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October 2013

Andrew Robb really stands out with this letter to constituent Chris

Here's Chris's story today:

Hello Michael, read today about manners in replying to constituents approaches for want of a better description.

I was very worried about the rorting the NDIS poses and bought a book as shown in the attach. I thought the message so important to the country that I bought 10 . I sent them to Coalition members. Joe Hockey, Julie Bishop, Andrew Robb, Malcolm Turnbull and the lass from Kooyong. I sent a copy to Ross Stevenson and John Burns and to Neil Mitchell 3 AW.

I have attached a letter from Andrew Robb. A humble man. The only person who saw fit or found the time to thank me. Not that I wanted thanks but maybe just an acknowledgement that they had received the book for the trouble I went to.


Who do you think I will be making my donations to next time?





A nation of takers_001

As the chopper crashed the rotor chopped the foliage I thought "this is what an ant must feel like" when I mowed the lawn.

When I was in the army, 1978 to 1986 I felt the odd incident of prejudiced thinking from "educated professionals" who had preconceived ideas about dumb grunts.   Some of it was subtle "well you speak well for someone in the army" and some not subtle at all, like the paint chucking black-clad Women Against Rape who attacked Anzac Day marches back then.

But no one ever accused me of having a role in murder or genocide.

Your ABC, SBS, Fairfax press and The Guardian had no qualms a week or so ago in making a link between Australian Defence Force helicopters and mass murder, indeed genocide, against people who lived in Irian Jaya in the 1970s.

They ran bulltish headlines like this:


Those stories were based on an uncritical analysis of this report - and it is wrong.


The relevant bit of the report that tips Australia into the reported atrocities is in this page and a couple of others with similar levels of scant detail.


Last week we featured PeterR's story - he was an Australian Army Officer deployed to Irian Jaya.   Peter and others including C130 loadmaster Col Coyne got in touch with me to set the record straight in no uncertain fashion and to give it to the media mob that so slurred their work.

Col put me in touch with another bloke, Paddy Sinclair who transitioned from his job on board helicopters to a fixed wing loadmaster job in C130s after the crash of one of those helicopters, A2-379.

Paddy's first note to me was a couple of days ago:

Hi Michael,
I am Paddy Sinclair.  the last remaining crew member of A2-379, involved in the fatal crash during operation Cenderawasih.
Our part in the operation was to ferry the geociever equipment and operators around Indonesian New Guinea.  You will notice that we had written the word AUSTRALIA, in white along the tail boom.  this was to distinguish us from the Iroquois aircraft used by the Indonesian armed services.  these aircraft were painted in the same colours as the Australian aircraft.  And there aircraft were not doing nice things to the West Papuan people [allegedly].  All the Australian aircraft were unarmed, as were the crews.  I have more photographs of the crash, and can put you onto a website for more info from the court of enquiry.  If you wish.
Paddy Sinclair
crewman  A2-379
Hi Michael,
Thanks for the call back.  Yes Im feeling fine i suppose, just getting old.  I am being looked after by DVA.  Just wish the government would bring everything into line with their pensions, including the defence force pensions.  But that is another issue.  I dont mind for you to let your readers know that you have heard from me.  i will try to attach a file with photos and the enquiry.
I was just about to post Paddy's story when my mobile phone rang with Katarina calling.   Of all the coincidences in the world, Katarina has been interviewing former Chief of the Defence Force and decorated helicopter pilot Air Chief Marshall Angus Huston AC AFC and Angus had asked to speak to me - we'd spoken often when I was on the radio.  Angus Houston joined the same squadron as Paddy soon after Paddy's ordeal and the death of Flt Lt Ralph Taylor.    Some conversations were meant to be!
The point is that the military is not just a monolith, a target to be given heaps by lefties whenever possible.   Our military forces are people, individuals like Paddy Sinclair who saved people from a downed helicopter with a fractured pelvis and a dead mate inside and who lives with that day forever.
Paddy and other crew can do without ill-researched slurs against their good name.


Paddy chopper




CRASH A2-379 29July 1977 IRIAN JAYA


I am Patrick (Paddy) Sinclair, the last surviving crew member from the fatal crash of A2-379.

I think the co-pilot is the last remaining crew member of A2-149.

Below are some of my recollections from  the 29July1977:-

It had been planned that A2-149 was to do both sorties as A2-379 was getting short on service hours, but after consultation with the missionary pilots it was decided ,because of imminent bad weather, that both aircraft would be used.  We then proceeded to load 379. 

As the winch was  on the left hand side all the cargo was stowed on the RHS behind the pilot and in the Lhs quarter compartment.  The left hand outer and inner seats and the centre seat were used for myself and the two pax

Both aircraft were at the upper limits for weight on takeoff from Wamena and we were not travelling fast when we went across the saddle into cloud and did the 180 to get out of it. We lost speed in that turn and then we saw 149 in front of us we kicked off again.  That’s when all the bells and whistles started going off up front.

When we started settling into the trees I was looking out the LHS  window, after having the two pax adopt the crash position. I had just finished reading a letter from home which had arrived the day before, and I thought  “ This is what an ant must feel like”, when Im mowing the grass. The rotor was chopping the foliage and smaller branches and shooting it out like a mower.  Then the branch came through the floor on the left hand side, flipping us upside down and into the ground.  This branch was the one that caused me my injuries.

Once I had gathered my thoughts in the aftermath of the crash I pulled the cargo door window and then got the two pax out and down the skid , both were ambulatory at the time, an away from the aircraft.  I attempted to get Greg Cashmere out of the seat but he was lying on the ground and as I bent over my fractured pelvis dislocated and I fell over and crawled away. The Army pax removed Greg.  I was then unable to go up the skid and disconnect the fuel line.  The engine convulsed for over an hour.

We tried calling on PRC90 but couldn’t get through. We then had the army guy get the F1 HF set from the wreck.  We dialled in frequencies from the acft and started calling and due to frequency skip ended up talking with the SAS on exercise in central Australia.  Apparently they notified the relevant authorities. The SAS were taken to Darwin and then flown to Wamena by C130A .

On the 30July the caribou flew over but we couldn’t see it from the ground. A flare rocket distress  was fired and from this they were able to direct A2-149 to the wreck site.

After the rescue party reached us we were winched out by stokes litter and taken to Wamena for preliminary surgery before being flown back to Royal Brisbane hospital for further surgery and treatment.

The rest of the story is history and in the following report.  I hope this aids the history of A2-379

Paddy Sinclair

Crewman A2-379

Paddy jungle pad

A helicopter entering a cleared landing zone in the jungle.

Sas recover equipment
Special Air Service Regiment troopers remove all avionics and other equipment prior to laying demolition charges.

Paddy after demolition

No longer in working order Sir.

UPDATE - this email just arrived - how good is the Australian Defence Community?


Been reading your Cenderawasih stuff with interest.
I went through Portsea in 79/80 with chap named Edwards, wore a Bravery Medal and refused point bank to fly in choppers ever again. I remember the Adjutant asking him about his gong and getting an earful from “tara”later on that. Phil was and is a lovely man, quiet, intelligent, moral. I have not seen him for a few years but Im sure he is reading you too.
After grad I went to a Regiment in Melbourne, my soldiers maintained a twice daily communications schedule with the Surveyors in Irian Jaya so we were provided with twice daily updates on all the goings on, it was all pretty predictable, a bunch of map makers, making maps.
Love your work

There is no escape when Fairfax/ABC multi-platform synergistic news teams target the issues that matter

Exhibit One - the corporate plan

The stupidest ad you will ever see

Exhibit Two - 2UE's breakfast show sets the news agenda with stories that matter

The team pursues the story that matters with multi-platform presentations that push way past the boundaries of good taste that stop lesser "news" teams in their tracks.

You'll find a whole  morning filled with stuff almost as great as 2UE's search for Stan's ghost on producer Alice's twitter feed

Then follow the 2UE agenda-setting as the strategy is taken up by the team on day shift at ABC News.  No carved pumpkin is safe from being outed by the investigators at work.   Corrupt, lying, thieving politicians are, safe that is.   But Halloween stuff?   Full court press, no stone unturned.

Exhibit Three - ABC News teams deploy after those with something to hide.


And it's egg on the faces of the arm-chair experts who said the Fairfax/ABC strategy would never deliver the news that Sydney needs.

Just ask the ghost of Stan Zemanek.   2UE did.


The Defence Minister and CDF with copybook perfection in responding to constituents

This is the way to respond to people who care enough about an issue to write to a leader - like the Minister for Defence or the Chief of the Defence Force.

The issue raised by our correspondent is the understandably emotion-charged question about what to do with the commemorative wall that records the names of men killed in action by our Islamist enemy in Oruzgan.

Both Senator Johnson and the Chief of the Defence Force engage directly on the correspondent's note with personal touches to prove it.  Yes it takes time and if an issue generates a huge volume of correspondence so be it - that's why leaders get paid so much.

When a leader insults people with a chain note that's clumsy and clearly doesn't come close to addressing the note it pretends to reply to, the leader invites closer scrutiny of every bit of his performance.

But these notes today are a pleasure to read and they inspire confidence in the leaders who wrote them.

From: "Horton, Rebecca (Sen D. Johnston)"
Date: 30 October 2013 3:42:13 pm AEDT
Subject: Tarin Kot memorial

Dear Mr xxxxx,

The Minister has just read your email and he has asked me to respond on his behalf. He wanted to send on to you a personal response from General David Hurley, the Chief of the Defence Force, as he has just returned from Tarin Kot with him. General Hurley’s explanation is outlined below and is self-explanatory.

David has also asked me to pass on his very best wishes to you and thanks you for your service to our great nation.

Kind Regards,
Rebecca Horton
On behalf of Minister Johnston
The wall in question is not Australian property. It bears the names of 112 soldiers KIA from four countries listed chronologically by year of death, and not grouped by country, of which the US is the largest number.

The wall would not represent a uniquely Australian memorial if it was returned to Australia.

It would also be presumptuous of me to believe that I could bring the wall to Australia on my own account and deny the families of the fallen from our allies the opportunity to visit the wall in their own country. We have consulted with the countries involved and all agree that destruction is the appropriate course.

The imagery on the walls, in addition to the names of the fallen, bears the symbols and badges of the armed forces of five countries. Again, it is not in my gift to unilaterally decide to return these items to Australia.

The wall is about 25m wide and consists of 12 reinforced concrete T walls (blast protection walls) weighing several tonnes that are not designed for transportation once cast and positioned.

In conjunction with the AWM, the ADF has already arranged to return to Australia a number of significant memorials or elements of memorials from Tarin Kot and elsewhere, noting that we have memorials in Kabul, Tarin Kot, Kandahar and Al Minhad. Importantly we are bringing back the memorial plinth from Tarin Kot which is normally the focus of memorial ceremonies and where wreaths are laid.

There will be sufficient and appropriate places for our servicemen and women to conduct commemorative services in the future. Earlier this year a National Afghanistan Memorial was opened in North Queensland. The AWM will in time include a permanent display on the Afghanistan War and our fallen are listed in the AWM in line with our tradition. I fully expect that in time a memorial reflecting our participation in the Afghanistan War will be erected on ANZAC Parade and become the focus of memorial services in a manner similar to the Vietnam memorial.
Rebecca Horton
Media Adviser   I   Senator the Hon David Johnston
Minister for Defence   I   Senator for Western Australia

Even Paul Keating respected and used the old 2UE - heartbreaking to watch it turn into this.

Sad to watch 2UE go from this:

If this Government cannot get the adjustment, get manufacturing going again, and keep moderate wage outcomes and a sensible economic policy, then Australia is basically done for. We will end up being a third rate economy... a banana republic.

Speaking to John Laws on Radio 2UE, May 14, 1986.

To this promo highlighting the key attraction in the flagship breakfast show today.


More on the remarkable Dr Nelson and the quick-thinking save by Prime Minister Abbott


Prime Minister Abbott has taken the unusual step of publicly confirming that he intervened to reverse Brendan Nelson's announcement about replacing Rudyard Kipling's World War One commemorative phrase "Known unto God" with a quote from Paul Keating.

Tony Abbott has probably now read the whole transcript of Dr Nelson's speech.

It was 18 September, 2013 at the National Press Club - the day Tony Abbott was sworn in as Prime Minister.   But Brendan Nelson didn't congratulate Tony or his ministry even in passing.   This was Dr Nelson speaking for Dr Nelson.  

The clumsy attempted subtext seemed to be that Brendan Nelson is above petty party politicking and party fealty.   Instead we saw the scorned, failed opposition leader trying to launch Brendan Nelson elder-statesman.   Very awkwardly.

Elder statesmen exude wisdom, generosity and equanimity.  Brendan Nelson didn't send much of that in his own party's direction.  The studious avoidance of congtratulations for Tony Abbott and over-emphasis on Labor leaders just seemed weird. I think that led to Nelson's clouded judgement about the relative worth of Keating's speech about the Unknown Soldier.

Here are some excerpts from the transcript of Nelson's speech from

John Kerin from the Australian Financial Review summed up the mood of the room with this first question:

"Dr Nelson, thank you very much for that speech. At times I was wondering which government it was you were a minister in, given all the praise for Kevin and Paul and co."

Mark Riley sensed opportunity to go after Tony Abbott and was rewarded.

Mark Riley from the Seven Network "Dr Nelson, I'm just struck by the juxtaposition today of you speaking at the National Press Club while the man, but one, who succeeded you as Opposition leader is being sworn in as the Prime Minister. And I'm wondering if I could ask for your reflections on what the Opposition was able to achieve from 2007 to today, to become the Government? Whether you have any regrets about leaving politics, and just if you could share your reflections on what the Coalition has achieved in those six years??

BRENDAN NELSON:"I consulted a number of people whose opinion I respect, and one of them said to me, Brendan, you're not bad or mad enough to be Prime Minister. [Laughter] So, I take it as a compliment.


LAURIE WILSON (chair and host at the Press Club): Yes, I think there's the comment you wanted, Mark.

That's exactly the sort of comment that Mark Riley from Channel wanted and Dr Nelson served it, or Tony Abbott up.   While he didn't find it in himself to congratulate Tony Abbott, Dr Nelson had a lot to say about the man Tony succeeded as Prime Minister on that very day, Kevin Rudd;

  • Kevin Rudd is immensely popular. I think still the most popular Prime Minister in modern polling history, as he was in 2008. 
  • As we emerged from the global financial crisis, Kevin Rudd, then as Prime Minister and, I think, to his immense credit, played a significant role in seeing that the existing G20 at Finance Minister's level became a grouping of 20 at leaders' level for global economic governance. 
  • The Europeans were attracted very much to Kevin Rudd's early ratification of Kyoto which was strongly supported by the Opposition led by me at the time. 
  • The real head-turner was the parliamentary apology to forcibly remove generations of Indigenous Australians in February 2008 
  • (another Euro head turner was) Kevin Rudd's early visit as Prime Minister to Brussels enunciating a vision for the future of the relationship.

And he clearly has a bit of a hero-worship for Paul Keating.   The Eulogy at the Service for the Unknown Soldier was rated by Brendan Nelson thus:

  • I regard one of the most significant speeches given by any Australian Prime Minister in any era since Federation as the eulogy given by Paul Keating as Prime Minister in November 1993 for the unknown Australian soldier. 
  • I said to Paul Keating recently that not only will it stand the test of time, it already has.
  • The magnificent leadership and work which he gave for that speech, and the craftsmanship put into it of course, by Don Watson, has given our nation a legacy of which all of us can be proud, irrespective of our political allegiances. 
  • What we are doing with the Keating eulogy for the unknown Australian soldier is it's now being struck in bronze. 
  • Paul Keating has accepted my invitation to give the commemorative address on Remembrance Day this year at the Australian War Memorial.
  • We will also, on that occasion, be officially inaugurating, permanently, this remarkable eulogy which he gave to us - our nation. 
  • Amongst those 102,700 names are several thousand Indigenous Australians who to their immense credit when you think of the First Fleet in 1788, you think of the diseases and all of the things Paul Keating described in his Redfern speech so eloquently, and you think of the consequences of our European ancestors arriving here, building the nation as they did from remarkably difficult origins, the cost borne by Indigenous Australians, in particular, is a story that has to be told.

He had a kind word for Gough Whitlam

  • I think that Australia has managed its relationship with China extremely well from Mr Whitlam's early recognition, through our successive governments.

And even found had a little place in his heart to remind us all that Tony Abbott is not without potential competitors - here's Dr Nelson volunteering his view on Malcolm Turnbull:

  • Mr Turnbull is a particularly ambitious individual

Nelson's elevation of Keating's speech at the repatriation service for the Unknown Soldier to the status of greatest in history was a bit of a stretch.   It's a good speech, but the first minute and a bit are, I think, a bit tortured in the endless list of ways in which we don't know the Unknown Soldier.   And it's from that first minute of the speech that Nelson chose the words to replace Rudyard Kipling's economical, elegant and historically connected Known Unto God.

Here's the speech Dr Nelson rates as "one of the most significant speeches given by any Australian Prime Minister in any era since Federation".

No wonder Tony Abbott stepped in to correct Dr Nelson's stars-in-the-eyes mistake.

Here's The Australian today.

PM says he halted tomb change

TONY Abbott says the retention of the inscription of "known unto God" on the Tomb of the Australian Unknown Soldier has been satisfactorily resolved after he personally intervened.

The intervention occurred after the Australian War Memorial's governing council decided at its meeting in August to replace two inscriptions on the tomb with words from a speech by former prime minister Paul Keating. Mr Keating's eulogy to the Unknown Soldier was delivered on November 11, 1993, when the remains of a World War I soldier recovered from the Western Front were interred at the memorial. The reference to God was to have been replaced with the words: "We do not know this Australian's name, we never will."

The change was announced by War Memorial director Brendan Nelson on the day Mr Abbott was sworn in as Prime Minister. It was several days before Veterans Affairs Minister Michael Ronaldson was notified about the plan in an incoming briefing by his department.

The "known unto God" inscription was retained after Mr Abbott called Dr Nelson.

However, the inscription at the southern end of the tomb -- "He symbolises all Australians who've died in war" -- will be replaced with words taken from Mr Keating's 1993 speech: "He is one of them, and he is all of us."

Brendan Nelson's speech on 18 September 2013 is just plain weird and awfully self-serving. In his first Press Club speech as head of the Australian War Memorial, we learn that:

Brendan Nelson feels the need to congratulate Kevin Rudd quite a lot

As we emerged from the global financial crisis, Kevin Rudd, then as Prime Minister and, I think, to his immense credit, played a significant role in seeing that the existing G20 at Finance Minister's level became a grouping of 20 at leaders' level for global economic governance, which would see Australia as the 13th largest economy in the world as being a part of that G20 grouping. The European Union itself has a seat at the G20 table, the President of the European Commission and the President of the European Council.

I said to then Foreign Minister Stephen Smith in early 2010 that I thought we Australians had two threshold questions in relation to the European Union. The first was whether we should seek a tier one relationship. The Europeans were attracted very much to Kevin Rudd's early ratification of Kyoto which was strongly supported by the Opposition led by me at the time. The real head-turner was the parliamentary apology to forcibly remove generations of Indigenous Australians in February 2008, and Kevin Rudd's early visit as Prime Minister to Brussels enunciating a vision for the future of the relationship.

Dr Nelson took the AWM job for Dr Nelson - would be nice to do it for the diggers

Almost every day when I was in Brussels someone would ask me Brendan, what are you going to do when you go back to Australia? And I thought a bit about it and the closer it got to the end of my deployment there it became more front of mind and the government, the previous government very generously offered me the opportunity to stay longer, but I felt that almost three years would be enough. I said to the person who spoke to me that I didn't think I would be able to achieve anymore for Australia if I stayed another year and it was time to think about what would come next.

I then had a conversation with my wife Gillian, one of those things, and I said, look, whatever I do next I've got to do something meaningful. The medical profession and the taxpayers of this country have invested a lot in me and if I simply take what I've done and turn it into money I'm not going to be happy. I need to do something that is worthwhile. And through complete serendipity I discovered that Steve Gower, my predecessor, his towering contribution was ending and I immediately applied for the job. I went through the process. No one had tapped me on the shoulder and said Brendan, do you want to be the director of the war memorial? I went to interviews. I did all those things.

Nelson can quote Bean's vision for the AWM - to guard the record they made (unless a future PM's speech is the greatest, then you can forget about the record they made.

And so in terms of the Australian War Memorial, it is about our past, it is about our history, but more importantly it's actually about our future. A people that neither knows and nor, more importantly, understands its history, in my view, is dangerous.

And then he set the vision for the memorial in 1948. What informs leadership, of course, is vision. Management is about getting results, vision is what informs leadership. What are we trying to achieve, why do we want to do this? And he said, here is their spirit in the heart of the land they loved and here we guard record which they themselves made.

And the Australian War Memorial, in my view, represents the soul of our nation.

The staff are good, but Brendan Nelson runs the show and makes the good decisions

In addition to that, when I first arrived I asked the staff, when are we going to present Afghanistan? And the staff, very professional, very diligent said well basically it will be a few years away. I said we're doing it now, we're doing it this year. And there are two reasons we have to do it - first we've got to educate Australians about what's been done in our name over the last decade. But importantly, whilst not being captive to history, we have to learn from it.

Nelson's reasons to discard the record they made and replace it with Keating's

It may seem - what I'm about to say to you might seem surprising to some of you, but I regard one of the most significant speeches given by any Australian Prime Minister in any era since Federation as the eulogy given by Paul Keating as Prime Minister in November 1993 for the unknown Australian soldier. I said to Paul Keating recently that not only will it stand the test of time, it already has. The magnificent leadership and work which he gave for that speech, and the craftsmanship put into it of course, by Don Watson, has given our nation a legacy of which all of us can be proud, irrespective of our political allegiances.

What we are doing with the Keating eulogy for the unknown Australian soldier is it's now being struck in bronze. And it will be placed on the Hall of Memory, on the left hand side as you walk into the Hall of Memory. The Hall of Memory of course being that magnificent byzantine dome designed by Napier Waller, and which houses the unknown soldier reinterred from the Adelaide Cemetery in France in 1993. In addition to that, the surround around the tomb of the unknown Australian soldier, at one end currently has 'Known unto God'. At the other end it has 'He symbolises all Australians who've died in war'. We are removing those, and replacing, from the same quarry stone, and into one end we will engrave 'We do not know this Australian's name, we never will'. And at the end as you walk into the hall it will say 'He is one of them, and he is all of us'.

Paul Keating has accepted my invitation to give the commemorative address on Remembrance Day this year at the Australian War Memorial. And we will also, on that occasion, be officially inaugurating, permanently, this remarkable eulogy which he gave to us - our nation.

A leader so flawed is not up to the job at the Australian War Memorial.  I know many of our readers have written to Dr Nelson about his decision to discard Rudyard Kipling's historically relevant inscription and have it replaced with Keating's words.   I've seen dozens of your emails, thank you for sending them in.

Here's the last word on Dr Nelson's judgement and the regard in which he holds the veteran community.   The letters to Dr Nelson I've seen express a range of views and talk about different aspects of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier controversy.   Some mention God, some don't.

But Dr Nelson's response to each is a form email, unaltered to address each correspondents' concerns.  Insult after injury.

Dear XXX,

Thank you for your correspondence of 29 October 2013 regarding the removal of the word ‘God’ from the marble surrounding the Tomb of the Unknown Australian Soldier at the Australian War Memorial.

The Council of the Australian War Memorial reviewed this matter in mid-October and resolved to retain the phrase Known Unto God on the beveled marble surround of the Tomb in its present form and place.  The Council has also agreed to permanently recognise the Eulogy to the Unknown Australian Soldier by replacing the printed version, which has been displayed outside the entrance to the Hall of Memory since shortly after the interment in 1993, with a bronze cast. 

I thank you for your interest on this important matter.

Yours sincerely

Brendan Nelson



The memorial commemorating the names of soldiers from Oruzgan Province killed in action against our Islamist enemy

This is a difficult issue and there's no clear answer to make everyone happy.

We've shared Camp Holland in Oruzgan Province with troops from several other nations.  The US, The Netherlands and France have lost men killed in action in Oruzgan and their names are commemorated on the same memorial as the names of our war dead.

In all 114 names appear on the concrete wall in military stencil style writing - 40 of those are Australian men killed in action.

The agreement between the forces from the US, Holland, France and Australia is that the wall be broken up and buried to save it from descecration by our Islamist enemies after we leave in December.   No proposal for repatriation for safekeeping to a country with skin in the game was considered and none was put forward by Australia.

I know that a bit of media commentary on the issue was generated earlier this week when Ian McPhedran of News Limited filed this story from the base in Afghanistan.

Afghan wall

I've not had anything to contribute to the issue until today so I've left it to the people directly affected.

Today I've received a few notes pointing out that many diggers feel strongly about the issue and are looking to Australia's brass to take the lead by producing a plan for the repatriation of the memorial wall to Australia.  I'm told the Australian War Memorial has promised it would take responsibility for the installation and care of the memorial here.

There are a couple of points that are important to me in talking about the petition I've been asked to promote.   The first is that young blokes who have served kicked the petition off - but you should know who they are and this website will give you some insight

It's hosted by and that organisation makes money from hosting petitions, you might find yourself on a list. 

The wording of the petition is very direct in dropping the complex ball into the lap of the ADF command with a request that the ADF "save" the memorial.

ADF, Australian Defence Force 
Save the Afghanistan Memorial Wall that honours our diggers.

[Your name]

There's not much by way of how that might best be achieved, given that the interests of other nations are so inextricably involved.

Here's the link which should take you to the site that hosts the petition.

Only those who went with mates to serve together can know what that wall means.   One day you're on a plane talking about plans for when you get home and then the stencil kit and paint comes out and a bloke's name is on the wall. 

For those who have knelt, sat, contemplated, felt survivor guilt, missed their mate or simply stood unable to gather any coherence to complex thoughts in front of the wall, may I say thank you for your service and may your mates Rest in Peace.


Diggers in afghanistan

When I heard that the memorial wall in Oruzgan Province, Afghanistan, honouring the 40 Australian soldiers who’ve given their lives during our longest war is going to be painted over, then demolished and buried, I was gutted. And I know other diggers are too. We can’t let it happen.

For those who have served in Afghanistan, and their families, it is not just a monument - it is their mates and fellow soldiers, their children and their parents.  And if it’s not brought home, the families of the fallen will never get to see the memorial honouring their deaths. We can't let this happen, like it did in Iraq.

 In 2008 I was deployed to Iraq in the final surge. A deployment like that takes a toll, the conditions are tough. But one of the things we held dear was the “cav bar” - a place that had the names of all the cavalry and 2/14th LHR troops on the walls and specially made plaques honouring them -- it was an important part of our history. So much so, that we were promised it would be brought back to Australia.

It was something that I would have been able to take my family, and especially my son, to see in years to come.  But that can never happen now. Before we had that chance, the cav bar was bulldozed. 

That’s how I know a big public campaign is important, if we don’t make it clear how important this is, we won’t be able to save it.

This memorial wall in Afghanistan is even more important because it lists the names of all who have fallen. To not bring this home is, I believe, something that we just can’t let happen. There is a reason we have memorials like this, it’s so we honour, and never forget, those who never made it home alive. I’ve already seen in the media that this matters to the families of those on that wall, and that the War Memorial Council wants it brought back too. Let’s save it. 

It’s the same memorial that the Prime Minister laid a wreath at when he declared the war in Afghanistan was over earlier this week. On behalf of Young Diggers, who know how important this is, please sign this petition to save the Memorial Wall that honours our diggers, and have it come home with the troops before the end of the year.

Official Fairfax Radio Network statement of intent - "Just like the ABC but with ads"

This is the stupidest move by a publicly listed company you will see for a long, long time.   

It's brought to you by the same team that delivered advertisers the lowest 2UE breakfast show ratings in 90 years.

The stupidest ad you will ever see

I've seen bad ads, bad corporate strategies and bad presentations.   I've seen companies insult their customers.   I've seen deadshit managers ratshit their staff.   I've seen competitors who've run out of ideas give up and slavishly follow the market leader -  in the hope purchasers won't realise they're getting a second-rate copy.  

"2UE, like a Rolex for $5 on the beach at Bali."

It's rare to see real life examples of corporate strategy this bad.   Profit-driven enterprises seldom decide to become the public service - only more irritating.

The Fairfax Radio Network ad is aimed at advertisers, not listeners, but it is hard to find a stakeholder group in the Fairfax Radio universe not insulted.

The message for Fairfax Radio listeners is "Our radio stations sound like the ABC with ads.   If you'd like to hear the ABC with ads, listen to us.   If you'd like to hear the ABC, well, listen to the ABC like we do.   We think they're pretty good and we'd like to be like them.   That's why we put them in this ad.   How good are we?   As good as the ABC with ads".

It's possible that someone found a market research company to tell Fairfax Radio there's a gap in the market for listeners screaming out for 11 minutes of ABC radio then 4 minutes of ads, repeated four times every hour.   It's possible, like it's possible it was someone else with the HSU credit card.

For Fairfax Radio Network staff the message from management is, "You don't know what to do.   We don't know what to do either.   We think you should do what the ABC does because they seem to know what to do.  But it doesn't matter who's right now, because we've put this ad out.  So sound like the freakin' ABC because that's now policy."

Advertisers are being told, "We do the same stuff as the ABC, except in each 15 minutes we play 4 minutes of ads.   So if you'd really like to advertise on the ad-free ABC, well you can't because that's what makes the ABC unique.   And no one has ever taken the ABC on directly like we have.   Well almost directly, we'll still have your ads."

The same corporate strategy at the National Australia Bank would see NAB ads shot in a hot and stuffy RTA office "Drop into a branch near you - it's like walking into the Roads and Traffic Authority, with extra things to irritate you".

Buy a copy of the Australian Financial Review with the collector's item "Fairfax Radio Network ad that's actually for the ABC".   It'll be like a Franklin Mint 2UE good ole' days Alan Jones and John Laws together dinner plate -  it's sure to be a valuable collectable.   It's in a tiny little collectable category "busted-backside media companies taken out by their own stupidity - not the internet".  

Mark Scott, get that agency in pronto.

Shameless party politicking dressed with sufficient cover for the ABC to present it as "news"

Shameless barracking for Labor and The Greens from the ABC today.

The story's headline is sufficiently ambiguous to warrant rejection by a fair dinkum news organisation:

Australia's emissions reduction target inadequate: Climate Change Authority report

That target is inadequate in what respect?   Not enough for a "best and fairest" award at the next IPCC awards night - or not enough to destroy coal-fired power generation?  

Or not enough to meet the "Federal Government's policy objectives".

The ABC gives the Climate Change Authority the undeserved status of providing independent advice to the Federal Government.   But the Federal Government today has a poliycy of removing $7.5 billion of wasteful spending" linked to Labor/Greens policies.   Those Labor and Greens policies are accurately reported as "former Government policies", but that has escaped the ABC's attention.

The headline is just the start of an unforgivable piece of single-view, partisan barracking for one political side.   This story is dressed up as an ABC news report, ie as disinterested, balanced, unbiased news - but read it and let me know how you judge it.

Australia's emissions reduction target inadequate: Climate Change Authority report

The Federal Government's independent climate policy adviser has declared Australia's emissions reduction target inadequate and not credible.

In a draft report on emissions reduction targets, the Climate Change Authority says Australia's commitment to cutting emissions by 5 per cent from 2000 levels by 2020 would leave Australia lagging behind other comparable countries like the United States.

It has not recommended a final, tougher target, but has canvassed two options for emissions reductions targets.

It says there could be a 15 per cent reduction by 2020, with a trajectory range of 35 to 50 per cent by 2030.

Alternatively, there could be a 25 per cent reduction in emissions by 2020, with a trajectory range of 40 to 50 per cent by 2030.

The report says a weaker 2020 target would require faster reductions later, if Australia is to play its fair role in contributing to the international goal of limiting global warming by 2 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels.

The ABC has the chutzpah to open this story with this sentence

"The Federal Government's independent climate policy adviser".   Any truth in that sentence is technical and readers aren't stupid.  The Labor/Greens administration appointed the Climate Change Authority - does anyone think its independent policy advice options included finding $7.5 billion in wasteful spending?

The now "Federal Government" will introduce on the first sitting day of the new parliament legislation to shut-down what the ABC refers to as the "Federal Government's independent climate policy adviser".   If it could shut it down now it would, as it did with Professor Flannery's Climate Change Commission.   But the Climate Change Authority has its own Act of Parliament and legislation is needed to wind it up.

In essence, the ABC tries to give this partisan body the cloak of legitimacy afforded by an undeserved status as a Federal Government Independent Policy Adviser, when the Federal Government is winding the body up.

The notion that this body gives "independent climate policy advice" is risible, given that one of the sections of the Act of Parliament that set it up binds it to the IPCC view of the world:

12  Authority must have regard to certain principles

                   In performing its functions, the Authority must have regard to the following principles:

                     (a)  the principle that any measures to respond to climate change should:

A number of clauses follow, which include this binding piece of law;

vi)  support the development of an effective global response to climate change

A more accurate way to describe the Climate Change Authority is that it was set up to provide specific advice to the former Labor/Greens Government to support then-current government policy.  It should have no current status as a provider of independent policy advice in relation to the Federal Government policies of today - it's being wound up as soon as possible by the Federal Government itself, hardly an endorsement of the ABC's report that this body currently provides independent advice to achieve government policy.

Current Federal Government climate change policies include:

Additional savings from the abolition of the Carbon Tax

The Coalition has been consistent from day one in our promise to abolish the Carbon Tax, and the measures linked to it, except for the personal income tax cuts and fortnightly pension benefit increases.

Abolishing the remaining spending linked to the carbon tax will deliver savings of $7.5 billion.

·Discontinuing the business compensation measures introduced to provide partial relief to selected sectors and industries for the hit from the carbon tax ($5.1 billion) – including:

oRemoval of the increase in the instant asset write-off threshold to $6,500 ($0.2 billion);

oDiscontinuing the Jobs and Competitiveness Program ($4.0 billion);

oDiscontinuing the Steel Transformation Plan ($0.1 billion);

oDiscontinuing the Clean Technology Program ($0.4 billion);

oDiscontinuing the Coal Sector Jobs Package ($0.3 billion); and

oDiscontinuing other small Clean Energy Future business compensation measures including the Energy Efficiency Information Grants, the Clean Energy Skills package, and the Clean Technology Focus for Supply Chain programs;

·Discontinuing energy market compensation measures which will no longer be needed once the carbon tax has been scrapped ($0.5 billion);

·Discontinuing various land sector initiatives which Labor has already slashed, as well as bureaucracies like the Climate Change Authority ($0.4 billion); and

·Abolishing other measures linked to the carbon tax that are wasteful or will no longer be required once the carbon tax is abolished ($1.5 billion).

Current Federal Government policy, in its own words, is to abolish measures linked to the carbon tax that are wasteful of money.   It has a specific target of $7.5 billion in savings.   The ABC's report that the Federal Government's independent climate policy adviser states that its measures are indequate to meet targets isn't near the ballpark in terms of reporting accurately and without misleading readers.

The "independent" Climate Change Authority CEO is Anthea Harris, here are her biographical details taken from


Chief Executive Officer: Ms Anthea Harris

Prior to her appointment, Ms Harris was a Chief Adviser within the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, where she played a leading role in the development of the Australian Government's carbon pricing mechanism and associated climate change measures. Ms Harris contributed to both the government's Green and White Papers on the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme. Serving in the National Emissions Trading Taskforce from October 2005 to December 2007, Ms Harris led the Secretariat for the taskforce to design a national emissions trading scheme to be implemented by all states and territories. Until October 2005, Ms Harris was a consultant with an economics consulting firm, where she worked on a range of greenhouse policy issues, including assisting the NSW Government to design and implement its Greenhouse Gas Reduction Scheme. Prior to that Ms Harris held positions with the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet and at the Productivity Commission.

The soon to be wound up Climate Change Authority Board includes Professor David Karoly.    

But none of the partisanism of the Authority made it to the ABC's news report today.   The ABC uncritically presented these quotes from Anthea Harris as news:

Climate Change Authority CEO Anthea Harris says Australia is able to work towards a higher target than a 5 per cent reduction by 2020.

"Moving from a five to something like a 15 or a 25 per cent target is achievable," Ms Harris said.

"The government’s own conditions, which are bipartisan, for moving beyond 5 per cent have been met," she said.

Ms Harris says the costs of moving to stronger targets are relatively small and says a 5 per cent target would leave Australia lagging behind other comparable countries.

Ms Harris would not be drawn on the Federal Government's direct action policy, saying the Authority has tried not to "speculate on the design details of that arrangement".

The Authority will accept submissions on the draft report until November 29, with the final report due to be handed to the Government by the end of February.

Good luck handing your final report to the Government in February Climate Change Authority (in receivership).   And no comment from the uncritical ABC news team about a "Federal Government Policy Adviser" which tries not to provide advice on "Federal Government Policy".

Ms Harris would not be drawn on the Federal Government's direct action policy, saying the Authority has tried not to "speculate on the design details of that arrangement".

Labor and the Greens set this entity up to generate "news" reports like this - reports that say an independent expert authority has - surprise, surprise - supported Labor and Greens policy. Only the ABC, Labor and the Greens have the hide to pretend that it is independent.   But that pretence is exactly what the ABC puts forward in this bogus news report, right to the finish. 

Labor and Greens call for government to take report seriously

The Opposition's Environment spokesman Mark Butler has warned against shutting the authority down, and says he hopes the Government takes the report seriously.

"The United States is working to a reduction target of 17 per cent by 2020," he said.

"Europe other countries have similar targets.

"This is a debate we need to have and I'd like to see the independent voices maintained in the debate rather than shut down."

The Greens Leader Christine Milne says the Government should abandon the 5 per cent reduction target and agree to cut emissions by at least 25 per cent.

"Well, a 5 per cent reduction is woefully inadequate," she said.

"The Climate Change Authority has now confirmed that and this really puts the spotlight on Tony Abbott. He has tried to say that he accepts the climate science.

"Australia has signed up to constraining global warming to less than two degrees and five per cent will not do that task."

Australia will be expected to confirm its emissions reduction plans in the next few years in international climate talks.

Preliminary discussions are set to begin in Warsaw next month.


If the ABC values its credibility as an honest broker, it'd want to have a good debrief on reports like this.

Division One payout revoked in the public service Sex and Travel Allowance saga

Close, but no payout.  The Full Court of the High Court has ruled today in a saga that started in 2007.

Girl met boy on work trip away.   Girl and boy went to girl's hotel room.   Girl and boy's enthusiastic congress loosened light fitting which fell on girl and hurt her.   Girl put in work-related compo claim.

The case has been through administrative tribunals and various courts ever since.  Ordinarily I wouldn't do this - but to get a sense of how many house-extensions and pools this matter has financed in various lawyers homes, here is the judgement of just the final court hearing, not the evidence, not the transcripts, not the submissions - just the judgement.

Comcare v PVYW [2013] HCA 41 (30 October 2013)

Last Updated: 30 October 2013






Comcare v PVYW
[2013] HCA 41
30 October 2013


  1. Appeal allowed.
  2. Set aside the orders, other than the costs order, of the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia made on 13 December 2012 and, in their place, order that:
    • (a) the appeal to that Court be allowed; and
      • (b) the order and declaration, other than the costs order, of the Federal Court of Australia made on 19 April 2012 be set aside and, in their place, order that the appeal from the decision of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal dated 26 November 2010 be dismissed.
  3. The appellant pay the respondent's costs of this appeal. 

On appeal from the Federal Court of Australia

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