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February 2013

Sent by a dill to Rooty Hill.

Mcternan dill

(Illustration from National Times)

And this piece of commentary from Chris Kenny in The Australian

Stay is nothing but a stunt

OVER a beer earlier this month, Julia Gillard's communications director John McTernan revealed he was spending the next day on a familiarisation tour of western Sydney.

It sounded like a good idea. After all, this is Labor's heartland, where the ALP holds 11 seats, as many as exist in the entire state of South Australia.

On current polling, at least half of these seats are under threat. So, with the parliament on a knife-edge, the election can be won or lost in the vast suburbs of western Sydney.

As a Scotsman, McTernan is forgiven for not knowing this territory. It made sense for him to try to get a fix on it - soak up the ethnic diversity, the love of rugby league, the congested roads, the massive clubs, the clumps of public housing and the sprawling new housing estates.

The only trouble with McTernan's familiarisation tour is that somehow it has manifested itself in a clumsy stunt for the Prime Minister. By deciding to base herself in Rooty Hill next week, Gillard is demonstrating how out of touch her government has become.

Hard to disagree with that Chris.

Thank you for choosing the AFP. One of our political analysts is reviewing your crime report for risks to our funding. Have a nice day.

On Wednesday, 9 January reader RG used the Australian Federal Police online crime reporting service to report Jonathan MOYLAN's conduct in the creation of this press release about ANZ Bank and Whitehaven Coal.

He reported two Greens Senators, Christine Milne and Lee Rhiannon for what he said was aiding and abetting Moylan.

On 26 February, 7 weeks after the report, he received this note.

From: No-Reply <>
Date: 26 February 2013 2:30:58 PM AEDT
Subject: RE: Report a crime to the AFP - AFP website form submission [SEC=UNCLASSIFIED]


Reference is made to your Report-a-Crime email to the Australian Federal Police (AFP), dated 09 January 2013.

The AFP is the primary law enforcement agency responsible for investigating crimes against the Commonwealth of Australia.

Thank you for your correspondence to the AFP.  The information you have provided has been recorded on AFP systems.


Tel + Fax
7 weeks for that?  You'd reckon the world's most highly paid police chief could have rustled up an auto-reply a bit sooner than that.


Today's edition of the Japanese paper The Daily Yomiuri - Whalers release video from clash at sea

Greg is an Australian working in Japan, he sent me this note today.

Just wondering if this video got any airtime at all in Oz or if good old news filters were in place as usual.

Looks to me as Sea Shepard are the ones doing the ramming.

Do we think this is a valid form of protest in Oz? Would we be okay with our ships were being rammed an harassed?

I wonder.



I read a few of the other stories online at the Yomiuri.   I was horrified to read this, reported today's date 26  Feb, 2013.   It makes the dangers on the high seas very clear.  

1 dead, 1 missing after collision at sea

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Two capsized fishing boats float in waters off Kansai International Airport at about 9:35 a.m. Monday.

OSAKA--A Taiwan container ship collided with two tethered Japanese fishing boats at about 6 a.m. Monday five kilometers west of Kansai International Airport, capsizing the boats and leaving one of their crew members dead and another missing.

Of four crew members thrown from the boats, two were rescued by a nearby fishing boat, one was recovered but later pronounced dead and one was missing.

The Japanese boats are the Seinan Maru Nos. 7 and 8 of the Fuke fisheries cooperative association in Misaki, Osaka Prefecture, according to the Kansai Airport Coast Guard Air Station. The dead crewman was Takahisa Masaki, 30, of Izumi-Otsu in the prefecture. The missing crewman was identified as Masahiro Minami, 30, of Misaki.

The association said three fishing boats set out at about 5 a.m. the same day from Fuke fishing port for sand eel fishing, and the two boats were tethered by rope so they could draw a net together.

The 13,246-ton container ship, the Wan Hai 162, had 21 crew members. It sailed from Taiwan and was heading to Osaka Port.

(Feb. 26, 2013)

The Australian newspaper has now picked up the Sea Shepherd / Japanese whalers story.

Ram claims as Japanese whalers, Sea Shepherd protesters clash

  • From:AFP 
  • February 26, 2013 3:56PM

JAPANESE whalers and militant conservationists have again been involved in dangerous clashes in icy waters off Antarctica, with both sides accusing the other of ramming their vessels.

Veteran anti-whaling campaigner Paul Watson said in the incident yesterday the Japanese factory ship the Nisshin Maru rammed the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's much smaller vessel the Bob Barker.

But on its website, Japan's Institute of Cetacean Research accused several Sea Shepherd boats of slamming into the Nisshin Maru as the vessel attempted to refuel with her supply tanker the Sun Laurel.

“It was five hours of intense confrontation,” Mr Watson said from on board the Sea Shepherd vessel the Steve Irwin.

“We took up our positions to block their approach to the (fuel tanker) Sun Laurel and they rammed the Bob Barker twice, causing considerable damage, and then they pushed it into the side of the Sun Laurel.”

You can read the entire story at The Australian's website.

Mark Scott tells Senate Estimates the ABC did not take external legal advice on electoral broadcasting laws

This exchange took place at Senate Estimates on 11 February, 2013

You can see the transcript here Environment and Communications Legislation Committee - 11/02/2013 - Estimates - BROADBAND, COMMUNICATIONS AND THE DIGITAL ECONOMY PORTFOLIO - Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Mr Scott: Under section 79A of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Act, the ABC may determine to the extent, and the manner in which, it will broadcast political matter. So the ABC has determined that the free broadcasting time shall be allocated to political parties during an election campaign for announcements of party policies. We have eligibility guidelines to this that are spelt out in the ABC board's policy statement. We have taken the decision that we will treat the election campaign period as running from the issuing of the writs to the close of polling. We believe it is within our rights under the act to take that approach.

Senator BIRMINGHAM: Have you received legal advice on that?
Mr Scott: No, we have not...

Continue reading "Mark Scott tells Senate Estimates the ABC did not take external legal advice on electoral broadcasting laws" »

Sri Lankan bridging visa holder charged over sexual assault on uni student

NSW Police have charged a Sri Lankan man over the alleged sexual assault of a young girl at Macquarie University on Thursday morning.

The Department of Immigration says he's here on a bridging visa and he's not one of their asylum clients staying at the uni.

He's in the cells formally refused bail and he'll front court on these charges:

  • Aggravated break and enter with intent to commit an indictable offence,
  • Attempted aggravated break and enter with intent to commit a serious indictable offence and
  • Indecent assault.

Thanks for the Visa.

Police re macquarie uni

you can read the police statement here

Letters of comfort from lawyers. Obeid. Wilson/Gillard. Spot the difference in the intent.

Reader Corey dropped me a note this afternoon with this report from the ICAC hearing in NSW about the Obeid family's interests in coal mining.

Letter of comfort concealed Obeid family interests, ICAC told

February 11, 2013

The son of former Labor powerbroker Eddie Obeid has admitted he asked a lawyer to write a "letter of comfort" to hide the family's interest in a coal-rich area of NSW.

The letter was designed to conceal the family's relationship to an investment company that was involved in tendering for a tenement in the Hunter Region, the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) heard on Monday.

 The ICAC is investigating whether former Labor minister Ian Macdonald rorted the tender process in the Bylong Valley in 2008, and how Mr Obeid may have profited from it.

 The ICAC has heard the Obeid family stood to make up to $100 million from the opening up of mining in the valley.

 Giving evidence on Monday, Eddie Obeid Jnr conceded that he directed a lawyer to draft a "letter of comfort" relating to a coal deal in the Bylong Valley.

 Under questioning from barrister Robert Stitt QC, Mr Obeid admitted the document was designed to hide the Obeid's involvement in the company Southeast Investment Group.

 "It's a document designed to conceal, isn't it?" Mr Stitt asked.

 "To a degree," Mr Obeid replied.

 You can read the full report at the Sydney Morning Herald's website here.

Now take out Obeid and insert Wilson.   The letter of comfort that Julia Gillard wrote about the AWU-WRA urged the corporate affairs commissioner to incorporate a fictional association that wasn't legally entitled to incorporation.   I think we'd all benefit from the Wilson/Gillard answers under oath to a similar line of questioning.

UPDATED AGAIN - WHO VOTED FOR IT - Government to raid your bank account after 36 months of no transactions

This is the link to the Hansard records of this bill making its way through the House of Representatives.

You will note some attempts at amendments first up.   Then the final vote that passed the bill into law - a law that lets the government reach into your private bank account and take your money.

Beyond the Labor Caucus who voted in favour, these individuals made this law.

Robert Oakeshott.   Tony Windsor.   Adam Bandt.   Peter Slipper.   Craig Thomson. Bob Katter.

Here they are in all their glory.   Julia Gillard was away

Mr Adams

Mrs Elliot

Ms Livermore

Ms Roxon

Mr Albanese

Ms Ellis

Mr Lyons

Mr Rudd

Mr Bandt

Dr Emerson

Mr McClelland

Ms Saffin*

Ms Bird

Mr M. J. Ferguson

Ms Macklin

Mr Shorten

Mr Bowen

Mr Fitzgibbon

Mr Marles

Mr Sidebottom

Mr Bradbury

Mr Garrett

Mr Melham

Mr Slipper

Ms Brodtmann

Mr Georganas

Mr Mitchell

Mr S. F. Smith

Mr A. S. Burke

Mr Gibbons

Mr Murphy

Ms Smyth

Mr Butler

Mr Gray

Mr Neumann

Mr Snowdon

Mr Byrne

Ms Grierson

Mr Oakeshott

Mr Swan

Mr Champion

Mr Griffin

Mr O’Connor

Mr Symon

Mr Cheeseman

Ms Hall

Ms O’Neill

Mr C. R. Thomson

Mr Clare

Mr Hayes

Ms Owens

Mr K. J. Thomson

Ms Collins

Mr Husic*

Ms Parke

Ms Vamvakinou

Mr Combet

Mr Jenkins

Mr Perrett

Mr Windsor

Mr Crean

Mr S. P. Jones

Ms Plibersek

Mr Zappia

Mr Danby

Dr M. J. Kelly

Mr Ripoll


Mrs D’Ath

Ms King

Ms Rishworth


Mr Dreyfus

Dr Leigh

Ms Rowland


These are the pairs - that is these people were away and their voting intention was equalised by a member of the opposite side not voting.  


Ms Gillard                      Mr van Manen

Mr Katter                        Mr Crook

Mr L. D. T. Ferguson     Mr Haase


Laurie Ferguson, Julia Gillard and Bob Katter all had a pair from the coalition.   So Bob Katter can be added to the list of people who caused this bill to be made law.

Andrew Wilkie voted with the coalition to try to stop Wayne Swan's cash grab.



Afr re bank accounts

The Australian Financial Review has a comprehensive piece on the government's cash grab here by Jake Mitchell.

Who are they to think it's OK to reach into your private property like that and take it without your permission?   What's next?

Jake Mitchell reporting in the AFR

Thousands of bank account holders are being advised to make trans­actions of as little as $1 to avoid ­having their accounts transferred to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission to help plug the federal government’s budget deficit.

Under recent changes to the law designed to raise $109 million this financial year, deposits can be deemed unclaimed if a transaction has not been made on an account for three years or more, down from seven years previously.

Accountant Bryan Lukav oversaw an account for a client that contained the bond for a commercial property. He was advised to withdraw or deposit at least $1. If he didn’t, he was told the government could seize the account.

Mr Lukav said the change would make life difficult for people in business who used these kind of accounts. Trusts and long-term savings accounts are also likely to be caught up in the sweep.

“Imagine if I was looking after 200 property accounts and I had to do that for every one,” Mr Lukav said. “It’s just ridiculous. The bond could sit here for the period of the lease, which could be five, 10 or 25 years and there is no need to withdraw or deposit.”

Jake has quite a lengthy piece that includes what you'd need to do to get your money back, the way the legislation was rushed and a guesstimate that hundreds of thousands of Australians could be affected.

CASH GRAB: Inactive bank accounts to be seized

  •  Stephen McMahon 
  • From:News Limited Network 
  • February 26, 2013 8:58am

After legislation was rushed through parliament, the government will from May 31 be able to transfer all money from accounts that have not been used for three years into their own revenues.

The law is forecast to raise $109 million this year as inactive accounts for three years or more are raided by Treasury.

The previous legislation allowed for bank accounts to remain inactive for up to 7 years before the money was transferred to ASIC.

Read the whole story at Perth Now here.

Seriously, where do they get off unilaterally deciding that you can no longer leave a bank account alone for 3 years.   What are they thinking?


We are nominated in the global website awards The Bloggies!

The bloggies
And we are nominated in the "Best Kept Secret" - in the world!
Bloggies best kept secret
Thanks to reader Bob who told me about it this morning with this note:
Are you aware that you have been nominated in the bloggies? It would pay you to promote that fact - (Look at wattsupwiththat for guidance). I find it amazing that you have an nomination so early (and that Bolt didn't beat you to it!)

You might think it trifling but I think the bloggies are important, they drive traffic?

I'm told that it's a voting based system - the website is here.
And thanks to whoever it was that nominated us.

Australia Nil - Rest of the World - game, set..... match?? Virgin Australia reports carbon tax numbers.

Virgin Earnings Drop on Qantas Competition, Carbon Tax
By David Fickling - Feb 26, 2013 10:11 AM ET

read original story here at Bloomberg

Virgin Australia Holdings Ltd. (VAH), the nation’s second-largest carrier, said half-year profit slumped 56 percent amid a fight with Qantas Airways Ltd. (QAN) for passengers and the impact of a carbon tax.

...the story continues....

The introduction of a carbon tax in Australia cost the airline A$24.4 million in the half which it couldn’t recover from airfares because of “aggressive competition,” the company said.

And all for absolutely nothing except bragging rights at the UN.   That $24.2 million would otherwise be instilling confidence in investors and perhaps dividends for superannuants.   Vandalism.


Boulder, WA - the AWU Fatal Accident and Death Fund - a scholarly paper

My colleagues Val Majkus and John Lourens have brought to light the private, inner-workings of the Australian Workers' Union Fatal Accident and Death Fund from Boulder, Western Australia.

What better example of the great traditions of mateship could there be?   Miners chipping in each payday, so that unkown widows or fatherless children of the future might have some small comfort in their loss.

To most of us, money in a fund like that is money with a lofty, untouchable amibition.   The thought that it might be targetted by anyone with tawdry intent is sickening.

Val and John tell a story that has a happy ending.   It may not have been so - it's a testament to many in the Kalgoorlie mining community that the fund was never forgotten and its balance remains secure.

Some of the chapters of this story are yet to be written.   The  price Bruce Wilson agreed to pay for the Kalbarri holiday units was apparently higher than their advertised sale price.   And those who were there at the time recall brand new Ford motor cars appearing in the AWU parking lot after the vendor - a Ford dealer - closed the holiday flat deal.   Authorities may yet have the last word.

This scholarly paper represents so much hard work by John and Val over the past several months.   Thank you both for seeking out the truth  - and thank you for the lifetime of professional conduct and learning that has inculcated in you the wisdom to write with such authority.  

I commend this paper to you.