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Which way to look?

Ralph Blewitt. Photo: Herald Sun

Ralph Blewitt. Photo: Herald Sun

It is perhaps not surprising that the Royal Commission into union corruption is to begin the day before the budget is brought down.  In a fortuitous coincidence, Ralph Blewitt happens to be in town, so they are going to begin with the AWU “slush fund”.  That should have Larry Pickering and Michael Smith and their band of rabid followers all agog again…or should I say still.  Agog enough to not notice they are getting screwed by the Budget?  We shall see.

In November 2012 Ralph Blewitt turned up in Australia “courtesy of a man writing a book on the AWU in the late 1980s and early ’90s.”

He told 7.30 that he had provided Victoria Police with a dossier of files “which show documents that certainly connect Julia Gillard to having a hand in the establishment of the AWU Workplace Reform Association in WA, and other matters”.  Mr Blewitt declined to outline those “other matters”.   The documents relating to the period 1990 – 95 appear to have been provided to him to “refresh” his memory by ‘researcher’ Harry Nowicki.

Victoria Police detectives who have been running an 18-month investigation with Mr Blewitt’s co-operation, intend to charge him with fraud-related offences, to which he will plead guilty. He is expected to give evidence against others. It is understood that in return for his co-operation and guilty plea, police will make courtroom submissions that Mr Blewitt should not be sentenced to jail.

Mr Blewitt’s travel expenses for his current visit to Australia are being met by a private citizen who has wanted to see the slush fund issues properly investigated by police and the Royal Commission.  This philanthropic champion of justice is no doubt hoping that Julia Gillard may be called though goodness knows what else they could ask her.  She has answered every question put to her.

The Royal Commission will then move on to the HSU.  It will be interesting to see their focus.  No doubt Craig Thomson will be dragged through more proceedings for an amount which, to date, seems relatively trivial.  One wonders if whistle blower Kathy Jackson has made a Blewitt type deal too.

The Health Services Union has launched a legal action against its own national secretary Kathy Jackson demanding she repay almost $250,000 paid into a slush fund.

Ms Jackson in return had launched a counter-claim seeking almost hundreds of thousands of dollars in back pay. The HSU is now seeking to recover money paid to the National Health Development Account (NHDA) which was controlled by Ms Jackson.

In a statement to the ABC, Ms Jackson said all the allegations against her were “false and malicious” and accused “dark forces” of being behind them.  Independent Australia has done a whole series of articles called Jacksonville with source documents that provide a rather damning picture

Investigating high profile union cases should defer attention from the high profile political money laundering and slush funds that are coming to light every day, they hope.

Which way to look?

98 comments

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  1. dafid1

    KL are you aware if anyone from Independent Australia will be called? Couple of contributors who worked on Jacksonville would be more reliable presenting facts than anyone associated with Jackson, herself or any of the hand picked Tory’s, to be ‘honest and truthful’.

  2. Kaye Lee

    dafid,

    I suspect the union has all that info. they have referred it to the RC. There was a story in Fairfax. This latest story from IA provides the latest. http://www.independentaustralia.net/life/life-display/kathy-jacksons-secret-slush-fund-and-victorian-police-blindness,6438

    “OPPOSITION Leader Tony Abbott has described the controversial national secretary of the Health Services Union, Kathy Jackson, as ”heroic” for her whistleblowing.” Those words may come back to bite him.

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/abbott-backs-jackson-20120410-1wne3.html#ixzz31O4QIqVy

  3. The Ozzie

    “..goodness knows what else they could ask her (Gillard). She’s aanswered every question put to her.”
    You don’t know anything about this matter, do you?!
    Every time she was asked in Parliament about these matters she didn’t answer. She shrilled the questions themselves were a sleazy smear canpaign being run by Abbott and that she had already answered in the public record.

    She had not. Everyone that pays close attention to this matter knows that she has not.
    Her 2 press conferences in 2012 on this matter were called without prior notice knowing that the journo’s who were seriously chasing answers from her would not be present due to the haste of the press conference being called. Just a few left wing journo’s and the Gillard friendly Canverra Press Gallery. Again she was asked no questions of any significance on the AWU matter.
    She’s not going to be able run from the aroyal Commission. She’s not going to be able to just knowingly lie and refer a question put to her by the Commission to the public record by saying she has already answered the question before (which it is payently known that she has not).
    So what is it with just accepting what Gillard says and more imoortantly, what she doesn’t say?
    It must be a Left thing!

  4. dafid1

    Thanks, appreciate the info. Cheers

  5. Kaye Lee

    As has been asked a thousand times Ozzie, what specific question do you feel has been left unanswered? I actually do know quite a bit about this. Perhaps I can answer it for you. I know Ralph Blewitt committed fraud. What do you think Julia did wrong?

  6. Terry2

    Ozzie

    I seem to remember two very long press conferences that Julia Gillard held and answered every question from the assembled media, she also fronted Q&A on the ABC twice as a sole guest and responded to every question put to her by the audience.

    I don’t think you will see the current incumbent being anywhere near as open to questioning.

  7. Fed up

    The only name, over all those documents is Blewits’. Yes, and he did bury the money He said so,

    If the police has found the smoking gun we will find out quickly.

    It is likely we will see Blewitt discredit completely, and in record time.

    In the process, he will darg many developers and other corporations down,

    Will quickly move on, beyond Gillard. Any wrong found there, will be minor. More about process than criminal activity.

  8. Gilly

    Does a “slush” fund mean that police action will be a “slush” investigation? Who pays the piper?

  9. Matters Not

    Troll alert!

    Look at some of the fanciful claims.

    Her 2 press conferences in 2012 on this matter were called without prior notice

    Saw both and there were many, many journalists there. Did you see either? How come so many were there without prior notice?

    knowing that the journo’s (sic) who were seriously chasing answers from her would not be present due to the haste of the press conference being called

    Seeing you know so much about this matter, you might provide the names of such journalists. Go on be brave. Reveal your insider knowledge. LOL.

    Just a few left wing journo’s (sic) and the Gillard friendly Canverra (sic) Press Gallery

    If you think the Canberra press Gallery was friendly to Gillard, then you are certainly not an insider.

    In short, your claims are hilarious.

  10. Fed up

    I believe this is the way most will be looking this week. Rudd and Gillard will not interest many, Maybe ICAC will

    Consumer Confidence come Tuesday The Great Abbott Recession this way comes #auspol #Budget2014 pic.twitter.com/nhWWjNrPcE— Sir craigjack36 (@craigjack36) May 11, 2014

  11. Kaye Lee

    It astonishes me that Julia Gillard attracts so much attention while people like Ozzie seem happy for developers to be illegally/legally buying favours from our politicians. I guess I have to just add it to those things I just can’t fathom about them like their absolute certainty, in the face of all science, that global warming is a plot by bankers to take over the world abetted by their frontline troops, scientists who are lying to get funding cause that’s what scientists do. How can I understand these people?

    Ozzie was no doubt incensed by the fact that Julia Gillard brought in carbon pricing. How do you feel about Tony’s PPL levy which will be paid for by us since he is also decreasing company tax? How do you feel about the sick tax asking for co-contributions to go to the doctor or to buy medicine? How do you feel about the deficit levy when Coalition decisions have added $68 billion to the deficit in just 4 months? How do you feel about increasing the fuel excise levy which will put up the price of everything? Can you point me to where Tony said he would do these things before the election? I can show you where he screamed loud and long “no taxation without an election”.

  12. john921fraser

    <

    Here's another coincidence :

    "john921fraser
    May 10, 2014 • 10:35 am
    <

    Anyone looking forward to the "big infrastructure" headlines on Wednesday ?

    The Victorian State government has already let the cat out of the bag as to how they are going to fight the next State election.

    So be prepared to be swamped with Abbott's promise to be the "Prime Minister for Infrastructure".

    The Abbott promise to "stop the taxes" will not be mentioned."

  13. bjkelly1958

    I have followed Jacksonville on IA for the length of it and with great interest. I do hope those good people get to present the dossier they have carefully and thoughtfully built up.

  14. Kaye Lee

    I heard Joe Hockey…$40 billion from the feds, another $42 billion from the states. Baird is rubbing his hands together but none of their proposals have cost benefit analyses and they don’t listen to Infrastructure Australia about priorities. Many of the proposals are very dodgy. Roads to nowhere as Lenore Taylor put it. Tony promised that every piece of expenditure over $100 million? (not sure) had to have a CBA. Oops there goes another one.

  15. Keitha Granville

    Are you asking yourself KL who “the Ozzie” is ? Trying to pretend he’s an ordinary Australian, I dont’ think so.
    I am so very tired of all these Royal Commsissions, investigations, reports, audits, judicial enquiries, into everybody and anybody that the government of the day feels is getting in the way of something it wants to do without anyone asking too many awkward questions. Haven’t we got police forces, justice departments, treasury officials in the public service already on the public payroll who can and should be perfoming these tasks on a daily basis ? If they are not and we need to check up on them, why are they still in our (the public’s) employ ? I am fed up to the teeth with paying out all this extra public money investigating things that shouldn’t be happening if people are doing their jobs. And it just keeps distracting us from the main game long enough – well the media makes sure we are distracted – so that business as usual for those needing the distraction can get on with their dirty little deals and side issues. Thise discovered should be named, shamed and hounded from their positions NEVER to rise again.

  16. Mike Wilkinson

    I think there are enough eyes, just of those who have commented thus far, to keep watch in all directions. ICAC, Budget, RC into Union corruption. I think it will be a pie throwing contest, a race to see who can be brought to justice first. A pox on all their houses!

  17. Kaye Lee

    “Prime Minister Tony Abbott will hand over $1.5 billion in federal funding for the east-west link without seeing the full business case for the controversial massive infrastructure project, despite an election promise that any investment of more than $100 million would require a published cost benefit analysis.

    Premier Denis Napthine has defended the lack of transparency, saying that the the public release of details would place in jeopardy a competitive advantage as it sought bidders for its construction.

    Instead, the government has released a brochure”….as you do

    Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/tony-abbott-says-he-doesnt-need-to-see-the-eastwest-links-full-business-case-20130927-2uih8.html#ixzz31OIQDfxV

  18. Kaye Lee

    Keitha,

    I couldn’t agree more. ICAC is doing a good job. They have the legal team, investigators, support staff, computers, equipment etc all set up. We also have the police force who I hope would respond to intimidation a damn sight faster than a RC will. We have a judicial system with the power to prosecute these people, unlike the RC. What is the point other than to try to smear Labor, Gillard, Rudd and to break the unions power. Lucy Wicks was talking on her facebook page about Sussan Ley visiting a childcare centre. I asked why she had commissioned a PriceWaterhouseCoopers report into childcare when the productivity Commission were already doing one. Did it have anything to do with the general manager of PWC being the founder of the North Sydney Forum (Hockey’s fund-raising group that sell contact to the Treasurer). She removed the comment and banned me.

  19. Fed up

    Is Abbott going to freeze pollie’s wages for ten years, as they want to do for the minimum wage? The last big rise they got, was suppose to get rid of all the extra’s Still seem to be getting plenty.

    Do not forget, they also want to see all wage levies and shift allowance, disappear for ever.

  20. Fed up

    Gillard has been answering questions on this for twenty years. Not just those two, very long PC, she called and answered every question they put to her.

    Blewit seems to have given the police, what they believe to be the smoking gun,. Therefore they should have found something in 18 months of digging.

    If so, in fairness to Gillard, we should hear it, this week.

    Has she even been interviewed. I know a certain journalist, is always predicating that is going to happen,

  21. Fed up

    I wonder if we will see money for nannies in this budge?

  22. Fed up

    Is spending so much on roads, really good governance, or in fact infrastructure building?

  23. Kaye Lee

    Ah yes, the pollie pay freeze for one year which Tony Abbott described as a populist stunt when Labor did it. It’s easy to give up something you don’t have. History would suggest that if they freeze their pay for one year, the remuneration tribunal will give them a “catch-up increase” not too far down the track.

  24. Fed up

    I thought that Blewitt was granted immunity, Have the police found more on him?

  25. Matters Not

    For those concerned about the pay freeze for Abbott et al.

    And that’s why gibberish about freezing the FAT CATS is so much pandering and nonsense, and such a nakedly self-serving and blatant populist stunt

  26. Matters Not

    Sorry, it was suppose to contain a graph showing how politicians’ increases have grown over time when compared to average earnings.

    Sorry.

  27. dafid1

    and a lot about hate and misogyny isn’t it Mr Ozzie?

  28. Kaye Lee

    Not giving them a pay rise will save very little money and won’t hurt them at all. Now if they gave up their entitlements like free travel and chauffeur driven cars and private jets and accommodation allowance and money to pay spin doctors and advertising kids to come up with slogans and image consultants that say wear a blue tie….THEN we would be talking a saving that might hurt them. They would have to remember how the rest of us live….making our own way to work or moving to where the work is. paying for our own holidays and fancy lunches and seats at the footie.

  29. Kaye Lee

    Are we still buying Tony’s big new planes to fly business people and journalists around the world in luxury?

    “The $600 million lease on the current RAAF fleet of two Boeing 737 business jets and three smaller Challenger 604 aircraft will expire next year and the government will seek agreement from media companies to limit criticism of any decision to opt for bigger planes.”

    Perhaps he could take one for the team and tell the business people and journalists to make their own way wherever they want to go. Tony could fly business class and help Qantas out. I understand Prince William flew economy with one bodyguard.

    http://www.news.com.au/national/prime-minister-tony-abbott-seeks-media-deal-over-vip-jets/story-fncynjr2-1226793311718

  30. dafid1

    Thanks MatterNot I was about to raise the points you have, re number of Jurnos at the 2 PC’s. I have a mate in one of the then Ministers office and I distinctly remember her emailing me the PC’s were being held and to watch for them on the days as there was a huge gathering of Gallery jurnos expected. As it duly happened.
    I would be interested to learn how Julia’s audience for her QandA was jacked up. Would be a first if it happened, in favour of a Labor participant.
    As you said Troll Alert, when attacking Julia is the best they can come up with, given what this Govt along with their NSW cronies are doing.
    However we expect nothing else from them and their friends

  31. Kaye Lee

    “in the tens of thousands of words devoted to the story, no evidence that Gillard knew the fund was going to be used for Wilson and Blewitt’s personal gain has emerged. Or that Gillard was aware of the scam until before it became public. Or that she personally benefited from it. Or that she has lied about her actions.”

  32. john921fraser

    <

    @Kaye Lee

    Apparently, not opening a file is a hanging offence.

  33. john921fraser

    <

    There, now I've gone and done a "look over there".

  34. Kaye Lee

    Whereas illegally not declaring donations is not.

    “Mike Baird had failed to declare a single donation in his electoral return for the past seven years. It was as if he had received no donations at all!

    The records, however, paint a much different picture, showing Mike Baird’s campaigns have had 43 different donors, who have declared more than $170,000 worth of donations.”

  35. Kaye Lee

    “The Liberal Party of NSW last month declared a four-year-old donation of $25,000 from the Warringah Club, a fundraising entity associated with Prime Minister Tony Abbott, as well as amending its most recent returns to declare more than $100,000 in political donations including in-kind support to Joe Hockey’s Federal Electoral Committee.

    The amended returns were received by the Australian Electoral Commission on April 5, 2014, as the Independent Commission Against Corruption was preparing to begin public hearings into political donations channelled to a company associated with a staff member in the office of Terrigal MP Chris Hartcher, uncovered during Operation Spicer. It is not clear what prompted the additional disclosures….”

  36. Fed up

    How does Abbott choose the business men, he intends to take with him, on every trip overseas.

  37. Anomander

    Everyone knows (according the the Ozzie mindset) that only unions are corrupt. The way they brazenly stand-up for workers rights and entitlements is disgraceful. I for one am disgusted that we have to work only 5 days a week – won’t someone please think of the productivity and how badly it must be suffering.

    It’s a good think however, we have those champions of virtue the miners, the developers and the financiers who, as a bunch of naive cleanskins, would never think of using their money to influence government, would never offer bribes to make sure work got done faster. Those poor captains of industry who simply love getting together for a bit of a chat with Joe Hockey, cautiously using their business funds wisely and altruistically as membership fees – never as underhanded or dodgy payments to secure favours.

  38. Stephen Tardrew

    Lucy Wicks’ ban on Kaye smells of guilt hidden in small print and secret memos. Democracy surly isn’t about equal voice is it? What now my pwecious widdle fraidy Wicks? Remember there are always challengers waiting in the wings.?

  39. Stephen Tardrew

    Why do I question my own statements? Dunno!

  40. john921fraser

    <

    @Fed Up

    "How does Abbott choose the business men, he intends to take with him, on every trip overseas."

    1, Fighting ability …. doesn't look like Packer will get another trip.

    2. "Business MEN" …. gender appears to be highly rated.

    3, Become Abbott's Chief of Staff. …… this is the hardest of all ….. any prospective COS has to get past Credlin first.

  41. Fed up

    Could Abbott be confusing the role of PM with that of a corporation head or leader. Then maybe he see himself as a heavenly father handing out tough love, Maybe he just sees himself, as redeeming all the young, ensuring that they all learn the only way to heaven, is by work. Handing out welfare and other benefits, only weakens the moral fabric of society. All must learn to stand on their own feet, There will be no assistance from this moralistic government., Even the disable halve to learn there are no free lunches.

    Yes, Abbott and his cronies, sure are they only ones that know what is good for us.

  42. OzFenric

    The problem with approaching government like a business is that a business will naturally cull the parts of itself that are underperforming. It is nothing to a business to sell (privatise) or close (dissolve) a business unit or a department. The business has no concern for the long-term wellbeing of its employees (the public service) or its clients (the Australian public). Going to unwarranted expense and using resources to support those who can’t pay for its services is anathema to a business, as it apparently is also to this government.

  43. Matters Not

    What happened to “The Ozzie”? (See above). Was he/she banned?

    If so I protest. He/she was about to reveal the names of the journalists (I think) who were intent on questioning Gillard but were ‘caught by surprise’ and couldn’t make not one, but two press conferences, where she outlasted the media pack.

    Or is “The Ozzie” someone who ‘cuts and runs’? Apparently so. How very UnAustralian. Perhaps ‘The Ozzie’ wears a … ?

    Yes I know, it’s all about perception, but perhaps even ‘bullsh#t’ for it to be viable needs a grain of truth.

    But perhaps not?

  44. doctorrob54

    Reblogged this on doctorrob54 and commented:
    The Jackson File.The Lying Pig.

  45. Terry2

    Is “The Ozzie” a pop-up Conservative or a robo-troller ?

  46. Terry2

    By the way, who paid Blewitt’s air fares and expenses to return to Australia , the RC will undoubtedly ask this question as the last word from Blewitt was that he could not afford to return for the hearing.

    I wonder if there is a performance bonus involved.

  47. Fed up

    Who is paying his legal bills. Arbid not doing too good. Maybe the questions being asked, really do not make sense.

  48. Fed up

    OzFenric, also the national budget or economy does not work as a business or household budget does. The question is, who is the PM’s first responsibility, some could say, only responsibility to. I would say the nation and it’s people.

  49. Wayne Turner

    For a “budget emergency” (That is isn’t cause it’s ONE BIG LIE.).These Libs certainly know how to waste money on political witch hunts,I mean Royal Commissions.STOP THE WASTE! – Indeed.

  50. Dan Rowden

    Royal Witch Hunts, er Commissions, are a tried and true political strategy for the conservatives. It keeps the Labor Party on the back foot throughout the duration and keeps the electorate’s natural suspicion of the Left bubbling away nicely. A disgusting misuse of public money but ultimately quite cunning, especially when you consider that the glaring misuse of public funds doesn’t seem to ever hurt them electorally. Amazing how much automatic legitimacy the word “Royal” lends to something in the eyes of so many Australians.

  51. Kaye Lee

    They already had the Cole Royal Commission which “found evidence of – among other things – widespread inappropriate payments, disregard of safety regulations, threatening conduct, under-payment of workers and tax evasion.” That was tabled in 2003 at a cost of $60 million.

    “Although the Commission found no evidence of organised criminal activity, it did articulate a case that the industry was characterised by lawlessness in the conduct of industrial relations. It recommended sweeping changes to industrial relations laws applicable to the industry.” It led to no prosecutions. So the Howard government formed the ABCC – the “tough cop on the beat”. Deja vu anyone?

    They cost us a fortune in lost cases.

    “TAXPAYERS will foot a $105,000 bill for the failed landmark prosecution of a construction worker charged with refusing to attend a controversial Federal Government commission.”

    Crikey has an interesting article about them

    http://www.crikey.com.au/2013/08/28/the-shaky-foundations-of-the-coalition-abcc-promise/?wpmp_switcher=mobile

    It’s all just too silly. We foot the bill for their mudslinging politics and any recommendations just end up with another bureaucratic body set up – the wrongdoing is exaggerated for political purposes and nothing is achieved.

  52. CMMC

    These Jesuits just love an Inquisition.

  53. Kaye Lee

    “A last-minute request to freeze the pay of federal politicians and senior bureaucrats was only sent to the Remuneration Tribunal late on Friday.
    While Treasurer Joe Hockey says the pay freeze will happen to help shore up the budget, Fairfax Media has learned that Employment Minister Eric Abetz did not write to the Remuneration Tribunal until the very end of the week requesting the freeze.
    While the tribunal has a regularly-scheduled meeting in Sydney on Monday, it is able to either turn down the request or ask for more time to consider it, which could mean the Treasurer may be unable to announce the pay freeze on budget night.”

  54. diannaart

    Can only hope that in turning over the Union rock, more than a few corporates will be caught in the light of day. Of course, big business would never make secret deals with unions now, would they?

  55. OzFenric

    Will be interesting to see if they would go ahead with the freeze if they miss the big night and lose the opportunity to announce it with the budget. After all, its main purpose is not to save money, but to reassure people that politicians are included in the “everyone” who has to share the load…

  56. Fed up

    If Mr Abbott lost 10% of his income., I suspect he would hardly notice. If my kids, with young families. who are on average incomes, would indeed notice, finding themselves in strife.

    I know, I would, being on a full pension, and home owner would.

    As for others on New Start and single parents, would find themselves far behind the eight ball.

  57. jimhaz

    [They already had the Cole Royal Commission which “found evidence of – among other things – widespread inappropriate payments, disregard of safety regulations, threatening conduct, under-payment of workers and tax evasion]

    Gosh, those findings are exactly what so many companies do, small or large. It will be far, far higher a percentage if Abbott and his ultra-con libertarian predator mates get their way with deregulation. It is one of the reasons they rabbit on about “small government”.

    I think the HSU showed us that something needed to happen with the regulations relating to unions. With so much syphoning out of funds, it is very clear they don’t have a problem on the revenue side. Personally at the top level I think they are full of fat cat types suiting on gravy trains – and that is part of the ALPs problem – they are not producing the right people.

    I actually refuse to join a union due to the cost. Speaking generally, pretty much all they need to expend now is legal costs to fight real wage losses – they don’t really have to fight for better conditions anymore and need to downsize as a result. I’m hoping this RC turmoil will lead to membership fees being halved, which in time might help boost membership numbers.

    The lack of any real need to fight for conditions does not help to give the more altruistic types (“lefties”) with the right experience and career path into the ALP either. Necessity is the mother of invention and necessity’s vibe has gone in the case of unions.

  58. Fed up

    The Pink Batt inquiry has raised the risk of asbestos in roof places. Arbid has a been asked if he has been into roof spaces. They parent’s solicitor has now raised the risk of falling through. Sadly, I had this happened to me. My kids below, thought it was funny. Yes, (I had to go up there, as rain was pouring through a broken tile. No money, no one else available). This questioning is stupid. Remind the parents, the boss knew about electricity and what was in those roof spaces.

  59. dafid1

    Mark Arbib used the don’t remember, can’t recall most of the time. I agree with Fed Up, questions in the main were not specific in detail but kept hammering particular dates, were quite confusing. However I’m sure Mr Arbib and his legal advisers spent a great deal of time preparing for this examination.
    I was surprised given the huge outrage expressed by now Minister Hunt over the 4 tragic deaths, counsel for the individual families were very brief.
    I presume they are saving themselves for Peter Garrett and Kevin Rudd. I know Peter is a very honest caring individual, I believe what he says will be truthful. Former PM Rudd has a great amount of experience in these types of enquiries and Commissions. He was Former Chief of Staff to Queensland Labor Premier Wayne Goss and Rudd fought off strong attacks re his alleged involvement in the notorious Heiner Investigation. A certain Mr Ackerman of the Murdoch Daily Telegraph was at the forefront of the attacks on Rudd. To no avail.
    So Kevin is not inexperienced in defending himself in and outside Parliament (Utegate)

  60. Fed up

    I suspect that parliamentary secretaries hmake many decisions, suspect they are little more than workhorses of the minister and PM.

    It appears there were 10,000 registered installers at that time. 10,000 I assume managed to do the job without getting killed.

    If roof cavities are so dangerous, where is the outcry and demand to make them safer? Pink Batts have killed no one. Have not caught alight. It is the wiring and dubious lightening that has led to these deaths. Those who put in solar panels, also crawl about, in the same spaces. So do electricians. Time that this was put into context. The batts scheme was not the first time that people began entering roof spaces. Has been going on for fifty years or sixty years.

    Tens of thousands of projects rolling out at the time.

    By the way, when my leg came through the ceiling, I was being very careful. Someone left a piece of timber in the roof. I thought I was treading on the rafter.

  61. Fed up

    One could expect that wiring in roof spaces to be safe, If not, why not?

  62. Fed up

    I wonder if Thiess Brothers are happy about being involved with Blewitt.

  63. Fed up

    I wonder how Abbott would cope with being asked if he seen documents of many years ago. We all know that Abbott reads few. Most documents mentioned, seem to be drafts. It was two governments ago.

  64. Fed up

    Arbid is being asked questions, that had nothing to do with his role.

  65. Fed up

    I wonder why we do not seem to have access to that other RC. Would like to see Blewitt questioned.

  66. diannaart

    Fed up

    Here are the year-to-date stats for workplace fatalities thus far in 2014:

    As at 5 May 2014, 59 Australian workers have been killed while at work.

    http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/swa/statistics/work-related-fatalities/pages/worker-fatalities

    How many workers died during the Pink Batt installation?

    Four fatalities. Four.

    Waiting for RC into workplaces across Australia… probably waiting a long time… may be indefinitely… no smear value in the 59 deaths in 2014…

    Yes, all the RC’s initiated by the Abbottoir are just witch hunts.

    Nauseating.

  67. Fed up

    I believe we have had at least three coal miners killed in this region in the last couple of months. Wonder how many truck drivers within that time.

    I agree these people should not have died. To blame a scheme that insulated over a million and quarter roofs, and employed at least ten thousand is a little ridiculous.

    In fact, points to a successful programme.

    If the bosses had observed their duty of care, they may still be alive.

  68. Terry2

    FU : when the insulation scheme was closed down, the federal government paid electricians around the country to check on the work done and home safety.

    A friend of mine, an electrician, took on some of those inspections in our local area and found several cases of vermin damaged wiring and reported back that the wiring needed to be replaced. He gave up doing that work as the homeowners were demanding that he and the federal government pay for the rewiring of their homes.

    Let’s not forget that this scheme was all about putting insulation batts in roof areas, something I did myself several years ago; the government is not responsible for home maintenance – I hope that this comes out in the RC.

  69. Fed up

    I had my insulation inspected, under that scheme. The inspector told me that the majority of work was at acceptable standards. Since then, I have had solar panels put in. They have left the insulation in a mess. Will need someone to get up there to rearrange them. My son in law told me yesterday, that the batts can be swept about by wind entering the roof space.

    He was one of those ten thousand. I am aware of the warnings they got from Garrett on a daily basis.

  70. Fed up

    I, a woman also help put batts into a roof. Never considered getting experts in, Thanks to my farmer father, I was also made aware of the dangers.

    .Does not the packaging have warnings of the dangers, on them.

  71. Fed up

    I assume that the industry is still retrofitting homes.

  72. Fed up

    I have never seen such a bored lot of people in my life. That is including the judge sitting on the bench.

  73. deknarf

    Seems the AWU ‘slush fund’ is paling into insignificance under the weight of the Liberal Parties ‘slush funds’!!

  74. Fed up

    I wonder why we do not have access to that one. AWU. Might not have been as boring as the Pink Batts one today, I am sure MSM will spice it up.

    Mr Garrett appears tomorrow., They wasted so much time with Abrib, he has to come back tomorrow.

  75. dafid1

    The RC into Pink Batts has been a flop so far. Arbib has been well briefed, done his homework and as far as I understand has not fallen into any traps plus, has not done the dirty on Peter Garrett by blaming him for anything. He simply said couple of times when presented with scenarios, “That was the Ministers area ”
    hearing adjourned.
    I will be interested to read and hear the MSM take on proceedings

  76. mars08

    It would be interesting to see the stats on death and injury rate for insulation installers… based on the total number of workers in the industry, and the amount of jobs done per year. Let’s say, for the past 20 years…

  77. Fed up

    Well it appears, according to todays estimate, there were ten thousand installers registered.

    Would like to pint out, once again, there is nothing dangerous in installing batts. The problem is, that many of our roof spaces have dangerous electricity wiring in them. This plus allowing danger down lights and ceiling exhaustion fans to be installed.

    One cannot regulate for the stupidity of using metal staple where there is wiring. Even here, is the cut out switches where extended to all wiring, the lives might have been saved.

  78. Fed up

    The figures under this programme were lower than the fifty years before. Same goes for fires. The scheme left the industry safer. That is a fact.

  79. Stephen Tardrew

    Good lord boredom extraordinaire. Suffering on the high seas and we can’t manage on shore processing yet we have to put up with this mummers farce. Now that we are blind to the suffering of refugees its OK so lets regurgitated warn out pink bats. We all grieved and learned form the suffering of the families and the recommendations of past enquirers. Just watching that slothful lot sitting around for a day with nothing to do and no place to go but to listen to documents that were not sighted by the the witness and irrelevant emails is a criminal waste of time and resources.

  80. Fed up

    I am inclined to agree with Richo for once. This inquiry might finish off Rudd for good. That would not be a bad thing for Labor. Today NBN

  81. Stephen Tardrew

    Fed up Rudd is finished politically. Twice burnt twice shy.

  82. Sir ScotchMistery

    My question is will the “philanthropic” tosser warming this cold toast turn out to be Sir PointyHead, the current occupant of the space normally reserved for prime ministers, as was the case, still un-investigated, in the action against the Ipswich Fish Shop woman and latterly the action against P Slipper esq., sometime bedfellow of James Ashby.

    It will make interesting reading in the future IMHO. Especially if the next ALP government do what the current group of tossers on the government benches do in referring each bit of supposed skull-duggery by the current government, to a Royal Commission, after they have been removed to their normal space for Australia, the opposition benches where they belong.

  83. Sir ScotchMistery

    In terms of Ozzie, it appears to be another way to say “Sir PointyHead’s staff member, or recent trashpal of Peta Credlin, well known dog breeder and Canberra schlep. Alternatively, it may be Lady James Ashby, bosom-chum of Lord Kwithtoffer Poine, Adelaide gadabout and equally well known toss-pot.

  84. dafid1

    Just adding to the nonsense, was driving home so tuned into ABC News Radio and first item, first mind you, not the Abbott lies and BS, not budget, not the condemnation from Albo, Doug Cameron, no thats not the big ticket item, it was Julia being associated with that Union slush fund yet again. How many more times is that nonsense going to be dragged out and shame on the ABC for making it lead item.
    Was I annoyed? grhhhhhhhhhhh

  85. Kaye Lee

    I am assuming that if anyone is hurt building all these roads that Tony is rushing through without CBAs that he will resign. Has Tony ever laid a road? Will he be out there every day with them pouring bitumen? And what about the NBN which is going ahead without a CBA? Has Malcolm ever laid cable? Will he be down in the asbestos lined pits with them? How bloody ridiculous to keep asking Arbib if he has ever been in a roof installing insulation.

  86. Kaye Lee

    This to me shows how desperate this government is to deflect discussion about the budget. The RC into unions wasn’t even spose to start yet. They are only sitting for one day because Ralph Blewitt is here surprise surprise. They adjourn tomorrow. So we start with the big card – Julia Gillard. Tomorrow the pink batts sees Peter Garrett with Joe sweating on us looking over there. Then in an amazing co-incidence Kevin Rudd will be called the day after the budget. Matthias “was it good for you too” Corman will be pointing anywhere but at the budget.

    Getting rid of the corporate regulator, Australian Renewable Energy Agency, refugee council, the national water commission – 40 government bodies abolished last year, another 50 tomorrow, for a combined net saving over four years of $470 million, nowhere near enough to buy the planes Tony wants to buy for himself to fly around the world in with journalists and businessmen. Dump your stupid planes and jet fighters and stop messing with people’s lives you bastard!

  87. Fed up

    He is not only coming after petrol tomorrow. It appears that LPG and methadol will also be included.

    So much for encouraging cleaner fuel.

  88. Fed up

    Blewitt being called back at 2pm tomorrow. Who paid that fare to bring him here now? It appears the commission has legal matters to deal with tomorrow.

  89. Stephen Tardrew

    If the liar label sticks to Abbott and the LNP the inquiries will be a mere side dish with pink bat boredom, fading into sleepy oblivion by today’s example, while union and business complicity will rub off onto both parties.

    No new taxes is Abbott’s death knell if Labor can drive the lie home. Abbott does not realize that pleading rationalizations will not erase the viscous verbal lashing he handed out to Julia.

    It is fascinating. By treating Julia the way he did he hung a noose around his own neck. Let’s pull it a whole lot tighter.

  90. Fed up

    we keep hearing about living longer, and the effect t it has on the health budget. Sorry, I have seen no evidence that shows we are sick longer, whether we die young or at an older age. It appears if one lives longer, one gets sick at an older age. Yes, we are not dependent on the health services longer

  91. diannaart

    Indeed Fed Up

    The longer a person lives the longer delay before ‘costly’ illness sets in – if at all.

    People; old, young or middling get sick and die – fact of life.

    This old age crisis just another beat-up among many being fostered by LNP.

  92. Fed up

    I catch public transport, unlike Abbott. You would be surprise of the number , mostly sprightly women, that also catch buses. Some into their 90s.

    I wonder how many times they are going to ask Arbib the same question. I have lost count. Has been going on for a day and half. Trouble, most are connected tot the role he was carrying out.

    Each lawyer, representing different people area getting up. rep[eating the questions.

    Arbib has said that they should have handed the operation over to the states. I fear, we would be still waiting I for it to start, if this occurred. Look at the mess, some of the states made of the so called school halls programmes.

    The question that is not been asked, how would have more training helped, when workers ignored the regulations that are already in place.

  93. helenmarg

    I have not read all the comments but do we get told that the Pay rise was refused in April and I

    think Julia Gillard dropped the Gold Passes To new members of Parliament during her Government

  94. Terry2

    I understand that Abbott was asked three times in Question Time to repeat his assurances given before the election http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VN-hbWVXsyE

    Some religious resonances that Tony Abbott would clearly understand – ‘thrice before the cock crows’

    He refused to repeat those assurances.

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