taxpayers. Really? How about the 30 million given to Rupert Murdoch in tax payer’s money to Foxtel?

You bet it was a mistake to have Blair Cottrell on Sky News … but this was no accident. Rather, I believe it was another deliberate attempt by Sky to push the envelope and test the waters. A very cunning attempt at normalising a toxic agenda of racism. I mean, you and Blair share very similar belief systems. True, you have not claimed to admire Hitler, but many of your articles are filled with racial and ethnic scapegoating. Your ridiculous article on immigration was yet another hard-right spin-fest, tailored to the lowest common denominator of your sub-normal IQ demographic.

I have no doubt that if the Cottrell interview was well-received, Sky would have been very pleased with the results. It is only because the backlash was so severe and sponsors pulled away from Sky that this interview was quickly pulled. Predictably as always, instead of management getting the sack or demoted, it was the presenter who copped a hiding. So typical of conservatives, really.

Michaela Cash and her grubby attacks on unions and the silly police raid on union headquarters and leaking to the press, springs to mind. Who copped the flak and the blame? Certainly not Cash! It was one of her junior underlings who took the fall.

You go on to say that Sky is the only broadcaster to ban Cottrell. I say to you, only because they began haemorrhaging sponsors. Stop your virtue signalling! It is true that the ABC once had Cottrell on, but it was on a panel and others were challenging his ideas in a robust debate.

Sky was different. They had him on to propagate his manifesto unchallenged. This was a blatant attempt to manipulate an already rabid-right audience into further dangerous waters.

You then go onto whinge about Sky being pulled from state rail. Why the hell should a public entity be forced to peddle extremist far-right dogma from a far-right, private media platform?! It has no right to defile the ears of ordinary citizens going about their business in a public space!

You go on to say that the opinion shows from Sky are very popular. Bahahaha. Give me a break. Sky opinion shows rate dismally compared to the ABC. Sky News rates on average 12,000 viewers from 6pm to midnight. As I said, absolutely dismal!

Which is why I suspect that Sky is now going to be broadcast on free-to-air media.

The ugly truth is that you are giving the impression that you are a paid puppet for Rupert Murdoch and his extremist views. Sky and Herald Sun etc push one man’s opinion and vision for the world. That vision is an ugly dystopian, neoliberal capitalist model. Unlike myself, who bows to nobody, I am a free agent who is able to expose the truth and all the lies peddled by the rich and their toady politicians. This is ultimately why commercial media is a dinosaur. It only reflects the views and wishes of the extremely wealthy.

Seeking to divide the nation through race and culture is the only way the far-right can win votes. In my opinion their policies are so toxic to the average citizen, that scapegoating, fear and hatred is all they have. I’m reminded of the Wizard of Oz: A booming, hateful exterior, but once the curtain is pulled back I can see strings manipulating every move, and there is nothing but a sad, embittered old man who long ago sold his soul to the devil for easy money.

Christian Marx is a political and social activist interested in making the world a fairer place. He has a Bachelor of Social Science and has a keen interest in sociology, politics and history. He was one of the organizers of the March in March rallies in Melbourne and is the founder of the progressive news and information page, “Don`t Look At This Page”, and is also a co-founder of “The Global Revolution” website.

Open Letter to the Australian People and Others

To:

The People of Australia.

The Hon the Governor General.

Government House
Dunrossil Drive
Yarralumla ACT 2600

Tel: (02) 6283 3533
Fax: (02) 6281 3760

The Hon Members and Senators of the Parliament of Australia.

The Hon Leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives.

Hon. William Shorten MP.

Parliament House
Canberra
ACT 2600

Senator Louise Pratt.

Of the Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee.

Parliament House
Canberra
ACT 2600

The Hon Leader of the Opposition in the Senate.

Hon. Penny Wong

Parliament House
Canberra
ACT 2600

The Leader of the Australian Greens Party.

Senator Richard Di Natale

Parliament House
Canberra
ACT 2600

The Hon Independent Members of the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia:

Hons: Andrew Wilke; Nick Xenophon; Jacqui Lambie; Derryn Hinch; Pauline Hansen; David Leyonhjelm; Bob Katter; Lucy Gichuhi; Lee Rhiannon;

Parliament House
Canberra
ACT 2600

The Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia.

Justice Kiefel AC

PO Box 6309
Kingston ACT 2604

The Director Commonwealth Department of Public Prosecutions.

Ms Sarah McNaughton SC

4 Marcus Clarke Street
Canberra City ACT2601

Phone: (02) 6206 5666
Fax: (02) 6257 5709
Email: inquiries@cdpp.gov.au

The Commissioner for the Federal Police.

Andrew Colvin

GPO Box 401
Canberra ACT 2601

The Commonwealth Ombudsman.

Colin Neave

Level 5, Childers Square,

14 Childers Street
Canberra City ACT 2601

 

The facts referred to in this correspondence constitute a formal Complaint.

COMPLAINT

AGAINST THE HON MALCOLM TURNBULL PRIME MINISTER OF AUSTRALIA.

For the purposes of this Complaint I refer to the newspaper article in the Sydney Morning Herald dated 6 November 2016 and for which I here provide a link.

http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/department-fixes-error-following-questions-about-malcolm-turnbull-election-eligibility-20161107-gsjsre.html

On or about 2010, Malcolm Turnbull, with his wife Lucy Turnbull, received a benefit from the Commonwealth (‘Cth’) in the form of an agreement and payment to undertake consultancy and research work for the Cth. The funds for the work undertaken were paid to Turnbull and Partners in which Malcolm Turnbull is a major shareholder and co-director. The Cth funds were paid to Turnbull and Partners from the then ALP government of Julia Gillard shortly before the federal election in August 2010. At this time, Malcolm Turnbull was sitting in the Commonwealth House of Representatives as a member of the opposition. Shortly after Turnbull and Partners entered the agreement with the Cth and received the funds, Malcolm Turnbull then re-nominated as a candidate for the federal election of August 2010. Being re-elected at that August 2010 election, Malcolm Turnbull continued to sit in parliament while the corporation he jointly owns and controls with his wife, Turnbull and Partners, was continuing to undertake the work under the agreement with the Cth.

Section 44 of the Commonwealth Constitution Act provides grounds for disqualification of a candidate in being elected to the House of Representatives. It states:

Disqualification

Any person who:

(i)  is under any acknowledgment of allegiance, obedience, or adherence to a foreign power, or is a subject or a citizen or entitled to the rights or privileges of a subject or a citizen of a foreign power; or

(ii)  is attainted of treason, or has been convicted and is under sentence, or subject to be sentenced, for any offence punishable under the law of the Commonwealth or of a State by imprisonment for one year or longer; or

(iii)  is an undischarged bankrupt or insolvent; or

(iv)  holds any office of profit under the Crown, or any pension payable during the pleasure of the Crown out of any of the revenues of the Commonwealth; or

(v)  has any direct or indirect pecuniary interest in any agreement with the Public Service of the Commonwealth otherwise than as a member and in common with the other members of an incorporated company consisting of more than twenty-five persons;

shall be incapable of being chosen or of sitting as a senator or a member of the House of Representatives.

Of particular relevance to Malcolm Turnbull’s circumstances is sub-section ‘(v)’. As a member of a small company, with only two members and two co-directors, himself and his wife Lucy Turnbull, Malcolm Turnbull did not fall within the exception provided by that subsection as Turnbull and Partners was not a company consisting of more than 25 members.

The consequence of these facts is that, at the time of the election in 2010 and of his nomination, Malcolm Turnbull was disqualified from being chosen or from sitting in the House of Representatives before, during and after the election of 2010 while he still received a benefit or a financial advantage from the Cth in the form of his salary from the Cth. While obtaining that financial advantage Malcom Turnbull, throughout that time, did also cause a loss to the Cth.

Part 7.3, section 135 of the Criminal Code (Cth) states, inter alia, the following:

                        Part 7.3 — Fraudulent conduct

……

Division 135 — Other offences involving fraudulent conduct.

……..

                       135.2   Obtaining financial advantage

(1)  A person commits an offence if:

(a)  the person engages in conduct; and

(aa)  as a result of that conduct, the person obtains a financial advantage for  himself or herself from another person; and

(ab)  the person knows or believes that he or she is not eligible to receive that financial advantage; and

(b)  the other person is a Commonwealth entity.

Penalty:  Imprisonment for 12 months.

(1A)  Absolute liability applies to the paragraph (1)(b) element of the offence.

(2)  A person commits an offence if:

(a)  the person engages in conduct; and

(aa)  as a result of that conduct, the person obtains a financial advantage for another person from a third person; and

(ab)  the person knows or believes that the other person is not eligible to receive that financial advantage; and

(b)  the third person is a Commonwealth entity.

Penalty:  Imprisonment for 12 months.

(2A)  Absolute liability applies to the paragraph (2)(b) element of the offence.

……………

Hence, on the basis that he was disqualified person by being ineligible to sit in the House of Representatives due to his company Turnbull and Partners having an agreement with the Cth, and on the basis of that company and him receiving an advantage by way of payment from the Cth, on the balance of probabilities, and most likely also on the standard of beyond reasonable doubt, it is highly probable that Malcolm Turnbull breached  s 135.2 Criminal Code (Cth) and committed the criminal offence of obtaining a financial advantage from another party that he was not eligible or entitled to receive. That other party was the Cth and, as a consequence, Malcolm Turnbull has committed an offence of a fraudulent nature against the Cth pursuant to Partb7.3.

Further, it is evident on the facts stated above, that Malcolm Turnbull did first commit this offence at the time between when Turnbull and Partners entered the agreement with the Cth, that he continued to commit the offence through the period during which he sat in Parliament and received a financial advantage from the Cth and leading up to the August 2010 election, and that he continued to commit that offence at the time he nominated as a candidate for election to the House of Representatives in 2010 and  also through the period when he sat in Parliament after the 2010 election and each time he received a  salary payment from the Cth. It is also evident that he continues to commit that or another offence to the present day by retaining the financial advantage he has obtained.

In the circumstances, given the gravity of the offending and the paramountcy of the Constitution, it is imperative that Malcolm Turnbull be immediately arrested, charged with the offence at s 135.2 Criminal Code Act, and that he be tried for that offence. Given Malcolm Turnbull’s position and the need for a deterrent in regard to the commission of similar types of offences, it would not be unreasonable for the maximum sentence to be imposed upon Malcolm Turnbull should he be found guilty of the charge.

The people of Australia should not be subject to such a flagrant breach of the Constitution, or the criminal law by a person who is an experienced and practiced lawyer and who now purports to be a leader of their nation and an officer of the Crown.

The rule of law requires that Malcolm Turnbull be charged and tried for this offence.

If people in the position of Malcolm Turnbull are not seen to be subject to the law, then the whole legal and political system will be brought into disrepute in the mind of the public as institutions that are inherently biased and corruptible as there will be one law for some and another for others. Furthermore, should Malcolm Turnbull not be brought to justice for this offending, such a public perception would not be unwarranted as the principle of the rule of law would be seen as merely an ideology invoked selectively to oppress the lives of some but to enhance the lives of others.

I refer this Complaint to your immediate consideration and attention.

Yours Faithfully,

An Australian Citizen

On Behalf of the People of Australia.

Readers are invited to print off this open letter and post or email it to their local MP or to one or more of the addressees listed on the letter.

An Open Letter to Andrew Bragg

Dear Andrew

I am responding to your thoughtful opinion piece in The Guardian which aims to justify the Liberal Party’s creation of The Fair Go propaganda website.

I’m so sorry that the Liberal Party feel so weak and neglected by the mainstream media that you have to spend money to create a website to get your voice out there. Feeling powerless, like you have been blocked from the national debate, must be an awful situation to find yourself in. I hadn’t realised that the readership of your mastheads at News Ltd had shrunk to such an inconsequential size that you can no longer rely on them to campaign on your behalf. How horrible for you. I wasn’t aware that your IPA representatives appearing on every ABC news show are having such a hard time getting your point of view across. It must be awful to have all this coverage and still be losing the argument.

I did know, however, that your ranting right wing cheer squad on Sky News gets less views than some of my blog posts. And I’m a nobody Andrew! I don’t even get paid for putting my opinions out there, yet more people are interested in what I have to say than watching Chris Kenny whine and bitch. This must be more than frustrating for you, poor thing. It’s no wonder you felt compelled to publish a piece in The Guardian to finally get your voice out to sizeable audience. Good on you for doing that.

But, Andrew, I hope I can make you feel a bit better, a bit less meek and downtrodden, by straightening up some of the misinformation, or perhaps the misunderstanding, that you have included in your piece. Firstly, you need to remember that Australia is a democratic nation. As irritating as this fact is for you, it means that us Australians have every right to give a few dollars here and there to fund organisations that represent our interests, such as GetUp, or trade unions, or environmental groups, in order to contribute our resources towards the political debate.

I know how much you would prefer if us pesky little peasants would just sit down, shut up and let your political movement of big business money trample all over us. But that would just make things too easy for you, Andrew! Us people, we have lives and opinions and rights and needs and wants, which includes the right to join political movements that represent us.

I must admit, it is an uphill battle for the sectional interests of us small guys. As you no doubt know from your Liberal Party fundraisers, big business has infinitely more money than the individuals who donate small change to environmental groups, GetUp, unions, any progressive cause you can name.

Remember when the Labor Government wanted to even up the playing field of funds distributed from selling Australia’s natural resources by introducing the mining tax, and your Liberal Party, side by side with billionaire Australians, with the all-powerful mining lobby, campaigned to kill that policy? The miners spent $22 million, which is small change to them, I know, Andrew! But what hope do I have, who earns an annual salary the size of Gina Rinehart’s lunch bill, of having a say in political debates, without democratically pooling what little resources I have into a David-like voice to respond to the Goliaths representing the Liberal Party?

We noticed when Prime Minister Turnbull spent $1.75 million of his own money, again, loose change to him, to help himself get elected. Does this sound like the actions of the weak and powerless? We noticed that Julie Bishop’s Mid Winter Ball gown cost $36,000, which is substantially more than a Newstart recipient receives in a year.  Cheer up Andrew, your power is in safe, rich hands!

So, really, you don’t need to feel so sad about your current predicament, where you think you’re voiceless and powerless, when really you’re holding all the cards in a loaded deck, and us little guys are barely chipping into the power you have to control the way we live our lives. For example, if unions are so big and powerful, how come some of the country’s lowest paid workers have just had their penalty rates cut after your side won your tireless campaign to reduce their wages? Why do unions face some of the toughest industrial laws in the world, such as not having the legal right to strike?

We know you’re disappointed that WorkChoices is democratically dead, buried and cremated, but in actual fact you should be cheering, as you’ve managed, against the odds, to bring in your WorkChoices-utopia by stealth, with casualisation, near-zero wage growth and precarious work the new norm for millions of Australians. This is all while your business mates reap 40% increase in profits, yet, in their powerful, almighty position, choose not to pass any of these rewards onto the workers who created the wealth. Geez Andrew, if this is what it means to be powerless, you guys are doing pretty nicely without power!

I hope this letter has made you feel better about your position in the political debate. It must be down-heartening every time you check the stats for the laughingly called ‘Fair Go’ website to find still no one is engaging in your content and you only have 242 followers on Twitter. You’ve no doubt paid Parnell McGuiness’s PR consultancy far too much money to create the site and it’s not getting anywhere near the audience these dollars would get you if you invested them in well written, relevant and less-propogandist content on a quality opinion site. But hey, you’re right that we should all have a fair go. Keep at it and us little guys will keep at it too. It’s only fair that we each do what’s in our best interest.

Yours Sincerely

Victoria Fielding

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An open letter to moderate, peace-loving Muslims

By Michael Frost

Dear moderate, peace-loving Muslims,

I know every time there is a major Islamic-inspired terrorist incident you’re called on by angry radio hosts and newscasters to renounce all violence and condemn the perpetrators. And every time this happens your imams and muftis release such statements and appear before the cameras reading them to us.

But I’m not writing to demand a similar condemnation from you.

I already know you want to practice your religion in peace and leave me to practice mine as well.

I know you are as horrified by the recent acts of slaughter in England, Egypt and Indonesia as I am.

I know you want extremists to stop bringing dishonour upon Islam and attracting global revulsion toward your religion.

I know you wish it would all end.

But in case you think the whole world sees Islam as nothing but a hotbed of religious fanaticism and violence, I want you to know, that even though many of us won’t admit it, Christians have a very unhealthy relationship with violence too.

We have tried to rule the world with a Bible in one hand and a sword in the other. We’ve fallen to the seductive temptations of violence, authority and control many times. We are addicted to the myth of redemptive violence.

And I don’t have to go all the way back to the Crusades or the Inquisition to find examples. Just the last century alone is full of tragic illustrations of how we’ve tried to further our faith by violence and oppression, whether it be in Ireland, Bosnia, Waco, Oklahoma City, Manilla, or Johannesburg. And that doesn’t even include the hundreds of Christian priests and clergy around the world who have been found guilty of sexually and physically assaulting thousands of young people in their care.

Then, of course, there was our illegal invasion of Afghanistan and the war in Iraq (under false pretences about WMDs) resulting in the death of over one million people.

Dear moderate, peace-loving Muslims, there are Christians who know that violence achieves nothing. We speak from experience here. Although for a while it feels like strength. It feels good to lash out, to exact revenge, to think we’re defending the honour of our God. And it’s disturbingly tempting to believe that much can be achieved by marshalling military might to champion the cause of Christ. But in the long run all it did was compromise the vision of our faith and undermine our preaching about Jesus, the man of peace. In the end, our standing in the world and the integrity of our faith has been weakened, not enhanced, by our use of violence.

Believe me, even though your stance against Islamic violence often feels as hopeless as my stance against Christian violence, we can’t give up.

So the next time your leaders make public statements condemning these atrocities committed in the name of Islam, please know that some of us stand with you. Some of us share your revulsion and are ashamed of our fellow believers who have trampled on our God’s reputation by inciting or using violence to further our cause.

We know how hypocritical it must sound for those of us whose governments bombed and invaded your countries to insist that you condemn the violence of your extremists, men and women who don’t act in your name at all.

But condemn them we must. Together. As Christians and Muslims who have both renounced the way of violence and who want these evil acts of terror to stop. Now! And we know the best chance of that happening is for a movement of ordinary moderate, peace-loving people from your faith and mine to emerge to stand together and say to the extremists in each of our religions, NOT IN MY NAME.

Ramadan mubarak.

This article was originally published on Mike Frost and has been republished with permission.

Michael Frost: I am is a 20-year veteran of the academy, but I still don’t call myself an academic. On my immigration forms I write “teacher” in the occupation box. I’ve taught at Morling College in Sydney that whole time and am currently the head of the missiology department there. My doctorate examined a mission-shaped approach to being and doing church, and I’ve written a bunch of books in that field. Some of them have even been popular. Thank you if you bought one. I helped launch the Small Boat Big Sea community in Manly. I enjoy music by guys who can’t sing that great (Dylan, Cohen, Cave), hiking the national parks of North America (15, so far). I co-founded the Forge mission training network. I have won camel races in Kazakhstan, cliff-diving competitions in Thailand, and chess tournaments at the Kremlin. And I have spoken with Elvis (not all this might be true).

Open letter to PM Turnbull about automation

By Ad astra

Prime Minister

The people of Australia are aware of your desire that this nation and its people be agile, enterprising, and ever ready to adapt to change. I applaud your aspiration.

While some changes receive much publicity such as global warming, there is another, just as crucial, but which scarcely receives a mention. I am referring to the march of automation and the consequent displacement of humans from work they once did.

As robots progressively replace the workers who perform physical work, as algorithms make redundant people who perform cognitive tasks, the human toll increases as more and more are swept into unemployment.

The predictions are frightening. Robots are taking over jobs in manufacturing, agriculture, transport, tourism, hospitality, catering, retail, online sales, health and aged care, the service sector, and communications. Already, algorithms are being used in seventy percent of financial transactions. The trend is accelerating.

Whilst it is acknowledged that many benefits follow in the wake of automation and that productivity gains could be substantial, and while it is expected that automation will enhance national prosperity, the human cost is either being ignored or discounted by planners.

It is predicted that in the decades ahead many millions of people will lose their jobs, both here and overseas, leaving them without an income, dependent on welfare for survival.

Inequality, already high and rising, will be exacerbated.

Which brings me to the purpose of this letter.

Since it is the function of governments, civil authorities and planners to predict the future and plan for it, I seek your response to these questions:

  • What steps has your government taken to address the issue of automation and its sequelae?
  • Is there a department, a parliamentary committee, or an external body or group that has been commissioned to address the issue of automation?

If there is such a group:

  • What are the predictions about the proliferation of robots and algorithms?
  • Over what time frame has the predictions been made?
  • What effects are predicted to result from automation?
  • As people are displaced by automation and become unemployed, what provision is being made for their welfare and that of their dependents?
  • Has any consideration been given to the idea of guaranteeing all who unsuccessfully seek work or become unemployed a universal basic wage to enable their survival?
  • Does your government have a plan to manage this radical change to the work environment and the social contract of work for all?

I seek answers as a concerned citizen, deeply troubled by what lies ahead as automation takes its toll on our people.

I will anxiously await your response to my queries. In my view, in the same way as global warming threatens physical existence on our planet for all living things, automation threatens the very fabric of our human society. Both threats are dangerous; both demand the urgent attention of those to whom we have entrusted our future.

Yours respectfully

What do you think?

Have you seen any signs of Turnbull or his ministers taking any preemptive action on automation?

What action should he take?

This article was originally published on The Political Sword.

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Open letter to Senator Derryn Hinch

Australian Budget Owls is a group of concerned citizen economists who believe debate in Australia should be informed by Modern Monetary Theory. Australian Budget Owls write open letters challenging what we see as false and misleading statements, based on a zombie economic orthodoxy, described variously as “fake knowledge” and “junk economics” by leading academic economists. We ask the proponents to put up or shut up, provide clear and valid reasoning, which we would say doesn’t exist, to support their position or, change.

Dear Senator Hinch,

We write to address your comments in the media regarding home ownership for younger Australians.

Australian Budget Owls is a group of concerned citizen economists, informed by Modern Monetary Theory.

In our model of the economy we believe that money is created by banks endogenously. While this is somewhat controversial, we note that the Bank of England released a working paper in 2015 essentially confirming our views. The banking system can create as much money as it can sell, at the interest rate set by the government through the reserve bank.

The consequence of this is obvious. The supply of money, available for speculation on house prices, and hence the resulting bubble and corresponding levels of private debt, are constrained by:

  • the interest-rate set by the reserve bank,
  • prudential rules set by APRA,
  • any other laws constraining the lending by banks that may be decided by Parliament and,
  • taxation of the proceeds of housing speculation currently given discounted treatment.

The aforementioned all fall within the purview of the parliament and government, and therefore are the responsibility of you and your colleagues.

Conclusion – Parliamentarians have a social responsibility.

Your comments that younger Australians should not expect to own their own home are, from the perspective of social equity, unacceptable to us.

We would like to suggest that you, and your colleagues in parliament, consider the work of economist Prof Steve Keen on private-sector debt. Specifically, adopting a long-term policy targeting a private sector debt to GDP ratio in a similar manner to the way we now target inflation. In addition, you may wish to consider professor Keen’s Modern Debt Jubilee proposal to defuse the systemic risk associated with current high levels of private debt.

Best regards,

Damien Smith
Australian Budget Owls

An open letter to Francis Sullivan

Your ‘Where to from here?’ speech as CEO of the Truth Justice and Healing Council on 10 March 2017 was admirably frank about the Catholic Church’s causes of the abuse crisis.

It did not, however, in our view, go far enough in its blame or solutions.

It is surprising that, as you claim, no one “was prepared for the extent of the abuse and the appalling rate across male religious orders and within the priesthood”.

But there was plenty of evidence of the abuse.

The culture of denial and secrecy was led from the very top of the Church in Australia over decades. It continues to compound the abuse suffered by victims by denying justice to perpetrators and those who shielded them.

We are surprised that you thought “maybe the Church had up to 100 paedophiles in its history”. This is so far from the reality elsewhere, known even before the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors was announced.

It seems extraordinary that you seem unaware of the implication of the thousands of press reports of such abuse from around the world over decades and the billions of dollars that have been paid out in damages in the US, and millions of Euros in Ireland.

Other sources include the 2015 film Spotlight, concerning the exposés of the Boston Globe journalists, the books Double Cross by David Ranan (2007) and Sex, Priests, and Secret Codes: The Catholic Church by Fr. Thomas Doyle, A.W. Richard Sipe and Patrick Wall (2006).

Also relevant to the scale of abuse is the Holy See’s representative telling the United Nations Human Rights Council on 22 September 2009: “From available research we now know that in the last fifty years somewhere between 1.5% and 5% of the Catholic clergy has been involved in sexual abuse cases.”

Worldwide there are about 500,000 male priests and religious which equates to between 7,500 and 25,000 abusers, most of which have abused multiple children or vulnerable adults in their care and on numerous occasions.

At the same time the Vatican’s UN representative sought to excuse such sexual and other violence against minors by clerics on the grounds that most abuse is “ephebophile” not paedophile.

Nevertheless this kind of abuse is normally criminal action and constitutes a serious abuse of trust and misuse of authority that frequently ruins the lives of those abused and their families.

Such abuse has been a problem since the inception of the Church.

As early as 1963 it was brought to the attention of the Pope in an audience by the Order of the Paracletes that had even considered, but eventually abandoned, an “Island Retreat” in the Caribbean for recidivist abusive priests, such was the extent of the abuse.

Also, in its 2014 Concluding Observations  (see in particular paras 43 and 44) the Holy See received the UN Committee for the Rights of the Child’s harshest possible criticism which received worldwide publicity.

The UN Committee noted in para 19 that the Pope’s own Pontifical Commission to sanction bishops covering up abusers was to be “empowered to receive children’s complaints of sexual abuse”.

But, of course, as we know now, the Pontifical Commission was without resources to do anything.

Long before Commission member Marie Collins left in disgust, or indeed before Peter Saunders was quietly ousted from the Pontifical Commission, the UN Committee for the Rights of the Child raised alarm bells about this Commission.

The UN Committee’s Observations, just as valid today, continue: “The Committee is, however, concerned that the Holy See has not established a mechanism to monitor respect for and compliance with children’s rights by individuals and institutions operating under its authority, including all Catholic schools, worldwide and in Vatican City State.”

You have rightly acknowledged recent concerns about the Pope’s disinclination to tackle such abuse effectively, but these are simply yet a further symptom of what has been evident from the start of his pontificate.

One of the first indications of this was the refusal to take these UN recommendations seriously; it surely cannot have been without his knowledge that the UN Committee was in effect attacked by the Holy See for its concluding observations.

The Pontifical Commission never had any executive power, and we now learn, resources. It exists to give the illusion of action being taken.

Similarly, the Tribunal the Pope announced to prosecute bishops who covered up abusing priests was abandoned in June 2016 soon after it became evident that these bishops or senior Church figures would con- sequently be vulnerable to secular justice, mainly in the USA. This almost pain-free procedural Tribunal alternative, free from criminal sanctions, never sat.

There have been numerous other accusations of the Pope’s disinclination to act in this area, easily found in the media. The Vatican continues to refuse to instruct, as the UN recommended, that reasonable suspicions of abuse be reported to secular authorities and insists that incriminating information be kept out of secular reach.

You are correct in drawing attention to implications of the Vatican’s Congregation of the Doctrine Faith’s refusal to co-operate, even the basic courtesy of acknowledging letters from those alleging abuse far less investigating them.

The combination of a reluctant pontiff and an obstructive curia is a Church, also a nation state, that undermines the rule of law with impunity.

Abusers and their enablers go unpunished by secular courts able to impose realistic punishments for crimes, and many victims go uncompensated.

Despite your mea culpa the Church still ferociously fights both criminal and civil cases, even when there is no doubt about guilt.

We wish we shared your optimism that greater lay involvement would help, given the Curia ignore even requests by the Pope to observe the most basic courtesies.

It would go some way to improve matters for the future if in all countries:

  1. Reporting of institutional abuse were made mandatory;
  2. Statutes of limitation were lifted for child abuse cases where the Australian Commission showed that on average reporting took over 30 years;
  3. No religious organization is in effect immune to being sued because of the nature of its legal persona, which is never a bar to it receiving assets;
  4. ‘One law for all’ with no recognition of parallel legal systems; religious institutions should not be permitted to exempt themselves from the law of the land; Canon law must not take precedence over Australian law.

Mr Sullivan, would you support such proposals?

Signed …

Rationalist Society of Australia, Melbourne

Rationalist Assn of NSW, Sydney

Plain Reason, Adelaide

Humanist Society of Queensland, Brisbane

National Secular Society, London

 

 

An open letter to the LNP regarding the Cashless Welfare Card

By Tina Clausen

After having worked as a professional Social Worker for twenty years, including in agency management and interdisciplinary team leader positions, then having to leave the workforce due to illness, how dare you assume that I am suddenly incapable of managing my own income and decide that I should be treated like a child and a criminal.

You are taking away my basic Human Rights of dignity, self-determination and social freedom. You are also illegally disadvantaging me by letting Indue retain interest earned on money in my account as well as forcing me to access goods and services that are more expensive than I get them for now. Money is tight and I’m managing my budget accordingly, you and private for profit company Indue will blow my budget out the window.

Logistically and practically the card is not working and is a nightmare for the general public, whom you are employed to serve in their best interest. This is in no ones best interest except Indue and its shareholders. The $4000 or more the scheme costs to manage per person could be better spent on increasing beneficiary payments, at least that way the money would be funneled back into local communities and thereby stimulating the economy.

The card was initially brought in to support people that had difficulties managing their income appropriately due to addiction issues. That is where it can be targeted, at an individual level for people identified within existing frameworks as being at risk eg via police, child safety services etc.

It is not appropriate to bring the card in wholesale across entire communities and eventually across the nation. We all have the right to live without excessive government interference in our day to day lives. This card only benefits Indue and the big chain stores especially. It is big brother in full action.

Another issue is that whereas Newstart recipients can leave the scheme when they find employment, people with chronic illnesses or disabilities will be stuck on it for life. They already have a hard time and now you want to punish them further?

I would not be able to continue my cheap insurance with Budget Direct, I would have to go to more expensive insurance providers. People can’t shop at cheap fresh food markets or garage sales but can go to Woolworths or the very expensive David Jones. 20% cash does not come close to meeting costs where you are unable to use the card, can’t even pay off a credit card debt or a mortgage with a re-draw facility if some people have those loans as you are not allowed to transfer money to those.

Unscrupulous individuals as well as shop owners are already taking advantage of people on the card and ripping off the most vulnerable in our society. They do this by taking a percentage of desperate peoples money in return for a cash exchange and shops in areas with little competition massively increase their prices. We are talking 200-400% price hikes.

The sad thing is the card doesn’t even address the initial issue the card was brought in for – those few who might actually need such assistance have found ways around it out of sheer desperation or embark on crime sprees to make up their shortfall.

We are a free country and as politicians there to serve the people you have no right to impose such a punitive and draconian scheme on unwilling Citizens. We NEVER voted or said “yes” to such a scheme.

Faithfully,

Tina Clausen.

March in March protests against pay cuts, welfare cuts and the Cashless Welfare Card will be held around Australia on the 25th of March.

To support the most vulnerable in our society, please get involved. Visit the March Australia Facebook page for list of marches in a town or city near you.

 

An Open Letter to Indue on the Welfare Card Scheme

Indue Ltd
C/- Stargroup Ltd
(Formerly ICash Payment Systems, Formerly Reef Mining).

PO Box 523 Toowong
QLD 4066 Australia

P: +61 7 3258 4222
F: +61 7 3258 4211
E: indue@indue.com.au

5 March 2017

Re the ‘Healthy’ Welfare Card.

Dear Indue Ltd – its Board, Directors and Shareholders,

I am aware that the Commonwealth Human Services Minister in the Turnbull government, Alan Tudge, is intending to transfer all welfare recipients to the ‘Healthy Welfare Card’ for income management purposes in the near future. As an Australian citizen I am aware that levels of unemployment in Australia are high and unlikely to fall soon due to the policies of the Turnbull government and that, therefore, there is a high risk that I may become unemployed in the near future and, hence, subject to the income management welfare card scheme initiated by the LNP government and, specifically, by the Human Services Minister Alan Tudge and the Social Services Minister Christian Porter.

I am also aware that Indue and its owners are to be paid between $4000 and $7000 from the Australian budget as fees for each person on the income management card system including possibly for myself in the future. I understand that how much Indue actually receives of tax payer’s money for each person in its management scheme as an administrative fee, including possibly for myself in the future, will depend upon whether the person resides in an urban or regional location. However, given that the Turnbull government intends to extend the operation of the income management welfare card scheme to all welfare recipients soon then the profit Indue can anticipate making from the scheme is in the region of $4.6 billion dollars. I note this amount is an additional amount of expenditure on top of the existing welfare budget as I understand the implementation of the welfare card system does not create any savings for the government that can be accredited against the alleged budget deficit. In my view this money would be better spent on reducing the alleged debt or on the people of Australia as a whole and not on creating profits for a private company with political connections such as Indue.

I am further aware that those amounts are to be paid to Indue as fees from the Department of Human Services budget which departmental budget is itself obtained entirely from the Australian Consolidated Revenue Fund that belongs to all the Australian people. I am aware that the fee amounts Indue is to receive, or that it has already received so far, for performing its income management duties to welfare recipients, have been, or will be, appropriated by the Department of Human Services from the Consolidated Revenue Fund for the purported purpose of providing welfare for the Australian people and not for misuse as payment of profits to a private company such as Indue.

I consider that if I am compelled to participate in the card scheme and become subject to Indue’s income management scheme in the future then Indue would become my fiduciary. In the case Hospital Products Ltd v United States Surgical Corps Justice Mason of the High Court of Australia said the following:

The accepted fiduciary relationships are sometimes referred to as relationships of trust and confidence or confidential relations …The critical feature of these relationships is that the fiduciary undertakes or agrees to act for or on behalf of or in the interests of another person in the exercise of a power or discretion which will affect the interests of that other person in a legal or practical sense. The relationship between the parties is therefore one which gives the fiduciary a special opportunity to exercise the power or discretion to the detriment of that other person who is accordingly vulnerable to abuse by the fiduciary of his position. The expressions “for”, “on behalf of” and “in the interests of” signify that the fiduciary acts in a “representative” character in the exercise of his responsibility…

Given that the Turnbull government is intending to transfer all welfare recipients to the income management welfare card scheme in the near future and given that I am likely to become unemployed in the future, it is almost certain that Indue will manage my income in the future and that it will do so purportedly in my interests and on my behalf as my fiduciary. On that basis, Indue would owe me the duties and obligations that usually accompany fiduciaries. Those duties would include, but would not be limited to, the obligation of complete disclosure to me, the prohibition against personally profiting from the performance of its duties to me, the obligation to avoid a conflict of interests and duties and a duty to protect me from any possible or actual losses from its management of my income. Losses that I would likely sustain from the income management welfare card scheme would include losses of opportunities to buy cheap goods or services at a cash price that I could not obtain by use of the card due to the restrictions on access to cash in the card system. Anticipated losses would also extend to any additional financial service fees I will incur due to me being forced to use the card in being denied access to cash. In those circumstances, in its capacity as my fiduciary, I would be entitled to hold Indue liable for those and any other possible losses I incur due to the operation of the card and Indue’s management of my income.

I also note that in the Hospital Products case his Honour Chief Justice Gibbs said:

A person who occupies a fiduciary position may not use that position to gain a profit or advantage for himself, nor may he obtain a benefit by entering into a transaction in conflict with his fiduciary duty, without the informed consent of the person to whom he owes the duty.

By this correspondence then, and on the basis that Indue will likely seek to become my fiduciary in the near future and stands to gain from that capacity, as it has already done with the huge profits it has already obtained from the income management welfare card scheme so far, I give notice that I do not consent to Indue managing my income or becoming my fiduciary at any time or of obtaining fees from anyone, including from the Government, for any income management services it purports to undertake for me or on my behalf.

I give further notice that if I am compelled to participate in the card programme I will hold Indue and its owners liable for any and all losses or liabilities I sustain due to the operation of the welfare card and of the income management system. Those losses and liabilities will extend to any legal costs I incur in challenging or remedying Indue’s management of my income without my consent.

Regards,

An Australian Citizen 2017

An open letter to ABC Radio National

By Mark Delmege

I really don’t understand how you people see things. The US was a large part of the reason why Libya was destroyed and a large part of the reason why Syria is such a mess. The wars (regime change efforts) against both countries created the waves of refugees into Europe and the deaths tens or hundreds of thousands, and along the way emboldened terrorism in the region and across the world.

Yet you criticise Russia for trying to end the terrorism and instability.

And Trump, to his credi,t says he wants an end to this too. He wants stability and friendly relations with Russia.

What’s not to like about that?

Obama and Clinton both supported arming terrorist groups. There is no doubt about this. France, Germany and the UK were/are willing partners with Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar in this. I’d argue it is a joint criminal enterprise. These are the facts of recent history.

We know this even if you people are afraid to say so. It’s why we don’t trust you lot (ABC AM/PM, Adams etc) anymore.

It’s why journalists are seen as liars and why you have so little credibility.

Trump, for all his faults is not a racist. He has received awards (note plural) for his inclusiveness from people like Jessie Jackson. At one of his recent rallies he held a rainbow flag and said how he would protect LGBTI and Q people.

He is against Muslim fundamentalism and I see his rise as an end to the USofA alliance with Muslim Brotherhood types. This is a good thing.

Yet you belt away establishment imperial lefties and others don’t seem to see the wood for the trees.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not a supporter of four on the floor US style capitalism, but I can appreciate that some good might come of a the Trump presidency

When are you people going to understand that more of the same – as in Obama’s foreign policy – is a recipe for further disaster?

We know that when you and (and the SBS) ran White Helmets and AMC videos and reports that they were bought and paid for propaganda productions – groups that are aligned with terrorists in Syria – and paid for with Western money – this is war propaganda and I can’t believe that your people don’t know this. As far as I understand this is illegal to do – yet you do it. Why? Is this subservience to Empire? Are you directed by Government or do you not have the intelligence to know better?

 

Editor’s note: the ‘Your Say’ section provides an opportunity for our readers to have a say on any issue that is important to them. This does not mean that The AIMN fully or partly endorses the views or opinions we publish from our readers.

 

An Open Letter to America

trump4

Dear America,

Our relationship is over. Please delete my number, unfriend me on Facebook and un-tag me from all of your photos. In fact, it might be best if you never mention we were friends to anyone, ever. I would prefer you pretend you don’t know me because, you know, it’s pretty embarrassing for anyone to know how close we once were.

I can’t totally forget the good memories, but your disgraceful behaviour has tainted them. I grew up thinking you were like this cool older cousin who always made me laugh and who I could trust to be brave whenever I needed you. You always had the good guy winning. The aliens were always defeated, the asteroid never once destroyed the earth, the bomb got close to going off but never did, the super-hero always saved the day, and the story unfailingly had a happy ending. That’s what you got me used to. That’s the image I have of you in my head. That’s what I was brought up to expect to happen. It was always so satisfying to see the brave and the strong battle adversity and come out on top. You taught me so many great life lessons; to never give up, to always believe in myself, and to do it all with a cheesy self-confident grin. But all this is ruined now. In the place of love and affection, all that is left is hurt and regret for ever trusting you in the first place. You’ve become a mean, nasty, racist, woman-hating, bitter, twisted shadow of your former self, so much so that I hardly recognise you. You’ve betrayed me so badly, I promise I will never trust you again.

We thought it was a joke at first. You know, like your crazy habit of building up all the tension, and then at the last minute, sweeping in and saving the day. But this time, this time it’s turned into a nightmare. When he said he could shoot someone and people would still vote for him, well, we were a little surprised he still got the nomination after that. We gave you the benefit of the doubt and we watched the debates and after that, it was obvious he just wasn’t cut out for the job and we were sure you agreed with us. The wall building, and the racism, and the hatred, and the division, we thought that was totally the opposite of what you were like. Then came the pussy-grabbing, and particularly us females, well we were hurt and outraged that he was even given a chance to excuse that behaviour because frankly, we thought we were all way past this boys-will-be-boys defence for sexual assault. And the lies, America. The lies were so blatant and so constant. We thought you were against lying and cheating, because we’ve always been taught, from a very young age, that liars and cheats never prosper. That bad people don’t win? What happened to those values America? What happened to truth, fairness and being good? How have you lost your way so badly?

From where we’re sitting, it was more than a little suspicious that he wouldn’t release his tax returns. He quite clearly hadn’t paid any tax, but somehow you guys over there didn’t really seem to mind. Then the contractors started lining up, telling us all about how he conned them out of the money he owed them, and how he sent their small business broke. He went on and on about his amazing business skills, but all this defied logic when it was so clear his fortune wasn’t anything like he said it was, and his father had bailed him out every time he lost everything. If there’s one thing we knew about you, it was how much you love business success, so you can imagine how confusing it was for us to hear about all his failures, but for you still to claim he knew what he was doing? You never seemed to ask for details and always believed he could just wave a magic wand and make everything ok. How has this happened America? How could you possibly all be so stupid? How did you not ask for details? How did you take this weirdo at his word? How did you never check the details?

But right up until today, call us suckers, we kept the faith in you. We kept saying that it would all work out in the end. We trusted that maybe you were a little lost, but that you would wake up and you would say enough is enough, this can’t be good for everyone, and that justice would prevail after all. No matter how unhappy you were, we thought you’d find a way, together, to make things right. We never thought hate would win over love. You’re the ones who always showed us this could never happen. You’re the reason we believed you would do the right thing.

After reading this, you can understand why we’re so disappointed in you, and must sever all ties going forward. We would have liked to have enough good will left to wish you well, but unfortunately after the way you’ve disregarded our feelings, our fear of nuclear holocaust, and our economies which still haven’t got over the last time your sub-prime-mortgage scandal screwed us all, we haven’t anything nice left to say to you.

We do feel sorry for all of you who fought hard to stop this happening. If any of the good-Americans would like to find homes somewhere else, we’ll do our best to accommodate you.

To the rest of you selfish fuckers – you deserve everything you get. Enjoy your evil, lying, cheating, ugly orange-man hampster-head making all your laws and screwing all your lives. The fairy tale America is dead. You’re dead to us now. Welcome to your own self-made Armageddon.

Yours sincerely,
The rest of the world

Open letter to Simon Birmingham

The Weasel often writes letters to elected officials… as the dictum goes: If you smell something, say something.

The most recent pronouncement by our erstwhile federal education minister that creative careers were a lifestyle choice had a particular odour. The lack of response from the reigning opposition parties also left much to be desired. So while the intended recipient for below missive was originally for Mr Birmingham; I encourage you, good reader, to freely appropriate the text and send to all those elected officials you believe would benefit from my educational inquiry.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Dear Minister Birmingham  [or insert name of senator or MP here]

I am writing to you regarding recent comments [by the Federal Education Minister] that described creative careers as a lifestyle choice.

I would like to enquire why the government of the day is ignoring the actions of most other technologically developed nations. In the UNESCO Science Report: towards 2030, creative industries are identified as key drivers in revitalising manufacturing sectors, and on-shoring production or services that in previous decades been shifted to less expensive markets.

The U.K., France, South Korea, and Germany all have policy that explicitly links creative industries to programs designed to build or enhance innovation; and gain competitive advantage in the shift to Industry 4.0. Many countries now have dedicated creative industry hubs to create and enhance networks and connectivity between creative professionals and other industries.

To state that creative careers are a lifestyle choice ignores the essential function of cultural events in our society. It ignores the economic contribution. It ignores the contribution to the expression of the Australian character by thousands of actors, painters, dramaturges, designers, editors, architects, writers. Finally, it ignores the contribution that trained creative’s deliver in innovative thinking to thousands of Australian businesses. You can read more about how vibrant and vital creative professionals are on the AusTrade website.

If the current government is truly serious about innovation, then engagement and investment in creative careers and industries is essential. Design thinking is inherent in all creative pursuits, and those are exactly the structured innovative skills Australia needs to regain economic strength.

In the new knowledge economy, superior creative thinking can conquer limitations of scale or distribution. The emerging decentralised, interconnected, and data-rich manufacturing landscape has opportunities waiting to be discovered and exploited; and it is creative professionals who are best positioned to think outside the box, make use of limited resources, and take advantage of connectivity to drive innovation.

In light of all this, I would like an answer to the following questions:

Why does the Education Minister consider creative careers non-essential to the Australian economy?

How does the government plan to succeed with an innovation agenda without using design thinking, or input from creative professionals?

I have included links to some of the sources to which I refer in this letter. I encourage you to investigate them further.
I look forward to your reply

Yours Sincerely

The Weasel

 

austrade.gov.au: Creative-Industries

thecreativeindustries.co.uk/

creative-industries-worth-almost-10-million-an-hour-to-economy

Deutschland creative industries

UNESCO Science report: creative industries driving innovation

https://en.unesco.org/USR-contents

forbes.com: what everyone must know about industry 4.0

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