Cuts to the ANAO and ICAC in NSW make governments less accountable and more capable of decisions that go against the public good, writes Sue Arnold.Cuts to auditing and corruption agencies hurt democracy and environment
The Australian Government has been stalling in our nation’s broadband progress, especially when compared to other countries, writes Paul Budde.Australian Government falling behind on world broadband scale
Step right up, every billionaire is a winner. There’s $100 billion up for grabs and winning is as easy as shooting fish in a barrel.The greatest rort on earth: JobKeeper is making billionaires richer
If Newstart and jobseeker had risen in line with earnings over the years, it would be at least $100 a week higherThe jobseeker increase is pathetic – and so is the spin to justify the paltry amount | Welfare | The Guardian
In November 2020, Four Corners aired a program titled Inside the Canberra Bubble. The Morrison government went to great lengths to try to prevent the program going to air, and then threatened the ABC to the extent that the broadcaster’s Chair, Ita Buttrose, publicly defended the program. Alan Tudge, Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure, who campaigned on family values, was revealed to have had an extra marital affair with staffer, Rachelle Miller, who has now lodged formal complaints of bullying against him, and against Michaelia Cash. Attorney-General Christian Porter was alleged in the program to have a history of sleazy sexist behaviour towards women. Porter immediately announced he was taking legal action against Four Corners. However, we have heard nothing further about any such action. The number of Morrison’s ministers involved in allegations of sexual harassment and the concealment of sexual violence against women in their workplace is astounding. The message to women working in Parliament House is clear. No minister will support you. At time of writing Linda Reynolds, who was due to appear at the National Press Club today, has been admitted to hospital. Reynolds was expected to come under intense scrutiny at the Press Club today over her management of the Higgins rape allegations. The alleged rapist is also in hospital.If you’re a woman in Parliament House, nobody hears you scream – » The Australian Independent Media Network
Tony Abbott closed Radio Australia down and let the Chinese in to take that space. Now the Morrison Government is preventing Australian News reaching the Pacific again giving that space to the Chinese while they slash the ABC’s budget instead 0f expanding it to to compete with Facebook. The LNP is supporting Murdoch and Costello’s private interests in exchange for political influence and ensuring fake news is concentrated in their hands. LNP are certainly the Pillocks of the Pacific( ODT)
Facebook’s move has also drawn an angry response from Pacific community groups in Australia. Nai Tuuut from the Pacific Community Council of Far North Queensland said her organisation relied on Facebook to share community news, as well as vital public health information in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Without us being able to share Australian news or even the Queensland Health is unable to post on Facebook, that just makes it extremely hard to keep our community up to date and just aware of what’s going on,” she told the ABC.Pacific media warns Facebook ban on Australian news could have serious effects in the region – ABC News
A few weeks ago, Peter Dutton decided to release dozens of refugees who had been held in Melbourne hotel rooms for more than a year because it was “cheaper for people to be in the community than it is to be at a hotel or for us to be paying for them to be in detention.” What a revelation. Dutton told 2GB radio the released men had been assessed as not being a threat. Which is a turnaround from his fearmongering 2 years ago that the medevac bill, allowing these refugees to receive medical treatment on mainland Australia, would lead to “Alleged murderers, rapists and paedophiles” coming to Australia. Speaking of not being a threat, another court decision will be made today about the ongoing detention of the Biloela family. Priya, Nades, and their Australian-born daughters, Kopika, five, and Tharunicaa, three, were taken from their home in Queensland and moved to Melbourne in March 2018 and have been detained on Christmas Island since August 2019. Department figures provided to the Senate estimates process last month show keeping the family detained has cost $1.4m in the past year.If there is one thing you can rely on from our government, it’s inconsistency – » The Australian Independent Media Network
The ABC can reveal Nick Warner started being paid as a consultant for the Prime Minister’s Department in January This is despite working for a private lobbying firm with close links to the Middle East Mr Warner is a former director-general of the Australian Secret Intelligence ServiceFormer intelligence boss Nick Warner joins lobbying firm while working as a consultant for Prime Minister’s Department – ABC News
As election time rolls around – September and October are months most mentioned – it will be interesting to see whether Morrison and his ministers take their foot off the opening gear for the pork barrel sluice gate.Scott Morrison will leave a legacy of corruption without consequence
“The Morrison government’s plans to cut income support and introduce industrial relations legislation which cuts workers’ pay and conditions will worsen unemployment, increase insecure work and further drive down wage growth,” O’Neil warned.Unemployment down, but recovery still way off: ACTU – » The Australian Independent Media Network
But with major pharmaceutical companies rolling out vaccines and millions of doses being bought by the United States, Britain, the European Union and Australia, developing countries argue such attempts to give them purchasing power in the market will only go so far. In October, India and South Africa asked the World Trade Organisation to temporarily waive intellectual property (IP) protections so that vaccines and other equipment for fighting COVID-19 could be made more cheaply at greater scale. Australia joined Britain, the US and the EU in opposing the move, arguing that existing rules on licensing would be sufficient to meet demand.Fair global distribution of vaccines is vital
In days gone by, government ministers never survived misleading parliament, for example. But Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s offensive, bellicose ramblings about former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on Monday (7 December), provide another case study in how to avoid scrutiny. Morrison was asked by Deputy Opposition Leader Richard Marles in Parliament: “Why have Tony Abbott and Alexander Downer been able to leave and re-enter Australia multiple times this year when there are thousands of vulnerable, stranded Australians who haven’t been able to get home once?” Morrison replied by alleging Rudd had also obtained privileged travel exemptions. Except Rudd hadn’t.Morrison’s Anti-Accountability vaccine gets L-NP off Scott-free
Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg billed taxpayers almost $5,000 to take the prime minister’s private jet on a whirlwind trip to Sydney on the night of Lachlan Murdoch’s Christmas party, leaving Canberra after 6pm, attending the Bellevue Hill soiree and then returning to the capital before 9am the next morning.PM and treasurer bill taxpayers for private jet to Lachlan Murdoch’s Christmas party | Australian politicians’ expenses | The Guardian
More than 120 consumer, legal and other associations and almost 100 “prominent individuals” have signed an open letter to MPs urging them to reject a bill that would axe important borrower protections.Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s decision to overhaul the National Consumer Credit Act is an attempt at making it easier for consumers to obtain loans and spur growth as the economy slides into recession.‘Borrower beware’ of new responsible lending laws
Former WA Liberal MPs Nigel Hallett, Brian Ellis misused electoral allowances, CCC inquiry finds – ABC News
The CCC alleges Nigel Hallett and Brian Ellis engaged in serious misconduct Mr Hallett allegedly paid his lover a taxpayer-funded wage for a “sham” job Mr Ellis spent thousands of dollars of his electoral allowance at a strip clubFormer WA Liberal MPs Nigel Hallett, Brian Ellis misused electoral allowances, CCC inquiry finds – ABC News
The Morrison government has big plans to channel huge amounts of money to News Corp.Coalition has an impressive array of programs to fund News Corp
Prime Minister Scott Morrison swung the spotlight away from the mounting evidence of the misuse of taxpayer funds and on to AusPost’s CEO Christine Holgate. The media was only too happy to oblige. Michael Tanner reports.Tamed estate: Scott Morrison, the master magician – Michael West
A crossbench plan to implement a federal anti-corruption commission has lit a fire under the federal Coalition and upped pressure on Scott Morrison to act on mounting government rorts.Pressure mounts on government to pass federal ICAC plan
Scott Morrison has perfected the art of media manipulation by briefing a select club of Canberra correspondents at once, rather than leaking to individual media outlets. Callum Foote and Michael West report on the marketing genius of the Prime Minister and the increasingly meek mainstream media.Feeding the Chooks: Scott Morrison’s marketing triumph over mainstream media – Michael West
“This has meant Australian taxpayers have paid more for a network that does less, and more money is now required to play catch up,” she said in a statement issued on Tuesday. “What on earth was the point of spending $51bn of taxpayers’ dollars on the Liberals’ second-rate copper network to begin with?” In 2018, the outgoing chief executive of NBN Co, Bill Morrow, admitted that the reliance on copper had led to a higher fault rate and slower internet speeds but helped deliver the network faster and more cheaply.Coalition to announce $3.5bn NBN upgrade to roll out fibre ‘deeper and closer to homes’ | Technology | The Guardian
In any other universe, recovering from one public health crisis by worsening another would spark immediate backlash. An “asbestos led recovery” would be career-ending; as would a “tobacco led recovery” or a “AK-47 led recovery”. But fossil fuels have locked their harm so deeply into our lives that we have become desensitised to this incredible, radical significance of proposing to hurt humans as a pathway to helping them. What is happening here is simultaneously deadly and ludicrous. (Ketan Joshi Renew Economy).Stop the lies, Morrison. Your gas-led recovery is a toxic sham. – » The Australian Independent Media Network
An organisation appointed to provide a surge workforce for aged care facilities is backed by a powerful business network with connections to the Liberal Party and News Corp.Mable aged care app investors tied to Liberal Party and News Corp
Frydenberg has stepped in front and center to try to deflect all the blame onto Victoria after all if The Commonwealth is found to be responsible for the outbreak of Covid in aged-care due to poorly regulated providers then they too are to blame for the crippling of the economy and not as Frydenberg would prefer it to be Andrews work. It seems Andrews doesn’t even need to buy into what’s patently obvious. (ODT)
Morrison has accepted some accountability for what’s happened, but he’s also kept Andrews squarely in the frame as I mentioned a moment ago. I’ve said before it is reasonable to point out that states have a role in managing outbreaks during the pandemic, and there are some overlapping responsibilities in aged care – but this offensive should also be called for what it is: a patent prime ministerial effort to sidestep blame. The prime ministerial sidestep is obviously effective, though, if our Guardian Essential poll is a reliable guide. When asked in the latest survey to identify who was to blame for the outbreaks in aged care during the pandemic, slightly more respondents identified the state government (30%) than the federal government (28%) – but more people blamed the providers (42%).Parliament lets Scott Morrison know who his tribe is – and it isn’t the premiers and chief ministers | Katharine Murphy | Australia news | The Guardian
Creating the framework for monopolisation in a predator State(ODT)
Ultimately, a long term plan for sustainable economic growth and broader prosperity for the Australian public is required. Not a continued push for the Coalition to fulfil its ideological wish list as the economy continues to sink beneath the icy waves.
Our QED database includes dozens of examples of dubious travel claims made by politicians. But what is more concerning than the apparent inappropriate use of public funds is the MPs’ lack of accountability and their arrogant treatment of the fourth estate – the journalists holding power to account. Elizabeth Minter reports.
Morrison Government kowtows to the Murdoch global Dynasty (ODT)
Opposition communications ministers have called out the Morrison government’s continued hypocrisy in its funding of its broadcast interests – granting $10 million of public to Fox Sports, weeks after revelations of continued cutting millions of dollars in funding to the ABC.
“The ABC has suffered from repeated budget cuts under the Coalition Government, some $783 million since 2014, and is now cutting jobs and news services to stay afloat. If there is money to go around for broadcasting, it should go to the ABC and SBS.
“The PM needs to reverse the funding cuts to the ABC. He can easily find the first $10 million by taking it back from Murdoch and putting it where it will be the most benefit to broadcasting and promoting women’s sport and where fans can actually watch it without forking out more money,” Hanson-Young said.
LNP has plans to offer superfund management totally to Private Equity firms despite the fact Trade Unions have provided their members with the best outcomes and lowest fees. (ODT)
“Does the minister agree that, whatever debate there may be concerning the principle of ministerial responsibility, the practice has almost invariably been that a minister resigns when his or her continued presence is causing damage and embarrassment to that government?” John Howard
The nation thrills this week to the riddle, wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma of the Morrison government, a puzzle, that includes Lambie’s Faustian bargain, Angus Taylor’s war on both Naomi Wolf and Clover Moore with Gladys Liu’s to-do tipping the government’s weekly balance from hyper-partisan warfare and union thuggery into utter skulduggery.
The one-time trombone-playing former teacher’s aide and ex-chemist-shop proprietor cannot keep mum forever about her Brighsun or Liberal associates, nor they about her, especially as she now has cause to ask for her money back.
Any sensible, practical government would demand the resignation of both Gladys Liu and Angus Taylor. Given his form so far, Scott Morrison is likely to find fifty shades of grey evasion including blaming Labor and Wolf to avoid taking any decision.
There is no individual, no institution nor any emerging crisis so big that this government cannot find a way to look past it.
The LNP focus on Unions as the greatest thieves in the country. They busted Craig Thompson for $13 mill to prove it. How can you be so conned Australia? (ODT)
The cost of misconduct for the major banks and AMP just keeps ticking up. It’s not over yet but at this stage of peak remediation provisioning, the number appears to be approaching the magic $10 billion mark on a pre-tax basis.
If that had happened, six deaths would’ve been prevented, and the remorseless mass destruction of physical and psychological health would’ve been curtailed.
Finally, ScoMo must also keep mum about Attorney-General Christian Porter’s rip-snorting new religious discrimination draft bill which pleases neither progressives nor reactionaries and which may prove a bridge too far for our star of Dili, Pacific and European diplomacy. Or our globe-trotting PM may just be plumb tuckered out; a daggy dad with bad jet-lag. On the other hand, he’s been exceptionally ineffectual and deceptive, even by his own government’s yard-stick.
The key question is when will he and his government be held to account?
The poltics of gain Andrew Robb walked into $880k paypacket with the Chinese (ODT)
“Animal Spirits” will be unleashed, ScoMo proclaims, in a dreary rehash of clichés, Monday . The PM copies The Donald, conflating Keynes’ phrase with consumer confidence and laissez-faire economics. Why? “Animal spirits” will roar like a lion when we release the cage of “regulatory and bureaucratic barriers to businesses.” But why so late?
The Coalition has had six years to deregulate. Yet it still can provide no detail. Nor point to any record of success. Perhaps it’s just too modest. In the news currently is Private Security Company, Paladin, awarded $423 million to garrison Manus, without having to worry about an open tender. Or there’s the $444 million quietly slipped to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation a mob of Liberal mates headed up by a former CBA chairman, Dr John M Schubert.
Then there’s Fossil-fuel Energy minister, Angus Taylor, who’s held talks with federal environment officials over an issue at the centre of an illegal land-clearing action brought by the same department against a company part-owned by him and his brother, reports Guardian Australia. We should cheer the healthy disregard for regulation and the way the government appears to back the Taylor family in its alleged quest to bend the rules to help the Taylors to a better life.
Thus, the next three years will reveal, as world events take control, the great lie that has captivated 51.5% of the electorate concerning the Coalition’s economic credentials. Frydenberg’s inability to react will consign him to the political scrap heap and Morrison along with him. By 2022, no longer will that outrageous claim be sustainable, even to the most loyal Coalition voter.
So, notwithstanding a likely unemployment rate of 7%, with no capital investment, the mess that an incoming Labor government will have to deal with and an economy they will have to resurrect, it’s perhaps the better result in the long run.
And so, with the 51.5%, who will get far less than they bargained for and the rest of us who will watch it play out as expected, the truth of it will finally be revealed.
44 years later, after six years of calamitous Tory incompetence and nastiness and following their campaign of lies and misinformation, there is no way I will accept this current claque as legitimate and I will not be nice to those who do
“She already told me that she doesn’t have to be nice, so why do I? Because my mother raised me right? That’s why wolves always win. Because the rest of us mind our manners and get devoured for our efforts.”
― Sheryl J. Anderson, Killer Cocktail
To reflect Ms Anderson’s sentiments – fuck you, Fauxmo; and the donkeys you rode in on!
For six years the L/NP dodged scrutiny with its “look, it’s Labor” dissembling and obfuscation – taking their behaviour as an Opposition into Government. A complacent and compliant media went along for the ride giving a free pass to a declining economy, corporate crime, a degraded environment and social disharmony.
The ABC was cowed into submission by constant attacks, becoming a timorous shadow of the once honourable organisation that held governments to account.
And in a truly ironic case of misplaced schadenfreude a journalist from the L/NP propaganda machine Newscorpse was raided by the Australian Federal Police Farce – the Gestapo of Spud’s private legion of spooks and door-breakers. The indignation of News’ L/NP groupies provided a level of grim lampoonery.
The goon squad trading as the AFP has all of the credibility of the Keystone Cops. A bought and paid for apparatus of the Lib surveillance state they somehow managed to lose the paperwork when “investigating” Michaelia Carcrash on the AWU raids tip-off. In raiding the ABC and a News journalists they are complying with standard practice – hounding sources of information that embarrass the conservative Government, intimidating potential whistle-blowers and keeping the L/NP free from scrutiny.
Dutton, ex-copper from Queensland, is resurrecting the Bjelke-Petersen-era police state cheered on by the Party nutters who’ve slipped through the crazy filter. Bullies are cowards and this platoon of poltroons is scared of accountability. Their incompetence and failures and their lack of courage is supplemented by their conviction that they have a right to rule and no obligation to serve.
A compliant and complicit mainstream media has gotten a loud wake-up call. Will they respond or will they hit the snooze button? Will a complacent public shrug this off? I’m betting they will and I will not be polite in calling out those of that kind of my acquaintance, and in less than courteous terms. This is a government for gormless dullards, the tremulous, the authoritarians, the weak of mind and dull of eye, the indifferent and the stupid.
It’s not my government. Fuck that!
Scott Morrison voted against the Royal Commission into Banks 26 times. He continued to do little or nothing since, and even after the release of the Panama Papers were banks were found to be party to money laundering and tax evasion. He’s allowed the banks to to create an industry that simply ran riot over the Australian public farming profits for itself with little and no service provided in return,and now he’s allowing that system to continue. Australia has slid 6 places on the global corruption index since 2013 (ODT)
Five of the biggest investment banks in the world, including UBS, Barclays and Citibank, have been accused in an Australian class action lawsuit of operating a foreign exchange cartel using secret chat rooms titled “the Cartel”, “the Bandits Club” and “the Mafia”.
The banks, including JPMorgan and Royal Bank of Scotland subsidiary NatWest, have been accused of colluding to fix interest rates to the financial benefit of their own banks and to the detriment of other market participants including individual investors and businesses.
Yet governments have been indifferent. During the eleven years of the Howard government, there was no major anti-corruption initiative. No federal whistleblowing legislation, no federal integrity commission, no false claims Act, no foreign corrupt practices act.
Australia could not have a Mueller-type inquiry because we don’t have the mechanism.
Not surprisingly Australia has been sliding down Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index for some time. Over the last six years, we have dropped six more places.
Last November, 34 former judges including former justices of the High Court, wrote a letter to Scott Morrison calling for the immediate establishment of a national integrity commission to restore trust in our democracy.
$80,million Spent like water (ODT)
Guardian Australia reported this week on the mystery surrounding the reason Joyce chose the companies he did for the buybacks. On Friday, Labor raised specific questions about one of the purchases, worth $80m.
On Saturday, Hanson-Young said she would write to the auditor general requesting an urgent audit.
“The auditor has a responsibility to investigate how $80m of taxpayers money was paid for water that doesn’t exist,” she said in a tweet.
The Coalition government’s use of taxpayer money for political advertising – as much as A$136 million since January, according to Labor figures – is far from an aberration in Australia. It is part of a sordid history in which public resources have routinely been abused for electoral advantage.
For example, the Coalition governments of Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull spent at least A$84.5 million on four major advertising campaigns to promote their policies and initiatives with voters. The ALP governments of Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard spent A$20 million on advertising to promote the Gonski school funding changes and another A$70 million on a carbon tax campaign. Going further back, the Coalition government under John Howard spent A$100 million on its WorkChoices and GST campaigns.
Read more: The difference between government advertising and political advertising
This is also a history in which hypocrisy is not hard to find.
Paladin corruption allegations;
Royal Commission findings on banks;
no charges laid over questionable tip-offs on AFP’s union raid from Michaelia Cash’s office; and
Northern Territory’s public service corruption charges.
Scamming your money to promote herself? (ODT)
Downer was rightly universally condemned for her actions, but think about what her action suggests. Firstly, she considered taxpayers’ funds her own to claim and present (the novelty cheque clearly said the Liberal Party on it and had her image printed on it as well). This betrays how the Liberals think about taxpayers’ funds — the funds belong to them, not the public. Which is why the Libs loathe welfare. Any welfare payment made is effectively less money in the pool for them to rort.
Secondly, under the media cover of wall-to-wall coverage of Cardinal Pell’s conviction of paedophilia charges, the Liberals quietly changed the rules around how sitting MPs can use their taxpayer-funded office expenses for political advertising in the lead-up to the election. Again, this rule change takes taxpayers’ funds and allows them to be used by the Liberal Party for political advertising, something in the past they’d have to pay for themselves. Given that in the Victoria State Election the Liberals ran much of their campaign claiming that the Victoria Labor Government was corrupt for accidentally using taxpayer-paid office staff for campaigning (the red shirts scandal), this is hypocritical in the extreme.
Toby Wright, writing for Nine media recently made a comparison between Mick Young, a Minister in the Hawke Government of the 1980’s and Scott’s Government. Young, who neglected to declare a stuffed Paddington Bear at Customs in 1984, was confronted with his crime and promptly stood down from the Ministry until investigations were concluded. Scott’s Government include Ministers that seem to be connected with a mindboggling litany of unethical actions; the current list includes Ministers Cash, Dutton, Cormann, Wilson and former Minister and current Ambassador Hockey. While some of the current scandals surrounding the government commenced before Scott became the Prime Minister, he is not blameless as resignations or ‘career breaks’ could have been requested or enforced while the facts were determined. Scott in contrast continues with his ‘Everything is Awesome’ routine.
Assuming for a second there are people that really do want to enter Parliament to represent their electorate rather than become one of the pigs in the trough, a piece of advice — Scott is not someone you should attempt to emulate; don’t be like Scott.