Previous month:
August 2015
Next month:
October 2015

September 2015

CFMEU manually deleted blocks of email-server data - after Royal Commission served Notice to Produce

12 Dec 2013 - "The Australian'  publishes article confirming Union Royal Commission weeks away

10 Feb 2014 -  PM Abbott formal announcement, names CFMEU, include Terms of Reference

18 Feb 2014 -  Records Retention Alert to Government agencies and "other persons"

12 Mar 2014 -  Government announces Letters Patent signed by GG - TURC RC powers operational

21 Mar 2014 - Archives Act/RC Act orders Govt Agencies & others - retain records, no destruction

26 Mar 2014 - TURC publishes Practice Direction No 1  orders electronic data be produced for NTPs

1   Apr 2014 - 1st Notice to Produce served on CFMEU National Office, applies to al branches

30May 2014 - further 3 NTPs served on CFMEU - numbers 98,103 and 104 - return date 6 Jun

5   Jun 2014 - Philip Pasfield, Slater and Gordon, solicitors for CFMEU writes seeking ext. of time

6   Jun 2014 - CFMEU partial compliance  NTP 98 and 104 - TURC extends time to 16 June 2014

16  Jun 2014  - CFMEU delivers paper copies of documents, no electronic data, no electronic copies

23  Jun 2014 -  CFMEU "discovers" a 2 year old problem with email server after an "incident"

24  Jun 2014 -   6.33PM This email sent to staff on the "broken"  NSW CFMEU email system

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 8.26.39 pm

24 June 2014, 6.35 PM -CFMEU President and lawyer Rita Mallia created this masterpiece for the "l tried, I really tried to find another way" record

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 8.34.22 pm

25 Jun 2014 - TURC  detailed letter to CFMEU reiterating need for electronic files - files the CFMEU now says were deleted just the night before - extends time for production to 1 July, 2014

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 8.42.17 pm

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 8.42.29 pm

30 Jun 2014 -  7 days after the alleged "incident" and manual deletion/destruction of emails electronic files, Slater/Gordon lawyer writes 17 point letter to TURC on the day prior to extended due date for production under the NTP.

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 8.11.43 pm Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 8.11.57 pm

1 July 2014 - no further files produced to answer the NTP. 

I'm confident there would have been a flurry of activity at the TURC and probably by police after the magnitude of what had gone on became clear.   At the time we know police were monitoring George ALEX, Brian PARKER, Darren GREENFIELD and their known associates.

While it's not been published, the TURC did write to the CFMEU's lawyers 30 days later on 30 July 2014 - that letter is referred to by Ms Wray in the document styled "Affidavit" below.

14 August 2014 letter from TURC  solicitor Mr Beaton to the CFMEU's lawyer Mr Pasfield 

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 6.47.32 am Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 6.47.52 am

22 August, 2014,4PM - CFMEU officer's affidavit due - Nothing happened.

23, 24, 25, 26 August - Apparently nothing happened then either.

27 August, 2014 - Ms Wray affirmed this Affidavit before CFMEU President (and lawyer) Rita Mallia.

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 8.59.20 pm Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 8.59.28 pmScreen Shot 2015-09-28 at 8.59.35 pmScreen Shot 2015-09-28 at 8.59.45 pm

The CFMEU's state secretary Brian "What's Chivalry" Parker and others set up circumstances where Ms Wray was ostensibly wholly-responsible for the decision to destroy the evidence.   To illustrate, ask yourself  how long she'd last if she unilaterally took the decision to destroy the only copy of files  containing things PARKER/MALLIA/SHORTEN etc thought were important (irreplaceable photos, evidence CFMEU leaders had on member of the LNP, unique "bias" evidence against the TURC Commissioner HEYDON etc).

Like a deer in the headlights, Ms Wray fronted at the Commission on 2 September 2014 - this is the TURC transcript - here's what we saw as we watched and commented live.

I hope she wakes up to the company she's been keeping soon.   If it makes you feel any better Kylie, it took me a while to do so too!

Kylie Wray, the General Manager of the CFMEU Construction Division NSW Branch

KYLIE WRAY

Kylie Wray is represented by John Agius SC.

Ms Wray made an Affidavit that has been received into evidence.

Ms Wray agrees that she is the General Manager of the CFMEU construction division NSW.

She was the Assistant GM since 2009.   She was first appointed as a mail junior in 1993.

Besides some years with the national office of the CFMEU Ms Wray has been in continuous employment with the CFMEU NSW Branch.

Ms Wray's responsibilities include overseeing the IT and Finance departments, she backs up the IT officer and she reports to the President Ms Malliah.

Ms Wray "guesses so" that part of her responsibilities include compliance with any Notices to Produce issued by this Royal Commission.

Ms wray

Ms Wray has referred to a letter from the Royal Commission to Slater and Gordon - that letter has been tendered and received into evidence.

Ms Wray was referred to a Notice to Produce dated May 2014 and served on the CFMEU.   Ms Wray agrees that the Notice "came to" her and that she is the person responsible for compliance with the Notice.

Ms Wray agreed that she understood the terms of the Notice to Produce in particular in its references to documents, sounds, images or writing relating to any EBA with the George Alex group of companies.

Alex eba

Ms Wray states that while she is the GM she was "part of the team" that was responsible for complying with the Notice to Produce.

Mr Stoljar is referring to a letter from the Commission to Slater and Gordon stating that the Commission has formed the view that the CFMEU has not fully complied with the Notice to Produce.

He refers to a letter in reply from Slater and Gordon.   "On Monday 23 June the branch became aware during the course of the afternoon that external emails had not been received, we subsequently found that the email server had not been backed up for a number of years, the only way to fix the problem was to back up the server with a number of emails unfortunately being deleted......"

Ms Wray describes the proposition that the CFMEU's email server was not receiving external emails.   "I was aware we were not backing up the email server for 2 years after a fire in May 2010 when the CFMEU office was firebombed."

Ms Wray cannot say which email recipients were affected, which inboxes were affected, what emails are missing, whether or not they are missing because of what she describes as the "crash" of the email server.  Mr Stoljar states that there was no crash, only a failure to backup.   Ms Wray agreed.

Quiet

Ms Wray states that emails have been deleted manually in a process whereby IT staff log on to individual officers accounts and manually delete emails.

Deleting

Ms Wray has described in some detail a process over several days that involved exhaustive "deleting" of emails from CFMEU officials inboxes.   Just 'cause the server was "crashing".   But she agreed with Mr Stoljar it didn't really crash.

Ms Wray is not an impressive witness.

Mr Stoljar has extensively asked Ms Wray about the fact that she was in possession of the Commission's Notice to Produce at the time that she went ahead and deleted emails.  Ms Wray agrees.

Notice to produce

Mr Agius has objected to Mr Stoljar's line of questioning.

Mr agius notice to produce

Mr Stoljar is pursuing a slightly different line of questioning about whether or not emails were routinely printed in the CFMEU office.

Ms Wray agrees that the email deletion commence on 23 June in circumstances where she was already in possession of the Commission's Notice to Produce.   She did not consider any alternatives to deleting emails.

Ms Wray agrees that with the large scale deletion of emails it won't be possible for the CFMEU to comply with potential directions from the Commission in future Notices to Produce.

Deletion girl

Ms Wray agreed that it won't be possible for the CFMEU to comply with a Notice to Produce for emails from the beginning of 2013 until June 2014 (with the possible exception of persons who did not comply with Ms Wray's instruction that emails be deleted).

Ms Wray has been handed a copy of an email from Ms Malliah to Ms Wray in which she asked, "Any way we can save the emails externally.....???"   Ms Wray agrees that she received the email from Ms Malliah but even though she (the union President) raised the option Ms Wray still did not consider the option.

Mr Stoljar is putting a number of allegations to Ms Wray in very pointed form, including that it is a false proposition to state that the email server had crashed and that it is a false proposition to state that the email server wasn't backing up and that was only known about from 23 June 2014.

Mr Stoljar goes on to quote the letter from the CFMEU which states, "The only way to fix the problem was to delete emails from the system."   Ms Wray agrees that is a false statement and that an external storage device could have fixed the problem - Ms Wray acknowledges that the branch president Ms Malliah made that very suggestion to her and that she did not act on it.

Ms Wray has given evidence that it never occured to her that it might be possible to store emails on an external storage device.

Mr Stoljar has tendered the email from Ms Malliah to Ms Wray.

Mr Agius SC for Ms Wray is now examining his client.

MS WRAY HAS BEEN EXCUSED

THE COMMISSION IS ADJOURNED 

ends

 


What the CFMEU did after the TURC issued a Notice to Produce about George Alex

The Royal Commission's Notices to Produce refer the recipients to this Direction:

Production of materials to the Commission

20. All electronic documents must be produced electronically in their native file – that is, in the file format in which they exist on the system or systems of the person producing the documents. For example, Microsoft Outlook emails are to be produced as .msg files and Microsoft Word documents are to be produced as .docx files.

21. There may be circumstances in which production of electronic documents will be particularly difficult (for example, an original ‘native’ file may be contained on a hard drive of, or otherwise within, a computer system that is not capable of being physically produced by virtue of its size or location). In such a case the person producing documents may, in the first instance, respond to the notice to produce by creating and producing an exact electronic copy of the original native file, such copy to be saved onto an electronic storage device. Where a person choses to proceed in this way:

(a) they are to give the Commission written notice of fact they have done so; and

(b) the notice to produce shall be treated as having been complied with in part only, and the person will remain obliged to preserve the original native file on the computer system from which it has been copied, pending any further call on the notice to produce.

23. Persons required to produce electronic documents must ensure they produce all parts of the document. For example, where the electronic file is an email chain, all parts of that chain are to be produced, and where the electronic file is an email with an attachment, both the email and its attachment are to be produced.

24. Where a person served with a notice to produce is required to produce a document which is an electronic file and the only version of that document which the person has is an electronic file, the person is not required to (and should not) convert the ‘native’ electronic file to paper for the purposes of production in response to the notice to produce.

 

On 30 May 2014 the TURC issued 3 specific Notices to Produce documents on the CFMEU, requiring it to deliver the electronic files and other documents by 6 June, 2014.   

The NTPs were additional to the 1 April 2014 broad NTP.  These Notices addressed the Fitzpatrick death threat, any documents or electronic information the CFMEU held in relation to corruption allegations that had been published in the media and some very specific requests about the George Alex companies.  

The CFMEU partially complied with the 6 June date - here is part of a letter from Philip Pasfield of Slater and Gordon to the Commission setting out the timeline.

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 6.11.30 am

On 25 June 2014 the TURC's solicitor James Beaton wrote to Slater and Gordon to advise that the CFMEU had not complied with the Notice to Produce.  Beaton said that no electronic copies of emails and attachments had been delivered, only selected printed emails and that many attachments etc were missing.   He reiterated the practice direction I've set out at the top of this post and gave the CFMEU until 1 July to fully comply.

On 30 June 2014 Philip Pasfield of Slater and Gordon replied - his letter contained 17 paragraphs - here is paragraph 12.

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 6.08.44 am

 

The alarm bells and red flags should have been going off at the TURC.    Pasfield's letter says  "this incident" happened on 23 June 2014, 7 days after the CFMEU's 16 June partial compliance with the NTP's (i.e. in printed form without attachments and no electronic native data) - but only 2 days before the TURC wrote to the CFMEU's solicitors specifically about the absence of the electronic files.   

I think a reasonable person may have suspected the CFMEU may have been tipped off about the TURC's decision to seek the electronic files, and if I ran the TURC I'd be investigating that possibility.

There is nothing in the publicly available material I've been able to find that shows any reaction at all from the TURC for 6 weeks.   There may have been police action, there may have been interception warrants - there's a range of possibilities that we may not be privy to.   However it's alarming to see so blatant a "coincidence" in the manual destruction of evidence and no formal response from the TURC for 6 weeks.

On 14 August 2014 Beaton replied to Pasfield's 30 June letter - printed in full here:

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 6.47.32 am Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 6.47.52 am

WHAT HAPPENED NEXT SOON

 


CFMEU's Michael "Been There Done That" Ravbar on TURC Notices to Produce, Record Retention Notices and a very big truck

On 24 September 2015  Michael "Been there, done that" Ravbar told the Royal Commission that he was familiar with Royal Commissions into unions and with the meaning of a Notice to Produce.

He also knew that it was "possible, even likely" that more than one Notice to Produce would be served on the CFMEU by this Royal Commission.   Here's the section of transcript.

27 Q. Did you digest every aspect of the Notice to Produce

28 as soon as you read it, or did you feel that you needed to

29 be advised on it?

30 A. I read it all. I've been there, done that before.

31 There was nothing that concerned me in the Notice to

32 Produce that the Union didn't have in its records. But

33 some of the financial stuff, I had talked to Paula - you

34 know, Paula about. I don't know if I rang Tom Roberts, but

35 what I saw in there was that I was pretty - I knew the

36 timelines would be tight to get that material, I think it

37 was 10 or 11 April. I think my only concern was timelines

38 because there was a lot of stuff you were asking for.

39

40 Q. You said you've been there, done that. Is that

41 because you have been involved in previous

42 Royal Commissions?

43 A. Yes.

44

45 Q. Did you know from that experience that it was

46 possible, even likely, that more than one Notice to Produce

47 would be served upon your Union?

-page  420

1 A. Yes.

 

Here's a little chronology.   In the lead up to the September 2013 election Tony Abbott, George Brandis and Eric Abetz spoke extensively about setting up an enquiry into union corruption if elected.

18 September 2013 - Prime Minister Abbott sworn in

10 December 2013 - Employment Minister Abetz informs The Senate of government concerns about union slush funds and names CFMEU.

12 December 2013 - the Ausralian newspaper publishes a report confirming that a Royal Commission into unions will be established.

THE Abbott government will establish a royal commission into union malfeasance in the new year.

10 February 2014 - Prime Minister Abbott makes formal announcement of a Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption, including its terms of reference.   Names the CFMEU as a union of interest.

On 18 February, the National Archives of Australia sent an alert to relevant agencies requesting that they retain any potentially relevant records that may be needed by the Royal Commission, pending a formal communication from the Archives.

12 March 2014 - Government announces the Trade Union Royal Commission has been established - letters patent have been issued and it is extant from that moment.

21 March, 2014 - this Records Retention Notice under the Authority of federal legislation went through government agencies like a rocket - note "other agencies and persons" reference:

Records retention notice

Records related to governance and management of trade unions, related funds, organisations, accounts and financial arrangements, including payments to and from these entities and associated unlawful activities.

Purpose

This document is to notify relevant Australian Government agencies and other agents or people in possession of Commonwealth records (records) that any relevant Commonwealth records must be retained for the purposes of the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption. Your agency is currently responsible for some potentially relevant records.

It is likely that some of the relevant records have been authorised for destruction under general and agency-specific records authorities issued by the National Archives or using a normal administrative practice (NAP). The purpose of this notice is to prevent any such destruction and to ensure that all relevant existing and future records are available for current and future actions.

This notice suspends the National Archives of Australia’s permission to destroy any relevant records. Relevant records and any associated drafts and working papers cannot be destroyed using any agency-specific or general records authorities or through a normal administrative practice (NAP).

It is a legal requirement that you apply this notice by protecting any relevant records and I ask you to convey this to the relevant people in your organisation as a matter of urgency. Penalties for the unauthorised destruction of documents and records are specified in various Commonwealth laws, including the Archives Act 1983 and the Royal Commissions Act 1902.

Authority

This action is taken pursuant to paragraphs 24(2)(b) and 24(2)(c) of the Archives Act 1983.

Duration

This notice will take effect immediately and will be in force until further notice by the National Archives.

Background

On 10 February 2014, the Prime Minister the Hon Tony Abbott announced the Australian Government’s intention to establish a Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption.

On 18 February, the National Archives of Australia sent an alert to relevant agencies requesting that they retain any potentially relevant records that may be needed by the Royal Commission, pending a formal communication from the Archives.

The Governor General, Her Excellency the Honourable Quentin Bryce AC CVO, issued Letters Patent and Terms of reference (see Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption Established, Attorney-General for Australia) establishing the Royal Commission on 13 March 2014. The Honourable John Dyson Heydon AC QC has been appointed as the Royal Commissioner to inquire into Trade Union Governance and Corruption, in accordance with the terms of the inquiry set out in the Governor-General’s Letters Patent. The Royal Commissioner is asked to provide a report of his findings and recommendations on or before 31 December 2014.

Action required

Agencies and other agents or people in possession of relevant Commonwealth records should:

  1. Ensure that all workers are informed of the records retention notice.
  2. Conduct a risk assessment to:
    1. determine if workers, contractors or records service providers have any records due or overdue for destruction that come within the scope of the records retention notice; and
    2. identify and retain relevant existing and future records subject to this notice.

Impact

The processing, reviewing and storage costs arising from the implementation of this notice will be borne by the agencies or other agents or people concerned.

Inquiries

For inquiries about this notice, please contact the Agency Service Centre at recordkeeping@naa.gov.au or 6212 3610 or Christine Johnston on 6212 3732.

Issued by

Signature of David Fricker, Director-General, National Archives of Australia

David Fricker 
Director-General 
National Archives of Australia

21 March 2014

Download this document in PDF (224kB)

 
31 March, 2014 -  Michael Ravbar's diary records his meeting with "Jade, Paula and Cherie" re "Legal Matters"
 

1 April 2014 - Process server serves the CFMEU with Notice to Produce in the early afternoon.

By 4.15PM it's on Michael Ravbar's computer screen.  

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 3.48.14 am

Ravbar's diary records that at that time he is "Meeting with Jade re legal matters".

In fact he is in the office either shredding or shifting boxes of documents.   The office security cameras cannot be turned off - someone covers the lenses with banners during the time the boxes are shifted.   They are taken to Dave Hannas's house.

2 April 2014 - Ravbar's evidence to the Commission is that he had read the notice to produce by late on the morning of 2 April 2014.   The documents remain at Hanna's property.

During the week attempts were apparently made to burn or bury the documents at the property.

4 April, 2014 - this truck attends at Hanna's property.

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 2.54.38 am

Steve J takes it from here:

It is BIG!

I think Hanna initially tried to burn them.

Didn’t work.

Then he tried to bury them. Too much spoil.

Effectively the boxes are going to displace their own volume in soil.

Then he decided to get the truck to get rid of what was left plus the spoil from the ones he buried on his own property.

This is why the dump records show such a heavy load. 6.86 tonnes.

See also the description of what was dumped “construction and demolition waste”. It would have looked like a load of spoil.

http://www.tradeunionroyalcommission.gov.au/Hearings/DocumentsThirdQuarter/Evidence/Evidence23September2015/DocumentDisposalCaseStudyMFI-10.pdf

 

 The spoil is heavier than the boxes it made way for.

Then he got the truck driver to smooth out the area he had buried them in when he returned from the dump.

There is no way Ravbar didn’t know about the notice to produce . Hanna’s evidence on this makes sense.

The position he is putting forward is that, he didn’t know about the notice, he wasn’t reckless because he conducted a reasonable examination of the files and in any case they weren’t likely to be required because of their age.

Remember they were  busy shredding other files for a few days also.

“Section 6K

(c)  the person knows, or is reckless as to whether, the document or thing is one that: 

                              (i)  is or may be required in evidence before a Commission; or 

                             (ii)  a person has been, or is likely to be, required to produce pursuant to a summons, requirement or notice under section 2. “.

 

Ravbars admission about the phones is important because it shows a mindset that is concerned with concealment. It is relevant to the covering of the camera’s.

Skourdombis seemed to indicate that the National Executive knew about the documents and that he had spoken to Ravbar about them. There are certain sections of that recording that have been redacted.

Some clearly relate to personal matters some don’t.

http://www.tradeunionroyalcommission.gov.au/Hearings/DocumentsThirdQuarter/Evidence/Evidence22September2015/DocumentDisposalCaseStudyMFI-5.pdf

The coincidences are amazing aren’t they. A clear out on the afternoon they get the notice to produce. A covering of the security camera’s that the micro managing Boss doesn’t know about, 7 hours spent examining files when he wasn’t there, a busy time with the amalgamation etc etc. Remember the NSW office also had a slight hiccup with its old e-mails. Oopps!

I think there might be a lot more to come on this one.

Regards 

Steve

ENDS

 

 


Music that inspires me.

I joined the Australian Regular Army in 1978 as a 33rd class Army Apprentice at Balcombe - in my opinion the toughest proving ground for young blokes in the country.   For many of our number it was join the army or head towards a youth jail.

Screen Shot 2015-09-27 at 11.23.00 am

I remember to this day being marched up to the camp Cinema to watch a movie.

Zulu.

The idea was to show young fellas manifest discipline, belief, faith, duty, obedience, self-sacrifice and fighting to the end for what you believe in.

Zulu was based on the true story of the battle of Rorke's Drift in the Anglo-Zulu war.   Wikipedia describes it thus:

The Battle of Rorke's Drift, also known as the Defence of Rorke's Drift, was a battle in the Anglo-Zulu War. The defence of the mission station of Rorke's Drift, under the command of Lieutenant John Chard of the Royal Engineers, and Lieutenant Gonville Bromhead immediately followed the British Army's defeat at the Battle of Isandlwana on 22 January 1879, and continued into the following day, 23 January.

Just over 150 British and colonial troops successfully defended the garrison against an intense assault by 3,000 to 4,000 Zulu warriors. The massive, but piecemeal,[9] Zulu attacks on Rorke's Drift came very close to defeating the tiny garrison but were ultimately repelled. Eleven Victoria Crosses were awarded to the defenders, along with a number of other decorations and honours.

150 men (including support troops) with single shot weapons and bayonets fought off 3,000 to 4,000 fierce warriors who were on their home turf. This small clip will show you what I mean.  

The Welsh among those British troops inspired their comrades to greatness with the power of their music.   After the surrounding  Zulus had scared the tripe out of the Brits with their non-stop chanting and fearsome songs, one of the Brtitish officers said "I think the Welsh could do better than that couldn't they?"   I always hated the idea of a bayonet or spear - I'd much rather face a bullet.   The idea of those 3,000 to 4,000 armed with iron bladed spears headed my way would have scared me witless.

"Men of Harlech march to glory, Welshmen will not yield".

Memories of the day I watched that movie and those British soldiers have stuck with me ever since.

The Welsh were poor, most of them coal miners.  No television, no radio, no cinema and little money for theatre.  What held them together was their music, their words and their voices about their nation and what it stood for.

Generations later, after the pits were closed Wales is under some economic pressure.   Many of its youth are unemployed and the usual social problems that follow unemployment are plain to see in Wales - grog, drugs, vandalism, assaults and layabouts.

How wonderful then to see this group of Welsh boys carrying on the traditions of their fathers and forebears in this beautiful clip from Britain's Got Talent.

You know my doubts about seeing this business with union corruption through.   I have some shocking days when it's hard to get out of bed and face it again.

Then I think of the Brits at Rorke's drift - men who stood their ground and fought for what they believed was right.

I know the broad thrust of what we are doing here is right.   I have made many mistakes along the way.   I hope I'm learning from them.   But something in me, something my forebears, mum and dad and this lovely Irish nun instilled in me won't let the injustice rest.

I hope you enjoyed the music.   I hope that like the Welshmen at Rorke's Drift you'll find the inner resolve in the face of ferocious and intimidating attacks - to defend the things you hold dear.


Can you help to improve the Royal Commission's final report?

Last  Thursday Commissioner Heydon closed his Brisbane hearing with this message,  "31 December is a date which weighs heavily on me". 

Here is the Commission's schedule for what might be its last month of hearings.

Monthly Schedule

Please note, this schedule may change at short notice.

October​Hearing description​Location
Thursday 1–Friday 2  Public hearing: CFMEU NSW Sydney
Monday 5 Public holiday  
Tuesday 6  Public hearing: CFMEU Funds Sydney
Wednesday 7–Friday 9 Public hearing: CFMEU ACT  Sydney
Monday 12–Friday 23 Public hearing: AWU Sydney
Monday 26–Friday 30 TBC  Sydney

On 25 September 2015 the Commission published a Practice Direction about the AWU hearings: 

  1. Between 12 and 23 October 2015 the Commission proposes to hold further public hearings into the Australian Workers Union including its dealings in relation to:

    1. the Thiess John Holland Joint Venture Pty Ltd and the construction of the Eastlink Toll Road;

    2. ACI/O-I Glass Packaging;

    3. Downer EDI Pty Ltd and the Yolla Gas Offshore Platform;

    4. Cleanevent Pty Ltd;

    5. Unibuilt Pty Ltd;

    6. Winslow Constructors Pty Ltd; and

    7. Chiquita Mushrooms Pty Ltd. 

The Commission adheres to natural justice principles which mean November and December will largely be confined to:

  • Service (on parties affected) and publication of Counsel Assisting's Submissions as to what the Commission should find, including Counsel's recommendations for charges.
  • Submissions in response by affected parties.
  • Submissions in response to the Submissions of persons affected by the 1st round of affected parties submissions
  • Counsel Assisting's response to those submissions

At the end of that, the Commissioner will complete his report.   The interim report findings that have not been revisited this year will presumably become final findings.

And that's it......... unless there is a compelling reason for the Commission's term to be extended.

Any work done in lobbying Tony Abbott can be put down to experience!   Consider it a live-firing exercise, good practice but it won't determine who wins the war.

The new Turnbull Government "doesn't want to wage war on the unions" and has a brand new Minister scarcely across her brief - Minister Cash is unlikely to make controversial decisions without help.

In human affairs, nothing changes until the pain of staying the same exceeds the pain of change.   Staying the same means a "Thank God that's over" deadline of 31 December.   The Government isn't going to feel any pain in staying that course. 

If nothing changes (ie the pain of staying the same - at present not much - remains less than the pain of change, quite a bit of that) the Commission will be disbanded on 31 December.  

Unless you help, the history of the nation will record  Julia Gillard "did nothing wrong" in the AWU-WRA scandal.  

The Final Report of a Commission of inquiry into union corruption will contain no evidence or answers from Bill Ludwig.

The MUA will receive scant attention - here's its one day at the Commission.

Maritime Union of Australia (MUA)

Witnesses

Witnesses are called before the Commission to give evidence under oath. Witness lists are published once the hearing schedule has been confirmed. The name of a witness is published in alphabetical order, not in the order of appearance and may be subject to change.

Transcripts and evidence

The full transcript of the hearing and documents presented to the Royal Commission will be available soon. The documents have been provided in a PDF format. If you require these documents in a different accessible format please contact legal.tradeunion@ag.gov.au.

 

The notorious MUA secretary Paddy Crumlin wasn't heard at all.    More than $1M in dodgy "donations" to the MUA were discussed during that one day hearing - and Paddy Crumlin was not asked a single question about it.

About 4PM that day The Commission heard this:

MR STOLJAR: The final witness is Mr Crumlin. I did have some questions of Mr Crumlin but given the hour, I might just tender his statement as well and reserve what I wish to say for submissions.

THE COMMISSIONER: Yes, very well.

MR STOLJAR: I tender his statement of 25 September 2014. 

THE COMMISSIONER: Mr Crumlin's statement is received into evidence.

STATEMENT OF PADRAIGH CRUMLIN DATED 25/9/2014

And that was that.   

Dawesville, Thiess, Gillard, the AWU WRA Inc, Bruce Wilson, Hugh Morgan and Carmen Lawrence.

If it wasn't for this website and our submissions, the Commission's report on the AWU-WRA would have recorded that Thiess won the Dawesville Channel $60M contract as a result of submitting the superior bid in a publicly contested Tender process.

As it stands,  The Commission's Interim Report does not tell the complete story, it says

The Western Australian State Manager for Thiess Contractors Pty Ltd was Nicholas Jukes. He negotiated with the Western Australian Department of Marine and Harbours for Thiess to obtain the contract. (page 93 Interim Report, AWU-WRA case study)

The truth is the Lawrence Labor Government's Cabinet made the decision to cancel a public tender process which had commenced and the Cabinet decided in secret to hand the contract exclusively to Thiess. 

The Commission's report states:

According to Ralph Blewitt, Bruce Wilson also negotiated with Australian Labor Party officials and the Western Australian government to ensure this outcome.41 Since many of Thiess’s employees were members of the AWU rather than the CFMEU, he had a motive to do this, and it is possible that he did. (page 93)

More than just possible - but the Commission didn't look for any other motives or evidence to support the lobbying claim against a vulnerable Carmen Lawrence.   A key figure at the time was Hugh Morgan, CEO of Western Mining Corporation who told Hedley Thomas and me in an interview published in The Australian newspaper:

AWU leader ‘said he would destroy premier’

  Screen Shot 2015-09-27 at 6.13.00 am

A UNION boss accused of major fraud in the AWU slush fund scandal had intimidated and threatened to destroy the political career of a premier, Carmen Lawrence, according to a mining executive.

One of Australia’s most respected resources-company leaders from the era, Hugh Morgan, the former chief executive of Western Mining, said that Dr Lawrence had confided the threats to him when she was the West Australian premier.

Mr Morgan, who has battled unions and been a strong Liberal Party backer, said he would give evidence to the royal commission into unions if it called him as part of its investigation of the slush fund and the allegedly criminal conduct of former AWU boss Bruce Wilson.

An investigation by The Weekend Australian into the delivery by Dr Lawrence’s cabinet of a $60 million building job to Thiess Contractors without a public tender has raised concerns about taxpayer-funded contracts that are likely to be part of the royal commission’s probe.

After receiving the $60m contract following a late change that prevented a public tender process, Thiess paid more than $300,000 into Mr Wilson’s slush fund over the course of the building works. The slush fund, the AWU Workplace Reform Association, had been set up and registered with the legal advice of Wilson’s then girlfriend, Julia Gillard, who was a solicitor at Slater & Gordon. The former prime minister has strenuously denied any wrongdoing.

Mr Wilson’s trusted AWU ally, Ralph Blewitt, has told The Weekend Australian and police that Mr Wilson used his powerful union influence to threaten key ministers in Dr Lawrence’s Labor government that they would not receive preselection or support if Thiess did not get the job.

Asked for comment about the claims of Mr Blewitt and Mr Morgan, Dr Lawrence said yesterday: “This does not ring true.”

Dr Lawrence added that she had not had time to refresh her memory on the events.

She said she did not wish to make further comment until she had recollected the circumstances surrounding the matters that The Weekend Australian emailed her about on Thursday.

The deputy premier and minister for state development at the time, Ian Taylor, now retired, said the assertions by Mr Blewitt were “ridiculous”.

Mr Taylor said he had no recollection of Mr Wilson ever raising the building project, known as the Dawesville Channel.

Mr Morgan said he became aware of Mr Wilson’s remarkable hold on the then Labor government when he had a meeting with Dr Lawrence amid a backdrop of AWU strife at WMC.

“Bruce had done everything he could to avoid signing an (industrial) agreement,” he said. “But finally, we got him to sign. I went to Carmen Lawrence and she said to me very directly, ‘Hugh, I cannot fulfil that because Bruce has informed me that if I go ahead with that agreement he will ensure that I do not get my preselection for the next election’.

The Commission will report with no reference at all to Hugh Morgan's evidence, it didn't hear from him nor will it speak of Carmen Lawrence.

Nick Jukes and Joe Trio appeared at the Commission.   Wilson stated that Jukes knew all about the separate entity - that would make Jukes a party to providing a secret commission.   Unsurprisingly, amongst the many stories Jukes and Trio have told about the AWU-WRA, the one they settled on for the Royal Commission was that they genuinely believed they'd contracted the AWU-WRA Inc to provide training and workplace reform.   No work was done, no checks were made, nothing at all was ever even perfunctorily created except invoices.   But Wilson got $300K in monthly payments that continued until the agreed total amount, $300,000 had been delivered.   Even though the construction was completed had 8 months earlier and the site was inundated with sea water, as all good channels should be.

When Counsel for Bruce Wilson started to quizz Jukes about the discussions Wilson said they'd had about the real nature of the AWU WRA - Counsel Assisting the Commission Jeremy Stoljar objected to stop the line of questioning.

DR HANSCOMBE: Q. You certainly knew the words because

5 6        you put them on the letter.

6

7 7        A.   Someone's - and I wouldn't have written "AWU Workplace

8

9 8        Reform Association" unless somebody told me it existed.  My

10

11 9        evidence to the police in 1997 was I thought Mr Trio had

12

13 10        told me, and that's still the best recollection I've got.

14

 

Joe Trio says he told Jukes no such thing.   And how could he have - the Association didn't exist and only the person who would word the legalese knew what it was going to be called.

Back to the exchange with Hanscombe/Jukes

12 12        Q.   You think Mr Trio told you those words, to address it

13

14 13        to the Workplace Reform Association?

15

16 14        A.   That's the best as I can recall and it's in my

17

18 15        statement to the WA police in 1997.

19

16

17 17        Q.   My puttage to you, my instructions are that you were

18

19 18        told that it was a separate entity and you were told that

20

21 19        in early 1992?

22

23 20        A.   I find that hard to believe given that I have seen

24

25 21        evidence that it wasn't registered until months after the

26

27 22        letter went out.  So if it was a separate entity, it was

28

29 23        somebody's - a figment of imagination at that point in

30

31 24  time. 

A figment or creation of someone's imagination.  Someone who was instructed to set up a separate legal entity to receive money  from the Dawesville Channel Project.  Wilson's instruction were that he wanted control of that money, not the AWU.   Wilson gave evidence that he sought Gillard's advice as to how to achieve his stated end. 

A short time later during the cross-examination, just as Dr Hanscombe was getting somewhere with Jukes, this happened:

 

32 MR STOLJAR:   Commissioner, I object to this.  The reason

33

34 33        is this:  Mr Jukes has come back to give a limited

35

36 34        statement in reply.  There has already been

37

38 35        cross-examination generally about Mr Jukes' evidence

39

40 36        including this letter on the last occasion.  I am conscious

41

42 37        of the fact we still have three witnesses to get through

43

44 38        this afternoon.  Leisurely cross-examination on matters

45

46 39        that really relate to his evidence-in-chief, in my

47

48 40        submission, is not appropriate.

49

41

42 42        THE COMMISSIONER:   Yes.  I am worried about the passing of

43

44 43  the time. 

A few more questions and that was it.

The ad for the Association was in the newspaper on 6 March, 1992

10 days later on 16 March 1992 Jukes "wrote" this:

Screen Shot 2015-09-27 at 5.08.04 am

 

The letter was exquisitely well addressed in a form identical to the hand written description by Gillard on the Application for Incorporation - a form which wasn't submitted until one month and 12 days later:

Screen Shot 2015-09-27 at 5.12.05 am

How did Jukes know what Gillard was going to write on the form?  How did he invent the legalese in the letter he "wrote" to the Association in such precise terms.  Only one person knew the final name - and it wasn't Ralph Blewitt, he couldn't be trusted to write it right.

During those weeks, Gillard's proposed entity opened bank accounts, issued invoices and banked cheques with the AWU's name in the payee section.  Its invoices went out on letterhead of an entity that no one knew about because it didn't exist.  That name was written in Gillard's hand-writing on the Application for Incorporation so that Ralph didn't stuff it up and it was important that the name was correct - for legal reasons.   The cheques it banked went into the accounts the operation of which were described in Gillard's Objects for the Association - well in advance of its actual authorised incorporation.

Someone had good reason to fight for that name getting the tick from the Corporate Affairs department if - heaven forbid - the Application was knocked back.

We know who - it was Gillard who went in to bat when Corporate Affairs initially said no.

Screen Shot 2015-09-27 at 5.14.22 am

Gillard told the Royal Commission in her sworn evidence that she knew at the time that no unincorporated association existed.   So there could be nominated Secretary or Treasurer.   It was a fraud to put forward an application for incorporation from an Association that did not exist.   It couldn't have authorised the application, it couldn't have had the requisite meetings, nor were there the requisite number of members to satisfy the Act.  And Gillard knew it.

I tracked down and interviewed the Corporate Affairs acting Commissioner  - the man who could tell the Commission about the deception.   The Commission did not take evidence from him.

 
All the details are here
 
There are further interviews between me and Mr Neale clearing up details here.

Mr Neale was a public official who was deceived.   He told me he was deceived by the lawyer Gillard.  He is prepared to tell the Commission the same thing.   But it didn't hear from him.

I also tracked down his subordinate Ralph Mineif and interviewed him in Sydney in February this year.   There's some background correspondence to my interview with Mr Mineif here:

http://www.michaelsmithnews.com/2015/02/

You can hear some of the interview that I published with Mr Mineif below - remember he was the man responsible for the Gillard AWU WRA file, reporting to Ray Neale.

 

http://www.michaelsmithnews.com/2015/03/direct-documentary-evidence-from-the-time-was-corporate-affairs-officers-on-unions-and-incorporated-.html

The Commission didn't hear from Mr Mineif either.

Now here's the clincher.   After the first correspondence with Ray Neale, Gillard directed Ralph Blewitt to send this clearly fraudulent letter to further deceive the Corporate Affairs Commissioner.

Screen Shot 2015-09-27 at 5.17.44 am

Remember Gillard didn't trust Ralph to get the name right in the Application, that's why it's in her handwriting.  God help Ralph in composing legalese like that in the letter above.   Gillard did it.

Gillard  gave sworn evidence to the Commission  that she knew there was no  Association in existence at the time.  She was party to a fraud, she wrote on behalf of people who had not given her that authority.   They could not because they did not exist.   That means the Association could not apply for incorporation.  She lied in the application and then further set out in writing instructions for Blewitt to lie again to further deceive a public official.

Eventually the Association was incorporated, months after Thiess started paying money in to the slush fund designed and fought for by Julia Gillard.  Screen Shot 2015-09-27 at 5.47.06 am

24 June 1992 was the first time someone who wasn't "in the know" could have lawfully been told that an Australian Workers' Union Workplace Reform Association Incorporated actually existed.

Bruce Wilson, whom the Commission credited with occasionally telling the truth, says that Thiess knew all about the separate entity.   More than three months earlier, Nick Jukes wrote to it in excruciatingly precise legalese, using the exact nomenclature that Ralph couldn't be trusted to get right - the words Gillard hand wrote on the application form.

Thiess started paying months before the Association existed.   It paid for work that was never done.   The money was used to pay for renovations at Gillard's house.  It also paid for a house purchased at an auction she attended.   Her firm did the legal work on that conveyance and it provided some of the purchase funds through a mortgage from the firm.   Gillard wrote off the fees for her de-facto Wilson's transactions.  He didn't want the house in his name so Gillard wrote up a Power of Attorney document to put it in the fall-guy Ralph Blewitt's name.   Ralph says Gillard wasn't in Perth when he signed it.  He says her declaration that she witnessed him signing, sealing and delivering the legal deed is false.  Could she have been motivated to cut corners to help out her de facto?   The Commission currently says no, it treated Gillard's involvement as at arm's length and legitimate - she was the victim of Blewitt's deception is what history will record.

But surely there must have been a good reason for Thiess to pay out all that money for work that was never done.   Could it have been that Wilson influenced the Lawrence Government to give the contract to Thiess?   Not according to the Royal Commission - it had a better idea than that.

Could it have been to buy industrial peace from the firebrand Bruce Wilson's AWU?   Not according to the Commission.   It found a much more cogent theory.

Here's what the history of Australia will record as to why Thiess shareholders paid out $300K on Dawesville, then a further $80K on Melbourne Water (with Gillard's best friend Robyn McLeod installed as the chief AWU contact, then as a director of a Thiess board, then as a Thiess employee, then onto the staff to the Bracks Labor Government helping to direct work Thesis's way).  Some of that fraudulently obtained money was used to buy Wilson's house in Blewitt's name with free legal work from Gillard. Gillard just happened to be at the auction when the house was purchased - and later lived in the Wilson pad while her own place was renovated.   And who paid for some of her renovations?  Thiess via the same slush fund.

It was charm.  Thiess had nothing to gain, not industrial peace, not Wilson's lobbying services on the Lawrence Government.   Charm. That's the cogent and persuasive theory according to the Commission.

Here's the relevant paragraph which will be there forever,  unless enough of us protest and get it set right:

Bruce Wilson must have possessed immense charm in 1991-1992. That charm has not wholly fled from him even now, after more than 20 years’ battering by failure and disappointment. It is a measure of that charm that the hard-bitten and experienced Thiess executives, toughened in years of struggles with equally hard- bitten union officials, proprietors and contractors, should have agreed to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in return for so ill-defined a promise.  (page 94 - interim report, AWU WRA case study).

Charm.   That's it.  

And that will be "it" forever unless the Commission revisits the matter.

It's up to you - let me know whether you're happy for things to stay the same.   It's going to take a lot of pain for things to change.   Are you up for it?

I am.  Write a comment below and let me know if you are too.

There aren't many of us left who've stayed the course.   Let's not die wondering what might have happened if only........


Janet Albrechtsen on the problem with Peta Credlin

Janet Albrechtsen with important observations about why Tony Abbott lost his job.   Janet points out Rule #1 in Australia's present culture - balance, diversity, gender etc are among the top considerations when assessing someone's potential or performance in a job.

Peta Credlin: Everyone to blame but a failure of a chief of staff

 
Peta Credlin was named the most powerful woman in Australia, the week after Tony Abbott w

Peta Credlin was named the most powerful woman in Australia, the week after Tony Abbott was ousted as Prime Minister of Australia. Picture: The Australian Women's Weekly Source: Supplied

To fail is to be human. To ignore why you fail is equally human. That said, Peta Credlin should not be surprised that those with more objective eyes will challenge her myth-making on Tuesday night about her time as chief of staff to Tony Abbott.

Credlin’s claims about sexism and victimhood and her defiant and deluded self-assessment of her downfall point directly, though inadvertently, to why she failed in her role as the nation’s most powerful political staffer.

In her first public comments there was no hint of mea culpa from the deposed Credlin. Not the faintest awareness of mistakes made, not a suggestion of any regrets. This absence is her core failing: Credlin suffered from — and, it seems, continues to suffer from — a fundamental lack of awareness. She tried to claim her influence delivered government to Abbott and the Coalition in 2013, but that she had nothing to do with Abbott’s demise. She can’t have it both ways.

Perhaps it’s too soon after a humiliating ousting from the job that led The Australian Women’s Weekly to declare her the most powerful woman in Australia for Credlin to face the truth. The stories about Credlin’s time as chief of staff are too legion to be ignored, even by her supporters.

I was one of those supporters. Exactly two years ago, I wrote about her strengths, defended her against critics, and lauded her as a powerful female role model.

In opposition, the critical thing is messaging, and Abbott mastered that with Credlin’s help. It’s only after power came Credlin’s way, following the September 2013 election, that a true assessment of her skills can be made. Government is an altogether different task from opposition. It’s about deftly managing a government and its people, policies and politics. The PM’s chief of staff is central in that task. History shows that stable government depends on good cabinet processes, too. Think Menzies, Hawke and Howard. Then compare Rudd, Gillard and Abbott. When real power tested Credlin, her skill set came up short.

Credlin’s comments fit a pattern. There is a fundamental lack of self-awareness. As chief of staff, Credlin didn’t understand her remit. With no self-awareness of the mistakes she was making in her role, Credlin had an unfortunate habit of finishing the prime minister’s sentences and challenging his comments in front of others, be they MPs, diplomats, bureaucrats, or people in business.

She deliberately made her presence felt in private meetings and public events. It was awkward and embarrassing to watch. Oblivious to how she continually encroached on the authority of the prime minister, Credlin undermined Abbott’s position and, eventually, her own.

 

After I left 2UE two senior federal Ministers (then in opposition)  offered me  a job.   We chatted  but I wasn't keen at the time to work for either.   But I remember each said the process would include getting Peta Credlin's approval.   I thought they meant a courtesy tick in the box on Tony Abbott's behalf by his PA that he had no objection.

After the election I spoke very seriously with a 3rd Minister, newly appointed in office.  We spoke over a few weeks and I went to Canberra to meet with the Minister for a final chat about a role.   After going through my credentials, references and resume material the Minister said he/she was happy and we spoke about next steps.  The Minister laid out the process which was all pretty conventional, until the final and non-negotiable one - Peta Credlin's approval.   I said, "Do you mean Tony's?"   No, Peta's.   The Minister said Peta Credlin had the final say.

I was dumbfounded.  The Minister was embarrassed and sheepish.  I remember saying "So you can't choose your own staff, she has to approve it?'  The answer was yes.

I went no further with that Minister for that reason.  The Minister's staffers contacted me to follow up but by then I'd spoken with a mate who'd had a similar job offer and was told exactly the same thing, it was subject to Peta Credlin's approval.   My mate went through with the process and the appointment was stopped at the Credlin stage.   I didn't.

It's not the quality of Credlin's judgement that I'm talking about - it's Tony's.   That's why I wrote this piece in February this year

TUESDAY, 10 FEBRUARY 2015

Traps for well-intentioned new chief executives with powerful gatekeepers

There's an important lesson for  bosses who are "growing in the job" - you own your 2IC's performance.

It's very appealing for a busy chief executive to have a chief-of-staff to filter the noise and keep the gate.   But the boss has to remember that he will wear the consequences of his 2IC's decisions and behaviours.

An over-zealous gatekeeper has been the downfall of many chief executives.   From the chief's perspective it can all seem to be going swimmingly - "I haven't heard any rumblings".    Then POW!   "How long has this been going on?"

Never get separated from your people.   Answer your own phone a lot.   Listen to people in their own words, not filtered or 2nd hand.  Return phone calls yourself.   And most importantly - let your senior people lead, let them choose their own staff, make them accountable for their own results.

If I was a Minister of the Crown I would not be happy to be told that Peta Credlin makes better decisions than I do about who should work for me.

Fairfax's Latika Bourke writes today about Julie Bishop's take - here's her report.

Peta Credlin powerful, opinionated and protective: Julie Bishop

Peta Credlin is powerful, opinionated and "very protective of the Prime Minister", says deputy Liberal leader Julie Bishop.

In a thinly veiled warning to Mr Abbott a day after he survived an attempt to oust him from office, Ms Bishop said the Prime Minister must respond to backbench concerns about his office.

MPs and ministers have long complained that Ms Credlin is too controlling. Ms Credlin and Ms Bishop clashed last year after the Prime Minister's Office vetoed her attendance at a climate change summit.

Ms Bishop successfully sought cabinet permission to attend but was told she would chaperoned to the event by Trade Minister Andrew Robb.

"Peta Credlin is a very powerful figure in the sense that she's strong, she has a lot of opinions and she is very protective of the Prime Minister," Ms Bishop told the ABC.

"She was an indispensable part of our team in opposition. Now, the Prime Minister is very close to Peta, she obviously provides him with good advice and they work together as a team."

Liberal MP Teresa Gambaro complained on Sunday of a culture of "fear and intimidation" within the government. Immediately after the ballot on Monday, MPs told Fairfax Media that without Ms Credlin's removal, Mr Abbott's internal standing would not improve.

Ms Bishop said Mr Abbott "must respond" to backbench concerns if they are valid but stressed the way the Prime Minister ran his office was a matter for him.

 "People have been very frank and very blunt in their assessment of the performance of the Prime Minister's Office and the Prime Minister is a smart man, he will take those issues into account," she said.

"His particular staffing arrangements are a matter for him... I don't expect him to tell me what to do with the staff in my office."

A government 'star chamber' is notorious for vetoing minister's preferred staffing choices. Backbenchers have also said there have been attempts to control who they employ in their electorate offices.

 


Comrades, The Cutters and Pasters Guild at The Oz have zero tolerance for Bill Shorten's zero tolerance

Comrades, today our friends from the Cutters and Pasters working at The Australian published their own S-H-1-Thomson-sheet on Bill Shorten.

On accusations of union criminality let me say very little of any substance indeed


Misconduct in the union movement? Bill Shorten, February 4 last year:

There should be zero tolerance of any criminal activity, in trade unions or corporate Australia.

 

The Opposition Leader, June 9:

Labor has a very strong view about having zero tolerance for corruption in the workplace, be it from employers or from unions. We have no time for that.

 

Last Wednesday:

We have zero tolerance in Labor for any wrongdoing, any corruption, doesn’t matter if it’s an employer, the big end of town, or a union rep. Zero tolerance.

 

On ABC’s Q&A, Monday night:

If there are criminal matters, well, no one has got any tolerance for that in the Labor Party. No one has come forward to me from the union movement and said that if someone is found to have broken the law, to have behaved in a criminal fashion, no one is saying they shouldn’t be charged, no one is saying that they shouldn’t feel the full consequences of the law.

And about this week’s Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union claims before the trade union royal commission? Shorten doorstop, Wednesday:

Well, they are serious allegations and no amount of sugar-coating changes it, they are most serious allegations. I’ve made it clear ever since the royal commission was created that I wouldn’t be providing a running commentary. But let me underline for the record yet again, Labor has zero tolerance for illegality and corruption.

 

Pressed further:

Let me emphasise that there is no place for criminality in Australia’s workplaces full stop.

 

Further still:

There’s no sugar-coating these allegations.

Just a little further:

I’m not going to sugar-coat this or just dismiss it.

 

A teensy-weensy little bit further:

If there is criminality established, if there is illegality established, well, Labor has zero tolerance and no place for that within the ranks of the Labor Party.

 

And pressed just a few millimetres further still the line remains the same:

If there is criminality in Australian workplaces, by union reps, by employers, just as if there’s criminality in corporate boardrooms in Australia by company directors, Labor has zero tolerance for that

 

The HeeBeeGeeBees had Bill in mind with their tribute - meaningless words in very high voices.

 


Saudi Arabia will soon execute a 17 year old offender by combination crucifixion/beheading.

 Why do we recognise Saudi Arabia as a legitimate sovereign nation?   Nothing is worth the price humanity pays for allowing the men of the House of Saud to continue their blood-lust.

Verified reports (including Saudi originated and UN documents) tell us the House of Saud will shortly behead and crucify a 21 year old who at the age of 17 was part of a pro-democracy protest.

There is an impotent Twitter and social media campaign underway asking for Saudi clemency on the poor kid's behalf.   I'd recommend my friends don't join it.   Even the act of communicating with the Kingdom to ask it to spare this individual's life reinforces Saudi legitimacy.   

What all decent humans should do is refuse point blank to deal with the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia - i.e. the patriarchal lineage of one family, the filthy rich and omnipotent Saud princes.

Following is a report a few hours old that I think is balanced and authoritative on one of this week's Saudi barbarities.

Calls for Saudi Arabia to halt beheading of young activist Ali Mohammed al-Nimr

NIck-ProfileBy World Reporter/Global National Web Producer  Global News
 
 
 
Ali Mohammed al-Nimr was a 17-year-old high school student in Qatif, a Shiite Muslim-populated town in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province, when he was arrested during Arab Spring-inspired protests in 2012.

Ali Mohammed al-Nimr was a 17-year-old high school student in Qatif, a Shiite Muslim-populated town in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province, when he was arrested during Arab Spring-inspired protests in 2012.

A group of UN human rights experts has joined international calls for the Saudi government to stop the planned beheading of a 21-year-old man, a demand that comes on the heels of Saudi Arabia taking on a key role at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

Ali Mohammed al-Nimr was a 17-year-old high school student in Qatif, a Shiite Muslim-populated town in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province, when he was arrested during Arab Spring-inspired protests in 2012.

READ MORE: Supporters of jailed Saudi blogger start foundation to promote free speech

According to a state-run media report (in Arabic), he was accused of taking part in anti-government demonstrations, inciting others to join in protests by taking photos with his mobile phone, burglary, attacking security patrols and belonging to a terror group.

Al-Nimr was sentenced in May to be beheaded and crucified (put on public display). His last attempt to appeal his conviction was turned down this week and his punishment could be carried out at any time, RFI reported.

Amnesty International claims al-Nimr was not given access to a lawyer and was “allegedly tortured and otherwise ill-treated ” in order to get a confession out of him.

There is also a claim Saudi Arabia is punishing him as “revenge against his uncle,” Shieikh Nimr al-Nimr, CNN quoted a “source close to the family” saying.

ENDS

In February this year Bill Shorten gave a fawning speech at a function in Melbourne on the occasion of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia donating $1M to Australia for the Fahour family's Islamic Museum.   Read Shorten's grovelling apology  for our "racism" towards Muslims that night.

I expected that crap from Shorten in his public persona - even though I know close friends of Shorten who independently tell of his disdain for "towelheads".  What I didn't expect to see as I researched what happened in Melbourne that night was this:

Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 6.59.11 pm

Australia's Foreign Minister accepting a $1M cheque from His Excellency the Ambassador representing the swamp-Arab butchers from the House of Saud.

Then I learned  Brandis was delighted to say that Australia would match the Saudi blood money with $M of our money to be spent on a Museum of Islam in Australia with funding obligations to Saudi Arabia.

It's appalling to recognise the Saudi Princes as a legitimate government equal in stature and legitimacy to others.   But it's worse for Australia, whose values are antithetical to those of the Saud savages to fawningly accept Saudi blood money. 

The case of the 17 year old protester tells us much about Saudi Islamist values.  The teenager offended the Wahabbist Sharia by publicly calling for democracy, a capital offence as determined by a religious court.  For that he'll soon be the main attraction after Friday prayers when locals gather in a town square to witness his combination crucifixion and beheading.

We shouldn't tweet about it, say things on Facebook or comment about our disgust.   We should demand of our government much better than this.   Firstly, that our nation never accepts money for Saudi influence here in Australia.   Secondly our government should cease to recognise the Saud family and its Princes as a legitimate sovereign nation.   We should encourage other nations to join us.  No trade.   No diplomatic relations. Economic sanctions and a preparedness to see it through until the monstrous regime no longer exists - with a resolve to hold the line even if it means war.

We must hold firm to our principles and values.  They are worth more than money, oil or membership of the "me too" club of influential nations.   We don't recognise the Islamic State Caliphate, how is the House of Saud different?

Julie, give them back their cheque and let them know the disgust you must have in your heart for what these monsters do to people.  I don't want to belong to a nation that tolerates Saudi Arabia.

 


Jason Morrison and Michael Smith try-out podcast - Turnbull's $100M for war on violence and how to start the boats

Self-styled young fogeys and award-eligible lapsed broadcasters pose  for lifestyle shot at renowned white-people-welcome beach Cronulla.  Jason's the one in the suit.   We have been talking about starting our own wireless affair on the internet today we just did it to see what you think.