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Tag Archives: Queensland election

Someone told me…

The leader of One Nation in Queensland, Steve Dickson, has been forced to apologise over comments he made about the Safe Schools program in which he asserted that 10 year old girls were being taught, as part of the curriculum, how to masturbate and how to use strap-on dildos.

His apology was for using the word “dildos” rather than for telling outrageous lies.

He blamed a parent of a year four student for the erroneous information.

Because that’s what One Nation does.

Rather than actually finding out anything about the program from the people who developed the resources, or from the schools, teachers and students that have used them, or from the Department of Education on how they are used, PHON truth comes from “someone told me….”

Remember how, in the lead-up to the WA election, Pauline suggested vaccinations were linked to autism and that parents should have their children go through a non-existent test to evaluate vaccination safety.

After a barrage of outrage from medical bodies and others about this irresponsible and totally false information, Pauline apologised for being wrong….kinda.

‘Yes, I do apologise,’ she said. ‘As far as having tests done, OK, I admit I was wrong with that.’

‘All I’m saying to people that are concerned about it – you go and do your research, go ask questions of your doctor,’ she said.

Because someone told her…..

Malcolm Roberts has been replaced by Fraser Anning, another climate change denier.

On his now deactivated/hidden facebook page, Anning shared social media posts suggesting Barack Obama was secretly a Muslim and praising Russian President Vladimir Putin’s approach to “minorities” and Sharia law.

He also shared a cartoon with caption: “I was standing in a queue behind a very fat woman with a huge ar-e, when her phone starts to bleep. A little boy behind me says, “f––k me, she’s reversing”.

In a comical situation, Fraser Anning was kicked out of, or resigned from, Pauline’s party about an hour after being sworn in despite having been a loyal member for 20 years.

Anning said he was dragged into a meeting and berated like a schoolboy for not agreeing to step aside and for employing Malcolm Roberts’ staff, who Pauline banned from the meeting.

In what is becoming a frequent refrain from ex-One Nation candidates and officials, he blames James Ashby.

“I believe a lot of this is coming from James Ashby, who I think is the wrong person for her – or for anyone for that matter. I think there’s only one person James Ashby is interested in and that’s himself. She’s been manipulated before but I think this is the worst of all her advisers. I guess he feels we’re some sort of threat to his ambitions.”

None of this is new for Pauline.

After the 1998 Queensland state election where 11 One Nation MPs were elected, within about 12 months they had all left the party – one quit, five created the City Country Alliance, four turned independent and the final MP created their own party of which they were the only member.

A vote for One Nation is a vote for a conglomeration of individuals who have personal beefs, very often based on misinformation and unwarranted fear, who focus more on ramping up anger than on thoughtful, evidence-based solutions.

It is a vote for James Ashby who seems to have survived countless scandals and who now makes all the decisions, making significant profit for himself along the way. Pauline seems enthralled by him.

I understand Pauline’s appeal is based on the idea that she is not like other politicians, that she cares about the little people, that she tells the truth.

Politicians make the laws in this country. They cannot be experts in everything they must deal with but they must be capable of seeking, understanding, and accepting expert advice.

“Someone told me” just doesn’t cut it.

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The Queensland election was a bit seismic, says Tony

Extract From Leigh Sales Interview with Tony Abbott

Sales: “Who are you?”

Abbott: “Well, Leigh, let’s just focus for a second on the captain’s picks. There have essentially been two captain’s picks …”

Sales: “Can you actually just focus on the big picture there? Because there’s been three different Tony Abbotts. I just want to know, which one are you?”

Abbott: “Well Leigh, I will let the Australian people form their own conclusions, but let’s just go back to the captain’s picks. There’s been two of them. There’s the paid parental leave scheme, which we took to two elections, but I accept that good policy though it would be in different circumstances, now is not the right time for an expansion of paid parental leave. And then, of course, there was the knighthood. Now, all of these awards in the Order of Australia are now being handled by the Council of the Order of Australia.”

Sales: “How about my point though, that there’ve been … you know, we’re up to Tony Abbott 3.0? Do you accept that you’ve thoroughly confused the public about what your government is and what you stand for?”

Abbott: “Let’s look at the situation that we inherited, Leigh …”

Sales: “Can we just look at the big picture about you?”

Abbott: “I’d rather have a conversation rather than an argument, Leigh.”

Sales: “I think it’s a reasonable question, and one that voters would be asking themselves, and it would be remiss of me not to put to you.”

Abbott: “And let me answer it by saying, going into the last election, the then-government was saying that the deficit would be $18 billion. It turned out to be $48 billion, there was a $30 billion budget black hole that the Labor Party had created, should have known about, and wasn’t telling us about. Obviously, when the circumstances change, there are some things that have to change with them. Now I absolutely accept Leigh, that I said the night before the election, that there’d be no cuts to the ABC. But let’s face it Leigh, that for 18 years, the ABC had no efficiency dividend, and when there are spending restraints across a whole area of government policy, surely under those circumstances, it is possible to revise a particular commitment.”

Sales: “But it’s interesting that you’re not able to answer the question to me. Who are you, what do you stand for? Which Tony are you?”

Abbott: “Well obviously, we stand for a government that believes in smaller government, lower taxes, and greater freedom. We are a government that believes in values and institutions that have stood the test of time. Above all else though, we are a pragmatic government which wants to do what works. And if we try to do something sensible one way, and it doesn’t work, we’ll try to bring about the same sensible outcome in a different way. And there are challenges Leigh. We at least accept that there’s a serious fiscal challenge, that intergenerational theft has been going on, that the former government started, and that we are determined to fix. The Labor Party is in denial about all these things. You can embrace a government which is not perfect, but is at least fair dinkum, or you can go with the people who gave us the problem, and are now trying to say that it’s not their fault, and they’re not going to address it.”

“Thanks, Mr Abbott, and congratulations on nothing happening yesterday.”

“Good evening and thank you. I’ve listened, I’ve learned and today is the day after good government has re-started, it’s back to work Tuesday, it’s a brand new day, it’s an exciting opportunity, it’s the first day of the rest of our lives, it’s a dream come true, it’s the beginning of the end of the age of entitlement or rather the beginning of the age of hope, reward and opportunity, it’s a…”

“Excuse me, Mr Abbott, but can I pursue the question which you seemed reluctant to answer in your interview with Leigh Sales, who are you?”

“Now, I think the question was pretty much dealt with last night, and I’d like to move on, because it’s not all about me.”

“So, who are you?”

“Well, the most important thing is that I’m not the Labor Party. In particular, I’m not Kevin Rudd or Julia Gillard, but I think it’s also far to say that I’m not Bill Shorten. Neither, I think it fair to say, am I … ah, Dexter, or Charles Manson, although Manson certainly knew how to inspire loyalty, which I obviously have, because all the traitors who voted against me have agreed to back me..”

“Excuse me again, but the question was ‘Who are you?’, not ‘Who aren’t you?'”

“Now… If you’d stop throwing all these rapid fire questions at me, like when I said I hadn’t read the BHP thingy, which I obviously had, because I said that I had the next day. If you keep interrupting and don’t give me the chance to finish then, of course, I’ll be misunderstood.”

“Ok. Go on.”

“Well, the thing is … ah… we inherited this mess from Labor… ah…, where the Budget doesn’t…um, balance… look, I’m not Treasurer, so he’d be better at explaining these things, but we abolished the Carbon and … ah, Mining Taxes which has left people a lot better off… and … ah, we need to cut spending so that we can afford to keep our standard of living… like, I mean, I’ve made all the households better off to the tune of “Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport” … no, not that to the tune of $550, which is helping to get us all back on track… Joe’s better at all this number’s stuff. So, I don’t know why you’re asking me an economic question.”

“I asked you who you were.”

“Look, let me make it absolutely clear that I stopped the boats. It’s only because it’s operational matter that I haven’t been able to tell you exactly how many boats I’ve stopped…”

“Let’s try this another way, how old are you?”

“Let me assure you that Kevin Andrews is absolutely right when he says that we shouldn’t be dictated to about how we choose to describe a competitive evaluation process.”

“And Joe Hockey has your full support?”

“Of course, but that’s got nothing to do with what we’re discussing. I’d like to be able to finish one answer before you change the subject.”

“So who are you, Mr Abbott?”

“Rupert Murdoch is a great Australian and I think that he said it best when he said that the Labor Party’s opposition to 457 visa holders was racist and disgusting.”

“Mr Abbott, I’m sorry but your time is up.”

“No, they gave me until after the Budget and then I’m going to call an early election, that’ll stop those backbench bastards…”

“I meant for the interview.”

“Oh, well, it’s been a pleasure.”

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Think very carefully, Queensland

When Queensland goes to the polls next Saturday they will be voting for their future – the future of their freedom, their democracy, their environment, the Great Barrier Reef, and their children.

Because of Queensland’s chequered political history and the behaviour of the current government, all political parties were recently asked to acknowledge good governance obligations expressed in very simple terms; that is, to:

  • make all decisions and take all actions, including public appointments, in the public interest without regard to personal, party political or other immaterial considerations;
  • treat all people equally without permitting any person or corporation special access or influence; and
  • promptly and accurately inform the public of its reasons for all significant or potentially controversial decisions and actions

Bizarrely, the Liberal National Party alone refused to commit to those constraints or to explain its reasons though Newman, under pressure at the leader’s debate, seemed to change his mind (possibly).

It is effectively telling voters that, if it is elected, it will do as it pleases; in effect, it will continue the behaviour which marked its first term and led to its heavy losses in recent by-elections.

With its single house of Parliament and history of political malpractice, Queensland is especially vulnerable to the misuse of political power.

In an article titled “Queensland political ethics: a perfect oxymoron”, Tony Fitzgerald recently said of the Newman government

“During its brief term in power, the present government treated the community with contempt. From behind a populist facade, it engaged in nepotism, sacked, stacked and otherwise reduced the effectiveness of parliamentary committees, subverted and weakened the state’s anti-corruption commission, made unprecedented attacks on the courts and the judiciary, appointed a totally unsuitable chief justice, reverted to selecting male judges almost exclusively and, from a position of lofty ignorance, dismissed its critics for their effrontery.”

The Q Forum has raised millions of dollars for the Queensland LNP and helped make the party the richest single political organisation in the country, according to the latest Australian Electoral Commission figures.

In July the LNP changed electoral disclosure laws to increase the threshold at which donations had to be declared, from $1,000 to $12,400.

The figure has since been inflation-adjusted to $12,800.

As a result, public disclosures of donations have become far less detailed.

Former Fitzgerald Inquiry special counsel Gary Crooke, who helped jail Queensland government ministers over corruption in the 1980s, described fundraising by charging for access to ministers as a “cancer” that kept coming back in politics and a betrayal of a fundamental public trust.

“They’re at it again with bells on, running these things where they are selling no more and no less than the community’s property that they hold in trust, in order to feather the coffers of a political party,” he said.

Mr Crooke, who also served as Queensland Integrity Commissioner, said such practices were “so unethical and so much in breach of fundamental duty that there should be a law prohibiting it”.

Now we have the bizarre situation of Campbell Newman (and others) suing Alan Jones for his allegations that Newman lied to him about the New Hope mine before the last election.

The decision to allow Acland to mine another 3m tonnes of coal a year was announced on the Friday before Christmas.

New Hope and its parent company, Washington H Soul Pattinson, donated more than $700,000 to the LNP at a state and federal level between 2011 and 2013.

Asked if New Hope’s donations influenced the government’s approval, Newman said: “I will not be commenting on Alan Jones.”

Asked by Guardian Australia if LNP officials had indicated whether the party’s donations had risen since it raised the secrecy threshold, Newman replied that he had “no idea”.

Ian Walker took a donation from a board director of New Hope Coal before his election in 2012 and, as the minister for science, information technology, innovation and the arts, subsequently oversaw the department which cleared levels of air pollution from uncovered coal trains in Brisbane before the expansion of New Hope’s Acland mine.

The pollution study by Walker’s department was released to companies including New Hope a week before it was made public in 2013.

Clean Air Queensland’s organiser Michael Kane claimed the government study clearing the pollution levels by averaging emissions over 24 hours was “absolutely the wrong methodology.”

New Hope’s chairman, Robert Millner, was called before the Independent Commission Against Corruption (Icac) in NSW last year over a donations controversy involving another Washington H Soul Pattinson subsidiary of which he was chairman, Brickworks.

Jones has also attacked the government over the energy minister, Mark McArdle, and the environment minister, Andrew Powell, accepting entertainment from New Hope in its corporate box at a Wallabies rugby game in Brisbane in 2013.

But what can we expect when the head of corporate affairs for a mining company has been in charge of developing policy on the environment for Queensland’s ruling Liberal National Party (LNP) since 2012.

James Mackay also worked full-time for the LNP during the 2012 election, while he was being paid $10,000 a month by the company, QCoal.

Mr Mackay has chaired the LNP’s state environment and heritage protection committee, which develops policy for discussion at the party’s annual conference, since being voted on to the committee in 2012.

Shortly after coming to power in 2012 the LNP introduced a bill to remove “green tape” or what it considered to be unnecessary or superfluous environmental regulation.

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman said at the time that the state was “in the coal business” and if people wanted new schools and hospitals they had to accept that the state needed royalties from coal mining.

QCoal boss Mr Wallin gave $120,000 to the party in two donations just before the 2012 state election.

Campbell Newman is trying to tell us that mining will boost employment. In 2013-14 it did not even rate in the top ten employers by industry with about a quarter of the number of people employed in health care and social assistance.

The mining lobby keeps telling us about the great contribution it makes to the Australian economy. There is a lot of exaggeration in this and often much worse.

  • As Ross Gittins in the SMH and others point out mining accounts for about 10% of our national production, but only 2% of employment. The large increase in mining investment in recent years has mainly been to purchase equipment from overseas.
  • About 80% of our very profitable mining industry is foreign owned. BHP/Biliton is 76% foreign owned, RioTinto 83% and Xstrata 100%. This means that 80% of mining profits accrue to foreign shareholders and not to Australians. In this situation it is important for the owners of the minerals; we Australians, that we get some worthwhile return either in taxes or royalties.
  • State governments do receive royalties from mining companies for the exploitation of our national resources, but they hand a lot back to the mining companies. According to the Australia Institute, the states gave the mining companies $3.2 billion in concessions last year – mainly in providing railway infrastructure and freight discounts. In Queensland, these concessions or subsidies were equivalent to about 60% of the royalties the Queensland government received.
  • Michael West in the SMH on 27 April 2014 points out that Australia’s largest coal miner, Glencore/Xstrata paid no company tax at all over the last three years despite an income of $15 billion. According to West it achieved this remarkable result of paying no company tax by paying 9% interest on $3.4 billion in loans from overseas associates. This 9% incidentally was about double the interest it would have had to pay in the open market or from a bank. Having paid 9% on these borrowings to load up its “costs” in Australia it then lent money to ‘related parties’ interest-free. We are not told who these related parties were. But there is more. Apparently there has been a large increase in Glencore’s coal sales to ‘related companies’ from 27% to 46%. This would seem to indicate transfer pricing to shift income to lower tax countries. In this regard Michael West reported on the complex Glencore company structure. ‘The Glencore structure is now run as a series of business units controlled by one company [Glencore/Xstrata Plc) which is incorporated in the UK, listed on the London and other stock exchanges, with its registered office in Jersey (a tax haven) and its headquarters in Baar, Switzerland. It is probably all legal but is it right?

Indian-based company Adani has a large mine proposal at Carmichael in the Gallilee Basin and needs to build a rail line 388 kilometres to Abbott Point port where the coal will be exported. Campbell Newman has offered $300 million of taxpayer funds to build the railway despite Adani having trouble finding finance for its mining operation with most financiers saying it is not commercially viable.

Adani plans to export 100 million tonnes a year of coal to India and provide 2400 jobs.

Adani’s chief executive Sandeep Mahta estimates their coal plant generates more than $6 billion in royalties for the Queensland Government in its first decade of operation.

Reef tourism generates over 60,000 jobs and $6 billion a year in revenue to the Queensland economy.

If you agree with Campbell that the coal business is your future and you are prepared to sacrifice the Reef and the revenue and tourism jobs it sustains for a project that the banks won’t touch then you will probably vote for the Coalition. Get back to me on how that works out.

PS Could we please have less public kissing.

tony and lisa

 

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“I’m with Stupid” man arrested; imagine if he’d been against Stupid!

Photo: Word Art generator

Photo: Word Art generator

Ok, for those of you who haven’t caught up with the Queensland man who was arrested for standing next to LNP supporters and waving while wearing an “I’m With Stupid” T-Shirt I give you the link “The Courier Mail”‘s report just so you know that it isn’t made up!

Now, because I write on this site, I’m often accused of being a lefty, which is ridiculous because I’m a Capitalist through and through. Any time I see I chance to make money, I’m there, and I’d be as rich as Gina or Rupert if it wasn’t for the fact that – like the current government – I suffer from poor marketing.

I read the article and immediately saw an opportunity to make a few bucks by marketing a t-shirt saying “I’m Not With Stupid – I’m Voting xxx”. Of course, The Greens would be too full of priniciple to replace the xxx with “Green”, and Labor supporters don’t have any money because they’ve put everything on the credit card, so the obvious person to approach with the idea was Clive Palmer.

Initiallly, his representative was very supportive and said that most of the members of his party wanted one. However, when it was discovered that the PUP members, in fact, wanted one with Clive Palmer’s photo instead of Campbell Newman’s, apparently Clive went cold on the idea.

Senator Lambie, on the other hand…

All right, I’m making it up. In a country where people are arrested for creating a public disturbance by waving while wearing a t-shirt, I feel that I have to make that clear. Just as I feel that I feel I need to make it clear that he was lucky that he wasn’t arrested under the VLAD laws.

And, while I’m at it, I also feel that I have to set the record straight on what I wrote about Abbott not visiting South Australia or commenting on their bushfires. He went there “as soon as he could” and offered them $4 million. Which is really extraordinarily generous. After all, he only offered $5 million to Iraq!

Perhaps, John Cleese should have the final say!

Stupidity.

P.S. For those who have pointed out that I posted the wrong link, I’m posting the accident as well, in case anyone is looking for it. (Yes, yes, it is ironic that I post a link on stupidity and it’s the wrong link, yes it is ironic, yes, this is why I could never be a member of Abbott’s front bench because I can actually acknowledge when I make a mistake, and clearly none of them can or we’d have mass resignations and by-elections!) This is the John Lloyd one which I accidentally posted which although it’s a little longer is thoroughly worth it: John Lloyd.

 

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