Don't be dishonest - Left Testicle's sentence "stern but fair"

Ex-Labor MP's sentence had to be 'stern'

Former NSW minister Ian Macdonald's sentence for misconduct in public office was "stern" but not unreasonable nor plainly unjust, five Court of Criminal Appeal judges have been told.

"This was a Minister of the Crown, the highest level of government, and the head sentence needed to be stern," said Michael McHugh SC, for the Crown, on Thursday.

Macdonald, 69, was jailed for 10 years, with a minimum of seven, in June last year after being found guilty of two counts of wilful misconduct in public office.

He is challenging both his sentence and convictions.

His friend and former union boss John Maitland - who was jailed for six years with a minimum of four - is challenging his convictions for being an accessory to the misconduct.

Macdonald was found to have favoured the interest of Doyles Creek Mining, chaired by Maitland, over the interests of the state when he granted a NSW Hunter Valley mining licence in 2008 without a competitive tender.

Maitland, now 72, made $6 million selling shares in a company that acquired Doyles Creek Mining after the licence was granted.

While conceding there was no evidence that Macdonald was to benefit personally for his misconduct, Mr McHugh rejected the submission that the sentence was "manifestly excessive" and should be reduced.

"One may never know why a criminal acts in the way they do. What we do know here is that Macdonald did so act," he said in his written submissions.

Macdonald's conviction appeal grounds included an argument by his lawyer Phillip Boulten SC that the trial judge misdirected the jury in relation to the "elements" of the misconduct offence.

He said that when people held public office, there needed to be a bright line demarcating sloppy or negligent conduct on one hand and criminal conduct which could lead to prison time on the other.

But Mr McHugh said the bright line was clear - "don't be dishonest".

The court reserved its decision.

ENDS

Here's our report from the time of Macdonald's sentencing.

10 year sentence for devious misconduct cloaked in the apparently worthy venture of training

Screen Shot 2017-06-03 at 6.41.25 am
 
Yesterday I watched Justice Christine Adamson in the NSW Supreme Court (thanks Jason Morrison & CH 7) as she sentenced former NSW Labor Minister Ian Macdonald to 10 years jail for misconduct in public office.
 
It was quite moving.   Judge Adamson gave me hope.
 
It's not hard to find someone who'll give a speech about standards and public confidence in our institutions.
 
What's become endangered lately is the action to make the words real.  That means consequences and punishment for the corrupt rather than chairmanships and houses on the beach.
 
I hope all MPs read Christine Adamson's judgements.  
 
In March last year the House of Representatives Privileges Committee presented its final report on Craig Thomson's conduct.  I wrote at the time:

His offending against us all through his contempt of the Parliament is of the highest order.   Like his theft from the members of the HSU he knew his responsibility, he knew the nature of the offence, he knew the penalties; but he consciously decided to go ahead and do it anyway. 

It is deeply troubling that so many parliamentary colleagues knew of Thomson's conduct - yet even the Prime Minister Julia Gillard continued to provide him with unqualified support and glowing character assessments.

The Committee found Thomson guilty of a contempt of the House, the highest category of offence against the Parliament.   

The parliament gave him a reprimand.
 
Our federal MPs might think again about whether they've lived up to the standards Judge Adamson sets out in her written judgements:
  • Conviction of MACDONALD and former CFMEU boss Ian MAITLAND here
  • Sentencing and reasons here
 
 
This extract is from Her Honour's judgement.

General principles

The principles which are of particular relevance for offences of wilful misconduct in public office are:

  • The duties of Ministers are onerous and departures are to be dealt with strictly
  • The real damage is not be measured by material loss to the State or gain to the offender; the real harm is the damage to the institutions of government and public confidence in them
  • General deterrence and denunciation are to be given more weight than other sentencing considerations for offences of this nature
  • Prior good character is of less weight for offences of this nature.
  • The offenders’ conduct damaged the institutions of government and public confidence in them, which resulted in widespread harm to the community.

It tainted the State’s reputation for proper dealing and probity.

It tended to engender public cynicism such as might deter those considering standing for Parliament for fear that their motives will be misunderstood.

Junior public officials might be more inclined to misconduct themselves in the belief that such conduct is normal or accepted.

Conscientious public servants whose duty it is to give independent advice might be hesitant about speaking out, lest their careers be shortened or their prospects of promotion stymied by Ministers who regard an independent public service as an obstruction, rather than an essential part of a working democracy.

Departmental officers might have asked themselves why they should take such care to administer the State’s mineral resources if Mr Macdonald, the man who had the ultimate say as decision-maker, could be so cavalier about his responsibilities and so vain about the exercise of his power.

There are no isolated victims of crimes such as these since the harm was done to the community as a whole. The people of NSW were betrayed by Mr Macdonald. 

ENDS


Malcolm Turnbull to star at Australian Bar Association conference tonight

Screen Shot 2018-11-16 at 5.10.06 am

The preeminent legal conference of 2018 – rise2018 relevant/resilient/respected is a prestigious two-day conference to be held at the International Convention Centre Sydney. The conference boasts an impressive speaker line-up that will highlight and profile the excellence of the Australian legal profession with a focus on national and international legal issues.

rise2018 relevant/resilient/respected, three concepts chosen as key to the legal profession dealing with disruption and change within contemporary society.

RELEVANT – the role of the profession in a changing legal, political, social environment and its commitment to law reform and professionalism.
RESILIENT – the ability of the profession to adapt to change and disruption.
RESPECTED – to maintain relevance and foster resilience while ensuring the continued respect for the profession and the judiciary that is essential for the rule of law, which maintains a tolerant, cohesive and inclusive society.

ENDS

Could they have chosen a more irrelevant or less respected star for their show?

As for the theme - "Rise2018" - please God don't let it be so!!!!!


Clinton Foundation donations tanking

Screen Shot 2018-11-15 at 5.34.07 am

https://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2018/nov/11/money-to-clintons-nonprofit-tapering-20/#.W-jGXsYz8vY.twitter

Money to Clintons' nonprofit tapers for third year in row

 
 
 
Screen Shot 2018-11-15 at 5.37.16 am
Donations to the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation dropped sharply in 2017, the third-straight year of declining revenue.

Contributions, which peaked during the foundation's major endowment drive, totaled $26.6 million last year, down from $172.6 million in 2014, $108.9 million in 2015 and $62.9 million in 2016.

From 2016 to 2017, donations dipped 57.8 percent.

The financial figures are included in the organization's 990 forms, which are filed each year with the Internal Revenue Service.

The Little Rock-based foundation, which has offices in New York City and around the globe, prepared the document earlier this month and provided a copy to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

The endowment, which contained $267,491 at the beginning of 2013, topped $207 million last year, up from $187.2 million in 2016. Most of the increase, $20.4 million, came from investment gains. The endowment received $3 million in contributions in 2017 while classifying $3.7 million in pledges as uncollectable.In a letter, foundation CEO Kevin Thurm said the organization's focus remains on "overcoming complex challenges and improving the lives of people across the United States and around the world."

Thurm thanked the donors "who make this life-changing work possible."

 

Foundation officials had previously attributed the 2016 revenue drops, in large part, to the "closing out" of the three-year endowment campaign, which wrapped up in 2015.

(Contributions in 2012, the year before the endowment drive began, had totaled $49.9 million.)

Fundraising restrictions, voluntarily adopted at the start of Hillary Clinton's second presidential campaign, were another factor, they had cited.

The latest declines were foreseeable, Thurm said in his letter.

With the cancellation of the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting, "we anticipated a decline in both revenue and expenses for 2017, largely attributable to the absence of sponsorship and membership contributions for CGI," he wrote.

The event had attracted business executives, billionaires, celebrities, heads of state and philanthropists each year between 2005 and 2016, generating millions of dollars in revenue.

With giving down, staffing also has decreased, from 578 employees in 2016 to 398 in 2017.

Expenses for the Clinton Presidential Center totaled $12.4 million; revenue totaled $1.7 million.

Overall salaries dropped from $37.4 million to $24.9 million.

The foundation listed overall revenue of $38.4 million and expenses of $54.6 million, a gap of $16.1 million.

Net assets on Dec. 31, 2017, equaled $323.5 million, down from $326.7 million.

Thurm was the highest-paid, receiving total compensation of $445,342. Bruce R. Lindsey, a director and former foundation CEO, received total compensation of $407,361.

The former president continues to serve as board chairman. His daughter, Chelsea Clinton, is vice chairman. Both are volunteers and not compensated for their work.

Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state, left the board in April of 2015 and has no formal position with the foundation, but continues to attend foundation events and to assist with fundraising.

All three Clintons were on hand for a foundation event in Chicago in October.

According to the IRS filing, Bill Clinton devotes 20 hours per week to Clinton Foundation activities.

"President Clinton, as board chair and a regular presence in Clinton Foundation offices in New York and Little Rock, has been tireless in working to advance the foundation's programs and impact," said foundation spokesman Brian Cookstra.

"President Clinton is a driving force of the foundation's work -- bringing together leaders from across sectors to help people recover from hurricanes in the Caribbean; launching new solar energy projects; spearheading our efforts to fight the opioid epidemic; hosting emerging leaders at the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock through the Presidential Leadership Scholars program; and bringing together over 1,000 students at CGI University in Chicago last month," Cookstra said.

Started in 1997 and originally called the William J. Clinton Presidential Foundation, the nonprofit focused initially on raising funds to build Clinton's presidential center.

Since the center's completion in November 2004, the foundation has broadened its focus.

Today, the foundation "works with strategic partners to develop and implement programs that create economic opportunity, improve public health, and inspire civic engagement and service," its website states.

In addition to the Clinton Presidential Center, which includes the library and museum, other efforts include:

• The Clinton Climate Initiative, which "develops scalable projects that can be tailored to local conditions while also serving as innovative models for tackling global climate change."

• The Clinton Development Initiative, which helps farmers in Malawi, Rwanda and Tanzania to "increase their economic potential," by promoting "best agriculture practices" that increase crop yields and promote sustainability and profitability.

• The Clinton Global Initiative. While eliminating the annual meeting in New York City, the foundation continues to oversee Clinton Global Initiative University, a program for college students.

• The Clinton Health Matters Initiative, which seeks to reduce opioid overdoses and decrease the prevalence of preventable diseases.

• The Alliance for a Healthier Generation, which focuses on promoting exercise and nutrition programs for children. The alliance, which was founded by the foundation and the American Heart Association, is independent but received $1.98 million in funding from the foundation in 2017.

• Too Small to Fail, which educates parents and others about early childhood brain development.

Leslie Lenkowsky, an emeritus professor at Indiana University and an expert on philanthropy, said he is "not in the least surprised" by the Clinton Foundation's falling revenue.

Before the 2016 election, "Mrs. Clinton had a chance at becoming president. Since then, she lost. She's likely out of public life. [Bill Clinton's] reputation has been damaged by the fallout of the #MeToo movement, so the organization's not as attractive as it once was," Lenkowsky said.

Despite the downturn, the foundation's fundraising totals remain substantial, he said.

He said "$27 million is a large amount of money so we shouldn't underestimate that. They're still a large organization."

The 72-year-old former president was wise to create the endowment, Lenkowsky said.

"Success isn't going to be with you all the time, and the endowment will at least give you a bit of a cushion," he said. "If your fundraising plan is 'President Clinton's going to visit someplace and the money's going to come in,' it's not going to last forever," he said.

It's important for the foundation to begin thinking about the long term, he added.

"Nonprofits over the years are usually started by people who feel passionate about what they're doing, who are deeply committed to doing it. But such people really need to find a way of institutionalizing their passion and enthusiasm so that when they leave the scene, for whatever reason, there are other people that can pick up and run the foundation efficiently," he said.

Sunday on 11/11/2018


Nationals Senator Ms Barry O'Sullivan declares she's now a woman.

Screen Shot 2018-11-14 at 7.52.16 pm

Thanks to reader KM for this tip on the very up to date Wikipedia.

Barry's family must be very proud.

Screen Shot 2018-11-14 at 8.40.50 pm


Comm Bank's electricity to be subsidised by taxpayers in greenie deal

Screen Shot 2018-11-14 at 6.50.54 am

Screen Shot 2018-11-14 at 6.50.54 am

Commonwealth Bank will source 65 per cent of its national electricity needs from renewable energy from January 2019, after signing a unique agreement with the largest wind farm in New South Wales.

CBA has signed a 12 year Power Purchasing Agreement (PPA) with 270MW Sapphire Wind Farm, which will see the majority of CBA’s NSW and ACT operations powered by renewable electricity, predominantly from wind power. The supply-linked PPA is a unique corporate deal with fixed baseload electricity purchased alongside an equal number of large-scale generation certificates.

Under the agreement, CBA will receive 96,000 megawatt hours (MWh) annually from the Sapphire Wind Farm, which is part of the ‘Grassroots’ renewable energy platform built by CWP Renewables and the Partners Group. The wind farm was recently constructed in northern NSW. CBA is a key financier to the Sapphire Wind Farm Project.

Kylie Macfarlane, CBA General Manager of Corporate Responsibility, said: “We continue to build on our strong track record of reducing energy use, and subsequent emissions, across our branches and offices. With this agreement, we will further decrease our carbon emissions by 60 per cent.

“To be able to use renewable energy directly from the supplier for 65 per cent of our Australian electricity needs is a significant step towards transitioning to 100 per cent renewable electricity use.”

Alex Hewitt, CWP Renewables CEO, said: “Sapphire Wind Farm will add over 800,000 GWhrs of clean energy into the national electricity grid by December.

“Commonwealth Bank is taking the lead here as other large corporate energy users are starting to actively seek green energy direct from the generator.

“To have Commonwealth Bank as one of our direct buyers reinforces the fact dispatchable low-cost renewable energy is viable and economical.”

To further demonstrate the Bank’s commitment to a lower carbon future, CBA has also become the first Australian corporate to join the global RE100 initiative – setting a goal to achieve 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2030.

RE100, led by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP, brings together the world’s most influential global businesses who have committed to source 100 per cent of their electricity consumption from renewable energy by a specified year.

Sam Kimmins, Head of RE100 at The Climate Group, said: “Around the world, forward-thinking companies want access to clean, cheap power that lowers emissions and increases competitiveness.

“As the first Australian business to join RE100, Commonwealth Bank will achieve exactly that, while helping to lead Australia’s transition to a clean energy future.

“Long-term renewable energy purchasing agreements like this support the development of new energy infrastructure and actively bring more renewables online. We’re confident that other major Australian companies will follow Commonwealth Bank’s lead.”

CBA has already implemented a number of energy efficiency initiatives across the country. The bank operates 20 Green Star rated retail branches and on-site solar PV production at more than 50 branches.

Background information

  • Since 2009, CBA has reduced its Australian-based direct emissions by 54 per cent.
  • The volume of renewable electricity procured via the PPA will further reduce CBA’s emissions by 60 per cent.
  • The PPA is 100 per cent renewable with an equal number of large-scale generation certificates purchased alongside the delivery of the renewable power for baseload energy.
  • The majority of the power will come from wind. The PPA also allows for an expansion to solar and battery sources when stable baseload energy is required.
  • The PPA will be administered by ERM Power and will commence from 01 January 2019.
  • In August 2017 Commonwealth Bank announced its Climate Policy Position Statement providing a framework for how it is responding to the challenge of climate change with a number of targets. CBA’s progress on these targets is outlined in the below table.

Metric Target Status update

 Metric   Target   Status update 
Exposure to low carbon projects $15 billion by 2025  $7.3 billion, as reported for FY18 
Sourcing renewable energy for our power needs  25% by 2020 PPA signed for 65% by 2020
Emissions per full time employee 2.0t CO2-e by 2020  2.3 tCO2-e, as reported for FY18
Solar panels on branches 1,250 kW by 2020 752 kW, as reported for FY18

CWP Renewables and Grassroots

CWP Renewables has been developing renewable energy projects in Australia since 2008. CWP and Partners Group are building out the largest renewable energy portfolio in NSW comprised of wind/solar and battery storage. This renewable energy generation portfolio is called “Grassroots” and is currently providing green power directly to a number of customers including the ACT Government, which is on track to meet its target of 100 per cent renewables by 2020. The Sapphire Wind Farm will provide enough clean energy to power around 115,000 homes and displace 700,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year. The last turbine for the project was erected in early November. The wind farm is just stage one of a $1 billion renewable energy hub that will blend wind and solar with battery storage.

ERM Power

ERM Power is an Australian energy company operating electricity sales, generation and energy solutions businesses. The company has grown to become the second-largest electricity provider to commercial businesses and industrials in Australia by load (Based on ERM Power analysis of latest published information). A growing range of energy solutions products and services are being delivered, including lighting and energy efficiency software and data analytics, to the company’s existing and new customer base. The company operates 662 megawatts of low emission, gas-fired peaking power stations in Western Australia and Queensland. www.ermpower.com.au

RE100

Led by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP, RE100 is a collaborative initiative bringing together the world’s most influential businesses committed to 100 per cent renewable power. Renewables are a smart business decision, providing greater control over energy costs while helping companies to deliver on emission reduction goals. RE100 members, including Global Fortune 500 companies, have a total revenue of over US$4.5 trillion and operate in a diverse range of sectors - from information technology to automobile manufacturing. Together, they send a powerful signal to policymakers and investors to accelerate the transition to a low carbon economy. RE100.org | #RE100 | info@RE100.org


ACT Police release images of suspects but pixellate them to protect their identity

Another triumph for ACT Policing.

They've issued an urgent appeal for help to identify the offenders who vandalised a Jewish building … but their identity is suppressed to protect their identity.

Do you know these four people?

Screen Shot 2018-11-13 at 12.45.45 pm
Screen Shot 2018-11-13 at 12.45.45 pm

You can find the media release here 

https://policenews.act.gov.au/news/media-releases/police-release-images-suspected-giralang-jewish-centre-vandals

And the four suspects are on ACT Policing's Twitter feed in all their pixellated glory.

Screen Shot 2018-11-13 at 12.49.31 pm


Former SASR Trooper John Anon - frontline police not ready for counter-terrorism

The writer wants to remain anonymous, the way the SAS likes things.  

He served 14 years in the ADF, 9 years as a Royal Australian Regiment infantryman and 5 years with the Special Air Service Regiment. 

Screen Shot 2018-11-13 at 11.24.10 am

 

When I served in Australia’s Special Air Service Regiment one of our main roles was Counter Terrorism or CT.  Although we held domestic CT responsibility our focus was on overseas terror threats.  The reason was simple - that’s where the terrorists were. We were prepared for attacks on Australian soil - but there weren’t any.

That’s no longer the case.  Australian governments have imported the types of people we used to deal with offshore.  Jihadis are embedded throughout our community. Our Border Protection Minister says 400 people living in Australia pose a terror threat to us.  ASIO reports it has 400 “high priority” counter terrorism investigations underway.  The threat is real, it’s here - but our first responders aren’t ready for it.

The Bourke Street tragedy last Friday offers us some important lessons.  Dozens of bystanders took out their phones and video-recorded the attack and the police response.  Those videos are frightening - but they should also be a catalyst for significant change.

Based on the video I’ve seen, my post-engagement report would go something like this:

Upon arrival two first responder police saw a tall and powerfully built military-age male of Somali appearance, dressed in traditional Islamic clothing.  He was adjacent to and had apparently alighted from a utility vehicle was was fully engulfed in an unusually fierce fire, suggesting the presence of accelerants and possibly explosives.

At least one lifeless male person lay on the street in a pool of blood.

The target male immediately adopted an aggressive posture toward police.  He was armed with a bloodied knife and he charged at and attempted to stab the two police officers several times.  One bystander intervened using a shopping trolly in an unsuccessful attempt to knock the offender off his feet or distract him - presumably in the belief that police would act to neutralise the threat.  The bystander at one critical stage was knocked off his feet and onto his back laying unprotected and vulnerable to knife attack on the pavement.

The confrontation between the Somali male and police continued for what appeared to be about one minute.  For most of that time police were backing away from the terrorist, often walking backwards on a road with tram tracks and other obstacles. Police did not engage in aggressive action towards the offender until the last few seconds of the encounter.

During the initial stages police adopted an open-armed, non-threatening posture towards the male.  Only the most direct attempts by the offender to stab police were deflected - otherwise police were seen to back away from the armed man.  In the initial stage of the encounter police did not draw weapons.  One officer took cover behind a shoulder-height garbage receptacle.

The offender responded by escalating his aggression towards police and members of the public nearby.

During those first 30 seconds or so the offender was unrestrained.  He was free to use both his hands.  He had attempted to stab police - but both police, although themselves armed with semi-automatic Smith and Wesson .40 pistols retreated from the offender.

In the final stage of the contact one officer continued to attempt the deflection of repeated knife thrusts using an extendable baton.  At the last moment of the encounter one constable fired a single shot from his pistol at point blank range, apparently aimed a the “Centre of the Seen Mass” - or the centre of the target male’s body.  That single shot hit the offender in the chest.  He remained on his feet, grimaced and clutched his chest while he was upstanding for a period of about 1 second after being shot.  He then turned his head to his rear, looked at the pavement, went down first on one knee/thigh and then lay flat on the pavement with his legs outstretched - all the while demonstrating cognition and muscular control.

 

Those observations describe a textbook example of how not to respond to a Jihadi terrorist who is obviously committing an act of terror.

The burning vehicle should have alerted police to the probability of a large and powerful improvised explosive device.   The Jihadi had chosen the CBD of one of our largest cities on a busy Friday afternoon.  A large Improvised Explosive Device in the vehicle would have caused devastating casualties.  

Police should have presumed the Jihadi was concealing a “suicide vest” packed with high explosives, nails and other shrapnel.  Police allowed this Jihadi about sixty seconds where he was free to use his hands on a triggering device.  That’s an unforgivable error for a counter-terrorist operative.  

Good luck, not good management saved Melbourne.

Those police were brave and dedicated.  But their operating procedures are designed to deal with traditional Western crime.  Terrorism is a different ball-game.

Special Air Service counter terrorist operatives are trained to fire a double-tap - or two consecutive rounds in quick succession - not into the centre of a terrorists body, but directly into his head.  My aiming point was always between the eyes.  It’s essential that once a terrorist is engaged, all brain function should cease.

I’m told that police are trained to “shoot to stop” with their target point the “centre of the seen mass”.  That’s appropriate for a policing response to traditional crime in a civilised society - but it’s a dangerous and deadly response to Jihadi terrorists.

I’m not criticising the individual policemen who were on the spot last Friday.  As far as I can see, they responded to Hassan Khalif Shire Ali’s Jihadi attack on Melbourne by doing precisely what they’d been trained to do.  But that could have had devastating consequences for them and the hundreds of people around them.

The young constable who shot Ali provided a copybook example of someone who’s remembered his training perfectly.  One shot to the man’s middle.  That’s why police training needs an urgent and aggressive overhaul.

Our SAS CT units are trained to shoot terrorists in the head for a reason - to eliminate the threat very quickly.  We understand Jihadi tactics, motivations and intent. Police in Victoria obviously do not - or they’re so restricted from acting realistically they hesitate to conduct themselves effectively.  In terror attacks that can cost innocent lives.

In a situation like that faced by police last Friday there can be only one safe response.  Aggressive engagement with the offender and at least two shots into his head.  Immediately.

That might be asking a bit much of civilian police who qualify on their firearms once a year.  But that shouldn’t stop police from adopting a much more aggressive stance towards Jihadis like Hassan Khalif Shire Ali 

Decent Australians deserve no less.