So Mal Turnbull wants to talk about innovation? I was to talk about Mal Brough and Evidence.

So lets nail this.
Brough told Liz Hayes to a question on 60 Minutes
“Um why then also did you um assist, seek well, did you ask James Ashby to procure um copies of Peter Slipper’s diary for for you?” Hayes said.
“Yes I did,” Mr Brough replied.
“Why did you do that?” Hayes responded.
“Because I believed Peter Slipper had committed a crime. I believed he was defrauding the Commonwealth,” Mr Brough said.
Source http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-12-01/mal-brough-60-minutes-interview-transcript-shows-no-edits/6992352
When he was asked the same Question in Parliament by the Shadow Attorney General Mark Dreyfus. He said one word. That word was no.
By the laws of Logic one of the answers has to be a Lie.
James Ashby said.
Mr Ashby now maintains he went to Mr Brough with copies of the diaries.
“I don’t know exactly how that 60 Minutes interview was cut, but obviously it didn’t look good for Mal Brough,” he said.
“But I can assure you that never at any point did Mal Brough ask me for copies of those diaries.”
Mr Ashby also gave an interview to 60 Minutes last year, where he appeared to accept the proposition that Mr Brough asked for the diaries.
Source http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-12-01/mal-brough-60-minutes-interview-transcript-shows-no-edits/6992352
So let us go back to what actually happened and let you the reader decide. We will start the day before the actual diary pages were sent by Ashby to Brough. Look at the dates that Steve Lewis asked Brough for and then the dates that were on the diary pages Ashby sent to Brough.

Please note all of this evidence is from the federal court web site and was either tendered in evidence by the claimant or discovered under subpoena as part of the court process. No one has made any of this up. It forms part of an 80 page timeline of events in the Ashby case. I compiled this in the first half of October 2015, from the more than 1700 pages on the federal court site. Each of the events is referenced.
The Phone message numbers refer to James Ashby’s phone. The person on the left is the person being sent a message or sending a message. The time and status are on the right of the message.
28 Mar 2012 (Wednesday)

14939  Karen Doane     Any chance you can have a coffee or lunch to
chat a bit more today? I’m going to bring in
the laptop to the EO and grab some of my
stuff.
28/03/2012 12:01:54 AM UTC
(Network)
10:01:54 AM AEST Read
(REF 1 page 236/243/265)
14940  Karen Doane     Ok
28/03/2012 12:02:15 AM UTC
(Device)
10:02:15 AM AEST Sent
(REF 1 page 236/243/265)

14941  Karen Doane     Only if you are comfortable 😉 I’m not
contagious I promise ��
28/03/2012 12:15:14 AM  UTC
(Network)
10:15:14 AM AEST Read
(REF 1 page 236/243/265)
14942            Missing form Annexure
14943            Missing form Annexure

Has Ashby asked Doane to copy Slipper’s Diary? It would appear from the following exchange he has.

14944  Karen Doane     What month in 2009 forward?
28/03/2012 3:39:38 AM UTC
(Network)
1:39:38 PM AEST Read
(REF 1 page 236/243/265)

14945  Karen Doane     January forward
28/03/2012 3:39:53 AM UTC
(Device)
1:39:53 PM AEST Sent
(REF 1 page 237/244/265)

14946  Karen Doane     Doing it now
28/03/2012 3:43:38 AM UTC
(Network)
1:43:38 PM AEST Read
(REF 1 page 237/244/265)
Please refer to Doane Charge 1. Access computer without Authorisation
Please refer to Ashby Charge 1. Counsel or procure Doane to access without Authorisation

14947  Karen Doane     Legend
28/03/2012 4:10:17 AM UTC (Device)
2:10:17 PM     AEST Sent
(REF 1 page 237/244/265)

In the Period between these messages  it appears that Doane and Ashby met for a coffee. Maybe to hand over Diary information?

Please refer to Doane Charge 3. Publish or communicate information
Please refer to Ashby Charge 3a. Counsel or procure Doane to publish or communicate information
Please refer to Ashby Charge 3b. Publish or communicate information

14948             Missing form Annexure

14949  Karen Doane     Let’s chat tonite, thanks again for the coffee 😉
28/03/2012 5:04:08 AM UTC
(Network)
3:04:08 PM AEST Read
(REF 1 page 237/244/265)
Please refer to Doane Charge 3.

It is obvious that after asking for the dates Doane and Ashby met and perhaps handed over the images to Ashby.

14950  Karen Doane     Let’s ��
28/03/2012 5:04:23 AM UTC
(Device)
3:04:23 PM AEST Sent
(REF 1 page 237/244/265)

29 March 2012 ( Thursday)

Ashby Commenced meeting with Val Bradford                   29/03/2012
8:30 AM AEST
(REF 5)
Ashby finished meeting with Val Bradford                   29/03/2012
11:30 AM AEST
(REF 5)
15000  Karen Doane     Checking in…. U okay today? I had a big cry
about an hour ago…. Thinking of you
29/03/2012 1:40:19 AM UTC
(Network)
11:40:19 AM AEST Read
(REF 1 page 239/246/265)

15001  Karen Doane     I don’t want U stressing. I have so much
support and u do as well. We’ve been
chosen to take this journey for some
bizarre reason. I’ve always said things
happen for a reason and we are the two
strongest people. I really do appreciate
your concerns but I really need u to trust
that I’ll be fine. My family, friends and u are
right behind this decision. I know there’ll
be low times, but I’m trying to think of the
positives 
29/03/2012 1:48:22 AM UTC
(Device)
11:48:22 AM AEST Sent
(REF 1 page 237/244/265)

15002  Karen Doane     Great to hear! I know you ( and I) are
strong and supported but strength also
allows for honest emotion to surface at
appropriate times, hence my time today.
No need to have it inside manifesting in an
unhealthy way 😉 hope your day continues
to stay positive. Lemme know is there is
anything new in the zoo
��
29/03/2012 1:51:56 AM UTC
(Network)
11:51:56 AM AEST Read
(REF 1 page 240/247/265)

15003  Karen Doane      Yeah emotions are something I lack alot of
these days. I just need to stay strong
otherwise I’ll break down and fall to bits
�� I’ll keep u up to speed
with anything that occurs today
29/03/2012 1:55:52 AM UTC
(Device)
11:55:52 AM AEST Sent
(REF 1 page 240/247/265)

15004  Karen Doane     Your day to exhale is hopefully on the
horizon �� I’ve allowed
myself the luxury of a cry as I’m hope
alone and resting. All good in the hood. If
you hear any more from Jackie or Murray,
let me know. Curious of course
��
29/03/2012 2:00:31 AM UTC
(Network)
12:00:31 PM AEST Read
(REF 1 page 240/247/265)

15005  Karen Doane     Yeah I forgot to call Murray last night. The
alcohol took me away unfortunately. Time
to lay off the grog and just focus on the job
ahead. Can’t mask feelings forever.
29/03/2012 2:02:12 AM UTC
(Device)
12:02:12 PM AEST Sent
(REF 1 page 240/247/265)

15006  Karen Doane     Are we still meeting tonight?
29/03/2012 3:20:03 AM UTC
(Network)
1:20:03 PM AEST Read
(REF 1 page 240/247/265)

15007  Karen Doane     No I can’t meet to tonight sadly. Are u free
tomorrow?
29/03/2012 3:22:51 AM UTC
(Device)
1:22:51 PM AEST Sent
(REF 1 page 240/247/265)

15008  Karen Doane     Hmmmm I thought we were meeting w
Jackie??
29/03/2012 3:23:34 AM UTC
(Network)
1:23:34 PM AEST Read
(REF 1 page 240/247/265)

15009  Karen Doane     I didn’t lock it in sorry. I will go try call
now.
29/03/2012 3:24:10 AM UTC
(Device)
1:24:10 PM AEST Sent
(REF 1 page 240/247/265)

15010  Karen Doane     Thx. I need to secure my deal or will need
to work a plan B
29/03/2012 3:25:03 AM UTC
(Network)
1:25:03 PM AEST Read
(REF 1 page 241/248/265)

15011  Karen Doane     Ok deal done ��
29/03/2012 3:25:36 AM UTC
(Device)
1:25:36 PM AEST Sent
(REF 1 page 240/247/265)
15012  Karen Doane     going to call me back. Was in a meeting.
29/03/2012 3:26:01 AM UTC
(Device)
1:26:01PM AEST Sent
(REF 1 page 240/247/265)

15013  Karen Doane     Thx ��
29/03/2012 3:26:49 AM UTC
(Network)
1:26:49 PM AEST Read
(REF 1 page 240/247/265)

15015  Karen Doane     Jackie is keen to meet at 10:00am
tomorrow with the two of us. U ok for that?
29/03/2012 4:52:23 AM UTC
(Device)
2:52:23 PM AEST Sent
(REF 1 page 240/247/265)
15016  Karen Doane     Yep, ok. Thx
29/03/2012 5:09:43 AM UTC
(Network)
3:09:43 PM AEST Read
(REF 1 page 240/247/265)

Email from Val Bradford to James Ashby                         29/03/2012 3.27 PM AEST
Enclosing details of an email from Steve Lewis to
her re working on Slipper’s 2010 Election campaign.
(REF 6 page 164/154/164) and
(REF 7 page 1/733/86)

That morning Ashby had met with Bradford for 2 Hours. Was the sending of this email a result of conversation they had during those two hours? It looks as if it might be.

Email from James Ashby to Karen Doane at             29/03/2012 3.58 PM AEST

The email referred to was from Val Bradford to James Ashby at 3.47pm AEST
(REF 6 page 164/154/164) and
(REF 7 page 1/733/86)

Email from Karen Doane to James Ashby             29/02/2012 3.58 PM AEST

For the answer to this Question go to 10.28 PM 29/03/2012. Was Ashby distracted by Brough and requirement for Diary dates?

(REF 6 page 164/154/164)

Email from Steve Lewis to Mal Brough at                                             29/03/2012 3.27PM AEST

Questions re Slipper.
Asking for Diary dates in 2010 and 2009.
(REF 2 V1 Pt 2 page 134/300/156)
(REF 3 V2 Pt 2 Page 105/674/164)
Below is shown the first reference. The second one is exactly the same.

The Second 2 lots of dates required above correspond with the dates of the diary pages sent from Ashby to Brough from 9:34 PM on 29/03/2012. Brough must have passed those dates onto Ashby by some means, got the details from Ashby and then Brough must have passed them onto Lewis.
Specifically:-
1/ Messages to Ashby from Brough asking for these dates was not returned as part of the Subpoena to Brough.
2/ Messages to Lewis from Brough with these Diary pages were not returned as part of the Subpoena to Brough.

Please refer to Ashby Charge 3a. Counsel or procure Doane to publish or communicate information

Second email from Steve Lewis to Brough at                     29/03/2012  4.01pm AEST
asking for more  information about Cab charges and the Limo service
and  Slippers expenditure on Limo’s.

(REF 2 V1 Pt 2 page 134/300/156)
(REF 3 V2 Pt 2 Page 105/674/164)
Below is shown the first reference. The second one is exactly the same.

15017            Missing form Annexure
15018            Missing form Annexure
(REF 1 page 241/248/265)
15019  Karen Doane     Hey- do u have a few minutes to chat? I have
two questions ??!!
29/03/2012 10:29:54 AM UTC
(Network)
8:29:54 PM AEST Read
(REF 1 page 240/247/265)
Refer Karen Doane Charge 3

15020  Karen Doane     Chat tomm 🙂
29/03/2012 10:33:44 AM UTC
(Network)
8:33:44 PM AEST Read
(REF 1 page 240/247/265)

Three Attached printouts of a Diary pages attached to a 3 messages from James Ashby phone to Mal Brough’s phone by MMS.

Diary1

(REF 4 Vol 1 Part 1. Page 138/136/174)

Second Diary image

 

Diary2

(REF 4 Vol 1 Part 1. Page 140/138/174)

Third Diary image

 

Diary3

(REF 4 Vol 1 Part 1. Page 142/140/174)

Refer James Ashby Charge 3
The times that these three messages were send to Mal Brough’s Phone are as follows.

First Page                                    29/03/2012 11:28:10 UTC
(Device)
9:28:10 PM AEST Send
(REF 4 Vol 1 Part 1. Page 78/532/114)

Second Page                                   29/03/2012 11:29:57 UTC
(Device)
9:29:57 AEST Sent.
(REF 4 Vol 1 Part 1. Page 79/533/114)

Third Page                                   29/03/2012 11:30:05 UTC
(Device)
9:30:05 AEST Send.
(REF 4 Vol 1 Part 1. Page 81/534/114)

15021  Mal Brough    Can that be emailed James it is hard to
read
Mal.brough2@bigpond.com

29/03/2012 11:31:19 AM UTC
(Network)
9:31:19 PM AEST Read
(REF 1 page 240/247/265)

15022  Mal Brough     Done. Coming thru in minutes
29/03/2012 11:31:53 AM UTC
(Device)
9:31:53 PM AEST Sent
(REF 1 page 240/247/265)

15023  Mal Brough     Thanks
29/03/2012 11:32:11 AM UTC
(Network)
9:32:11 PM AEST Read
(REF 1 page 240/247/265)

Email 1 to malbrough2@bigpond.com  from Ashby’s Phone          29/03/2012 11:34:02 UTC
(Device)
9:34:02 PM AEST Sent
(REF 4 Vol 1 Part 1. Page 82/535/114)

Email 2 to malbrough2@bigpond.com  from Ashby’s Phone           29/03/2012  11:34:12 UTC
(Device)
9:34:12 PM AEST Sent
(REF 4 Vol 1 Part 1. Page 83/536/114)

Email 3 to malbrough2@bigpond.com  from Ashby’s Phone           29/03/2012 11:34:20 UTC
(Device)
9:34:20 PM AEST Sent
(REF 4 Vol 1 Part 1. Page 84/537/114)

15024  Mal Brough     Will need to get daily print outs tomorrow
with greater detail.
29/03/2012 11:34:56 AM UTC
(Device)
9:34:56 PM AEST Sent
(REF 1 page 240/247/265)

Note: Was this part of the conspiracy of getting information from Peter Slipper’s diary?

Email from James Ashby to Karen Doane at                     29/03/2012 10.28 PM AEST

(REF 6 page 164/154/164)

What can you say about this?
It appears that Malcolm Thomas Brough is a magician.
Steve Lewis asks Brough for dates which have Slippers name in the email. He does this at 3.27 Pm on 29th march 2012. Brough produced this email to the federal Court.
At 9.28 PM Ashby sends through three diary pages to Brough. When he can’t read them he asks for them to be emailed, which Ashby does.
The dates Ashby sent are for

1/    21 September 2009 to 27 September 2009
2/    22nd July 2009 to 2nd August 2009 and
3/    20th July 2009 to 26th july 2009.

The dates asked for of Brough by Lewis were
Between 11/10/2010 and 13/10/2010 (Canberra) Doesn’t correspond with 1/ 2/ 3/ above
Between 21/9/2009 and 24/9/2009 (Sydney) Corresponds exactly with 1/ above
Between 24/07/2009 and 27/07/2009 (Canberra) Corresponds partially with 3/ above.

All that I can say is that it’s Magic.

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The proposed Trial of the Ashbygate conspirators.

On Tuesday 17 November 2015 we learned that the AFP had executed a search warrant on James Hunter Ashby’s mothers property.

Having followed and written about this for a long time now, I was gratified that the actual warrant stated alleged offences which I had written about recently. In October 2015 I reviewed the evidence of the Federal Court and wrote an 80 page timeline which concentrated mainly on the interactions between Ashby, Doane, Brough and Lewis. Specifically in relation to the access and  taking of confidential diary information. The 80 pages is properly referenced to the actual court documents.

By doing this exercise, I was able to look at a continuous and contiguous narrative which highlighted what actually took place and what may have happened between the parties before the actual events. In other words there must have been other forms of communication between the parties for the actual events to have happened.

What this process also highlighted was that Malcolm Brough and Karen Doane may not have answered their subpoenas correctly, leaving them open to contempt of the federal Court or at the worse perverting the course of justice.

Initially I wrote this as a brief to read out in a court of law. It is incomplete, but I believe that if placed before a magistrate, there is enough existing evidence to convict of all the charges outlined.

 

 

Author: Vince O’Grady (Copyright.) 18 October 2015.
Some time has passed since 20th April 2012, when Harmer’s Lawyers, acting for James Hunter Ashby lodged a claim of Sexual harassment against Peter Neil Slipper, the elected member for the Division of Fisher in the Parliament (House of Representatives) of Australia. Peter Neil Slipper was the Speaker of the House of Representatives and member for the Division of Fisher in the Parliament of Australia.

Initially Ashby lodged (on 20th April 2012) a claim against Peter Slipper in the following terms.
1/ Sexual Harassment of Ashby by Slipper.
2/ The Commonwealth failing to keep Ashby safe because they knew of his alleged behaviour.
3/ Involving Ashby in questionable conduct, that conduct being alleged wrongdoing in relation to Cabcharge dockets.
On 15th May 2012 Ashby lodged an amended claim which dropped the 2nd and 3rd allegations. The sexual harassment allegations were claimed to have occurred between 4th Jan and 20th March 2012.
It should be noted that the allegations were reported in the newspapers the same day and that Slipper was overseas at the time.
Slipper stood down as speaker of the House of Representatives on 22 April whilst the allegations against him were being heard in the Federal court.
He resigned as speaker after revelations of sexually explicit messages came to light in evidence tendered in the original case on 9 October 2012.
The explicit text messages were nothing to do with the court case against Peter Slipper. They cannot have been because they were made
1/ As a private individual
2/ On a date which was outside those claimed by Ashby to have been sexually harassed on and when Ashby was not in the employ of the government.

A long running case in the federal court.

To the casual observer, the court proceedings seemed to take an eternity. From their inception to Justice Rares judgment, took from 20th April 2012 to 12 December 2012.  Ashby then sought leave to appeal against the finding of Rares J, (That the proceeding was an abuse of process) and the upholding of that appeal was published on 27th February 2014. So the proceedings and their machinations were in the news for just under 2 years.
The slow drip of information provided a bonanza, for print media, on line media and the broadcast media. In fact the case was the gift that kept giving. It was also a political gold rush for the Liberal and National party which they feasted on regularly.
After the final act of the saga, the upholding of Ashby’s appeal, he dropped the case against Slipper on 18 June 2014, days before it was to be heard on 23 June 2014. Costs were awarded against Ashby and Harmer’s and their appeal against this was defeated on 9 Feb 2015 before the full bench.
Slipper was also charged with Cab charge offences under Section 135.1 (5) of the Criminal Code 1995 to the value of $1074 alleged to have been committed on 20 Jan 2010, 12 April 2010 and 27 June 2010. He was found Guilty by the magistrate and ordered to do 300 hours community service and repay the $1074 to the Commonwealth.
Slipper appealed and his appeal was upheld and the convictions and penalties were set aside.
So as my wife’s first Mother in law would say. “It’s a whole lot of flapdoodle”
Despite a vindictive press, Liberal Party and arguably the Australian Federal Police (AFP), Peter Slipper came out of the nightmare with his legal reputation intact, but his personal and  professional reputations shredded.
As an Ex police Officer, I am amused but somewhat horrified at the way Peter Slipper was pursued by the Liberal party, The Dept of Finance and the Federal Police, yet others in the parliament are allowed to repay dubious entitlement claims under the Minchin protocol, an administrative, get out of jail free card for caught Politicians.
The Department of finance say they cannot proceed under that protocol if the person is referred directly to police. BUT in the case of another recent speaker, one Bronwyn Bishop and her Helicopter Charter, which was $5000, the federal police referred it right back to the Department of finance.
This is interesting in the light of the fraud provisions espoused on the Attorney-Generals website which clearly state that
“Generally, fraud should be reported to your local police or the Australian Federal Police.”
(My emphasis)
The referral process is detailed on their website. Very extensive information is required. One wonders at the need for a Police force if you are supposed to do their job for them.

However my point is that there are others who may have committed offences in this saga.

They are.
1/ Karen L Doane
2/ James Hunter Ashby
3/ Malcolm Thomas Brough
4/ Steve Lewis.
Lets follow the procedure a court would follow and set out the Charges, have a look at the evidence and then let you the public decide if these people are guilty of the Offences set down here.

The Charges which should be laid

Karen L Doane.
1/ You are charged that at of around 1.43pm on Wednesday 28th March 2012 you did, knowingly and without authorisation, access data held in a computer, to wit the Parliamentary Electronic Diary of Peter Neil Slipper, member for Fisher.
Contrary to Division 478.1 of the Criminal Code Act 1995.
Penalty: 2 years imprisonment.

2/ You are charged that at of around 5.21pm on Monday 9th April 2012 you did, knowingly and without authorisation, access data held in a computer, to wit the Parliamentary Electronic Diary of Peter Neil Slipper, member for Fisher.
Contrary to Division 478.1 of the Criminal Code Act 1995.
Penalty: 2 years imprisonment.

3/You are charged that at or around 1.43pm on Wednesday 28th March 2012 you did, being a Commonwealth officer, publish or communicate, except to some person to whom you were authorized to publish or communicate it, any fact or document which comes to his or her knowledge, or into his or her possession, by virtue of being a Commonwealth officer, and which it is his or her duty not to disclose, Said disclosure being made to James Hunter Ashby.
Contrary to Section 70 (1) of the Crimes Act 1914 as amended to Act No 88 2015.
Penalty: Imprisonment for 2 years.
4/ You are charged that at or around 5.21pm on Monday 9th April 2012 you did, being a Commonwealth officer, publish or communicate, except to some person to whom you were authorized to publish or communicate it, any fact or document which comes to his or her knowledge, or into his or her possession, by virtue of being a Commonwealth officer, and which it is his or her duty not to disclose, Said disclosure being made to James Hunter Ashby.
Contrary to Section 70 (1) of the Crimes Act 1914 as amended to Act No 88 2015.
Penalty: Imprisonment for 2 years.
5/ You are charged with, That on 27th June 2012, you attempted to pervert the course of justice
By failing to produce ‘documents’ which you were required to produce, to wit communications
between yourself and James Hunter Ashby and yourself and Steve Lewis which pertained to the
Diary information of Peter Neil Slipper

Contrary to Section 43 (1) Crimes Act 1914.

James Hunter Ashby,

1/ You are charged with that at or around 5.21pm on Monday 9th April 2012 you did, knowingly and without authorisation, counsel or procures Karen L. Doane to access data held in a computer, to wit the Parliamentary Electronic Diary of Peter Neil Slipper, member for Fisher.
Contrary to Division 478.1 of the Criminal Code Act 1995, and
Section 11.2 of the Criminal Code Act 1995

2a/ You are charged with that at or around 1.43pm on Wednesday 28th March 2012 you did, knowingly and without authorisation, counsel or procures Karen L. Doane to access data held in a computer, to wit the Parliamentary Electronic Diary of Peter Neil Slipper, member for Fisher.
Contrary to Division 478.1 of the Criminal Code Act 1995, and
Section 11.2 of the Criminal Code Act 1995

2b/You are charged with that at or around 11.32 AM on  Monday 9th April 2012,  you did, knowingly and without authorisation, counsel or procure Karen L. Doane to access data held in a computer, to wit the Parliamentary Electronic Diary of Peter Neil Slipper, member for Fisher.
Contrary to Division 478.1 of the Criminal Code Act 1995, and
Section 11.2 of the Criminal Code Act 1995

3a/You are charged that at or around 1.43pm on Wednesday 28th March 2012 you did, counsel or procure Karen L. Doane, being a Commonwealth officer, publish or communicate, except to some person to whom you were authorized to publish or communicate it, any fact or document which comes to his or her knowledge, or into his or her possession, by virtue of being a Commonwealth officer, and which it is his or her duty not to disclose, Said Disclosure being to Malcolm Thomas Brough.
3b/You are charged that at or around 1.43pm on Wednesday 28th March 2012 you did, being a Commonwealth officer, publish or communicate, except to some person to whom you were authorized to publish or communicate it, any fact or document which comes to his or her knowledge, or into his or her possession, by virtue of being a Commonwealth officer, and which it is his or her duty not to disclose, Said Disclosure being to Malcolm Thomas Brough.
Contrary to Section 70 (1) of the Crimes Act 1914 as amended to Act No 88 2015.
Penalty: Imprisonment for 2 years.
4/ You are charged that at or around 5.21pm on Monday 9th April 2012 you did, being a Commonwealth officer, publish or communicate, except to some person to whom you were authorized to publish or communicate it, any fact or document which comes to his or her knowledge, or into his or her possession, by virtue of being a Commonwealth officer, and which it is his or her duty not to disclose, Said disclosure being made to Steve Lewis
Contrary to Section 70 (1) of the Crimes Act 1914 as amended to Act No 88 2015.
Penalty: Imprisonment for 2 years.
Malcolm Thomas Brough

1/ You are charged with that at or around 1.43pm on Wednesday 28th March 2012 you did, knowingly and without authorisation, counsel or procure James Hunter Ashby to access data held in a computer, to wit the Parliamentary Electronic Diary of Peter Neil Slipper, member for Fisher.
Contrary to Division 478.1 of the Criminal Code Act 1995, and
Section 11.2 of the Criminal Code Act 1995

2/ You are charged with that at or around 5.21pm on Monday 9th April 2012 you did, knowingly and without authorisation, counsel or procure James Hunter Ashby to access data held in a computer, to wit the Parliamentary Electronic Diary of Peter Neil Slipper, member for Fisher.
Contrary to Division 478.1 of the Criminal Code Act 1995, and
Section 11.2 of the Criminal Code Act 1995

3/ You are charged with, That on 27th June 2012, you attempted to pervert the course of justice
By failing to produce ‘documents’ which you were required to produce, to wit communications
between yourself and James Hunter Ashby and yourself and Steve Lewis which pertained to the
Diary information of Peter Neil Slipper

Contrary to Section 43 (1) Crimes Act 1914.

Steve Lewis

1/ You are charged with that at or around 3.27pm on Thursday 29th March 2012 you did, knowingly and without authorisation, counsel or procure Malcolm Thomas Brough to access data held in a computer, to wit the Parliamentary Electronic Diary of Peter Neil Slipper, member for Fisher.
Contrary to Division 478.1 of the Criminal Code Act 1995, and
Section 11.2 of the Criminal Code Act 1995

2/ You are charged with that at or around 11.32 AM on  Monday 9th April 2012.  you did, knowingly and without authorisation, counsel or procure James Ashby to access data held in a computer, to wit the Parliamentary Electronic Diary of Peter Neil Slipper, member for Fisher.
Contrary to Division 478.1 of the Criminal Code Act 1995, and
Section 11.2 of the Criminal Code Act 1995

The facts of these matters are as follows.

Karen Doane.

1/ Karen Doane, at the time of all five offences was employed by the Commonwealth and therefore fits the definition of “Commonwealth Officer” under the Act. Peter Neil Slipper was her Line manager. She reported directly to him.

2/ Karen Doane was employed as a Media Adviser to Peter Neil Slipper. The Federal member of Parliament for the Division of Fisher. At the time of the offences, Peter Neil Slipper was the Speaker of the house of representatives.

3/ The duties of a Media Adviser are to Monitor (on a daily basis in an ongoing fashion) “the press” and report back to the Federal member (Peter Neil Slipper) all comments regarding him, his political party, other members of parliament, occurrences to do with other opposition parties and members, and the policy stances of his own party and those of the opposition as represented in all types of Media, to wit, Print, Social, Television and magazine.

In other words to report what the Press has to say about ongoing Political news.

As an adjunct to this function The Media Adviser has the responsibility to show the sitting member in the best Media Light which is possible by a range of skills, such as preparing media briefings, suggesting events and meetings and then presenting these ideas to the sitting member.

A further function of the Media Adviser is to then take direction from the sitting member as to the Media they would like to use to show them in the best light, using strategy and tactics of their choosing and implementing these Strategies and Tactics.

The Media adviser works with the Member and never acts on their own in matters relating to putting out any type of message, without the explicit permission and authorisiation of the member.

4/ The Computer system at use in the Office was a computer system attached to the Parliamentary Computer network and maintained by the Department of Finance. The use of which system was authorised for to each Employee by general password.

5/ Specific programs on the computer such as Peter Neil Slipper’s electronic Diary was further protected by password.

6/ As part of her duties Karen Doane had access to this diary and was issued a password.

7/ Although James Hunter Ashby had been asked to apply for a password to the diary, he was never issued with a password to access the Diary.

James Hunter Ashby

1/ James hunter Ashby, at the time of all five offences was employed by the Commonwealth and therefore fits the definition of “Commonwealth Officer” under the Act. Peter Neil Slipper was his Line manager. He reported directly to Peter Slipper.

2/ James Hunter Ashby was employed as a Political Adviser to Peter Neil Slipper. The Federal member of Parliament for the Division of Fisher. At the time of the offences, Peter Neil Slipper was the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

3/ The duties of a Political Adviser are to Monitor (on a daily basis in an ongoing fashion) “the press” and report back to the Federal member (Peter Neil Slipper) all comments regarding him, his political party, other members of parliament, occurrences to do with other opposition parties and members, and the policy stances of his own party and those of the opposition as represented in all types of Media, to wit, Print, Social, Television and magazine.

In other words to report what the Press has to say about ongoing Political news.

As an adjunct to this function The Political Adviser has the responsibility to show the sitting member in the best Political Light which is possible by a range of skills, such as preparing policy briefings, suggesting events and meetings and then presenting these ideas to the sitting member.

A further function of the Political Adviser is to then take direction from the sitting member as to the Policy messages they would like to use to show them in the best light, using strategy and tactics of their choosing and implementing these Strategies and Tactics. The Political adviser also works closely with the member’s Media Adviser.

The Political adviser works with the Member and never acts on their own in matters relating to putting out any type of message, without the explicit permission and authorisiation of the member.

4/ The Computer system at use in the Office was a computer system attached to the Parliamentary Computer network and maintained by the Department of Finance. The use of which system was authorised for to each Employee by general password.

5/ Specific programs on the computer such as Peter Neil Slipper’s electronic Diary was further protected by password. The owner of the Diary could authorise specific users to access the diary

6/ As part of her duties Karen Doane had access to this diary and was issued a password.

7/ Although James Hunter Ashby had been asked to apply for access to the diary, he was never issued with access the Diary.

Malcolm Thomas Brough

1/ Malcolm Thomas Brough was the federal member for the Division of Longman until 2007 when he lost the seat.

2/ Malcolm Thomas Brough had a short time outside of politics in Melbourne but had returned to The Sunshine Coast and stated his aim to challenge Peter Neil Slipper for Pre-selection as the Liberal national Party (LNP) candidate for Fisher in the 2013 Federal election.

3/ On 3rd September 2011 Brough was elected as the President of the Federal Divisional Council for the Liberal National Branch of Fisher. This is the organisation arm of the LNP which assists the candidate with Fund raising and general volunteer help during Federal Elections.

4/ Around this time (3/) James Hunter Ashby was standing for Secretary of the FDC on another and opposing “Ticket”

Specific Evidence of the charges outlined.

In this draft much of the Evidence is missing but the sequence of events is instructive.

To make an open and shut case against

Doane, Ashby, Brough and Lewis there is enough evidence to charge each of them with the charges outlined.
That Sequence is as follows. The actual detailed timeline is much more comprehensive.

1/ Friday 23rd March James Ashby met with Mal Brough for 3 hours and discussed Sexual harassment and alleged cab charge fraud by Peter Slipper..

2/ Saturday 24th March 2012 was State Election day in Queensland. The LNP won in a landslide.
Peter and Inge Slipper fly overseas.

3/ Sunday 25th March 2012. Nothing germaine to the diary in the federal court evidence.

4/ Monday 26th March  2012. Ashby tells McArdle that he is going ahead with what they discussed some weeks ago. (probably Sexual harassment and Cab Charge alleged fraud  on 2nd February).

5/ Tuesday 27th March 2012. Nothing germaine to the diary in the federal court evidence.

5/ Wednesday 28th March 2012. At 10.01:54 AM Doane says she is feeling awful and wants to chat more today. Probably about the Sexual harassment Charges Ashby wants to bring.  Ashby agrees to meet. In the same message she also says she is going to bring her Laptop into the Electoral Office and grab some of her stuff.

6/ Wednesday 28th March 2012 . At  1.39:38 seconds PM Doane SMS message to Ashby asking What month 2009 Forward?.

7/ Wednesday 28th March 2012. At 1.39:53 Ashby replies January forward.

At this juncture it is obvious to the investigator that there can be no purpose for either Doane or Ashby to look at the Diary dates in 2009. Both of them were employed in Q4 of 2011. They must have been requested by either Brough or Lewis to copy the Diary pages. (probably Brough for Lewis).
So Lewis has counselled or procured Brough to counsel or procure Ashby and then Ashby has counselled or procured Doane to do the unauthorised access to Peter Slipper’s diary.

8/ Wednesday 28th March 2012. At 1.43:38 PM Doane texts “doing it now”

9/ Wednesday 28th March 2012. At 2.10:17 PM he responds “Legend”

10/Thursday 29th March 2012. At 3.27 PM Steve Lewis sent an email to Malcolm  Brough asking for Diary dates

Can these be provided for

Between 11/10/2010 and 13/10/2010 (Canberra)

Between 21/09/2009 and 24/09/2009 (Sydney)

Between 24/07/2009 and 27/07/2009 (Canberra)

11/ Thursday 29th March 2012. At 4.01 PM Lewis sent another email to Brough in the following terms.

Subject. Also can you check the following date.

Dec 11, 12 2009……..

One asks how can Brough check these dates for Lewis? Lewis must know that Brough has a willing participant in accessing Slipper’s diary. By these emails Lewis has committed the offence of Counselling or procuring twice.

12/ Thursday 29th March 2012.  At 9.34 PM Ashby sent three images of Peter Slipper’s diary to Brough via his phone.

The Second 2 lots of dates required by Lewis above in point 10/ correspond with the dates of the diary pages sent from Ashby to Brough from 9:28 PM on 29/03/2012. Brough must have passed those dates onto Ashby by some means, got the details from Ashby and then Brough must have passed them onto Lewis.

Specifically:-
1/ Messages to Ashby from Brough asking for these dates was not returned as part of the Subpoena to Brough that can be found in the federal Court Documents.
2/ Messages to Lewis from Brough with these Diary pages were not returned as part of the Subpoena to Brough that can be found in the federal Court Documents.

Perhaps by this omission Brough is in contempt of the federal court.

13/ Thursday 29th March 2012. At 9.31 PM Brough sends a message to Ashby asking
“Can that be emailed James Its hard to read
Malbrough2@bigpond.com”

14/ Thursday 29th March 2012. At 9.34 PM Ashby emails the Diary pages to Brough’s email address.

There is no onward electronic transmission record of Brough sending the Diary pages to Lewis.
But there is little doubt that he did send them on.
Once again contempt of the Federal court by not disclosing the communication.

15/ Thursday 29th March 2012. At 9.34:56 PM (after sending the diary pages by email to Brough) Ashby sends the following message to Brough

“Will need to get daily print outs tomorrow
with greater detail.”

16/ Friday 30th March 2012. At 10.00 AM Ashby and Doane meet with Brough and Jackie.

17/ Friday 30th March 2012. At 7.51 PM Doane asks Ashby for Jackie’s email address.

18/ Friday 30th March 2012 At 9.28 PM Doane asks for Brough’s email address to send an update resume to him. Ashby responds immediately at 9.29 PM with malbrough1@bigpond.com.

19/ Saturday 31st March 2012.  No email germaine to the diary on this day.

20/ Sunday 1st April 2012. At 8.28 Pm Doane asks Ashby for Mal Brough’s phone number. She means to follow up her resume by email with a text message.

21/ Sunday 1st April 2012. At 10.18 PM Karen Doane sends an email asking for Mal Brough’s mobile phone number.

22/ Sunday 1st April 2012. At 10.27 PM Doane says to Ashby Muchos gracias Me Amigo. Probably thanks for sending through the Phone number.

23/ Sunday 1st April 2012. At 11.08 Pm Karen Doane sent an email to Mal Brough at his wrong email address with her Resume and a CV attached to try and get a job with the Queensland government.

It seems that at the meeting with Jackie and Brough, Doane and Ashby were offered jobs with the LNP as an inducement (perhaps) to help procure the diary extracts

24/ Sunday 1st April 2012. At 11.11 PM Doane sends a message to Ashby via SMS saying that the email address doesn’t work At 11.12 Ashby texts back with the correct email address. Malbrough2@bigpond.com.

25/ Sunday 1st April 2012. At 11.14 PM Doane sends an email  message to Ashby saying that the email address doesn’t work, it has been returned.

26/ Monday 2nd April 2012. At 7.42 AM Doane sends an email to Brough with her resume attached and a thank you to him.

27/ Monday 2nd April 2012. At 9.43 AM Brough emails back “Thanks Karen, I will do my best,

28/ Monday 2nd April 2012. At 10,16 AM he sends the email resume onto Bruce McIver.

29/ Monday 2nd April 2012. At 2.18 PM, McIver responds that the email resume of Doane has been sent on to the relevant Person.

30/ Monday 2nd April 2012. At 9.07 PM Ashby says he has just had a lengthy phone conversation with Steve Lewis and he is flying up to the Sunshine coast on Wednesday 4th April to meet with Ashby and Ashby asks Doane if she would like to come too.

31/ Monday 2nd April 2012. At 9.11 PM Doane says I am calling you now.
Presumably a Phone call then took place between Doane and Ashby.

32/ Tuesday 3rd April 2012. At 6.14 AM Doane emails Mal Brough with thanks for passing on her resume and says Fingers Crossed.

33/ Tuesday 3rd April 2012. At 6.52 AM Doane messages Ashby and says she wants to balance his harassment charge with one of her own. Also says if they don’t hear soon she will look for her own Lawyer.

34/ Tuesday 3rd April 2012. Ashby responds to Doane with that he will ring Mal today and Failing that he will contact someone himself as well.

This presupposes that Ashby does not yet have a lawyer.

35/ Tuesday 3rd April 2012. At 6.56 AM Doane tells Ashby that Mal had put forward her resume and that she should receive a call in a day or two. If not successful she should get in touch with Brough again. And that is a great result.

36/ Tuesday 3rd April 2012. At 6.57 AM Ashby says Excellent.

37/ Tuesday 3rd April 2012.  At 12.32 PM Ashby Texts Doane to keep lunch free tomorrow

This is the day they are going to meet with Steve Lewis.

38/ Tuesday 3rd April 2012. At 8.30 PM Ashby messages Lewis with the location of the cafe where they are to meet.

39/ Wednesday 4th April 2012. At 12 noon Ashby Lewis and Doane meet at Kawana Island premises for lunch meeting.

One wonders what information Ashby and Doane handed to Lewis on this occasion. As can be seen by subsequent conversations they did talk about Slippers affairs and his diary engagements.

40/ Wednesday 4th April 2012. At 3.42 PM Ashby messages Lewis about Dan Adams and where his parents shop is.

Dan Adams used to work for Peter Slipper well before Ashby’s time. How did Ashby and Lewis know about Dan Adams? Was Dan Adams mentioned in a Diary page? Why did Lewis want to know about Dan Adams? Was it because he wanted to see if Adams could help him in his quest to “Get” Peter Slipper.

41/ Wednesday 4th April 2012. At 4.07 Pm Ashby Texts Lewis about a discussion he has had with Richard (? Richard Bruinsma) and a limo that was hired when the pope visited. (July 2008)

42/ Wednesday 4th April 2012.At 4.17 PM Lewis says he’s about to hop onto a plane, will call later and “we will get him!!”

43/ Thursday 5th April 2012. At 11.40 AM Lewis messages Ashby “Hello??”

44/ Thursday 5th April 2012. At 11.41 Ashby texts back Sorry in a meeting can I cal you in 30?

45/ Thursday 5th April 2012. At 11.41 Lewis Texts back “Yep”.

So this presupposes that a phone call then ensued between Ashby and Lewis.

46/Friday 6th April 2012. At 10am Ashby, Doane and Brough met David Russell at his apartment on the sunshine Coast. They discussed Sexual harassment and cab charge Fraud with the barrister.

47/ Friday 6th April 2012. At 4.20 PM Ashby messages Lewis, “What’s your email Steve?”

48/ Friday 6th April 2012. At 4.24 PM Lewis messages Ashby his News Ltd email address

49/ Friday 6th April 2012. At 4.26 PM Ashby messages Lewis
“Just sending u personal email address.
Have daily print out of diary now as well.”

Somewhere along the way, Ashby and Lewis have discussed the Diary and Ashby has obtained, presumably through Doane daily print outs which Lewis had earlier requested of Brough (refer Para 10/)

50/ Saturday 7th April 2012. At 8.35 AM Doane messages Ashby with the following.

“Morning! Can u please send me Steve
Lewis’ number? The one I have won’t go
Thru”

51/ Saturday 7th April 2012. At 8.44 AM Doane messages the following to Ashby

“Thx 😉 just going to double check I have
everything he needs before turning in
media phone. Gorgeous day, hope you
have a wonderful time w your family”

There is obviously communication that is not apparent in the Federal Court documents that has taken place between Brough and Ashby and also Doane and Ashby and maybe Doane and Lewis. If these communications existed as a response to the Subpoenas of Brough and Doane, I am amazed they did not turn up as evidence. I don’t think that they were produced. Which means that they are probably in contempt of the federal court.

52/ Sunday 8th April 2012. At 5.42 PM Doane messages Ashby with the following.

“Hows the weekend been. Happy Easter
btw. Looks like Steve has unmasked a
couple of new things to do with travel. The
nz trip to interview that guy he’s
discovered. He’s also discovered his name
too. Exciting.”

Doane must have been in contact with Lewis to know this information, yet she didn’t disclose this contact in response to her federal Court Subpoena.

How would Lewis have known about the New Zealand trip to interview that guy he’s discovered. This is the man who was interviewed for the Media Advisers job that Doane now holds. Lewis can only have been told about this man by either Diary notes or by Ashby directly.

53/ Monday 9th April 2012. At 11.02 AM Lewis messages Ashby and asks

“Can u chat”

54/ Monday 9th April 2012. At 11.02 AM Ashby messages Lewis back

“In 10 mate b”

55/ Monday 9th April 2012. At 11.02 Ashby messages Lewis

“Be in touch soon”

56/ Monday 9th April 2012. At 11.04 Lewis messages Ashby

“ok”

There may well have been a telephone call in here

57/ Monday 9th April 2012. At 11.32 AM  Lewis messages Ashby

“Mate
The dates I need for Diary (daily extracts)
Dec 31 2009 – Jan 9 2010
Nov 10,11 2010
Ta
Steve”

58/ Monday 9th April 2012. At 11.32 AM Ashby messages Doane

“Hey Karen. Would u be able to photograph
with your iPhone and message the
following dates to me? I’ll then email to
Steve if u like otherwise if u wouldn’t mind
sending them directly to him that would be
great ��
The dates he need from the Diary (daily
extracts) are:
Dec 31 2009 – Jan 9 2010
Nov 10,11 2010
Thanks James”

There is no evidence that the Daily extracts were actually sent to Steve Lewis from either Doane or Ashby. Ashby was not required by Subpoena to produce documents and Lewis claimed Journalistic sources to not produce. So if Doane sent them on and didn’t produce then she is in contempt of her Federal Court Subpoena.

Charges

11.2 Complicity and common purpose
(1) A person who aids, abets, counsels or procures the commission of an offence by another person is taken to have committed that offence and is punishable accordingly.
(2) For the person to be guilty:
(a) the person’s conduct must have in fact aided, abetted, counselled or procured the commission of the offence by the other person; and
(b) the offence must have been committed by the other person.
(3) For the person to be guilty, the person must have intended that:
(a) his or her conduct would aid, abet, counsel or procure the commission of any offence (including its fault elements) of the type the other person committed; or
(b) his or her conduct would aid, abet, counsel or procure the commission of an offence and have been reckless about the commission of the offence (including its fault elements) that the other person in fact committed.
(3A) Subsection (3) has effect subject to subsection (6).
(4) A person cannot be found guilty of aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring the commission of an offence if, before the offence was committed, the person:
(a) terminated his or her involvement; and
(b) took all reasonable steps to prevent the commission of the offence.
(5) A person may be found guilty of aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring the commission of an offence even if the other person has not been prosecuted or has not been found guilty.
(6) Any special liability provisions that apply to an offence apply also for the purposes of determining whether a person is guilty of that offence because of the operation of subsection (1).
(7) If the trier of fact is satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that a person either:
(a) is guilty of a particular offence otherwise than because of the operation of subsection (1); or
(b) is guilty of that offence because of the operation of subsection (1);
but is not able to determine which, the trier of fact may nonetheless find the person guilty of that offence.
Criminal Code Act 1995

478.1 Unauthorised access to, or modification of, restricted data
(1) A person is guilty of an offence if:
(a) the person causes any unauthorised access to, or modification of, restricted data; and
(b) the person intends to cause the access or modification; and
(c) the person knows that the access or modification is unauthorised.
Penalty: 2 years imprisonment.
(3) In this section:
restricted data means data:
(a) held in a computer; and
(b) to which access is restricted by an access control system associated with a function of the computer.

The China Free trade Agreement……..Some Facts and the Bigger picture.

I firstly want to make some comments about the Unions and the Labor party.

The Labor party was formed by the Unions as their Political Wing. The Unions themselves were formed to “stick up” for workers. Their peak body is the ACTU (Australian Council of Trades Unions).

On the other side of politics we also have Unions of Employers. They “stick up” for the Employers. Their peak body is the Liberal party of Australia.

There is one major difference between the two. The Unions are open to scrutiny and the Liberal party are not. Just look at the way they do their finances. Donations have been funnelled through various secretive foundations to hide the donors. Even their affiliated bodies such as the IPA are a secretive organisation. You just don’t know who funds them.

So that’s the background and the subject is the China Free trade Agreement and whether or not it’s good for Australia and Australians.

On Jon Faine’s program on Thursday 3rd of September, one of his guests was Senator Penny Wong. She and the labor party are opposed to parts of the China free trade deal. Not the whole thing, just the movement of people from China into Australia to do Australian jobs. (my words) After the 9am news Jon Faine had another guest, Andrew Robb, the Minister for Trade.

Robb of course said the claims by the Labor party were “Nonsense” and he went on to explain that the three trade Agreements with Japan, Korea and China, didn’t have a cigarette paper between them and that the Labor party were racist in their approach.

Robb also started raving on about the CFMEU, a union which had also complained of the China free trade deal as well.

The response by the CFMEU refuted the allegations of the Trade Minister

Andrew Robb has written this on his Website in response.

Whilst the Liberal party think the Free trade deal with China is the best thing since sliced bread, The CFMEU and the Labor party don’t think it’s a good idea at all.

Whilst the CFMEU is in the news in the Royal Commission into Trades Union Governance and corruption and being portrayed off those appearences as “Thugs”, their opposition to the free trade deal is labelled as Xenophobic (racist).

It is a basic tenant of polite society that disagreements should not contain such open and nasty jibes.

So who do we believe? The Liberal party or the CFMEU and Labor.

Firstly we should look at what they don’t like.

Their opposition to the China Free trade deal hinges on section 10, which deals with Movement of Natural Persons.

As is always the case, I like to have a look at the facts.

Because Andrew Robb said there wasn’t a cigarette paper between the free trade agreements, I did an analysis of the China, Japan and Korea Free trade agreements.

Before I do that I want to put something into perspective for people reading this article. It’s about Unions. I wrote about the history of Unions here recently but I want to illustrate why Unions really exist and why they are wary of the Movement of natural persons (Labour sourced from overseas).

When I was a young Police Constable in the 1970’s in England, I was working in an industrial area when I was directed to go to the scene of a suspected electrocution. The workplace was a transport company and the injured worker was 27 year old married man. He was washing a truck with a high pressure cleaning machine. His footwear was canvas basketball type shoes and he was standing in a puddle of water on a gravel surface.

I got there at the same time as the Fire Brigade, the ambulance had already left to take the man to the local hospital. I watched the Fire Brigade Station Officer make the machine safe by turning it off and unplugging it. He then opened the plug and showed me the state of the wiring in the plug. The Earth wire wasn’t connected to its pin and was either touching the active or the neutral wire. So the machine was not earthed properly. During it’s use the machine was live and had discharged to earth through the body of the worker and electrocuted him. He was dead on arrival at hospital.

Any Sudden death automatically goes to the coroner’s court to establish the facts. In this case I drew a diagram of the plug in my pocket book and asked the Station Officer to sign it which he did.

One of the things we also had to do was to attend the post Mortem. An experience which will remain with me for the rest of my life. We had to watch the whole procedure. When he came to the heart he held it in his hands and squeezed and little drops of blood appeared in the numerous “electrical petechiae” caused by the electric shock. This confirmed his death by electrocution.

So what has this got to do with the Unions?

OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY

Well I will tell you. All workplaces in Australia are governed by Occupational Health and Safety laws. Each State has an Occupational Health and Safety Act. These acts exist to protect workers like the 27 year old example above from harm when they go to work. There are regulations which cover Electrical equipment used on a worksite that it must be tagged and tested periodically to keep the used of that equipment safe from injury or death.

One only has to look at the number of industrial accidents in Victoria to see that there are still Deaths and injuries every day. As I am writing this I can tell you that Worksafe Victoria was 30 years old on 1 September 2015.

I can also tell you that in 1985 in Victoria there were 58,700 injuries to workers which has fallen to 26,500 in 2014. That is from 161 for every day of the year in 1985 to 73 injuries per day in 2014.

An integral part of a Union’s duties is to protect members of their union whilst at work.

Might this in fact explain the behaviour of the CFMEU in withholding their labour at various sites? Maybe they are not safe?

What has this to do with China and the movement of natural persons.

Well I don’t think the Unions believe that Chinese workers generally have the same standards of Occupational Health and safety that we have in Australia.

This is evidenced by the horrendous accidents that have happened in China just in the chemical Industry with great loss of life.

According to the Economist in 2012 Workplace accidents in China killed 70,000 people

So we have established that there are some difficulties with Occupational Health and Safety in China.

Lets look at the Skills of various trades and how they are obtained.

TRADES TRAINING IN AUSTRALIA.

In Australia we have a skills training system (also known as TAFE (Technical and further Education) which fits into what is known as the Australian Qualifications framework.

Many of the Skills required are required all around Australia so the training in a Trade is approved and is the same in each State so a qualification recognised in New South Wales is also recognised in Victoria. Some accreditation may be required however in some trades.

Each trade consists of a number of accredited modules and are delivered by accredited teachers at a Registered Training Organisation. All of the trades training have CORE modules which have to be passed. One of these is Occupational Health and Safety. Another might be Personal Protective Equipment. Still another might be a special module called confined space entry. Many modules require additional “tickets” after completion of their basic trade courses.

All of this training is Competency based. This means that you are either, competent to the requirement in the module, or not yet competent.

So a lot of training is required for a trades person to claim they are an Electrician or a Special class Electrician or a Fitter and Turner. Two people in my family are special class Electricians. Much of what they do is very technical and is done within a framework of a set of ever changing regulations. Of prime importance in their Jobs is the guarding of machinery so that when people work on the machinery they are not injured.

In Victoria there is an excellent enforcement regime which stops anyone getting away with an unsafe workplace. The Statistics from Worksafe above show that this regime has actually saved lives and reduced injuries BUT 72 injuries per day is still not a good result.

If foreign workers are allowed into Australia to work:

  1. What are their Qualifications?
  2. How safe are they?
  3. Is Labor market testing required before they are given a Visa?
  4. How is such an idea to be policed?

THE THREE FREE TRADE AGREEMENTS COMPARED.

The first comment to make is that we are talking about two Free trade deals (China and Korea) and an Economic partnership agreement. (Japan).

The number of chapters in each agreement are as follows. China 17 chapters, Korea 23 chapters and Japan 20 Chapters.

The Chapter we are interested in is the one with the Movement of Natural Persons. China Chapter 10, Korea Chapter 10 and Japan Chapter 12.

I searched the PDF files for the main agreement and all other relevant documents on the page for specific words such as Employer, Employee, Skills and then read the entire section where those words appeared.

I have condensed down the relevant sections of the documents.

They are as Follows.

CHINA

page 115 in Chapter 10. (MOVEMENT OF NATURAL PERSONS)

ARTICLE 10.4: GRANT OF TEMPORARY ENTRY

  1. Each Party shall set out in Annex 10-A the specific commitments it undertakes for each of the categories of natural persons specified therein. The Parties may make commitments in respect of the temporary employment entry of natural persons.
  2. Where a Party makes a commitment under paragraph 1, it shall grant temporary entry or extension of temporary stay to natural persons of the other Party to the extent provided for in that commitment, provided that those natural persons:

(a) follow the prescribed application procedures for the relevant immigration formality; and

(b) meet all relevant eligibility requirements for such temporary entry.

  1. In respect of the specific commitments on temporary entry in this Chapter, unless otherwise specified in Annex 10-A, neither Party shall:

(a) impose or maintain any limitations on the total number of visas to be granted to natural persons of the other Party; or

(b) require labour market testing, economic needs testing or other procedures of similar effect as a condition for temporary entry.

  1. Each Party shall limit any fees for processing applications for temporary entry of natural persons in a manner consistent with Article 10.3.
  2. Temporary entry granted in accordance with this Chapter does not replace the requirements needed to carry out a profession or activity according to the applicable laws and regulations in force in the territory of the Party authorising the temporary entry.

Then we need to look at Annex 10A.

 

ANNEX 10-A

SPECIFIC COMMITMENTS ON THE MOVEMENT OF NATURAL PERSONS

Section A: Australia’s Specific Commitments

  1. Australia requires a natural person of China seeking temporary entry to its territory under the provisions of Chapter 10 (Movement of Natural Persons) and this Annex to obtain appropriate immigration formalities prior to entry. Grant of temporary entry in accordance with this Annex is contingent on meeting eligibility requirements contained within Australia’s migration law and regulations, as applicable at the time of an application for grant of temporary entry. Eligibility requirements for grant of temporary entry in accordance with paragraphs 5 through 11 of this Annex include, but are not limited to, employer nomination and occupation requirements

BUSINESS VISITORS OF CHINA

  1. Entry and temporary stay shall be granted to business visitors of China referred to in paragraph 4(a) for a period of up to 90 days.
  2. Entry and temporary stay shall be granted to business visitors of China referred to in paragraph 4(b) for a period of up to six months, with the possibility of further stay for up to one year.
  3. A business visitor of China means a natural person of China who is:

(a) seeking to travel to Australia for business purposes, including for investment purposes, whose remuneration and financial support for the duration of the visit must be derived from sources outside Australia, and who must not engage in making direct sales to the general public or in supplying goods or services themselves; or

(b) a service seller, who is a natural person not based in Australia whose remuneration and financial support for the duration of the visit must be derived from sources outside Australia, and who is a sales representative of a service supplying enterprise, seeking temporary entry for the purpose of negotiating for the sale of services or entering into agreements to sell services for that service supplying enterprise

INTRA-CORPORATE TRANSFEREES OF CHINA

  1. Entry and temporary stay shall be granted to intra-corporate transferees of China referred to in paragraph 6(a), (b) and (c) for a period of up to four years, with the possibility of further stay.
  2. An intra-corporate transferee of China means an employee of an enterprise of China established in Australia through a branch, subsidiary or affiliate which is lawfully and actively operating in Australia, who is transferred to fill a position in the branch, subsidiary or affiliate of the enterprise in Australia, and who is:

(a) an executive or a senior manager, who is a natural person responsible for the entire or a substantial part of the operations of the enterprise in Australia, receiving general supervision or direction principally from higher-level executives, the board of directors or stockholders of the enterprise, including directing the enterprise or a department or subdivision of it; supervising and controlling the work of other supervisory, professional or managerial employees; and having the authority to establish goals and policies of the department or subdivision of the enterprise; or

(b) a specialist, who is a natural person with advanced trade, technical or professional skills and experience who must be assessed as having the necessary qualifications, or alternative credentials accepted as meeting Australia’s standards, for that occupation, and who must have been employed by the employer for not less than two years immediately preceding the date of the application for temporary entry.

(c) a manager, who is a natural person within an enterprise who primarily directs the enterprise or a department or subdivision of the enterprise, supervises and controls the work of other supervisory, professional or managerial employees, has the authority to hire and fire or take other personnel actions (such as promotion or leave authorisation), and exercises discretionary authority over day-to-day operations. This does not include a first-line supervisor unless the employees supervised are professionals.

INDEPENDENT EXECUTIVES OF CHINA

  1. Entry and temporary stay shall be granted to independent executives of China for a period of up to four years.
  2. An independent executive of China means an executive of an enterprise headquartered in China who is establishing a branch or subsidiary of that enterprise in Australia, and who is a natural person that will be responsible for the entire or a substantial part of the enterprise’s operations in Australia, receiving general supervision or direction principally from higher-level executives, the board of directors or stockholders of the enterprise, including directing the enterprise or a department or subdivision of it; supervising and controlling the work of other supervisory, professional or managerial employees; and having the authority to establish goals and policies of the department or subdivision of the enterprise.

CONTRACTUAL SERVICE SUPPLIERS OF CHINA

  1. Entry and temporary stay shall be granted to contractual service suppliers of China for a period of up to four years, with the possibility of further stay.
  2. A contractual service supplier of China means a natural person of China who has trade, technical or professional skills and experience and who is assessed as having the necessary qualifications, skills and work experience accepted as meeting Australia’s standards for their nominated occupation and is:

(a) an employee of an enterprise of China that has concluded a contract for the supply of a service within Australia and which does not have a commercial presence within Australia; or

(b) engaged by an enterprise lawfully and actively operating in Australia in order to supply a service under a contract within Australia.

  1. Entry and temporary stay shall be granted for a period of up to four years, with the possibility of further stay, for up to a combined total of 1,800 per year, of Chinese chefs, Wushu martial arts coaches, Mandarin language tutors and Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners, entering as contractual service suppliers of China.

INSTALLERS AND SERVICERS OF CHINA

  1. Entry and temporary stay shall be granted to installers and servicers of China for a period of up to three months.
  2. A natural person of China is an installer or servicer of machinery and/or equipment where such installation and/or servicing by the supplying company is a condition of purchase of the said machinery or equipment. An installer or servicer must abide by Australian workplace standards and conditions and cannot perform services which are not related to the installation or servicing activity which is the subject of the contract.

ACCOMPANYING SPOUSES AND DEPENDANTS

  1. For a natural person of China who has been granted the right of entry and temporary stay under this Chapter for a period of longer than 12 months and who has a spouse or dependant, Australia shall, upon application, grant the accompanying spouse or dependant the right of entry and temporary stay, movement and work for an equal period to that of the natural person.

Ends at page 118

Commentary on China agreement.

When you look at this agreement it appears that yes the people coming in under the arrangements actually need to be assessed according to Australian Standards. (Those described in the Education part of this paperabove).

The difference between this and the other two agreements is the side letter on

  1. Skills Licencing and testing and the
  2. Memorandum of understanding on Work and holiday Visa arrangements.

The Skills licencing and Testing side letter is the main reason I don’t like this Free trade agreement.

It is well worth while reproducing it in full.

17 June 2015

Mr Gao Hucheng

Minister of Commerce

The People’s Republic of China

Dear Minister Gao,

In connection with the signing of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (the “Agreement”) and discussions in relation to Chapter 8 (Trade in Services) and Chapter 10 (Movement of Natural Persons), I have the honour to confirm the following understanding shared by the Governments of Australia and China:

The Parties undertake to cooperate to streamline relevant skills assessment processes for temporary skilled labour visas, including through reducing the number of occupations currently subject to mandatory skills assessment for Chinese applicants for an Australian Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457). Australia will remove the requirement for mandatory skills assessment for the following ten occupations on the date of entry into force of the Agreement.

Automotive Electrician [321111]

Cabinetmaker [394111]

Carpenter [331212]

Carpenter and Joiner [331211]

Diesel Motor Mechanic [321212]

Electrician (General) [341111]

Electrician (Special Class) [341112]

Joiner [331213]

Motor Mechanic (General) [321211]

Motorcycle Mechanic [321213]

The remaining occupations will be reviewed within two years of the date of entry into force, with the aim of further reducing the number of occupations, or eliminating the requirement within five years.

The Parties undertake to cooperate to encourage the streamlining of relevant licensing procedures and to improve access to relevant skills assessments. As part of this work, Trades Recognition Australia (TRA), the China International Contractors Association (CHINCA) and other institutions1 designated by the Chinese Government will cooperate with a view to expanding access to testing in China for an Australian Offshore Technical Skills Record (OTSR).

The Parties undertake to review progress in the above areas, as well as discuss avenues for further cooperation in the areas of skills recognition and licensing, within two years of the date of entry into force of the Agreement.

I have the honour to propose that this letter and your letter in reply confirming that your Government shares this understanding shall constitute an integral part of the Agreement.

Comments on the China Free Trade Agreements.

The highlighted Text in red is the problem. The removal of mandatory skills assessment testing in those occupations listed and then the remaining occupations (Which ones, does this mean all of them?) within 5 years and the establishment of testing in China to give certain skills an Australian Offshore Technical Skills Record. I take this to mean for an Electrician, the equivalent qualification that an Australian Electrician would have done through his apprenticeship.

In other words the trades training in Australia could become null and void and Suitably qualified Chinese workers under the 457 scheme brought in to do work here for Chinese firms.

The working Holiday Vias poses problems also

Primary purpose must be a Holiday

Allows 5000 workers in.

Not allowed to work for an employers for more than six months.

Must hold funds to onward journey or ticket.

ONE BIG QUESTION LOOMS IN MY MIND AT THIS JUNCTURE. HOW IS ALL OF THIS GOING TO BE POLICED?

KOREA

The relevant Chapter for Korea says the following.

Chapter 10 movement of Natural Persons

Intra-Corporate Transferees of Korea

  1. Entry and temporary stay shall be granted to intra-corporate transferees of Korea referred to in paragraph 7(a) for a period of up to four years, with the possibility of further stay.
  2. Entry and temporary stay shall be granted to intra-corporate transferees of Korea referred to in paragraph 7(b) for a period of up to two years, with the possibility of further stay.
  3. An intra-corporate transferee of Korea means an employee of an enterprise of Korea established in Australia through a branch, subsidiary or affiliate which is lawfully and actively operating in Australia, who is transferred to fill a position in the branch, subsidiary or affiliate of the enterprise in Australia, and who is:

(a) an executive or a senior manager, who is a natural person responsible for the entire or a substantial part of the operations of the enterprise in Australia, receiving general supervision or direction principally from higher-level executives, the board of directors or stockholders of the enterprise, including directing the enterprise or a department or subdivision of it; supervising and controlling the work of other supervisory, professional or managerial employees; and having the authority to establish goals and policies of the department or subdivision of the enterprise; or

(b) a specialist, who is a natural person with advanced trade, technical or professional skills and experience who must be assessed as having the necessary qualifications, or alternative credentials accepted as meeting Australia’s standards, for that occupation, and who must have been employed by the employer for not less than two years immediately preceding the date of the application for temporary entry.

Contractual Service Suppliers of Korea

  1. Entry and temporary stay shall be granted to contractual service suppliers of Korea for a period of up to one year, with the possibility of further stay.
  2. A contractual service supplier of Korea means a natural person of Korea who has trade, technical or professional skills and experience and who is assessed as having the necessary qualifications, skills and work experience accepted as meeting Australia’s standards for their nominated occupation and is:

(a) an employee of an enterprise of Korea that has concluded a contract for the supply of a service within Australia and which does not have a commercial presence within Australia; or

(b) engaged by an enterprise lawfully and actively operating in Australia in order to supply a service under a contract within Australia.

Accompanying Spouses and Dependents

  1. For a natural person of Korea who has been granted the right of entry and temporary stay under this Chapter for a period of longer than 12 months and who has a spouse or dependent, Australia shall, upon application, grant the accompanying spouse or dependent the right of entry and temporary stay, movement and work for an equal period to that of the natural person.

Commentary.

What does this mean. Foreign Skills assessment again? assessed as having the necessary qualifications, skills and work experience accepted as meeting Australia’s standards for their nominated occupation

JAPAN

The relevant Chapter for Japan says the following.

N.B.The Full Agreement is in two parts, The Partnership agreement and the implementation agreement.

 

The words Skill, Labour (in a context of jobs in Australia), employee do NOT appear anywhere in this document. But are in the Annex 10 which is SPECIFIC COMMITMENTS

ON THE MOVEMENT OF NATURAL PERSONS

See Section 4 Assessment

Section 4

Contractual Service Suppliers of Japan

  1. Entry and temporary stay shall be granted to a contractual service supplier of Japan for a period of up to one year, with the possibility of further stay.
  2. A contractual service supplier of Japan means a natural person of Japan:

(a) who has trade, technical or professional skills and experience and:

(i) who is an employee of an enterprise of Japan that has concluded a contract for the supply of a service within Australia and which does not have a commercial presence within Australia; or (ii) who is engaged by an enterprise lawfully and actively operating in Australia in order to supply a service under a contract within Australia; and

(b) who is assessed as having the necessary qualifications, skills and work experience accepted as meeting the domestic standard in Australia for their nominated occupation.

  1. Entry and temporary stay of a natural person who is seeking entry and temporary stay pursuant to paragraph 1 is subject to employer sponsorship. Full details of employer sponsorship requirements, including the list of eligible occupations for sponsorship, are available on the website of the Australian government department responsible for immigration matters. Employer sponsorship requirements and eligible occupations may change from time to time.

There are no other side letters which affect the assessment of Employees.

CONCLUSION

The issues which arise as a result of the China free trade agreement are nothing to do with the Tariffs between countries or the trade of Goods.

In my mind they are the following

1/ The skills training regime in Australia has been under pressure from successive Liberal Sate governments reducing the amount of funds for training in the trades for a long time now. The Andrews Labor government in Victoria put back $350 million into TAFE in their last budget whilst the NSW Liberal Government have also been reducing funding also

2/ As part of the competencies for a trade are mandatory subjects like Occupational Health & Safety. China has an Occupational Health & Safety problem.

3/ If 5000 workers are allowed in under the Working Holiday provisions how is this going to be policed? There are many seasonal farms and much has been in the press recently about workers in 7/11 on such visas being underpaid as well as chicken processing plants hiring contracted Labour at under award rates of pay.

4/ Minister Robb says that the same restrictions on bringing in Labour are here as were here under the   Labor Government. That is not so. He has cancelled mandatory assessment for 10 trades in the side letter

5/ What regulations are in place to actually make sure that Australian workers are offered jobs first?

6/ Finally these free trade agreements will be governed by an Act of the Australian parliament. In such Acts of parliament there are provisions (if so drafted) to allow regulations to be made by the Minister responsible. These regulations then become the law of the land.

Much has been talked about the Unions and their thuggery. The Liberals would have you believe that it is so. Yet watching the evidence at the Royal Commission I haven’t seen it. The evidence is weak or nonexistent. It’s just a lot of hot air. Watch this video to see what I mean

The same with the charge by the Liberal party of Xenophobia (racism). There is no evidence for that either.

Perhaps all the Unions are doing is protecting the hard won skills of Australians, protecting their safety at work and also their Australian jobs.

Perhaps all the liberals are trying to do is to cry “Wolf” once too often, using their usual outrageous emotive and thoroughly mendacious tricky slogans.

Is this another way to reduce the wages of workers? By importing them. It smells like the usual liberal plot.

Everything old is new again, why it’s important to have a Labo(u)r based party.

Vince O’Grady discusses factors which led to the growth of Organised Labo(u)r and whether these factors are still relevant today. Is there still a need for the Labor Party and Unions?

Don’t yawn yet! My interest here is giving an understanding of the way our industrial relations system developed and the reasons behind that development.

This is very relevant to Australia today because of the stances of conservative parties and the changes in the economy due to world trade and the introduction of technology.

In this historical journey, we must return to England in the 1700’s – a short 250-300 years ago or five to six generations.

England was an agrarian society, where the majority of people lived on the land and worked for landlords. In exchange for this work many of them were given cottages to live in and so they were tied to their employer and to the land. Even in the 20th century people in England still lived in tied cottages and still do today.

The other great employer of labour was the merchant trade. Much of the trade of the UK was between India (East Indies) and the Americas (including the West Indies). The century was one of scientific discovery and with science came the invention of the machine.

The basis of society, as it had been from the Middle Ages was religion. Every village had a church and in some cases, after the reforming zeal of the various protestant denominations, several places of worship.

Education was for the wealthy. Latin, the language of the church, was slowly being overtaken by the native languages of various countries. Many people did not understand the Catholic service which was only changed to English and other native languages from Latin after the Second Vatican Council in 1966.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latin_Mass

Whilst we might laugh at what happened in churches and educational institutions as something quaint, it was deadly serious to many of the people living during those times.

Nowadays for example we have serious discussions about Health Policy and Education. In the 1700’s there was no Health Policy or Public Education. Much of what went on can be seen in terms of ignorance and superstition. You did what the priest and landlord said.

Don’t believe that we are so sophisticated as to dismiss our past and how it affects our perception of where we are today in the world. Much of what I am about to write will explain the ignorance and fundamentalist arguments of many beliefs today.

As a product of the baby boom generation I am an interesting case study. I had not realised so much until I became politically aware in Australia in the 1980’s as a result of being struck down with Arthritis.

That is another story, however. What I want to highlight today is my absolute understanding of the Right side of Politics and the Left side of same. In fact in my case, I equate the right side of politics to the privileged and educated and the left to the under privileged and under educated.

My understanding comes from my parents, who were the antitheses of the each model. My mother came from a Protestant (French Huguenot) family and my father came from a Catholic Irish background.

Mother went to a private school and enjoyed going to the theatre, ballet and the promenade concerts in London in the 1930’s and 40’s and Father was farmed out to his grandmother on a remote Cornish Island and left school at 15. Mum became a Registered Nurse and Dad became an apprentice plumber and jack of all trades ending up as a farm labourer in winter and a building worker in summer.

The Cornish Island by the way is owned by the Duke of Cornwall and so much of the economy of the Island was controlled by his administrators, much has changed but it is still the case today.

Mother and Father met on this remote island where Mum was a nurse at the Cottage Hospital. They had to get married in 1950.

So began my understanding of the sides of the class divide, ending up with me at eleven going to boarding school in the centre of Cornwall. I remained there for 6 years (bar holidays) and left in 1972 with poor passes in three ‘A’ Levels and 6 ‘O’ Levels.

The school was the equivalent to the King’s School in Sydney (same tuition fees and curriculum).

The marriage lasted until 1966 and then Mum and Dad went their separate ways. I did the yoyo of staying with one and then the other in school holidays.

So, I was a pretty confused young man with a push me pull you approach from my parents.

Leaving aside the marital breakup as the result, what I want to examine are the differences between my parents. Mother was a stickler for manners. “Manners maketh man” she used to say, so she was a traditionalist, but she was also a semi practicing Methodist (the right fit with the Protestant (Huguenot) reformed church of France. Dad was a doer, he worked with his hands and he enjoyed what he called a “yarn” in the pub, what his catholic parents and ancestors called the Craigh (crack), good conversation and funny stories. So he enjoyed a drink. I thought he had no ambition, but he had returned from the Second World War in the Royal Navy. Subsequent research into his navy career revealed six warships torpedoed in the operations of his ship and Escort Group.

Mother on the other hand had plenty of ambition, she turned our home into a Bed and Breakfast and we had a fairly good childhood, with plenty of food, the occasional holiday and lots of books.

Meanwhile we didn’t have a very good extended family life. I suspect mother was disdainful of dad’s family because of their class and I also suspect she was pretty disdainful of herself for becoming pregnant and having to get married. Her mother, my grandmother, the last of her parents was absent from our family for all of my life. The closest I came to her was when we went to her funeral on the mainland in 1960 and we three kids sat bickering in the car whilst they said their goodbyes.

I remember the cringe I had reading comics about War heroes and the Officer class of the British army who were so upright and strong and that I would never attain such status because of my bad class antecedents. I apologise to all my Irish relations for these thoughts, I did after all have a very influential parent in my mother.

So the characteristics I saw in my parents reflect the characteristics of the class structure of society.

The erudite middle class vs. the badly educated working class.

You may recall that dad lived with his Granny. Her name was Conway and she came from county Cork, curiously enough not two miles from where my Huguenot ancestors had made their fortune trading in sugar with the West Indies.

Her antecedents were also of the sea, her husband (my Great grandfather) was a Sailor in the Coastguard. She was a powerful influence on my father and uncles. This influence was shown to me in 1973 when I was a farm labourer on the farm where my uncle was foreman.

Having left boarding school I was about to leave the island and go to England and start a new academic career at college. In preparation for this I decided that I should have my hair cut. It was shoulder length and I felt I should revert to the traditional and compliant hair of the boarding school.

Having visited the local hairdresser on Saturday morning, I went to the local club where my father was having a lunchtime drink and walked into the bar and stood next to him. After some little time when he didn’t recognise me I said “all right dad” and he was shocked at my appearance, not because I had an awful haircut but that I had changed from hippy to the solid citizen in one short hour.

Back at work on Monday I related this episode to my farm co-workers, including my uncle. It was a good topic as farm work in invariably hard and relentless and essentially boring. Whilst we were discussing hair, the pace of work continued unabated.

One hair story led to another and then Terry, my uncle said a strange thing. He shared with us that hairdressers used to singe your hair after they had cut it. I was astonished and asked why? He replied to stop it bleeding.

Now at the boarding school, along with Latin and French, we even had Science periods and I knew that hair didn’t bleed. I explained to Uncle that hair didn’t bleed but he was adamant, because “granny said it did.”

That was 39 years ago. My Uncle, “bless him” passed away two years ago, probably still believing that hair bled.

I have flown way ahead of myself again and must return to the agrarian society of the 1700’s.

The people who owned the land were educated, and from this class of people came the Age of Enlightenment. Basically it was a movement of people who looked at society through the prism of science rather than of religion or political tradition.

One such man was Jethro Tull.

Many readers of this discussion will know Jethro Tull as the British musical band of the late 1960’s and 70’s. However Jethro Tull was born in 1674 in Berkshire, England and in 1701 invented the horse drawn seed drill and later the horse drawn hoe. He is credited with helping to bring about the British Agricultural revolution.

Accompanied by the invention of machinery was the scientific understanding of the soil and hence the nutritional requirements of crops.

This understanding allowed farmers to increase production of crops and the machinery to efficiently plant, harvest and process the crops for market.

The quest for greater arable land led to the enclosure of the land so that more crops could be planted.

The Entrepreneur was born and Economic growth as we know it today was created.

With machinery and enclosure came hardship.

In Australia we often forget that we have a mild climate and that the climate of the British Isles is very cold in winter. Crops were seasonal and farm employees eked out their existence by the small husbandry system. They kept a cow or a pig or both, some chickens and during the winter months these livestock lived with them in their house or a nearby barn if they could afford it. Grazing was done on common land and the livestock lived off the waste of the household.

Enclosure of the land continued apace in the 1800’s with over 5000 enclosure acts being passed by the Parliament of Great Britain. These acts disenfranchised the ordinary worker. They took away his common land.

As machinery became more prevalent in farming, the labour requirement became less and so people suffered badly. At the same time the profits from expanded farm enterprises allowed new markets to be created because of the use of new machinery in factories. There was an exodus from the land to newly created industrial cities. Slum housing was created for the workers and work consisted of long days and poor pay.

It was an “out of the frying pan and into the fire situation” where disenfranchised agricultural workers moved from the land to the city and their plight was dire because of small wages and even poorer conditions.

An excellent article on the discussion above is at

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Agricultural_Revolution

Naturally people were not happy with this plight and as under educated people tend to do, because they have no voice and champions, they became violent. They broke the machines that had deprived them of their livelihood.

Another factor to take into account at this time was the representation of the people.

Control of the Parliament was vested in the landowning classes and they were the ones who decided what laws governed the land.

Here are some milestone acts passed in England to suppress the workers.

  • When workers agitated they passed The Combination Act of 1799 known as An Act to prevent Unlawful Combinations of Workmen. Prohibiting Trade Unions. It was repealed in 1800.
  • The Combination Act of 1800 strengthened the 1799 Act. It forbade workers acting to increase wages, reduce hours and quantity of work done as well as withdrawal of their Labour. This was repealed in 1824
  • After several groups were formed the Combination Act of 1825 reintroduced the restrictions of the previous Act.
  • When they wanted more control of the Land, the landowning class passed a series of Enclosure (5000) acts between 1773 and 1882, enclosing 21% of land in England.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enclosure_Act

I don’t want to give the impression that all the landed gentry were political philistines. Here is the story of Sir Francis Burdett, who fought the unrepresentative tooth and nail.

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/PRburdett.htm

But he was overwhelmed by the strength of the landowners who were so opposed to his progressive views.

Machine breakers and machine breaking were the result of the reduction in agricultural wages.

  • The wages of agricultural workers were cut from 9 shillings to 6 shillings per week. A 30% pay cut.
  • Frame Breaking Act 1812 was passed.
  • Malicious damage Act 1812 was passed.
  • Both were in answer to the Luddites. Luddites were named so because they were “Members of organized groups of early 19th-century English craftsmen who surreptitiously destroyed the textile machinery that was replacing them. The movement began in Nottingham in 1811 and spread to other areas in 1812. The Luddites, or “Ludds,” were named after a probably mythical leader, Ned Ludd. They operated at night and often enjoyed local support. Harsh repressive measures by the Government included a mass trial at York in 1813 that resulted in many hangings and banishments. The term Luddite was later used to describe anyone opposed to technological change. Concise Encyclopaedia.
  • The Reform Act 1832 (increased representation of the population by shifting seats in Parliament from rural boroughs to industrial cities).

A Wiltshire account of machine breaking in 1830

http://users.sa.chariot.net.au/~ramacs/the_machine_breakers.htm

Three groups of men are well known as protesters.

  • Tolpuddle Martyrs.
  • Chartists
  • Swing Riots 1830/31

The 6 Tolpuddle Martyrs were a group of agricultural workers who swore an oath to each other as part of a Friendly Society of Agricultural Labourers. In 1834, a farm owner, James Frampton, wrote to the Prime Minister Lord Melbourne, complaining about these six men. They were subsequently arrested and charged under an obscure Law of 1797 which prohibited people swearing oaths to each other.

They were found guilty and transported to Australia for seven years.

Here is the account of one of these men as described in The Fatal Shore by Robert Hughes at page 311 and 312. It describes the treatment given by the fledgling middle class of Australia to:-

James Brine, one of the Tolpuddle martyrs transported to Australia for trade-union activity in 1834, was assigned to a magistrate named Robert Scott at Glindon on the Hunter River. Scott set Brine to digging post holes, even though his bare feet were so cut and sore that he could not put them on the spade. Eventually Brine “got a piece of iron hoop and wrapped it around my foot to tread upon” but for six months (the regulation period between issues) Scott would give him no shoes, clothes or bedding. Stricken by a severe cold after spending seventeen days up to his chest in a creek, washing sheep, Brine begged for a blanket and got a homily instead.

“No, said he ‘I will give you nothing until you are due for it. What would your masters in England have to cover them if you had not been sent here? I understand it was your intention to have murdered burnt and destroyed every thing before you. If you ask me again for any thing before the six months is expired I will flog you as often as I like….. You d—d convict! – don’t you know that not even the hair on your head is your own?”’

Brine had had his convict assigned clothing, bedding and shoes stolen on the way to this assignment.

Upon the conviction of these six men, 800,000 people across England, mainly in London, marched in demonstration against their conviction and transportation. So alarmed were the Government that they pardoned and released the men.

They had formed the Friendly Society to ask for 10 shillings per week wages rather than the subsistence level of 2 shillings.

The malevolence of the Squire who had had them charged knew no bounds. On applying for poor relief, Frampton denied the wives of the transported men relief. The Tolpuddle Martyrs website describes it thus.

‘In refusing any assistance, Frampton considered that no person should be entitled if they could afford to join a union. “They meant us to suffer for the offences of our husbands” said the women in a letter to supporters. “Tolpuddle have for many years been noticed for tyranny and oppression and cruelty and now the union is broke up here.”’

The example of the Tolpuddle martyrs story is typical of the struggle of the working class against oppression. The worst part of the oppression was the complete lack of compassion on behalf of the landed classes, those with the money and the wealth.

The links to the Tolpuddle,

http://www.tolpuddlemartyrs.org.uk/index.php?page=oath-and-betrayal

Swing riots

http://www.tolpuddlemartyrs.org.uk/index.php?page=swing-rebellion

And the chartists story

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chartism

Please read these important changes in the social fabric of our society.

To conclude, the rise of the working class and the birth of Trades Unions to following factors influenced the social changes.

The Agricultural Revolution

Characterised by:-

The growth in Science and Technology, especially the machine.

The enclosure of land and new animal husbandry and crop techniques.

The Industrial Revolution

Characterised by:-

The invention of machines which replaced hand labour, such as in

Weaving of cloth and the making of clothing.

The mass transportation of goods by canals and rail.

An oversupply of labour from the disenfranchised agricultural class.

Both systems created new markets for food and other consumer goods. The only problem was that the uneducated poor were being treated like slaves in regard to their wages and hours of work.

Part 2.

The question asked at the beginning of this essay, was whether the Labor and Union movements created in the 18th and 19th centuries are still relevant today.

In 2007, Joe Hockey, the Howard Liberal Government Minister for Workplace Relations, didn’t think so.

He said this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJaXU1Uu3zY

Later in the day, John Howard asserted that he did not say it and Hockey himself amended his rhetoric on the ABC’s PM program.

It might be 8 years ago but I believe it shows the underlying beliefs of the Liberal Party.

http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2007/s2063438.htm

Subsequent events show that what John Howard said that day, that he didn’t want unions controlling anything have certainly become plain in his Work Choices legislation. This single act, causing the loss of Liberal and National Party Government, and Squire Howard, the seat of Bennelong.

An act of Parliament which was consistent with the same type of legislation in England in 1799, 1801 and 1825, which denied workers their hard won rights to be represented by Unions in their workplaces and wage negotiations.

Are we now to believe that such a policy is dead on the conservative side of Politics?

If it is and there is truly a change of conservative heart then there is indeed no need for the Unions as we know them or the Labor Party as the representative of the workers.

BUT, and this is a big BUT, the facts do not fit the rhetoric. All you have to do to see that the collective parts of the Liberal National Party are telling porkies is to refer to the following Liberal Party document (Victorian Liberal Government) submitted in February 2012 to Fair Work Australia about the Review of the Fair Work Act.

https://www.fwc.gov.au/sites/wagereview2014/submissions/vicgovt_sub_awr1314.pdf

It is my contention that this document still has the same entrenched set of views that the landed gentry had in the late 1700’s and the 1800’s. That the hard won rights workers have in the 20thC are still in play. That the IPA and the HR Nicholls Society aims are to return the state of industrial relations back to the Status Quo of the early 19thC.

In this document the word flexibility appears 78 times. The document is 53 pages long. The word productivity appears 142 times. This (Liberal/National) Government submission is supposed to represent the democratic views of Victorians, yet it is skewed toward references from the AiGroup and against the views of Unions.

It is my contention that the Baillieu Victorian Government was being heavily influenced by the IPA and other Liberal think tanks as well as so called representative bodies from various industry employers. Their thinking is akin to Squire Frampton.

Why?

Because they are the people who have the money and they want to make more. They don’t believe that anyone else is entitled to be paid a fair day’s wage. They begrudge the fair remuneration of workers.

For a while in industrial relations we did achieve an equilibrium of sorts, but then along came a whole lot of reform of the economy and the opening up of the country to world trade.

For the worker this has been an unmitigated disaster. I say disaster because through sound industrial reforms Australians achieved a level of income which allowed them to move from the badly educated to be better educated and that was when they could really make inroads into the balance of their lives with the aspirations they had only dreamed about.

Now we have a situation where the wages of workers who make the majority of our goods (overseas) are paid a pittance. When they manage to organise and improve their lot, the people who exploited them move along and exploit the next country that have low wages.

Demand has grown but quality has suffered. Today’s generation have become the ultimate consumer. Not satisfied that a product can sing and dance they want the next one to do a jig as well, so the life cycles of products have become shorter, the throw away society has arrived and the greed of people for new and ‘cool’ things is out of control.

Meanwhile the conservative management class, who drive this paradigm are also well into their favourite sport, the blame game. They blame people who for no reason of their own cannot work, the disability pensioner, they blame the dole bludger and they blame the single mother. They always choose the least able people to fight back against their rhetoric, the weakest in society.

Does this remind you of anyone? It seems to me that it’s the same behaviour as Squire Frampton. He was reducing wages, didn’t allow people to have an opinion and had the force of Acts of Parliament to deny workers any rights or justice. He then used the powers he had as a poor law commissioner to grant the transported men’s wives relief from poverty.

The thing that offends me about this approach is that it is so stupid; it has not one intellectual shred of credibility. It does however seemed to have worked on the majority of Australian workers who have achieved the goal of moving from the working class to a higher one.

An enormous amount of Electricians and Fitters and Turners who now are contractors and small businesses, think that they are now better off than the ‘worker’ tag that they wore for so many years. They have the idea in their head but the Squire Frampton’s of Australia don’t agree with you. You are still plebs and cannon fodder.

What everyone is failing to see; is that when the wages of Australians have been depressed to a low level, the markets for the goods they are now making so much money on will disappear because there will be no disposable income from workers to buy them.

There is one small ingredient missing in conservative politics today, in fact that small ingredient has never been a part of conservative politics. The word is compassion. The concept is Christian and the Genesis of the missing ingredient is greed and money.

I originally wrote this in 2012 and have now updated a couple of the links.

We now have a Liberal Government under Tony Abbott. The Squire Frampton approach continues apace. The night before (6th Sept 2013) the Federal Election in Sept 2013. Abbott said “no cuts to education, no cuts to health, no change to pensions, no change to the GST and no cuts to the ABC or SBS”

He has cut Education funding.

http://www.skynews.com.au/news/top-stories/2015/01/21/government-may-scrap-university-funding-cuts.html

He has cut Health funding

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-05-13/doctors-say-health-funding-cuts-could-hit-crucial-services/6467392

He has changed the Pension Assets test.

http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/pension-assets-test-changes-worse-than-claimed-says-industry-super-20150621-ghtjk3.html

No change to the GST.

http://www.afr.com/news/policy/tax/abbott-may-take-gst-hike-to-election-shorten-wants-climate-change-fight-20150723-giiq08

No cuts to the ABC or SBS

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-11-25/turnbull-suggests-abc-had-political-bargain-with-labor/5914988

It only took Abbott eight months (detailed in May budget) to change his mind about Education funding, Health funding, changes to the Pension and 63 days to decide to reduce the ABC’s funding. SO my contention is that he LIED because he knew he was going to do all these things.

The hardest one to change is the GST, but that will deliver the biggest prize. It will absolve the Federal Government of delivering grants to the States.

Let’s also take a look at some other promises. The jobs promise is in tatters. The figures are compromised and just cannot be believed.

http://www.afr.com/news/policy/industrial-relations/jobs-figures-are-dodgy-abs-admits-20141008-11cc5q

The treasurer has gone out of his way to destroy the Unions by a clever political game of cat and mouse through the Productivity Commission enquiry and the Car Industry assistance.

I wrote about it here. It has destroyed thousands of jobs, skills and weakened Australia strategically.

The Australian Submarine Corporation’s promise to build a new Submarine fleet in       I           South Australia is in tatters.

Once again, the promise.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-11-07/build-australias-new-submarine-fleet-in-      adelaide-promise-check/5731260

And the breaking of it……..in progress.

NOTHING has changed with the class structure. As soon as the workers start to get ahead, the people who have ownership and control, start to slap them down… very hard.

The final thing I have to say is on the China Free Trade deal, which although not yet passed by Parliament has been signed twice.

1/ With great fanfare in Parliament the Memorandum of Understanding was signed. The   DFAT Website showed No official documents other than that Memo being signed. Yet all the press went along and said it had been signed. 17 Nov 2014.

2/ Then the actual Agreement was signed 17 July 2015.

3/ The detailed Agreement was placed on the DFAT website.

http://dfat.gov.au/trade/agreements/chafta/official-documents/Pages/official-documents.aspx

Of particular interest to Australian workers was the following letter by Andrew Robb to his Chinese counterpart.

http://dfat.gov.au/trade/agreements/chafta/official-documents/Documents/chafta-side-letter-on-skills-assessment-and-licensing.pdf

It’s about Skills assessment and Licensing of Workers in the following trades.

Automotive Electrician [321111]

Cabinetmaker [394111]

Carpenter [331212]

Carpenter and Joiner [331211]

Diesel Motor Mechanic [321212]

Electrician (General) [341111]

Electrician (Special Class) [341112]

Joiner [331213]

Motor Mechanic (General) [321211]

Motorcycle Mechanic [321213]

The text above is interesting and I will reproduce it in full.

“The Parties undertake to cooperate to streamline relevant skills assessment processes for temporary skilled labour visas, including through reducing the number of occupations currently subject to mandatory skills assessment for Chinese applicants for an Australian Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457). Australia will remove the requirement for mandatory skills assessment for the following ten occupations on the date of entry into force of the Agreement”

In other words these job classes can come into Australia and work without assessment of their skills

My final thought. Does this remind you of Squire Frampton and the reasons for a Labor party?

How Vague are the the Entitlements of Federal MP’s? Is the System broken?

 

Yes this is about Bronwyn who cost the Taxpayer $6934.92 on 5 Nov 2014. In a mixture of flights to and from Melbourne, Car costs, an Overnight stay and the celebrated Helicopter ride.

In October 2013 I wrote the following as a part of a larger article discussing the political machinations of the time. Mainly to do with the way Pater Slipper was being treated and the way Tony Abbott was claiming entitlements he wasn’t entitled to under the rules.

The rules are a not a moving feast. They are set out precisely. If Members and Senators don’t understand them they should ask the relevant people for guidance. At the present Senators and Members are entitled to travelling allowance in accordance with Remuneration Tribunal Determination 2014/16.

When I originally wrote this in 2013 the Determination was 2012/19

My first comment about this story (or stories) is that this issue proves the fact that there is no 24 hour media cycle. What there is is a complete mess in the reporting of the usage of Public money by the Main stream media. In essence they write about a subject which they know nothing about and show no particular interest in actually finding out.

All they appear to do is to go with the press releases and stories of their ilk, who haven’t done any study either. We are really poorly served by this bunch. They, like the Politicians they report on take their public for granted.

My original Article started here. Link to original Article which was much more comprehensive.

I was asked to start examining expenses several months ago, when the Slipper business came up, but the Federal Election intervened and I was busy helping the Local Federal candidate to get elected, so didn’t write anything about it.

However the Social Media and Independent Australia were on the ball before July of this year (2013) with the following article.

http://www.independentaustralia.net/2013/politics/tony-abbotts-dodgy-pollie-pedal-expense-claims/

And leads onto another article published in IA at the beginning of the year.

http://www.independentaustralia.net/2013/politics/if-slipper-is-guilty-then-what-about-abbott/

So the story has been around for a long, long time.

Then this month (in 2013) we read about Julie Bishop and Senator Barnaby Joyce flying to India courtesy of Gina Rinehart then claiming off the public purse.

Joyce ended up in Kuala Lumpur, where he met with two people from Malaysian Government departments in an afternoon. At locations which are 38 kms apart (one at 12noon and the second at 3pm).

That night he flew out at 10pm.

So he spent a maximum of 7 hours (but probably a lot less) to charge the public purse for his return from the wedding in India. All of this is detailed in the 6 page document he is obliged to write as part of his study tour obligations.

An exercise in cynicism? Yes, I think so. Is he entitled to the reimbursement of his expenses for this trip, yes probably, by the rules, but morally, not in my opinion?

Then we hear about Tony Abbott and all of his expense claims and the furore as to whether he is entitled to them.

Lets get to the place none of the journalists have been and that is the document which governs entitlements for all MP’s.

Here is the link to the latest determination, (2012/19) which covered some of Abbott’s claims discussed below. Other claims would have to be examined against older determinations.

The relevant clause in relation to Tony Abbott and his claims is para 3.8

Ministers of State (other than the Prime Minister) and Office Holders

 

3.8 Travelling allowance shall be payable to a Minister (other than the Prime Minister)

or an office holder for each overnight stay in a place other than his or her home

base when that stay is occasioned primarily by:

(a)sittings of the House of Parliament or direct travel to or from such sittings; or

(b) official business as a Minister or as an office holder; or

(c) meetings of, or the formal business of, parliamentary committees of which he

or she is a member or direct travel to or from such meetings; or

(d) meetings in Canberra of his or her parliamentary political party, of its

executive or of its committees (see clause 1.5.2) or direct travel to or from

such meetings; or

(e) meetings of his or her parliamentary political party executive (see clause

1.5.2) outside Canberra or direct travel to pr from such meetings; or

(f) meetings, other than in Canberra, of a parliamentary political party, or of its

executive, or of its committees, and attendance at the national and state

conferences of a political party, of which he or she is a member (see clause

1.5.2), and meetings outside the electorate on electorate business up to a

maximum of ten overnight stays per annum in total, and direct travel to or

from such meetings or conferences.

Lets go through the thing like a lawyer should in relation to the Pollie Pedal or the Ironman stuff.

The first thing to do is see if Abbott is an office holder? Yep, he was the Leader of the Opposition.

So lets see if he was in other than his own home? Yes, he was when he claimed.

Now we have to determine if that stay was ‘occasioned primarily by’

  • sittings of the House of Parliament or direct travel to or from such sittings; or

the answer to this clause is clearly NO.

(b) official business as a Minister or as an office holder; or

This is an interesting one. The main part of the clause states office holders. Tony Abbott is the holder of the office of Leader of the Opposition. What is the official business of the office holder of the Leader of the Opposition?

Well the reasonable man would expect it to be the prosecution of opposition policy. Against those policies which are not bi-partisan between parties.

So is Abbott’s primary purpose to prosecute his policy initiatives on these Sporting events? The answer to that surely would be the amount of time he spends actually doing the sport and the amount of time he spends espousing his policies.

So what do I think?

Well the primary purpose of an office holder of the Leader of the Opposition Office can be done in much more elegant and cheaper and arguably more successful ways than seeing him ride a bicycle along a road whilst not saying a word.

So the primary purpose is not as an office holder at all. It’s as a sporting event. So in my opinion he should not be allowed to claim for the event and is not and never has been entitled to claim.

(c) meetings of, or the formal business of, parliamentary committees of which he

or she is a member or direct travel to or from such meetings; or

This clause does not cover Sporting events

(d) meetings in Canberra of his or her parliamentary political party, of its

executive or of its committees (see clause 1.5.2) or direct travel to or from

such meetings; or

This clause does not cover Sporting events

(e) meetings of his or her parliamentary political party executive (see clause

1.5.2) outside Canberra or direct travel to or from such meetings; or

This clause does not cover Sporting events

(f) meetings, other than in Canberra, of a parliamentary political party, or of its

executive, or of its committees, and attendance at the National and State

conferences of a political party, of which he or she is a member (see clause

1.5.2), and meetings outside the electorate on electorate business up to a

maximum of ten overnight stays per annum in total, and direct travel to or

from such meetings or conferences.

This clause does not cover Sporting events

Conclusion:

Certainly 5 of the above clauses do not support Tony Abbott claiming travel allowance.

And to be fair, his expense claims actually say “Official business Office holder” so the only clause which might cover Abbott is 3.8 (b). The argument is then whether the PRIMARY purpose of the claim is OFFICIAL BUSINESS AS AN OFFICE HOLDER.

Riding a bicycle for hours on end from one place to another with short stops in between where he may give a short press statement shows that the PRIMARY purpose of the activity is for sport and not his official business as an office holder.

If he held the office of the president of the Cycling Federation of Australia and they had 3.8 (b) in their rules then he would be entitled to claim, but he is a politician and not a cyclist.

Using this logic, ask yourself if Barnaby Joyce’s primary purpose in his travel to Malaysia (about 24 hours) was as a politician and office holder or was it just a means to an end getting paid for the trip back from the wedding in India.

Ask Philip Ruddock the same question. Did you attend the wedding as a guest or as a politician, what office holder obligations did you discharge at that wedding and if you did discharge any were they your primary purpose?

Ask Tony Abbott the question about attending a wedding of his own side. Did he go for the primary purpose of his office or as a guest at the wedding? The same with George Brandis –what office holder duties did you primarily go to Peter Slipper’s wedding for?

It looks very much to me like we aren’t being well served by our political appointees and we are being particularly badly served by the self appointed press scrutineers.

To me the issue is clear cut. If you follow the logic of the rules the primary purpose of an office holder who is a politician, is politics, not cycling.

The politicians are claiming money they are not entitled to and the press are not reporting it.

Bloody poor form all around old boy!

Here ends the Original article excerpt.

 

So now onto the new furore about the entitlements of the Parliamentarians and their travel allowances. Today it is August 2015 which is almost 2 years since I wrote in detail about the rules governing the Traveling allowances of Parliamentarians.

As stated above the latest determination is 2014/19.

And low and behold the clause which covers Bronwyn Bishop’s Travel allowance for the evening spent in Melbourne is 3.8. (Section 3.8 hasn’t changed since I wrote the original post.)

The use of the charter aircraft (her use of the Helicopter ride from Melbourne to Just outside of Geelong) is covered in 2012/04 as amended from time to time by other determination’ the latest being 2014/23. The clauses in that document which covers Entitlements are covered under Part 7 of this determination.

Determination 2012/04:

Members of Parliament – Entitlements

PART 7 – CHARTER AIRCRAFT/DRIVE YOURSELF VEHICLES

7.1 ‘Charter transport’ includes the hire of charter aircraft and such other modes

of transport as may be reasonable in the circumstances within and for the

service of the electorate. It includes the hire of an accredited driver to provide

relief driving services for a senator or member independent of car hire

arrangements. Family members and personal or electoral staff are not permitted

to provide accredited driver services. The entitlement does not extend to the

use of taxis or hire cars in the metropolitan areas of capital citites. (not my spelling mistake)

So lets put some context behind The Honourable Bronwyn’s travel. From her report of the travel on the Dept of Finance Web site.

Overnight Stay

3 Nov 14 3 Nov 14 Melbourne Speaker – Official Business 1 $435.00 $435.00

4 Nov 14 4 Nov 14 Gold Coast Speaker – Official Business 1 $360.00 $360.00

5 Nov 14 5 Nov 14 Melbourne Speaker – Official Business 1 $435.00 $435.00

 

Travel Fares.

3 Nov 14 – Sydney to Melbourne $577.85

4 Nov 14 – Melbourne to Coolangatta $494.66

5 Nov 14 – Coolangatta to Melbourne $376.15

6 Nov 14 – Melbourne to Sydney $650.40

Charter

Office Holder

Details Amount Notes

Melbourne to Geelong 5 Nov 14 $5,227.27

Geelong to Melbourne 5 Nov 14

$5,227.27

 

Comcar costs.

3 Nov 14 – Sydney $108.40

3 Nov 14 – Melbourne $43.90

4 Nov 14 – Melbourne $120.52

4 Nov 14 – Melbourne $88.36

4 Nov 14 – Brisbane $85.00

5 Nov 14 – Brisbane $85.00

5 Nov 14 – Melbourne $161.10

5 Nov 14 – Melbourne $52.40

6 Nov 14 – Melbourne $86.46

6 Nov 14 – Melbourne $97.70

Clearly She is covered by the section 3.8 of the

Determination 2014/16: Members of Parliament – Travelling Allowance

And if that is ok then she is entitled to claim under the

Determination 2012/04:

Members of Parliament – Entitlements (as amended)

So let’s look at this forensically. Is she entitled to claim Travel allowance?

She has claimed for the overnight stay on 5th November 2014 as Official Business. (see above).

What was the reason that she was down in Melbourne on 5th November 2014. What was the Official Business? Well we know that she hired a Helicopter and flew the 80 odd kilometers to a Golf course at Clifton Springs near Geelong. But was that for official Business?

One would assume that the Official business done on behalf of the people of Australia would be recorded somewhere. Maybe on a web site. So I searched = using Google. I could not find any definition of Official Business. But I did find a piece at the conversation by Alan Fels. Which uses the same argument I did in October 2013.. BUT that only relates to Travelling allowance and the charter of a helicopter is not covered there. It is covered by the Entitlements document.

Where he is right of course is that if the travelling allowance isn’t official business then she can’t claim any entitlement for charter because she isn’t officially there.

I seriously don’t think any of what she was doing was in either camp and I think she should be investigated by the Australian federal police for potential crimes.

We should start with the one Slipper was charged with.

135.1 General dishonesty

Obtaining a gain

(5) A person is guilty of an offence if:

(a) the person dishonestly causes a loss, or dishonestly causes a

risk of loss, to another person; and

(b) the first-mentioned person knows or believes that the loss

will occur or that there is a substantial risk of the loss

occurring; and

(c) the other person is a Commonwealth entity.

Penalty: Imprisonment for 5 years

Secondly we should look at Fraud.

135.1 General dishonesty

Obtaining a gain

(1) A person is guilty of an offence if:

(a) the person does anything with the intention of dishonestly

obtaining a gain from another person; and

(b) the other person is a Commonwealth entity.

Penalty: Imprisonment for 5 years.

Division 134—Obtaining property or a financial advantage

by deception

134.1 Obtaining property by deception

(1) A person is guilty of an offence if:

(a) the person, by a deception, dishonestly obtains property

belonging to another with the intention of permanently

depriving the other of the property; and

(b) the property belongs to a Commonwealth entity.

Penalty: Imprisonment for 10 years.

(2) Absolute liability applies to the paragraph (1)(b) element of the

offence.

Obtaining property

(3) For the purposes of this section (and for the purposes of the

application of section 132.1 to this section), a person (the first

person) is taken to have obtained property if, and only if:

(a) the first person obtains ownership, possession or control of it

for himself or herself or for another person; or

(b) the first person enables ownership, possession or control of it

to be retained by himself or herself; or

(c) the first person induces a third person to pass ownership,

possession or control of it to another person; or

(d) the first person induces a third person to enable another

person to retain ownership, possession or control of it; or

(e) subsection (9) or (10) applies.

(4) The definition of obtaining in section 130.1 does not apply for the

purposes of this section (or for the purposes of the application of

section 132.1 to this section).

(5) For the purposes of this section, a person’s obtaining of property

belonging to another may be dishonest even if the person or

another person is willing to pay for the property.

Division 131—Theft

131.1 Theft

(1) A person is guilty of an offence if:

(a) the person dishonestly appropriates property belonging to

another with the intention of permanently depriving the other

of the property; and

(b) the property belongs to a Commonwealth entity.

Penalty: Imprisonment for 10 years.

131.2 Special rules about the meaning of dishonesty

(1) For the purposes of this Division, a person’s appropriation of

property belonging to another is taken not to be dishonest if the

person appropriates the property in the belief that the person to

whom the property belongs cannot be discovered by taking

reasonable steps.

(2) However, the rule in subsection (1) does not apply if the person

appropriating the property held it as trustee or personal

representative.

(3) For the purposes of this Division, a person’s appropriation of

property belonging to another may be dishonest even if the person

or another person is willing to pay for the property.

So having regard to the facts, which are only available from The Honourable member, we are unable to ascertain whether or not any offence has been committed. The only people who can do that are the federal Police.

On M’s Bishop’s web site it states she had the following:-

Qualifications and occupation before entering Federal Parliament

  • Solicitor.
  • Company director.

I looked up the duties of Solicitors in New South Wales and it’s an interesting read.

I will leave it to the reader to see if M’s Bishop would fulfil those duties.

Of course lawyers and Solicitors are trained to understand the meaning and interpretation of clauses and documents. If they don’t they actually go and ask for expert help. That is why barristers exist.

Personally and as an Ex copper, I would have loved this to have come my way. As far as I am concerned it may merit a charge of dishonesty once a proper investigation has been done by the proper authority.

Finally, It’s time for an Independent Commission against Corruption at a federal level.

Political Honesty. Does it exist in Australia? Here is a detailed example of why it doesn’t.

Political Honesty. Does it exist in Australia? Here is a detailed example of why it doesn’t.

It’s been an interesting time since the budget in May. Actually the interesting time started on 7th may when the new Minister for Social services, Scott Morrison announced a new “fair and balanced” pension system.

Here is the Link.

At this point and before i go into the detail of the cuts, I would like to remind people what Tony Abbott said before the last Election. In fact on Election Eve.

“No Change to pensions” Instructive to look at the link.

People would have voted for him based on that assurance. So he has introduced changes in his second budget. He does not have a mandate and the Support of the Greens for this broken promise makes them complicit in Political Dishonesty.

On the right hand side of the page are 2 files, duplicated in both PDF and Word format which show the four types of Pensioners. Couples and singles and home and non home owners in those groups.

In any analysis of a table it is imperative that you understand the basis of the generation of the table and also can reproduce those figures.

These tables are extraordinary for this liberal government because they actually give out some detail of the Pensioner population they are describing.

In the body of the press release they don’t mention millionaires getting the pension, but we had been buttered up by a proposal of the Centre for Independent Studies (CIS) which suggested that pensioners with a million dollars of assets actually got the same as someone with “almost nothing”

Another complete dishonest falsehood.

On 17th June, the Prime Minister Tony Abbott repeated this rhetoric in parliament in answer to a Question in Question Time.

That millionaires should not get the pension.

As always the devil is in the detail. Going by the tables described above, the Governments own figures show that there are 34,323 people with assets greater than $900,000. These people are people who have worked their whole life to save up a nest egg and they are made up of Pensioner COUPLES who either own their own home (33260) or do not own their own home (1057). Single Pensioners who either own their own home or don’t own their own home do NOT get a pension at this level.

The Press release also says there are 3.7 million pensioners. In their tables I counted up to 3,518,176, a difference of nearly 200,000 people.

So these people who “do not deserve” a pension are hit hardest. Yet the number with a reduction or pension cut off is 362,523.

Instead of being honest about the facts, the Liberal party has added another 327,000 people to the pain of a reduced pension.

Yet they then say that 170,000 pensioners (4.8% of all pensioners) will have their pension increased by an average of more than $30 per fortnight.

They go onto say

All couples who own their own home with additional assets of less than $451,500 will get a higher pension.

This is not a correct statement. Pensioner couples are allowed assets of $268,500 right now before the taper rate kicks in so that statement should have read.

All couples who own their own home and have assets greater than $268,500 up to $451,500 will get a higher pension.

Those below $268,500 will not get a pension increase at all.

It is impossible with the data given to prove or disprove the statement.

More than 170,000 pensioners with modest assets will have their pensions increased by an average of more than $30 per fortnight

The reason being is that they give the numbers of pensioners in ranges. For example there are 197,580 pensioner couples who own assets between $200,000 and $299,999. Only those above $268,500 assets presently are affected. We are not given that number. In the range $300,000 to $399,999, there are 116,281 who will get more pension. The cut of of $451,500 where no increase is seen is in the middle of the range $400,000 to $499,999, where there are 81,637 pensioner couples.

This tells us that the people most affected by these increases are Home owner couples. These are described as Modest assets.

An asset is only good for the level of return that it can give. The centrelink regime determines which assets are to be counted. So these include, collections, your household goods, your car(s), Caravan, boat and any other property such as a holiday home. As well as Assets which can generate a return such as cash in the bank, shares etc.

The level of return is normally dependant on the risk. The more risk the greater return. Every pensioner I have spoken to wants a low risk investment such as a Bank term deposit, where they know they will get a return and the capital employed will be preserved.

They do not want to do this so that they can count their money like scrooge Mc Duck. They want to preserve it to have an income to live off.

The tables talk about the small percentage of “draw down” of assets required to maintain the income they have been deprived of. All that drawdown will do is to make the capital available for investment less. Another bad result because if people draw down their assets by just $400,000 they will be eligible for a full or part pension again.

You may recall the ACOSS suggestion that Home owning Pensioner couples and singles should have their allowable assets cut to $150,000 and $100,000 respectively and the Taper rate increased to $2 per thousand over the allowable assets. They failed to take account of another of their reports which was about Poverty. They used an internationally accepted measure of 50% and 60% of median income. For a Pensioner couple the Poverty line is $600 per week and for a single $400 per week. (Both use the first measure 50%)

So what I did was take Morrison’s tables and work up a spreadsheet which

(The example is for Home owner couples.) The figures are for the Whole population of Pensioners.

1/ Matched his figures exactly for 2017 with a taper rate of $1.5 ($20 rounding error per annum)

2/ Matched his figures exactly for 2017 with a taper rate of $3.0.

3/ Took 75% of the assets (see discussion of assets above) and put them out at 3% per annum and then added any part pension per annum. Divided this result by 52 to give a weekly income.

4/ compared the weekly income result against the poverty line with the $1.5 taper rate and got figures of approx 41,502 pensioners

5/ Compared the weekly income result against the poverty line with the $3.0 taper rate and got figures of 428,041 pensioners.

6/ tabulated the results.

Conclusions. (again using couple Home owner)

1/ The simplistic $1 million argument is just that simplistic. If that was a problem why not just cut off the Pension at $900,000.

75% of $900,000 is $675,000. Put out at 3% (deeming rate) the return is $20,250 (a risk adverse investment) Add the part pension of $11,465 and you have a total of $31,715 or $609.90 per week. The full pension without the Electricity supplement is $33165.60. This example is using a taper rate of $1.5.

When this is done under the proposed changes the calculation is done without the part pension because it has cut out at $823,000 of assets. So the return is $20,250 at 3%. Or $389 per week. A reduction of $220 per week. AND UNDER THE POVERTY LINE.

These people will have no choice but to live off their capital and then move back onto the pension as it depletes. Even using a figure of 100% of the assets invested (which is not possible) the return is $27,000 per annum and $519 per week income. STILL UNDER THE POVERTY LINE

 

Just this example explains why the Labor party made the right decision to oppose the Pension changes.

2/ My calculations are conservative. When I did my Poverty line calculation under the existing taper rate, I did not take into account living expenses which the ACOSS report did.

Note: This research deducts housing costs (rent, mortgage payments and rates) from income before calculating the me­dian income on which the poverty lines are based (which reduces the poverty lines) and then deducts each household’s own housing costs from their income (which reduces household incomes) when calculating rates of poverty. The figures quoted above are before housing costs have been deducted. Page 9.

 

ACOSS said that 15% of Aged pensioners in 2011-12 were in poverty. If this had not moved that figure would be 527,726 before the changes (15% of 3,518,176 persons in Morrison’s tables). My figure was 41,502 persons before the changes and 428,041 after the changes. But I did not remove the ACOSS amounts above. So the chances are that there will be close to 1 million pensioners (actually 914,265 pensioners.) under the poverty line. (If they just used their capital as an investment and didn’t draw down on it).

3/ These changes allow 170,000 people to have more pension but reduce the pension or remove it completely from 362,523 pensioners. The majority of pensioners stay the same.

4/ 62% of pensioners are home owners and it is this group who are affected most by these changes, even though they are the group who have arranged their own accommodation (during their life) by buying a house. Those people who haven’t done that in their lives need to be compensated more because they are allowed more allowable assets before the taper rate kicks in.

5/ A million dollars sounds like a lot of money. But the reality is that it is not. And not all of the assets counted can be used to generate income.

Below is the table I used to generate the overall figures. This comes from one of four spreadsheets.

Assessable Assets Age Pension received at current $1.50 taper rate* Age Pension under rebalanced asset test measure *     Number of pensioners with assessable assets in specified range Weekly Income from 75% of Assets and Pension @ $1.50 taper rate Weekly Income from 75% of Assets and Pension@ $3.00 taper rate Increase/Decrease in weekly income Number of pensioners affected with reduction in Weekly earnings Number of pensioners below poverty line 1.5 Number of pensioners below poverty line 3.0 Increase in number below Poverty Line
Reduction (increase) in pension income received Assessable asset range
$100,000 $34,923 $34,923 $0 $0 – $99,999 523,361 $714.87 $714.87 $0.00 0 0 0 0
$200,000 $34,923 $34,923 $0 $100,000 – $199,999 291,978 $758.13 $758.13 $0.00 0 0 0 0
$300,000 $34,865 $34,923 -$59 $200,000 – $299,999 197,580 $800.29 $801.40 $1.12 0 0 0 0
$400,000 $30,965 $32,973 -$2,009 $300,000 – $399,999 116,281 $768.56 $807.17 $38.62 0 0 0 0
$451,500 $28,956 $28,956 $0 $400,000 – $499,999 81,637 $752.21 $752.21 $0.00 0 0 0 0
$500,000 $27,065 $25,173 $1,892 $736.83 $700.44 -$36.38 40818.5 0 0 0
$600,000 $23,165 $17,373 $5,792 $500,000 – $599,999 59,992 $705.10 $593.71 -$111.38 59992 0 13500 13500
$700,000 $19,265 $9,573 $9,692 $600,000 – $699,999 46,640 $673.37 $486.98 -$186.38 46640 0 15750 15750
$800,000 $15,365 $1,773 $13,592 $700,000 – $799,999 36,528 $641.63 $380.25 -$261.38 36528 0 18000 18000
$823,000 $14,467 $0 $14,467 $634.32 $356.11 -$278.21 18264 0 18517.5 18517.5
$900,000 $11,465 $0 $11,465 $800,000 – $899,999 28,358 $609.90 $389.42 -$220.48 28358 0 20250 20250
$1,000,000 $7,565 $0 $7,565 $900,000 – $999,999 21,865 $578.17 $432.69 -$145.48 21865 21865 22500 635
$1,100,000 $3,665 $0 $3,665 $1,000,000 – $1,099,999 13,401 $546.44 $475.96 -$70.48 13401 13401 24750 11349
$1,200,000 $0 $0 $0 $1,100,000 AND GREATER 2,830 $519.23 $519.23 $0.00 0 2830 27000 24170
*based on projected pensin rates at 1 January 2017.
265866.5 38096 160267.5 122171.5
18.72%
1,420,451

 

Summary of the Pensioner Asset Changes in the 2015 Budget – are they fair and balanced?

 

This may seem like a fairly boring subject to the younger generation, it may seem boring to those who are looking forward to their retirement in the next few years. For those who are retired it is an abiding subject. Do I have enough to live on?

It affects us all, particularly those who were working when Paul Keating brought in compulsory superannuation. Their retirement needs require a part pension because they haven’t enough saved in their fund to survive without Government help after retirement.

There is no doubt that the Welfare payments to Aged, Service and Disability pensioners, a large and mostly unrepresented group (over 3.5 million people) are a hefty part of the Budget (About 10% of GDP). But we live in a country which is based on the premise that we have a Welfare State.

In asking the Question “Are they fair and balanced?” I have used the criteria which has always been used, namely are they helping people who need help? I have also cut through some of the rubbish talked by people who should know better.

As well as doing a short analysis of the politics, I have done a detailed analysis of the changes and measured them against the poverty line. My analysis shows that they are not fair and balanced.

Introduction.

The economic talk around the Budget is all around “The Age of Entitlement” being over. It appears that this is the case for some and not for others. To understand what this means we must look at the present Government and their approach.

  1. Indexation changes to the pension.

In the 2014 Budget the Government unsuccessfully introduced changes which would impact on everyone getting a Service Pension, Disability Pension and Aged pension.

They already have made the Disability Pension almost impossible to obtain due to the work requirements. But that doesn’t surprise me; conservatives don’t believe disability exists along with climate change and science.

Read more about what they planned here.

http://www.aph.gov.au/about_parliament/parliamentary_departments/parliamentary_library/pubs/rp/budgetreview201415/indexation

  1. Pension Assets tests.

I was very surprised to see ACOSS’s submission to the Government which contained a proposal for home owner couples to have a reduction of allowable assets from $286,500 down to $150,000 and an increase in the taper rate from $1.5 per $1000 of assets over those allowable assets to $2.

Their assumptions were that too many “millionaires” were getting a pension. A ‘nonsense’ which the main stream media eagerly engaged in. What they failed to realise was that those assets were the property of two people.

You can read the ACOSS submission re the reduction of allowable assets here (Page 33. Recommendation 14.)

http://acoss.org.au/images/uploads/ACOSS_2015_Budget_Priorities_Statement_FINAL.pdf

One wonders if the ACOSS staff had actually done any modelling. Just to show you how this would affect someone on the maximum allowable assets, which is now $268,500. Here is the calculation – $268,500 minus $150,000 is $118,500 (now over the recommended allowable assets by ACOSS) so what happens is 118 is multiplied by $2 which makes $236. This amount is taken off the Pensioner couple per fortnight – a reduction of $118 per week, leaving them with a disposable income of $1039 per fortnight or $74 per day.

I might also point out that in the report on Poverty published in 2014 by the same organisation (ACOSS); the poverty line for a couple was $600 per week – or $1200 per fortnight. Pushing them $80 per week UNDER the poverty line.

Simply put ACOSS’s suggestion drives people under the Poverty line. Using the example of allowable assets now and changing it to ACOSS’s recommendation.

Do ACOSS do any modelling? I don’t think so. Do they read their own report on Poverty and apply it to their Aged Pension recommendation? I don’t think so. Is their recommendation fair? I don’t think so. Do they actually know what they are doing? The evidence suggests that they don’t.

  1. The Home to be included in the Assets test.

The next suggestion, just before Budget night and put out by the Centre for Independent Studies (CIS), (a Liberal/Conservative think tank), was that home owners should have the ability to reverse mortgage their home with Government loans and still live in it whilst living off the earnings from the mortgage. They used an interest rate return of 5.25% (an extremely optimistic return in the present low interest rate regime).

The authors, Simon Cowan and Matthew Taylor managed to get onto ABC’s the Drum and ABC’s QandA respectively to tell some of the most misleading things about “How unfair the pension was for non homeowners compared with home owners.” They conveniently missed the salient fact; that the allowable assets of single and couple non home owners adequately compensate for the family home in their much more generous allowance.

I suspect that the Conservatives are viewing the housing assets of Pensioners as the last bastion of wealth that they haven’t yet got their sticky little hands on.

The report can be found here.

http://www.cis.org.au/publications/research-reports/article/5562-the-age-old-problem-of-old-age-fixing-the-pension

“With four out of every five retirees on the pension, and pensioners with over a million dollars in assets getting the same payment as those with almost nothing, the pension clearly needs reform,” says Simon Cowan, research fellow and co-author of the report, The Age Old Problem of Old Age: Fixing the Pension.

This is an astounding statement by the author of this so called Report. Pensioners with a million dollars of assets do not get the same payment as those with almost nothing.

For example, in the four types of Pensioner: (note Energy concession not included).

1/ A couple home owner with a million dollars worth of assets gets a part pension of $178 a fortnight. Someone with “almost nothing” gets a full pension of $1275.60 per fortnight.

2/ A single home owner with a million dollars worth of assets gets no part pension at  all. (In this case the pension tapers off to $766,000).

Someone with “almost nothing” gets a fortnightly payment of $846.10.

3/ A couple non home owner with a million dollars worth of assets gets $425 per fortnight whilst the couple with “almost nothing” get a full pension of $1275.60 per fortnight.

4/ A single non home owner with a million dollars worth of assets gets no part pension. Someone with “almost nothing” gets a fortnightly payment of $846.10.

So the premise stated in the statement above is nonsense. Because they haven’t taken into account the allowable assets and the taper rate.

So there was a three pronged attack by the Conservative side of politics against the 3.5 million pensioners of Australia. I suspect this was a deliberate strategy.

Firstly to reduce their actual pensions because it represents a large expenditure in the Budget, secondly because they want to create the impression that many pensioners are living high on the hog with their assets as well as their homes and that they are somehow rorting the system. (Thus they decrease payments by class war). Thirdly they want to gain access to the billions of dollars of Pensioner home ownership so that they can milk that cow.

Budget 2015

With that introduction in mind we come to the Budget. The narrative of the “millionaires” and “middle class welfare” was a good softener for what Minister Morrison actually proposed on 7th May 2015, a week before the Budget was actually brought down.

Along with the press release were two other word documents which showed tables of the projected changes in 2017 at the present $1.5 taper rate and the present allowable assets (adjusted upwards to 2017 levels) versus a new taper rate of $3 and increased allowable assets.

I set myself the task of matching the figures in the table by using a spreadsheet model. This I have now done and using the assumptions I have done the following summary table of the number of pensioners covered, the one affected by the changes and the ones who are not affected.

As the numbers given in the table are for a range of assets covering $100,000 it is impossible to calculate any meaningful figures as to savings for the Budget, but approximations can be made.

However, whilst it is possible to make such approximations it is also possible to examine how fair these measures are.

The measure I have used is the Poverty line.

See ACOSS 2014 document.

http://www.google.com.au/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&ved=0CCcQFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.acoss.org.au%2Fimages%2Fuploads%2FACOSS_Poverty_in_Australia_2014.pdf&ei=tPFcVdqRLc-48gWguIPAAw&usg=AFQjCNGvfJ_CNGj7NzRc12oJZfcscFU4HA&bvm=bv.93756505,d.dGc&cad=rja

The document uses $400 as the cut off line for singles and $600 for a couple. Below those two figures people are assumed to be in poverty. (See attachment 2)

For each scenario in the Departments tables I have assumed that the disposable income per week of a single person and a Pensioner couple is 75% of their assets in an interest bearing account plus their pension.

Before the changes (see attachment 1) one can see that there are a total of 3.518 million Pensioners who are referenced in the tables provided. Approximately 362,523 Pensioners will receive a reduction in their pension.

Before the changes and assuming an interest rate of 3% on 75% of the assets invested there were a total of 41,502 pensioners who were just under the poverty line. With the changes in taper rate and allowable assets, this increases to 428,041, an increase of 386,539 Pensioners who will now receive a weekly income below the poverty line.

Conclusion.

Approximately 63% of Pensioners are home owners, comprising 40.37% couples and 21.42% singles.

In the spreadsheet model I wrote, I allowed for a change in interest rates. In fact all of the factors affecting the pension can be changed to give a series of “What if” scenarios. It was interesting to see how many pensioners were above the Poverty Line at 5% interest rate and at 3% interest rate (it climbed dramatically as the interest rate reduced). My point is here that not only is the Government driving more people under the poverty line by their pension changes, they are also driving people under that line by their extremely poor economic management.

There is another point I would like to make and that is the tables talk about drawing down of assets. If a Pensioner uses all of their assets up, instead of investing them then they can quickly divest themselves of assets and coming under the allowable assets threshold, thereby costing the Government more money.

Most of the hurt is for people who have higher assets and are home owners, whereas those with around $500,000 of assets actually benefit from the changes.

So for Pensioners with around $500,000 of assets they get (depending on the level of assets they hold in the range shown), a large increase in weekly income. Where as someone with assets of $1,000,000 doesn’t get any pension at all. A good example is a home owner couple who get a reduction of $111.38 per week under the proposal at $600,000 asset level, $186 at $700,000, $261 at $800,000 and $278 reduction per week at the cut off point of $823,000.

Contrast these figures with those of Superannuants and their Tax concessions and these changes are manifestly unfair.

As the reader can see in all of this, the talk has been about home owners and the concessions they get. In fact a good look at the data shows that home ownership in fact saves the Government money on welfare payments. If you didn’t own your home the Government would have to pay singles and couple home owners more under the existing rules.

Figure 1.
Summary of the Government changes 2015 Budget to Pensioners Assets Test
Home owner couple Home owner single Non Home owner couple Non home owner single Totals
Pensioners in cohort 1,420,451 753,498 333,937 1,010,290 3,518,176
%age 40.37% 21.42% 9.49% 28.72% 100.00%
Number with reduction in Pension 265,867 88,846 3,678 4,132 362,523 10.30%
% of cohort 73.34% 24.51% 1.01% 1.14% 100.00%
Number not affected 1,154,585 664,652 330,259 1,006,158 3,155,654 89.70%
Number under Poverty line before changes 38,096 3,406 0 0 41,502 1.32%
Number under Poverty line after changes 160,268 79,808 117,158 70,807 428,041 13.56%
Increase of those under Poverty line 122,172 76,402 117,158 70,807 386,539 90.30%

How much do you think your pensioner Mum and Dad are worth? ACOSS don’t think it’s much.

Introduction

In the light of the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) submission to the Abbott Government and the 2015-2016 budget, I was astonished on 2nd April to wake to the most extraordinary claims by Dr Cassandra Goldie, that the recommendation regarding the Pensions Assets test was a much more equitable way to adjust the Welfare budget of Australia in coming years.

Here is the recommendation from page 33 of the submission.

Recommendation 14: Tighten the Pension Assets test.

Reduce the Assets test free area for home owners to $100,000 for singles and $150,000 for couples and increase the taper rate for both home owners and non homeowners from $1.50 per $1000 of additional assets to $2.00 per $1000, so that the cut off point for the part pension for couples is reduced from $1.1 million in assets besides the family home to $794,250 in Assets besides the family home.

Saving $1.350 million ($1.450 million in 2016-17).

 

What does this mean?

  1. Presently the single pension is $782.20 per fortnight.
  2. For a single person as part of a couple, it is $589.60 and for a couple $1179.20 per fortnight.

What is counted as an Asset?

What do we understand by Asset?

Here is a link to the list of Assets which are included and are counted in allowable assets.

It is worthwhile showing some of the assets which are included, these are the ones at the end of a long list which can be included if you have them. Many older pensioners have worked hard for them during a lifetime of work. In some cases they reflect a life style and one such asset could be a holiday home by the beach where it would be nice to spend more time. However the value of this Real Estate is included in the Assets and deducted from the allowable assets (more on this later).

Other assets included are:-

  • motor vehicles
  • boats and caravans
  • licenses, for example fishing or taxi
  • surrender value of life insurance policies
  • collections for trading, investment or hobby purposes, and
  • household contents and personal effects

So the list is comprehensive and you will note not one of the “Assets” gives any return to the pensioner. They are basically lifestyle choices.

Of course we haven’t mentioned any investments here but they are mentioned in the list. Any income is combined with the Assets test and then the pension or part thereof is worked out.

What value of Assets are pensioners allowed as of 2nd April 2015?

These can be found here.

They are $202,000 for a single home owning pensioner and $286,500 for a Pensioner couple.

Discussion.

How does the simple assets test work and affect your pension?

Basically speaking if you are of pension age and have assets below $202,000 for a single home owning pensioner or $286,500 for a pensioner couple, you are entitled to the full rate of pension.

At present every thousand dollars over those allowable assets your pension is reduced by $1.50 per fortnight. This seems a fairly benign situation but when you actually start to ask some questions and do some modelling, it is a huge difficulty.

So what do you think your home owning pensioner Mum and Dad are worth?

As a couple their full pension equates to $84.22 per day

A single pensioner gets $55.87 per day.

Presently the poverty line (as defined in an ACOSS report) in Australia is

Poverty line (50% of median income) – for a single adult was $400 per week, for a couple with 2 children it was $841 per week;

It goes onto say that 15.7% of people on the Aged Pension are below the poverty line.

The weekly income of a single aged pensioner is $391.09 ($782.20)

The weekly income of a couple of Aged pensioners is $589.60.

How will the proposals from ACOSS affect existing pensioners?

I would like to make it clear that any assets, from which a pensioner derives an income are taken into account in two ways. The actual income reduces the amount of pension allowed and the assets are also counted in the allowable Test as described above.

Not all Assets, as Dr Goldie seems to think give an income, yet on ABC News Breakfast she talks about Investment assets. Also, making another large mistake saying that the changes made by Peter Costello in the Howard Government should be changed back.

The changes she speaks of are the amount of money a pensioner loses ever $1000 over the allowable assets. At present they are $1.50, under Howard/Costello they were $3.00 and ACOSS has proposed $2.00.

Let’s look at the Assets which are included. And do an example of what a pensioner might own as a lifestyle choice after a working life of 40 years.

A nice car. Value $25,000

A caravan. Value $50,000 or a recreational vehicle for travel around Australia. (Winebago Value $120,000)

A Boat for fishing. Value $10,000

Household effects. Yes, these are an asset and on the Income and Assets form Centrelink expects the person completing the form to put down a value of $10,000 . I defy anyone to sell their household effects for that value. They are all second hand and have been used. Centrelink does not require replacement value just a value of what you think they are worth. In reality you could probably sell a lot of the furniture to second hand dealers for a pittance.

Some money in the bank, say $15,000

A term deposit, say $20,000

Maybe a share in a beach side property (Holiday home), say 50% Value $300,000.

Note the median house price in Melbourne in January 2015 was $699,000.

So what is an Australian pensioner worth?

A loaded question: Should they be precluded from owning a nice car, boat, a caravan, or a holiday home? How much money should they be allowed to have in allowable assets to live a fair and equitable life. Don’t forget, we are talking about people who do not have a super fund and who are already vulnerable.

When these people finish work, are they to sit at home all day watching the television or should they be allowed a retirement with respect by the Australia they have worked over 40 years to nurture?

In the above example the allowable assets come to $140,000 without the ownership of the property, with that they come to $440,000, AND I consider that the amount of actual investment grade assets I have put down to be very low.

Remember that they didn’t make the choice that Australia should be a welfare state and they are probably struggling now to make ends meet.

In the example above, the couple would meet the ACOSS $150,000 very quickly – especially anyone who had worked hard for 40 years to have the extra investment property. Which, by the way, attracts an income and is separately adjusted in the pension calculation. If the median house price in Melbourne is worth $699,000 and those people bought that house as a private superannuation investment vehicle, (not under the super rules) then they actually have a very low super.

In the second example, where the pensioner couple have such an investment vehicle the detriment to the pension is as follows under the existing rules.

$440,000 minus $286,500 is $153,500 multiplied by $1.50 is $230.25 per fortnight reduction in the ‘couple’ pension. So they get $474 per week or $67.70 per day. Of course they might also get a return from the property which is taken into account. That is a very arcane calculation which can only be worked out by Centrelink.

Under the proposals by ACOSS the following is the straight Asset calculation.

$440,000 minus $150,000 (proposed allowable assets) is $290,000 multiplied by $2.00 (proposed increase in taper rate) so they get a reduction in ‘couple’ pension of $580 per fortnight and receive $446.60 per week in the ‘couple’ pension. So they get $63.80 per day under this scenario.

Of course there is the income they get from their investments, which have to be factored in.

Some history.

As a result of a health problem when I was 27, I was struck down badly by Arthritis. This year I shall be 61 so I have had the disease for 34 years.

I worked for many years in the telecommunications industry and my last position there was as Product Marketing Manager. In 1992, after the recession we had to have, I struggled health wise and went on a Disability Pension (not an easy process). I was able to work part time as a Sessional TAFE teacher until in 1996 John Howard came to power and swept away all the training hours which I was employed under, so I went onto a full pension.

Generally speaking, people’s aspirations are that they would rather be independent and not have to rely on the Government.

When Howard came to power in 1996 the proportion of household disposable income spent on the mortgage was 31% and when he left office in 2007 it was 51%. Yet wages had risen in their normal fashion. Howard’s boom was a self induced ‘housing bubble,’ which damaged many Australians, but advantaged his mates in the Real Estate business.

Finally, I would like you, the reader to consider again. How much is the value of a pensioner? Should they be given the respect and the dignity due to them? I think so.

I also think that ACOSS hasn’t got a clue how the pension rules work and the absolute goal they have kicked for the Government.

This is a classic example of highly paid executives, who have no idea what they are saying and have no idea of the level of ignorance they display when saying it.

What have the Abbott Liberal Party done for Australia?

I wanted to review my thoughts and particularly my values about what I believe is a good society to live in and what the Abbott Liberal Party have done for Australia.

Lets look at the basics for a start.

“You should do this and you should do that”. These are the messages which we are continuously given by Liberal Politicians.

This week for example we are told that the population is ageing and that we will all have to spend less so that there is also enough money in the Budget for older people in the next decades. Those people are also told that they have an obligation to work longer so that they are not a drain on the Budget. They also have to accept less via a lower indexation of their Pension.

Later in the week we have the pronouncement by Tony Abbott that Aboriginals live on their land in remote Australia as a “lifestyle” choice.

It’s the same message we got from the Conservatives of the Liberal National Party of John Howard and being repeated under the Abbott regime.

Their attack on the finances of the aged and the disabled continues apace. Their attack on the ability of Australia to manufacture its own goods has also born them the fruit that they wanted. A closed down Car Industry.

They also seem unable to get the idea in their heads that there should be a viable Manufacturing Industry in military equipment, although they do see that there is a need to spend vast amounts of money on air warfare destroyers, submarines and joint attack fighter bomber aircraft.

One wonders at the particularly bellicose (warlike) stance of conservative governments. Given that they seem to be attacking the welfare of their own people to the advantage of the Western Industrial Complex to produce arms to defend those same people.

One wonders if in fact they have ever stopped and tried to decide whether it would not be a better idea to spend more money on diplomacy than it would to spend money on military equipment which is used mainly in offensive operations and deployment in countries half way around the world.

One wonders if the stance of the Americans vis a vis the interference in the sovereignty of other countries may indeed have created the monsters of the Al Queda and the Daish “death cult.” What a great term for a Prime Minister to be able to use in the sober discussion of threats to Australia.

One wonders at the amount of money spent going to an illegal war in Iraq, looking for weapons of mass destruction which didn’t exist and the consequent refugee crisis which that caused in Australia.

Indeed one wonders at the values of people who denigrate science, who refuse to agree that a world class Broadband Network would be just the best idea for Australia and its future place in the world in terms of agriculture, manufacturing, knowledge, medical and technological progress and a host of other very good outcomes for a country like Australia.

One wonders as to why they want to stick with coal as the primary source of energy with which to power our society, when (leaving out climate change) there are many more productive and clean alternatives to go for.

What are their solutions?

Here is a list.

1/ Close down Science in Australia

2/ Close down any attempt to mitigate climate change and repeal a carbon pricing mechanism – whilst the world is actually embracing such mechanisms.

3/ Close down manufacturing in Australia.

4/ Count on world trade. By all accounts they have signed three world trade agreements yet the one with China is hiding. I can find no documents which prove it has been signed.

5/ They fail to have a plan for Australia to grow jobs. A fundamental flaw in conservative thinking is that to have viable markets for goods from these trade agreements, people must have disposable income to purchase the goods they send to Australia.

6/ A failure to understand that to have a viable economy there must be jobs for people –     which is the Government’s responsibility to cause and be created.

What are their positive alternatives for change in any of the above?

In short there are none.

Lets examine two alternatives to the latest problems brought up by Hockey and Abbott.

Superannuation.

I seem to remember that The Labor Prime Minister, Paul Keating had a plan for Australians and their retirement, it was called a Compulsory Super Scheme. At first it started at 3% and was to increase to 12%, but the present Liberal Government has slowed that down. Now the compulsory contribution is 9.5%.

On Lateline recently Roger Corbett said it should be 15% and he is a conservative and an Ex banker as well as a board member of the Reserve Bank of Australia.

So one wonders why the Super is not at 15% which would see so many more Australians being able to look after their own needs in retirement rather than rely on a government pension.

The funds under management in Australia are $1.5 billion, many of which are invested in the stock market.

So Super is under the control of the conservative side of politics. Why are these funds not being used to fund the infrastructure needs of Australians? Like building a real NBN and other road and rail infrastructure in Australia. A ‘win win’ for Australians rather than a ‘win lose’ as we have now.

Then there are the tax concessions which richer Australians are able to get from their super bundle. Even retired unionists have stated to me that they are not paying enough Tax on this pile of money.

Jobs.

It is a basis of economics that to have a vibrant economy you have to have Industry which employs people who are then taxed as well as having a disposable income to consume, which then creates more jobs to make the things which are consumed.

Naturally we would like the jobs to be in Australia and the money spent on goods to be in Australia also.

However this Government is hell bent on destroying jobs. Take the Public Service, at least 14,000 employees have gone. Take the Car Manufacturing Industry, where every car manufacturer in the world subsidises their car industry – the conservatives fail to adhere to this convention. They deny the Holden Submission to the Productivity Commission which said that when Australia invests $1 and Holden invest $3 it creates $18 of economic activity.

Where is the comprehensive plan to create new jobs in Australia? I have looked and I can’t find it. We see Industry closing because we cannot compete with overseas and yet we are signing Free Trade Agreements at a rate of knots unprecedented in the history of Australia. So unprecedented, that the details of the china free trade agreement doesn’t exist on the DFAT website. Have a look for yourself.

The official documents page of the DFAT website.

Australia is never going to be able to compete with the labour costs of China or Vietnam or Korea or Thailand or Indonesia, but if we have no jobs in Australia we are not going to have the disposable income to buy all the imported goods made in those countries.

This country has stagnated over years riding on the sheep’s back, the mineral’s back and the wheat and cereal’s back. Yet we do not value add in Australia. Sure we talk about being the food bowl of Asia but have a set of economic circumstances in Australia which deny farmers a reasonable return for their produce – and when they leave the land, the land is snapped up by overseas interests.

We have a vertically integrated monopoly situation in our two major supermarkets, many of the State based assets have either been sold or are in the process of being sold. We are told that the private sector can manage the assets better and that prices won’t go up.

That is a lie. When you sell an asset to a private enterprise the first thing they do is want to add the profit motive which was absent when it was run by the State.

Conclusion.

Australia is being shut down by this Government. Climate change is denied, and the minerals and coal miners are given favourable treatment.

The CSIRO, a powerhouse of research in so many disciplines is being squeezed dry of scientists – their work curtailed. We do not have a Science Minister.

Industry is being shut down, possibly because of an ideological hatred of the Union movement.

The people who have always lived off the public purse in the Liberal Party are blaming the sick, the disabled and the aged for Australia’s so called woes.

What about them taking a hit for the country. What about living like the people they despise and attack all the time. What about a huge pay cut and along with that, what about doing some work for the people who employ them, the Australian Taxpayer.

Political Dishonesty and the LNP.

I recently wrote about the taking of oaths and contrasted the oath takers with their actions.

I was saddened to learn about the absolute hypocricy of the oathtakers when contrasting their actions against the oath.

Today I want to talk about political dishonestly generally and it’s spread from the Political sphere into the criminal sphere, all in the name of politics or in one case a sense of entitlement..

Firstly I want to highlight the Queensland Election, not as an Election per se but with several great examples of political dishonesty.

The first case is the T Shirt case in Brisbane.

Where a satirist wore a T shirt with a slogan – “I’m with stupid” and an arrow pointing to his left on the shirt. This man mingled with the liberal campaigners and someone called the Police. The man was arrested for public nuisance and put in a paddy wagon by 10 police. He has been bailed to appear at court in a few weeks time.

Witnesses at the opposing labor rally have given their evidence to Independent Australia and it completely refutes the notion than the man was doing other than having a bit of fun at the expense of the Young Liberals. One of them is a Senator in the Australian Parliament.

The sorry saga can be read on Independent Australia Here.

The second case of dishonesty, which actually took my breath away was the theft of an Australian Labor Party corflute sign in the electorate of Kallangur on the outer Northern suburbs of Brisbane.

Basically a fixed camera, with a time stamp is surveiling a large sign. In the 55 second video, a car drives up, the passenger (a well dressed woman) gets out, opens the rear drivers side door of the car (assisted by the driver) and then walks off to the right of the screen and comes back with a political poster which is labor party property and places it in the rear passenger seat of the vehicle. Shuts the door and then the car drives off.

Apparently she had not right to take the sign, it was not hers and so it’s theft.

The video can be viewed here. And Here

The third instance of admitted dishonesty is with the sitting MP Verity Barton,

The whole sorry Saga can be read about at the Gold Coast bulletin

But the nub of the matter is in the first two paragraphs.

“UPDATE: The Premier has revealed Broadwater MP Verity Barton confessed to driving unlicensed — an offence that could have landed her in jail.
Premier Campbell Newman has told a press conference Verity Barton had confessed to driving unlicensed.

It was revealed yesterday the Broadwater MP had her licence suspended twice, in 2012 and 2013, after failing to pay tolls and their subsequent fines.”

Living in Victoria I went to find the penalties for these offences in Queensland they are here.

As you can see the specific infringement need to be worked out. But according to the Gold Coast bulletin she has “confessed” and ”The Premier has revealed” that she confessd. But what is being done about this lawlessness? It appears nothing.

Whilst the LNP are persuing Peter Slipper and Craig Thomson federally for amounts of $900 and $2400 fraudently obtained, it appears that a sitting LNP State MP can get away with offences which attract Goal terms of a year or more.

It also appears that Verity has form for parking in disabled car parks as well.

Isn’t it delicious irony that the name Verity actually means “Truth” Google it, I did.

Where are the 10 police coming for Verity to arrest her for the driving offences, public nuisance, hubris and a sense of entitlement? Look around Queensland, they are busy harassing Labor candidates and their supporters on the streets of Queensland.

Seems like the Queensland police were also called to Gail Hislop’s (Labor candidate for Burleigh) political gathering, 5 of them on 8th Jan 2015.

Hislop

This is an egregious waste of police time and also making a false report. It is in fact a crime to do this but the LNP seem to get away with it all the time.

So Queensland LNP have the federal disease. It’s actually called telling Lies.

For me the biggest lie that was told in Political history is the one about the Free trade agreement with China

Fairfax thinks a China Australia Free Trade agreement has been signed.

http://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/who-wins-in-australiachina-free-trade-agreement-20141117-11ojvd.html

The Prime minister has the following on his web site saying what benefits will flow.

https://www.pm.gov.au/media/2014-11-17/landmark-china-australia-free-trade-agreement

BUT Have we actually signed a Free trade agreement with China?

The answer to that Question despite all of the hype is NO.

This not only highlights the Political Dishonesty angle, but it also highlights the complete ineptitude of the Press. Who have swallowed, hook, line and sinker the Lie that we have signed a Free trade agreement.

Let me put you all right, by highlighting the government’s own official document, which can be found on the DFAT website.

If you look at the website carefully I have directed you to the Official Documents Section.

What would you expect to find?

I would expect several volumes of detailed work explaining what it was they actually signed and some modelling as to how it would be good for Australia.

Is that there? No its not.

Well what is there?

Ah here is the rub. This 2 page document. Please take your time to have a read of it. It won’t take you long.

Australia signed a Memorandum of Understanding with China, but if you actually look at the MOU it is dated 8 April 2005.

In paragraph 1 it says the text of the feasibility study will be released by both parties. Where is that feasibility study?

Australia didn’t sign a free trade agreement with China. They signed something but it hasn’t been released yet.

Just above the MOU it says the following.

“Signature of the Agreement will take place once both sides have completed legal review and translation. The text of the Agreement, accompanied by a National Interest Analysis, will then be tabled in the Australian Parliament for 20 joint sitting days.”

So the actual DFAT website is telling you that the agreement hasn’t been signed yet. The signing ceremony at parliament was therefore a complete political Sham. Dishonest to the core.

The upshot of all of this is that the Law makers are actually having a great time of it. They are getting paid at least $195,000 each, they are breaking the law without consequence. They are applying the law to one section of the public – the ones who don’t support them and they are telling the largest lies and getting away with them.

The State of Australian politics is dire. The state of Queensland shows that it is so. I hope they all go to Jail to contemplate their hypocrisy for a while.

Come on Australia. Lets hold the politicians to account.