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Your call is important

By 2353NM

To paraphrase, hell hath no fury like a politician scorned. Dennis Jensen, MP for the seat of Tangney, was not preselected by the Liberal Party to recontest the seat in Parliament. He is running as an independent. Jensen recently claimed Liberal MPs use database software to profile constituents and decline requests for help from decided voters, even their own supporters. The system is apparently called “Feedback”.

Let’s be realistic here, Feedback is a form of Customer Relations Management. It the same concept as you scanning your ‘Woolworths Rewards’ card at the supermarket or disclosing your frequent flyers number when making a travel booking. Companies use this information to target their information to convince you to purchase more from them, rather than their competition. To convince you to allow them to track your purchases, there is a reward of some form. It could be a discount on your petrol purchase if you spend a certain value in the supermarket, a ‘free’ flight from Sydney to Melbourne or access to a marketplace where they offer various trinkets (sorry ‘quality merchandise’) for the points you have accumulated.

That is why if you do use a Woolworths Rewards card, you occasionally get emails with ‘specials just for you’. It also explains that if you are searching on the internet because you need to purchase a new vacuum cleaner, all the advertising on the internet sites you visit for a while afterwards seem to have advertising for vacuum cleaners or retailers selling vacuum cleaners. Basically, it’s profitable for retailers and manufacturers to pay for a system to track your interest in various items and present options to you – hopefully convincing you to purchase their item rather than the option presented by the competition. Rather than sticking an ad on the side of a bus and hoping someone who is in the market sees it, they target ‘qualified’ consumers.

It’s the same with ‘Feedback’. The Liberal Party tracks your interactions with them. So, for example, if you choose to write a letter to Immigration Minister Dutton protesting at the inhumane treatment of refugees in the concentration camps located on Manus Island and Nauru, your name and address details together with some information on why you contacted the Minister will be recorded on ‘Feedback’. Now, say you live in a seat that the Liberal Party deem to be at risk – either one of theirs they think they will lose or one held by another party they think they can win – they use this information when the election is called. The system will ensure that the ‘tough on border protection’ personalised material is mailed to others around you but you are more than likely to get some marketing about (again for example) how some grant to an Indigenous community is assisting them to break the poverty cycle.

The logic is simple. Sending you a letter boasting how tough they are on border protection would in the normal course reinforce your existing opinion of the Liberal Party and why you would not vote for them. The alternative on a ‘closing the gap’ initiative would, in the opinion of the marketing experts, demonstrate to you that the Liberal Party does have a concern for the standard of living of those that are less well off in the society we live in and make you more likely to vote for the Coalition.

If you’re an ALP member and read this far saying ‘we wouldn’t do that’ – well you’re wrong. The ALP version of the customer management software is called ‘Campaign Central’ and the same decisions are made by a different group of marketing experts for exactly the same reasons. The ALP purchases a third party solution (in other words, someone else develops and sells a customer management system which is probably customised for the ALP’s needs). An internet search on the ‘Campaign Central’ suppliers name, Magenta Linas, has their official site at the top of the listing.

ABCTV’s 7.30 program reports:

Feedback is owned by a company called Parakeelia, which is wholly owned by the Liberal Party.

Its directors include federal party boss, Tony Nutt, and former minister, Richard Alston.

Former Melbourne Lord Mayor and Liberal figure Ron Walker is listed as a major shareholder on ASIC documents.

Mr Walker told 7.30 that was a mistake and he was involved in the company’s establishment but resigned in December 2002.

He said party figures confirmed to him he had resigned, and his remaining on the company documents was an error.

There also doesn’t appear to be a website for the company which is strange considering the company writes software and apparently understands how to market to potential customers.

Jensen claims that he was ‘requested’ to pay $2500 to Parakeelia along with all other Liberal MPs. It is alleged that usually the payment comes from the funding provided by the parliament for the operation of the Member’s electorate office. The company, wholly owned by the Liberal Party, then provides software and training to electorate office staff on the operation and data mining abilities of the system to determine the political preferences of those who contact the electorate office. The electorate office staff are instructed to assist those who are more inclined to be an additional vote for the Coalition to a greater extent than those the system determines would vote for (or never vote for) the Coalition anyway.

So we have federal MP’s being told to use a particular software system to manage enquiries to the electorate offices that has been designed and developed by a firm wholly owned by the political party the MP represents. Furthermore, the MP is told to use taxpayer funds to make the ‘mandatory’ payment to use the system. While it’s probably legal and some software to manage your customer relations is probably more efficient than going through paper files to see where you are at — that’s not all. It seems that Parakeelia is the Liberal Party’s second biggest source of funds.

From Fairfax:

Last financial year, Parakeelia transferred $500,000 to the federal Liberal division, making it the party’s second-biggest single source of funds. The year before it came in fourth with $400,000; before that $200,000.

While it all may be legal, what part of it is morally or ethically correct?

Gabrielle Chan wrote an opinion piece in The Guardian recently that commented on the morals and ethics of the Liberal Party owning Parakeelia and then accepting large donations. She also points out that during the current election campaign you can meet the ALP Shadow Minister of your choice for a ‘measly’ $10,000. Tony Windsor (candidate for the federal seat of New England currently held by the Nationals Leader Barnaby Joyce) has released the records of political donations by a mining company to the Nationals around the time the Coalition government was trying to expunge legislation relating to water use. The mining company rejected the allegations pointing out their (publicly reported) donations to Labor were actually higher than to the Nationals since 2011. While it may be numerically accurate, that’s hardly the point is it?

While Dennis Jensen dumped on the Liberal Party over the use of Feedback, to be honest his motives were not exactly honourable:

Jensen said: “Labor is no better. The company they use for Campaign Central doesn’t donate to the party but they use their tool in exactly the same way.”

Jensen complained that since he lost preselection he no longer had access to the Feedback database.

“The fact they pulled this from me, and the Liberal candidate will now have access to it, tells you everything you need to know about the extent to which it is a tool for constituents versus a tool for party political purposes,” he said.

“The taxpayer paid for my constituents’ information to be put into Feedback and yet the Liberal party and Parakeelia think they can pull it from me.

Clearly there is some information in Feedback that Dennis Jensen ‘needs’ or ‘wants’ to give him what he believes to be a good chance of retaining his seat in Parliament as an independent. It is probable that the information isn’t how his office processed his electorate’s gripes with government services or payments.

Under federal law, donations to political parties under $13,000 do not have to be disclosed to the authorities. During May 2016, the Liberal Party in New South Wales finally provided a list of donors to the NSW Electoral Commission after the Commission withheld $4million in taxpayer funds ordinarily given to political parties after an election based on the votes they received. The dispute was over the bona-fides (under NSW law) of some donors who chose to provide funds through a related identity to the political party totalling some $700,000:

Arthur Sinodinos, the party’s treasurer and chairman of its finance committee at the time, has denied knowing that a “substantial” amount of the $700,000 donated by the foundation had come from property developers.

Arthur Sinodinos is the current federal cabinet secretary and while no ICAC corruption finding has been made against him, ICAC has yet to release its final report.

When the presumptive prime minister stands behind a lectern on the night of 2 July, he will no doubt tell us all that he will work for all Australians. That may well be the intent, but while anyone can buy access to a shadow minister for $10,000 or Liberal Party MP’s have to spend $2500 of taxpayer funds (provided to run their office) purchasing a licence to a particular piece of software owned by the Party’s head office as well as clearing donations through related entities, there is going to be some doubt as to who they really represent.

It seems that there is a competition between political parties for donations so we all can be bombarded with the respective travelling roadshows and glossy advertising come election time. While the particular winners in the 2016 ‘campaign arms race’ may claim to represent us all, the acknowledged acceptance of donations gives the impression that the donors interests will take precedence — even if the politicians personally are the model of independence, morals and ethics.

The bigger problem here is politicians and political parties are exempt from privacy laws. When you tell your local MP that Centrelink has miscalculated your entitlements, Child Support has misunderstood your circumstances, the Tax Office is picking on you or anything else that is somewhat personal, according to Jensen the information is apparently punched into the customer relationship management system, regardless of it being Feedback or Campaign Central. It stands to reason that political operatives employed by the party also have access to the system and its cross referencing to the electoral roll – otherwise how would those personally addressed missives get to you so quickly after an election was called (and the one that you get is different to your neighbours)?

The popularity of the ‘frequent flyer’ type customer relationship schemes for airlines and supermarkets is undoubted and we all happily give up some privacy for the potential free flight or $10 off our grocery bill. It seems not to matter to most that using the pretty card will disclose that they regularly fly from Brisbane to Sydney or buy a particular brand of Corn Flakes. Really, while the information may be useful for the business (it needs more seats on the planes or to keep a particular brand of Corn Flakes in stock to keep you coming back), some of the information given to MP’s when they are asked to help you is somewhat more confidential, and the information is shared with the political party’s headquarters without your knowledge or approval.

Jensen claims:

“It was a very clear understanding that there’s Feedback training provided to staff members and basically the training is to use it as a database politically rather than to assist constituents,” he said.

“Indeed, the instruction given by Feedback trainers is if there’s not a vote in it, don’t do it.”

It seems your call is important – as your call will tell the politicians your social grouping, your politics, your belief system, maybe your income and determine if they really do give a damn about your problem.

We elect Members of Parliament to represent us without judging if we are on their side or supportive of their financial donors. If ‘computer says no’ and that leads to nothing happening to assist you, there is a problem.

What do you think?

Do you think that we are well represented by our politicians?

Is there a problem with Parakeelia donating funds to the Liberal Party?


This article was originally published on The Political Sword

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  1. cornlegend

    It’s fine to get feed back on Parakeelia, but what happens then? would anything be done? Or is it a big game where “they” decide” what is good for the people or we are just steam rolled?
    Why no responses to Abbotts dual citizenship or the whole bunch of LNPers in NSW exposed by ICAC, or Panama Papers, or the Peter slipper/Ashbygate /Jacksonville etc?
    A couple of years ago I asked a similar question of a friend and was sent a long message ,
    “What if?
    What if we are just wasting our time and it all doesn’t matter ?

    The message in part read

    “What if you were allowed to vote only because it didn’t make a difference?
    What if no matter how you voted the elites always got their way?
    What if the concept of one person/one vote was just a fiction created by the government to induce your compliance?

    What if our so-called democracy erodes the people’s understanding of natural rights and the reasons for government and instead turns political campaigns into beauty contests

    What if the purpose of contemporary democracy has been to convince people that they could prosper not through the voluntary creation of wealth but through theft from others ?

    What if Parliament isn’t actually as democratic as it appears?

    What if democracy as it has come to exist in Australia today is dangerous to personal freedom?

    What if big government destroys people’s motivations and democracy convinces them that the only motivation they need is to vote and go along with the results?

    What if the problem with democracy is that the majority thinks it can right any wrong, write any law, tax any event, regulate any behavior and acquire any thing it wants?

    What if the government misinforms voters so they will justify anything the government wants to do?
    What if the Joe Stalin was right when he said the most powerful person in the world is the guy who counts the votes? What if the vote counting that really counts takes place in secret?

    What if we could free ourselves from the yoke of big government through a return to first principles?

    What if that’s how we lost our democracy?

    What if the government believes in make believe?

    What if its make believe that the people have a voice?

    What if the government made believe that it is always right?
    What if it made believe that the majority can do no wrong?
    What if the tyranny of the majority is as destructive to human freedom as the tyranny of a madman?
    What if the government knows this?

    What do we do about it?

  2. Bighead1883

    cornlegend June 23, 2016 at 8:35 am

    Australia hit “What If” at Murdoch`s telegram “Kill Whitlam “and when the US appointed Ambassador Bleich in 2009 to begin dismantling the Rudd government and the FTA`s being done with ASEAN Nations without US approval
    He was replaced in August 2013 by Berry [amazing timing] and Berry also has a same sex partner {married in the US 10th August] which must irk LNP conservatives no end

  3. Kronomex

    There are four people in the household and on Monday four unmarked and non-returnable envelopes, addressed to each individual, showed up in the letter box. I took one look and guessed, correctly, that they were from Malcolm and Andrew Nikolic. Upon opening one it was all about “Team Turnbull(shit)” and Nikolic telling us to vote for them to help build, yet another three word slogan, a “Strong New Economy.” All four letters made wonderful firelighters.
    The LNP doesn’t seem to have problems with the LNP owned Parakeelia giving the LNP taxpayers money so it must be alright. Laws and regulations..pff…they’re only for the little people who don’t run (ruin?) the country.

  4. Jeman

    There’s also the disclosure that one of the Parakeelia ‘trainers’ was paid by the tax-payer. Since she apparently trained people in various capitals, did we pay for her travel too?

  5. trishcorry

    I think this is a cynical view of CRM databases used by political parties – including the Liberals use of a CRM. The difference is that the Liberals have used this data base as a funnel for donations. I am wondering if the writer of this piece has had any actual training in CRM in general and understand what CRMs are used for, or specifically Campaign Central or Parakeelia, considering they are writing as an expert on the topic. If so, I am quite confused with the approach to this article.

    Do they know what CRM methods other parties use? How do these parties understand the issues of the wider electorate? If these parties don’t use a CRM method, do these parties care about issues in their electorate? How do they collect the information and organise it? How do they analyse important statistics?

    I’ll go along with Corny’s line of questioning, but add my own?

    What if people just got scared from information that was ambiguous and did not really outline the reality of an entire situation and they voted on that fear?

    What if people disseminated information to create mistrust in our democracy, based on a complete misrepresentation of what something is actually about?

    Could CRM software be used for good to push issues and get results for members of the community that raise issues when contacted. Yes, it can.

    Have politicians become aware of critical issues in the community from an Individual and through this CRM contact assisted an individual – yes they have.

    Are politicians mind readers and should they just sit back and let the daily tele tell them what the constituents want? No they should not.

    Should parties be ignorant and not gather data on issues important to an electorate? No they should not.

    Should politicians gather data, to put together progressive policies, advocate for funding for infrastructure and push for wider legislative changes that may affect their constituents – yes they should.

    Could it be possible that a democracy, includes speaking to people across a variety of mediums to become aware of issues and advocating on their behalf? Yes it could.

    Should Parties use a CRM software as a cover for political donation? Absolutely not.

    The use of a CRM is not the issue, a cover for a political donation is.

    Am I a believer in the use of CRM as an effective tool in Human Resource Management, Strategic Management, Small Business, Sales and Politics – Yes, I am.

  6. Jaquix

    Flicked off by Turnbull as if its a pesky fly. Studiously ignored by the media, well most of it. No screaming headlines in the Murdoch papers for this one. If the boot was on the other foot they would scream “Kick This Mob Out !” Labor has asked that the matter be investigated, though you can imagine it would get scant attention, Cant comment, operational matters etc. But this appears to be blatant laundering of taxpayer funds earmarked for “constituent benefit” to “Liberal Party Benefit Big Time”. So much corruption of systems to be investigated.

  7. Bighead1883

    The biggest reality of Parakeelia is when Bill Shorten was asked about it on QandA by Tony Jones who also mentioned the ALP had a similar company doing their data resource CRM`s he replied ÿes we do,but we don`t operate it like the LNP do”

    So Fairfax and this writer go along with this “While it all may be legal, what part of it is morally or ethically correct?”

    While I understand that the Co doing this work for Labor are not owned by them and have no kickback ties this is not so with Parakeelia
    This is a blatant rort returning a healthy amount of taxpayer funds in actual CASH to the Liberal Party of Australia,fraud,embezzlement,hands in the till,theft etc and the AFP should have been investigating this from when the story broke

  8. Athena

    When I moved into my current home, I received a welcome from the current state member for Hartley, Vincent Tarzia (Liberal) with a questionnaire. I was asked about my voting preferences. I indicated that I was a swinging voter rather than confess I’d rather poke myself in the eye with a fork than vote Liberal. Collecting information about issues that your constituents consider important is one thing, but if I indicated that I vote ALP, would I be ignored when I contact him with an issue? For my last birthday I received a card from him wishing me a happy 50th birthday. I found it rather creepy and was only marginally more delighted with that than the bowel cancer screening kit I received from the government.

  9. jantonius

    What if there were no preference deal between the Libs and the Greens?
    What if it were a lie from the start?
    What if it were CRM -driven?

    I have been ‘in conference’ with MPs, Ministers and public officials who – quite blithely – show they know more than they should, and could have only gained that info from confidential processes and documents.

    I am not your Customer.
    I do not want unsolicited ‘Relations’.
    And I particularly do not want them ‘Managed’.
    Get that into your totalitarian skull.

  10. 2353NM

    @trishcorry – I’m not an expert in the use of CRM systems and this article doesn’t suggest I am, it describes the use of CRM systems for those that have no idea at a generalist level.. I am an expert in the use of closely related software used in industry – having installed and managed conceptually similar software systems for three large organisations over the past 15 years.

    In the article I do suggest that some form of CRM is a good use of funds for a MP’s office to track and manage constituents matters (as it beats going through the paper files on a regular basis to work out where you are) so we are in full agreement. I also have no problem with politicians using software to bring together individual concerns to spot trends that are occurring in their electorates – again we agree.

    I do have a problem when major political parties insist on the use of a certain system and political operatives who have no connection with the MP’s office have access (certainly in the Liberal Party) to the system. I also have problems when the ‘mandatory’ CRM system is supplied by a company wholly owned by the political party the MP is a member of, their ASIC records are incorrect (apparently), the company uses current public servants to do the necessary training in the use and maintenance of the software and the company is the 2nd largest donor to the political party. Furthermore, while the staff of the MP are bound by the restrictions inherent in being employed by the Australian Government in relation to privacy and information handling – political operatives employed by respective political parties have no similar restrictions (and judging on the ‘narratives’ that have been floating around for the past 6 weeks – little concern for the image or sensibilities of others). The reality is that people happily give marketers information in return for frequent flyer points, Woolies Dollars or the chance to win a car and there is some protection of privacy. You would have to ask how many of them would also be happy with details of issues that could have some confidentially around them being used by political party operatives – and there is no privacy protection.

    For the record Di Natalie was reported as saying that The Greens suggest to their elected officials that a form of CRM is a good idea but they don’t ‘recommend’ a particular product.

    @Athena – those screening kits are a wonderful present – aren’t they?

  11. jantonius

    It raises questions about medical monitoring if someone doesn’t know the difference between medical monitoring and marketing. Maybe then they may not know the difference between the so-called Customer and the target.
    Let’s cut the crap.
    Snooping is snooping. There are no degrees to snooping. Anything picked up from the ‘Customer’ – ie. the target – without their knowledge and consent is liable to go anywhere. I mean anything, anywhere.
    It makes the vulnerable more vulnerable. It tends to make people with vital information unwilling to contact or talk to anyone. At its heart, it is a Democracy of distrust.

  12. nurses1968

    my understanding is the ALP preferenced the Greens in all seats bot House of Representatives and Senate
    The Greens sent preferences to ALP in most seats but
    The 11 seats in which the Greens will issue open tickets for preferences are:

    NSW: Calare, Lyne, and Riverina

    Tasmania: Denison

    South Australia: Mayo, Barker, and Grey

    Victoria: Hotham, Mallee, Scullin, and Ballarat
    These open tickets, who do they preference there

  13. jimhaz

    From SMH article 9-6,

    “Let’s say John Smith calls about superannuation,” says one Liberal staffer. “We can see everything about him: his age, profession, marital status, which way he votes.

    “The idea is to not waste time speaking to people who lean one way or the other. You want to focus on the swingers”.

    Selective targeting is anti-democratic. The LNP sees the concerns of people who might not vote for them as “wasting time”. Does this point to hundreds of ministerial support staff essentially being employed for electioneering and not to assist the public with information. So taxpayers are paying for these jobs under false pretences.

    And as for the donations to both parties rather than just the governing party – this is mostly so it makes it more difficult to see that corporations are paying for policies they want. It is an excuse making exercise making it harder to single out where corruption may be occurring, well worth the cost as they tend to get what they want. Particularly for the LNP, extra graft is given via other means such as attending expensive events or spreading donations across a number of executives.

    I suspect the ALP would be as bad if they had less coming in from unions.

    Listening to Simon Crean last night talking about the Good Vet sacking he most probably caused, his manner was so very arrogant, it was coming from a person who viewed themselves as still being in charge of the government dept, when in fact he heads a lobby group.

  14. jantonius

    Good thing by the Greens.
    Selective preferencing according to relative merits of the candidates.
    Just the way I vote. Fortunately for Labor they have a good sitting MP in my electorate.

    But, a bit off the topic: moral intelligence compared to surveillance software programming.

  15. Trish Corry

    “it describes the use of CRM systems for those that have no idea at a generalist level.. – ” – Exactly – generalist level. If you use closely related software, why have you only posed negatives for the article? Have you spoken to anyone who uses the software and how they use it, rather than just guessing the purpose for the use. Do you value qualitative and quantitative data as information that can be used for good, as well as ‘just marketing?”

    I am all for CRMs to be used in a positive and ethical way. They are a powerful tool that can be used to understand pressing issues that politicians should be looking at. Not just for a marketing tool. The media is misrepresenting this a little bit. At best, I would advocate for ethical user guidelines for the systems and an independent audit review panel, particularly when used in politics.

  16. Athena

    “The Greens sent preferences to ALP in most seats but
    The 11 seats in which the Greens will issue open tickets for preferences are:
    ……. South Australia: Mayo, Barker, and Grey”

    For the Senate in SA, the Greens listed ALP 6th when voting above the line. For Sturt I cannot recall exactly – I’ve thrown away the HTV card now. Animal Justice Party was 2nd and I think ALP was 4th.

  17. Kyran

    It seems there are a few different aspects to this conversation.
    Parakeelia is a private company. It provides software to MP’s at a subscription price of $2,500. The ‘office requisites allowance’ for MP’s allows for software, and that allowance was increased from $1650 to $2575 last year. The fact the company has not correctly advised ASIC of changes to directorships and shareholdings is a matter for ASIC to investigate and prosecute. Given that one of the whistle blowers was Ron Walker, my guess is that will never happen. Parakeelia never made donations to the Liberal Party. If they had, it would have to be disclosed, if it were over $12,100. It was disclosed as ‘other’. All of this information comes from an article this morning on ABC, whether it be fortuitous or serendipitous, I don’t know.
    “That information appears to be largely compiled by MPs’ electorate staff – that is, Liberal Party operatives. No doubt it’s highly valuable data.
    If Parakeelia’s money isn’t a donation or a loan, then it seems the $1.4 million can only be payment for services rendered by the Liberal Party to Parakeelia. What could the Party be doing for Parakeelia which is so expensive?”'s-parakeelia-rort/7535372
    The second aspect is this notion of privacy. Back in the 80’s, Bob Hawke wanted to introduce the ‘Australia Card’. It was universally rejected. At the same time, America was proposing ‘Safe Harbour’ legislation and Europe was looking at some of the most protective privacy legislation on the planet. One of the most compelling arguments in the Australian conversation was the ‘MasterCard’s Survey of the Australian Public’s Attitudes to Privacy’. Its major finding was that no one wanted a ‘central silo’ of their information. They didn’t mind their doctor knowing their medical records. They didn’t mind their accountant knowing their financial records. They didn’t mind their lawyers knowing their ‘legal’ records. They did not want them in the same room, the same ‘silo’. Ms Stott-Despoya was the chair of that committee, if memory serves me right. And she was, quite frankly, brilliant.
    After that, it gets ‘blurry’. We gave exemptions to all sorts of legislation for the advantage of political parties. Whether it be privacy, false and misleading conduct under ACCC (‘cause the AEC will supervise them). The same exemptions that many of our ‘religions’ get. Having been involved in so many conversations about ‘privacy’, it never ceases to amaze me that it is merely a commodity.
    Which brings me to the third aspect. Data mining, or CRM. Back in the 80’s, the Credit Reference Association of Australia (CRAA), was the informative database for credit information. They compiled every application you made for any form of credit. It changed to Vida and Dun & Bradstreet. It will have a new visage soon.
    If a private company can mine data from a political party without regard for the privacy of their constituents, does anyone else think we have a problem?
    For the record, some really good reading;,d.dGo
    So, is there a problem here, 2353MN? Apparently not. It’s all saleable, sometimes sailable. Thank you.Take care

  18. jimhaz

    I wrote this…

    1.4 million over 3 years = 450,000 roughly per annum [edit…oops should be 1.1m but same same]

    Making a crazy assumption that the company has no outgoing expenses and the possible assumption they are not subject to tax for some reason, ie every cent is profit, that would equal 180 licences. Where are all these ministers. Does it include all nationals, states, candidates etc.

    If the licensing is not per site but per user, then do they pay for those other licences, or for assistance, out of some entitlement or does an administrative dept of gov pay for it’

    Maybe the company does other work for the LNP, but it would then seem quite odd for the LNP to pay itself, unless of course there are no financial losses as a result. Do they pay GST or is the company some sort of charity or exempt?

    Maybe the company does other work for other companies, thus has a different income stream. If so what are the implications of that in relation to the payments from the company to the LNP not being donations.

    Does this make donation syphoning a possibility.

    The profit has to come from somewhere.

    …and just before posting now I found this in the responses to the Kyran Drum link

    “This is a topic the media should be getting its teeth into. Sadly, that does not seem to be the case.

    Political donations, however derived, is big business. Parakeelia’s own annual return to the AEC (2014-15) shows receipts of $932,234, for a company that should have an apparent income of around $225,000, given the number of state and federal Liberal MP’s and the stated nature of Parakeelia’s business. Of that $932,234, only $73,524 is recorded as income in amounts over $12,800. So where did the difference of $858,710 come from?

    Parakeelia is also shown to have paid out $881,338 and we already know through media reports that $500,000 of that was a donation to the Liberal Party.

    The lid slowly started to come off Liberal Party fundraising in 2014, with the NSW ICAC hearings. Two names cropped up initially, the Free Enterprise Foundation and The Millenium Forum. Both were used for the masking of illegal donations to the Liberal Party. The Millenium Forum is a basiness name owned by Bunori Pty Limited, a company established in 1986 by Michael Yabsley and others, to get the Liberal Party out of a financial hole. The 2014-15 annual return for Bunori shows one receipt – yes, only one receipt, for $3.6 million. Various Liberal Party figures have been involved in Bunori, including Arthur Sinodinos, famous for his memory lapse in the NSW ICAC hearings.

    The above information is all publicly available. What’s not available are the lists of donors and that’s why we need a Federal ICAC.”

  19. Jack Russell

    Serious issues.

    If we ever do have a federal ICAC here, then who would be doing the investigating?

    As I see it, the people who would be appointed to examine this gigantic web of entrenched corruption would, by and large, mostly be the very same people who set it up, maintained it, tweaked the legislation that facilitated it, then covered their thieving, lying arses with a lorry load of immunities to boot.

    Will we need to import a full range of proven, independent, international anti-corruption experts to forensically examine our dirty laundry?

  20. jantonius

    You are never going to have total accountability. But if you can make the bastards look over their shoulder then you are making a difference. Mostly corruption comes out of a culture of assumptions among the insular – rather than being just any renegade activity by loners.
    When would you know you have appointed a boss to an ICAC who has some effective independence? When the entrenched bods in Govt. departments, who are ostensibly there for oversight over their own areas, begin to complain about too much of their ‘routine matters’ coming under scrutiny. When you read reference to ‘routine matters’ by an established body, you have been alerted.

    An ICAC is simply essential. It will happen when one of the major Parties acquiesces. It will not soon be the (Federal) Libs. It has to be Labor. Why is it not Labor already?

  21. jantonius

    Any advocacy of CRM just does not get it: as Kyran writes above, the danger is any assumption that privacy be treated as a tradeable for-profit commodity. It is a danger which spreads, into interconnections, mergers, consortia.
    Furthermore, the personnel do not know exactly what they have, as trawling up just one bit of info about a target is rare if not impossible. To gather what they want for an advantage, they gather more. They don’t care; and a range of info attracts selling-on.

    Unfortunately ‘ethical user guidelines’ and ‘independent audit review panels’ could be so useless that the CRM providers themselves might even recommend such pseudo-accountability. The means and purposes of these surveillance systems indispensably involve secrecy – updated to avoid their own accountability.
    They have security, so that their targets do not. Exceptions happen, and some will be caught, but the system of tracking private people will continue.

    They are also meshed with entrenched physical apparatuses of power. Please read that last sentence again.

    This is a point which relates to a lot of things: there is also no chance of any normalising of integrity when the public keep electing the Liberal gangsters every few years.

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