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April 2018

Janet Albrechtsen on the Turnbull Government's determination to let the ACTU get away with whatever it wants

Janet Albrechtsen brings us a stunning expose of ACTU chief Sally McManus and her fantasy world in The Australian today.

The Australian's headline and promotion of the article don't really do Janet's content and research justice:

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In fact the article is aimed squarely at the Turnbull Government which should have McManus on the canvas, out for the count and discredited when she gets up.

Instead Ms McManus spouts rubbish like the stuff Janet's summarised and she gets away with it - without so much as a peep from the supposed Liberal/National Party government.

Her most constant and captivating claims don’t stand up to the facts. McManus told her Q&A audience that “profits are up at 20 per cent and wages are at 2 per cent. There’s something wrong. It’s not being shared fairly at the moment.”

Something is certainly wrong with that: her grasp of facts. Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows that business profits rose 5 per cent in the year to December and the total wage bill rose 4.8 per cent. And basic economics tells you that wages head up when unemployment, now at 5.5 per cent, heads down, and unemployment falls when businesses grow.

Another McManus classic hit is that productivity has risen while wages haven’t. It sounds dreadfully unfair. Except that’s not true either. According to the ABS, in real terms, consumer wages have risen 54 per cent during the past 25 years and productivity rose 51 per cent in the same period.

Insecure work is spreading, says McManus, deliberately using an emotional term not measured by any one set of statistics. If McManus means casual work is on the up, the Productivity Commission found that the percentage of casual workers, at 21 per cent, hasn’t changed for two decades. If McManus means contractors are in insecure work, that empty claim is exposed by the real world of Uber and hundreds of thousands in the modern economy who choose the flexibility and freedom of contracting over nine-to-five permanent jobs.

McManus’s class-war rhetoric about big companies is intoxicating politics, but it’s entirely bogus too. She says big companies such as Qantas, BHP and Boeing “earn billions but pay no tax”.

As ABC economics guru Emma Alberici was recently reminded, companies pay company tax on profits after paying all their expenses. And far from the wild claim that big companies are ripping us off, it’s likelier to be workers dudding the system. Tax commissioner Chris Jordan has said many times now that “the work-related expenses gap is estimated to be greater than the large corporate tax gap of $2.5 billion”.

But you have to hand it to McManus. Any mention of a corporate tax cut elicits masterful “trickle down” imagery from McManus. She talks of rich blokes who are “so incredibly rich, people like us can’t even imagine how much money they’ve got” and they decide “to throw a few crumbs to their workers”.

No mention that tax cuts grow companies, creating jobs. Or that that almost 60 per cent of small business owners who would benefit from a corporate tax cut earn $50,000 or less, well below the median award wage.

Equally spurious is her claim that “the basic right to strike in Australia is very nearly dead”. The right to strike is in the Fair Work Act, enacted by Labor. Nothing has changed.

That brings us to the real fraud at the core of the ACTU’s change the rules campaign. The ACTU boss started saying the “system is broken” when a decision by the Fair Work Commission went against a union. Don’t agree with the umpire? Scream about a broken system. The system is broken, but not in the way that McManus claims. Fewer workers are covered by enterprise agreements, down from 1.2 million in 2010 to just over 500,000 last year, because EAs are complex to negotiate and inflexible in practice. More workers fall under the convoluted system of awards, not replicated by any other developed economy.

McManus’s prescriptions of more powerful unions, industry-wide pay claims and strike action, a “living wage” paid by goodness knows who, higher taxes for ­companies and so on would be a disaster for economic growth, unemployment and sustainable wage rises.

It’s bad enough that her influence is bolstered by unions bankrolling the Labor Party, now in poll position to win the next election. It’s even worse that the Liberals have emboldened her. There is no contest of ideas from the Liberals, no fight to reform workplace laws for the 21st century, let alone to tackle her wild claims of a jungle ruled by evil bosses with the same passion.

It’s true that the Business Council of Australia, led by Jennifer Westacott, has stepped up to the plate. But right now, McManus is a tiger, and it’s not just down to her convictions. It’s because a supine and silent government ­amplifies her roar.

PS - what are the odds anyone at the ABC will hold Ms McManus to any sort of account?

PPS - You may recall that Turnbull went to the last election with an urgent double dissolution because of union corruption?

Here is a link to the current Turnbull ministry list.

There are 24 Ministers in the actual ministry.

The minister responsible for the workplace, or industrial relations isn't one of them.

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Five places into the Outer Ministry is the minister for small business, family business, the workplace and deregulation, Craig Laundy MP.
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Vandalism Mr Turnbull.

Sir John Monash Centre - "Tony Abbott's finest vision for Australia" - to be opened next week. Lest We Forget

Paul Kelly was a member of the panel advising Prime Minister Abbott on how best to commemorate the centenary of Australia's engagements on The Western Front during WW1.

He's written a great piece on the opening of The Sir John Monash Centre next week - "one of Tony Abbott's finest visions for Australia".


Honouring Western Front Heroes

Next week, on the eve of Anzac Day, one of Tony Abbott’s finest visions for Australia will be realised. The Sir John Monash Centre — Abbott’s plan to create an enduring visitor and information centre and museum on the Western Front — will be opened by Malcolm Turnbull.

The centre exists only because of Abbott’s drive as prime minister, his defiance of conventional wisdom about war commemoration and his conviction the World War I centenary should revive the historical memory of the Western Front as the greatest focus of human sacrifice and military achievement in our history.

It is Abbott who chose to name the centre after Australia’s most successful soldier, Monash. He decided on the location on high ground sharing the site with the Australian National Memorial outside the French village of Villers-Bretonneux. The town straddles the city of Amiens, a critical transport hub during the war and famous for its cathedral, the largest gothic structure in France.

Turnbull has invited Abbott to attend next week, an appropriate gesture. The centre will be opened on the evening of April 24 by Turnbull, with French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe in attendance, given the absence of President Emmanuel Macron who is in Washington ahead of his visit to Australia starting on May 1. The dawn service the next morning will honour the battle of Villers-Bretonneux that occurred, by an extraordinary coincidence, during the third Anzac Day in 1918.

Interviewed by The Australian, Abbott said Turnbull’s invitation to him was “gracious” — and Turnbull, in turn, recognises the historical import of the event.

“Often, government these days is a response to daily events and not much tends to make a lasting difference,” Abbott said. “But this project is something that will endure as long as our country lasts. I am pleased and proud this is now happening. It is a lasting legacy from my time in government.”

The special bond between Villers-Bretonneux and Australia originates in the formidable German offensive of March 1918 designed to win the war before US forces arrived in numbers. The Germans broke through, threatened Amiens, and took Villers-Bretonneux on April 24, only to succumb to an Australian-dominated counter-attack the next day, an operation hailed as one of the Australian Imperial Force’s finest efforts of the war.

It was a rare fusion of fast planning and brilliant execution. One of the Australian commanders, Brigadier-General Harold “Pompey” Elliott, said: “The fight became a soldiers’ fight purely and simply. The success was due to the energy and determination of the junior commanders and the courage of the troops.”

Military historian Peter Pedersen said: “Saving Villers-Bretonneux meant saving Amiens, which thrust the town on to centre stage and forever associated the Australians with it.” Monash said: “There is no spot on the tortured soil of France which is more associated with Australian history and the triumph of Australian soldiers than Villers-Bretonneux.”

While there are other battle sites such as Pozieres — where the nation lost 23,000 men in seven weeks — with a far greater sacrifice, Villers-Bretonneux, where the death toll numbered 1464, has kept its hold on the collective mind. This is because of the valour of the troops, their recognition by other Allied leaders and because Villers-Bretonneux opened the path to the greatest series of victories in our military history.

Upwards of 8000 people are expected to attend the dawn service this year. Abbott as prime minister visited the site in June 2014 before construction began and imposed a completion timetable of Anzac Day 2018, a deadline that remarkably has been met.

It was Abbott and his chief of staff, Peta Credlin, who forced through budget approval, cut through bureaucracy and imposed their vision on the decision-making system. Otherwise, the project had zero prospects. “All credit to the French,” Abbott said. “Getting this from conception to completion in just 3½ years is amazing.”

There's plenty more at The Australian.

Thank you Paul.

Lest We Forget




Yet another Ralph Blewitt conveyance file - the 4th - emerges from Slater and Gordon

On 14 August 1995 - the same day Nick Styant Browne interviewed GILLARD, her last day working as a lawyer for the firm - this search was made of the firm's LOCUS file management system.

It shows 3 files related to Ralph Blewitt's property purchase.

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When BLEWITT's lawyers requested his conveyance file(s) from Slater and Gordon they were given copies of 



The first entry on the ledger for 933661 is dated 12 May 1993 - not bad for a transaction that was commenced on 13 February and settled on 22 March.

We uncovered evidence of a file numbered 930034 as you'll see in our post reprinted below.

We can add another file to that total - 930574.

More on the significance of this soon.


There were 3 files opened at Slater and Gordon on the Blewitt conveyance/mortgage - one has disappeared completely

On 13 February 1993 Gillard and Wilson attended the Kerr Street auction.   

22 February 1993 - Slater and Gordon opens Conveyance file 931044

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Date instructions taken to act - 22 February.   Prior to that the file was with Ms Gillard.

The second file is the Mortgage file - 933661

The first activity we see on the Trust Account Ledger for the Mortgage File is dated 12 May, 1993

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But there'd been substantial activity on the mortgage creation prior to settlement.   How could that be?

There was a previous file to do with the Blewitt conveyance/mortgage 930034

This file was 110 file matters prior to Julia Gillard handing over the "file" to Olive Brosnahan and the creation of 931044.

So how do we know about this file?   Well whoever cleaned the file out and passed its contents to the conveyance file or the new mortgage file missed one little document.

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What else was in that file?   Why does the new mortgage file Trust Account Ledger not show any transactions prior to 12 May 1993.   Why is there no application for a loan in that file?   

This week's "innovation" contracts from the EU - tens of millions of Euros for absolute bullshit

As our reader RL observed, no wonder the UK wanted out!

From: TII Secretariat []
Sent: Tuesday, 10 April 2018 8:00 PM
Subject: Tenders Alert from TII Project Lab


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Ref: ECSEL-2018-3-CSA-Industry4E

Deadline: 24 May 2018, Call budget: EUR 500 000, Type of action: ECSEL-CSA ECSEL Coordination & Support Action

the Lighthouse Initiative Industry4.E represents an important effort in the field of the Digitalisation of European Industry. The present call is for a Coordination and Support Action to support the Lighthouse Initiative in establishing the Lighthouse and its coordination with other national activities in the field. Proposals should aim at coordinating the relevant stakeholders, project consortia, as well as policy makers, addressing all of the following: a) Establish a communication platform for all stakeholders; b) Promote the objectives of the Lighthouse Initiative; c) Facilitate connections between the stakeholders; d) Help shaping the Lighthouse Initiative during and beyond H2020; e) Organize outreach events; f) Facilitate dialogue between all stakeholders; g) Help the networking of respective national and international activities in the field.


Ref: SU-ICT-03-2018

Deadline: 29 May 2018, Budget: EUR 50 million, Type of action: RIA Research and Innovation Action

The objective of this topic is to scale up existing research for the benefit of the cybersecurity of the Digital Single Market, with solutions that can be marketable. For this, participants should in parallel propose, test, validate and exploit the possible organizational, functional, procedural, technological and operational setup of a cybersecurity competence network with a central competence hub. To achieve the above, support will go to consortia of competence centres in cybersecurity to engage together in: a) Common research, development and innovation in next generation industrial and civilian cybersecurity technologies (including dual-use), applications and services; b) Strengthening cybersecurity capacities across the EU and closing the cyber skills gap; c) Supporting certification authorities with testing and validation labs equipped with state of the art technologies and expertise.


Deadline: 21 June 2018, Call budget: EUR 1 500 000, Types of action: RPr Recognition Prize

The call aims to award a European prize to the most innovative city ecosystem. The award will raise the profile of the city teams that have developed and implemented innovative policies; enhance citizens' role in finding local solutions and participating in the decision-making process; facilitate the city’s attractiveness towards investors, industry, top-class talents and entrepreneurial individuals; help the city open up connections with others and cooperate with them, thus inspiring and helping identify best practices to be replicated across Europe.

Other calls and service tenders


Ref: 282/G/GRO/PPA/18/10479

Deadline: 19 June 2018, Call budget: EUR 1 500 000 (up to 90% cofinancing), Type of action: Call for Proposal

The overall objective of this call is to assist European SMEs to develop, further expand or improve their international business by creating SME networks to exploit foreign markets for export purposes. European SME capacity to go international can increase by easing cooperation among small groups of companies to improve their competitiveness. Getting together, they can improve performance, increase their visibility and enhance their internationalisation strategy and performance. The activities envisaged under this action include: a) Identification/selection of SMEs with potential to successfully participate in an SME network; b) Preparing them for internationalisation, training and coaching; c) Implementation of the SME networking activities; d) Results and policy recommendations.


Ref: EASME/COSME/2018/002

Deadline: 23 April 2018, Value excluding VAT: EUR 10 million (3 lots, each comprising between EUR 3.2 - 3.4 million depending on lot), Type of action: open procedure (service tender)

This is a call for tenders in the form of an open procedure to conclude 3 service contracts. Each service contract will comprise the operation of the international Intellectual Property (IP) Helpdesks with respect to a specific geographical area, namely:

  • Lot 1: China IPR Helpdesk
  • Lot 2: South-east Asia IPR Helpdesk
  • Lot 3: Latin America IPR Helpdesk

The general objective of the international IP Helpdesks is to contribute to the internationalisation of EU SMEs by providing them with expert advice on how to protect and enforce their IP in or relating to China, South-east Asia, and Latin America.


Ref: EASME/COSME/2017/043

Deadline: 29 April 2018, Value excluding VAT: EUR 2.2 million, Type of action: open procedure (service tender)

This is a call for tenders in the form of an open procedure to conclude 1 service contract in the context of the European strategy for Key Enabling Technologies (KETs). The general objective of this service contract is to further develop and create synergies between the KETs Observatory, the inventory and mapping of KETs Technology Centres and the Digital Transformation Monitor (DTM), with the aim of analysing and monitoring in a systematic way emerging digital and KETs trends, through the collection, publication and dissemination of relevant information and data.


Ref: SMART 2018/0002

Deadline: 4 May 2018, Value excluding VAT: EUR 300 000, Type of action: open procedure (service tender)

Reporting and monitoring the development of national initiatives on digitalisation is an important element of the Digitising European Industry (DEI) initiative. The objective of this study is to build a well-structured collection, monitoring and analysis instrument covering the whole European Union. This instrument provides consistent yearly digitalisation reports and analyses of measures in the broader framework of emerging digital growth strategies that are linked to national innovation and industrial policies over 3 years. It follows the main DEI action lines: boosting innovation capacity; regulatory framework; skill development; and national governance structure. The analysis will cover transversal elements, which are common to several Member States and are significant from the point of view of European added value. The analysis is accompanied by detailed country reports highlighting the national approaches to digitising industry, policies and investments.


Ref: CDR/TL1/11/2018

Deadline: 14 May 2018, Value excluding VAT: EUR 400 000, Type of action: open procedure (service tender)

Multiple framework contract for studies in the field of external relations. The purpose of this framework contract is to set up a network of external experts that will provide the Committe of Regions (CoR) with a rapid response capability, allowing broader consultation of local and regional players, offering CoR commissions the possibility of drawing up specific opinions on topics of current interest and enabling the CoR to draw on databases and knowledge built up by research centres or universities in the evaluation of policies.




Ref: EuropeAid/139015/DH/SER/CN

Deadline: 7 May 2018, Service value: EUR 8 million, Type of action: restricted procedure (shortlisted candidates invited to tender)

The EU-China Partnership Facility (ECPF) aims to strengthen EU-China relations by supporting bilateral dialogues and partnerships in key priority areas of EU and mutual interest. The contractor will be responsible for the implementation of a broad range of services to support the Partnership, including inter alia: 1) organization of events - e.g. conferences, seminars, workshops, exchange visits, etc.; 2) provision of specialised expertise to relevant policy dialogues and stakeholders, e.g. technical experts and researchers, moderators, panellists, rapporteurs, speakers, etc.; 3) preparation of baseline, benchmarking and specific sector studies; 4) translation and interpretation services, as well as other monitoring, communication and visibility tools; 5) administration, backstopping and project management.


Ref: EuropeAid/139403/DH/SER/MULTI

Deadline: 11 May 2018, Maximum budget: EUR 11 million, Type of action: restricted procedure (shortlisted candidates invited to tender)

Building on the work done under the Eastern Partnership Harmonization of Digital Markets Panel and the EU4Digital Networks, the project will implement concrete recommendations and action plans agreed in the key areas identified of the digital economy and society in the Eastern Partnership region. With a specific focus on Telecom rules, digital Trust and Security, eTrade, ICT innovation, eHealth and eSkills, the project will address the necessary legislative and regulatory framework conditions for the development of the digital economy and society, the key enablers for electronic services and the development of cross-border eServices for businesses and citizens, including communication activities.



Ref: EuropeAid/139493/DH/SER/IN

Deadline: 4 May 2018, Maximum budget: EUR 3 799 000, Type of action: restricted procedure (shortlisted candidates invited to tender)

This action aims to enrich EU-India Policy Dialogues with hands-on technical solutions from EU businesses, notably small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in key sectors, such as Environment, Energy, Climate and Urbanisation. By meeting the demand for knowledge and innovative technologies, this technical assistance contract will contribute to 1) strengthen the dialogue between European and Indian businesses and 2) increase and diversify the presence of EU companies, notably SMEs, in the Indian market by showcasing EU technologies, standards and business best-practices. It will also enable EU-wide advocacy efforts by EU Member States, EU business organisations and businesses, to remove trade barriers and identify regulatory and economic trends with a particular focus on the needs of EU SMEs.


Ref: EuropeAid/139146/IH/SER/TR

Deadline: 27 April 2018, Maximum budget: EUR 3 263 400, Type of action: restricted procedure (shortlisted candidates invited to tender)

The purpose of the contract is to:

  • set up a regional food technology platform (scientific and technological roadmap of the food and beverage sector for the upcoming 15 years as well as public/private sector awareness activities);
  • establish institutional capacity of a food innovation center and food safety laboratories (technology/knowledge transfer, networking and innovation addressed to SMEs);
  • support the operationalization, establishment and development of the institutional capacity of a regional technology platform for food innovation, a food innovation centre and food safety laboratories, including R&D and marketing capacity building activities for SMEs in the food sector.

If you are interested in following up on any of these calls, please get in touch with Francesca Chieruzzi or Maria Augusta Mancini at

New evidence from Slater and Gordon shreds GILLARD's claim she was incorporating an election fund for boyfriend Bruce Wilson

TURC Commissioner Heydon on Gillard's evidence:

If just allowances are made, all important parts of her evidence fall into two categories. One category is those parts which can be accepted positively. The other category is those parts which have not been demonstrated to be incorrect.

This is one of Commissioner Heydon's positive findings in relation to Gillard's evidence:

"The purpose of the Australian Workers' Union - Workplace Reform Association Inc. was perceived by Julia Gillard to be to 'formalise arrangements between a team of officials who had  an intention of running together at the next election [and] enable them to fund raise to support that re-election campaign'."

"There is no reason to doubt the sincerity of her perception."

Yes there is.  And it matters.  Commissioner Heydon referred others for criminal prosecution for their roles in this matter.  His decision to give GILLARD the benefits of some sliver of doubt should now be revisited.

New material which hasn't been made public until today puts Gillard's evidence into quite considerable doubt.

In her sworn oral evidence to the TURC, GILLARD said this of the AWU Workplace Reform Association:

Q.   Mr Wilson raised it with you?

A.   Mr Wilson raised with me wanting to have a fund in Western Australia that would support him and his team and their re-election in Western Australia and, you know, regularising arrangements amongst the team.

As we all know, Wilson and his team already had such a fund.  What hasn't been widely known until today is that Slater and Gordon gave Wilson legal advice on establishing it.

Here's the Slater and Gordon journal for the work - note the date it was printed, 14 August, 1995 - the last day GILLARD worked at Slaters and the day on which Nick Styant Browne and Geoff Shaw interviewed her.

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On 14 January 1991 Wilson/Gillard completed the "stalking" of Joe Keanan with a deal for Wilson to replace him.  Here's the relevant Minutes of the AWU WA Branch:

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Wilson's Members Team Election Fund file was opened at Slater and Gordon on 29 January 1991, just a fortnight after the deal for Wilson to replace Keanan was struck.

Recall that Wilson had no authority to engage lawyers on behalf of the AWU.

The client contact address for the work is given as 562 Little Bourke Street Melbourne.  And who's address might that be?


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Commissioner Heydon was not directed to any of this material.

It shreds Gillard's credibility.

Heydon found she was sincere in her perception that the AWU WRA's incorporation was to 'formalise arrangements between a team of officials who had  an intention of running together at the next election [and] enable them to fund raise to support that re-election campaign'.

If that was so, then the incorporated entity would have taken on the assets, bank accounts, members, rules and payroll deduction cash flows from the February 1991 election fund.  It was all there in the Slater and Gordon file after all.

Heydon expressed bewilderment at how Gillard was remunerated for her legal work on Wilson's behalf - ie prior to the official September 1991 appointment of Slater and Gordon as the branch's lawyers.

He didn't need to look very far to find the answers.

Much of the work was finally billed in a September 1993 reconciliation - the timing of which coincides with the Mick Baker dismissal amid his letters to the branch formally seeking details of the leadership team's reelection fund!

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There is much more to come on this issue.

When Slater and Gordon ceased to act for the AWU in September 1995, the firm claims to have forwarded all the AWU related files to the AWU itself.

It did nothing of the sort.

Files like the payroll fund, the rules based work, dubious staff dismissals and perhaps most distressing of all the Fatality and Death Benefits Fund were hidden away, retained by Slater and Gordon and kept secret.

Until now.

The contents of those files will cause GILLARD and others severe embarrassment and should result in criminal charges.

More soon.


Chairman Mal's glossy email announcing his sleeves-up, shovel-ready infrastructure cred

Andrew Bolt and Steve Price spoke with Victoria's Liberal Party leader Matthew Guy about this $10 Billion announcement last night.

What a surprise to hear that Turnbull leaked the story to Melbourne's Herald Sun first, then phoned Mr Guy on Wednesday night to let him know there'd be a media event with a $10 Billion price tag the next day.

No feasibility study, no cost benefit analysis, no business case - just another $5Bn in Federal Debt to be matched by $5Bn in State Debt.  For the vanity project's photo opportunity.

Chairman Mal - Rudd/Gillard without the substance.

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Yassmin Abdel Mageid denied entry to the USA - put on a plane and sent back to where she came from

Ms Mageid's statement:


I think these are the truest words I've heard her speak!