How screwed are we as a species? Very.
Lawyers are calling for reforms to the country’s political donation laws after the ABC’s Four Corners program uncovered links between Mafia figures and senior politicians.
Four Corners revealed that in 2005 Mafia money may have played a role in helping to lobby the then-immigration minister Amanda Vanstone to grant a visa to senior Calabrian Mafia figure.
That figure was Frank Madafferi, a man with an extensive criminal history back in Italy who was set to be deported.
But Madafferi’s Mafia connections paid tens of thousands of dollars into the Millennium Forum, a now-defunct fundraising body connected to the Liberal Party.
Ms Vanstone’s decision to allow him to stay came after those donations.
The Calabrian Mafia is a ruthless and violent criminal organisation that looms large in the Australian underworld.
Clive Small, a former assistant commissioner with NSW Police, said it never donated money without expecting favours in return.
“The Calabrian Mafia doesn’t give anything away. Any penny, any cent they spend is because they expect two cents back,” Mr Small said.
Media player: “Space” to play, “M” to mute, “left” and “right” to seek.
In response to the findings, NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption counsel assisting Geoffrey Watson SC called for Australia’s political donation system to be overhauled.
“This is a case study of what’s wrong with the system. Well, it’s seriously wrong,” Mr Watson said.
“The point is that for no better reason than the making of donations to a political party, specific representations were able to put [Mafia figures] amongst the most powerful politicians in the land — access which you and I couldn’t get except if we made substantial donations ourselves.”
New rules needed to improve transparency, expert says
A 2009 Australian Federal Police (AFP) report described a “lack of checks and oversight” in the Australian political donations system as “significant” failings.
“As it stands, political parties and candidates can receive significant support and financial contributions through avenues not covered by the statutory disclosure regime,” the report said.
It added that “loopholes” in the oversight system meant it was “difficult to identify any bribery in the form of political donations”.
But Social Services Minister Scott Morrison said the AFP also found there was nothing further to pursue.
“It is important that we have a strong system that has the right checks and balances and is transparent, and I think transparency has improved significantly over the years,” Mr Morrison said.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said Labor was prepared to have another look at tightening donation rules.
“Labor is up for reform of political donation laws. We asked Mr Abbott and the Liberal Party to join with us to further improve confidence in our democratic system.”
Professor Ian Ramsey, the director of the Centre for Corporate Law at Melbourne University, said new rules were needed to ensure complete transparency.
“For quite a number of years now, many people, myself included, have really seen significant limitations in terms of our existing disclosure requirements,” Professor Ramsey said.
“In particular, there are important issues about the transparency, how much is disclosed, and also how quickly that information is disclosed.
“Certainly I think there is a real need for improvement.”
Ms Vanstone has been contacted by the ABC but has yet to comment.
You can watch Four Corners — The Mafia in Australia: Drugs, Murder and Politics on ABC iView.
A week in Canberra watching Abbott and Hockey rearranging the figures from the Budget to try to save their fragile political careers, as well as my access again to the private papers of Sir Keith Arthur Murdoch, were two good lessons in the fragility of power.
The conservative political party that Robert Gordon Menzies created in Australia about 100 years ago, that he chose to call “Liberal“, is even more conservative than the British Conservatives of Winston Churchill.
Perhaps, once again,
‘It was The Sun wot won it!’
Meanwhile, here at home, Tony Abbott and his dopey crew of political “wannabes” have crossed into a form of reverse anarchism that gives all power to elected politicians and none to the voters. The Queensland Liberal-National Party was doing the same, with far less propriety, when the people sent them to the Opposition benches.
As for Keith Rupert Murdoch, who at least had the decency to decline a knighthood, unlike his beknighted father, has been as he has always been, the dark eminence that has wrecked all ideas about democracy.
That showed in his father’s private papers:
‘There is only one secret to the production of a good newspaper, and that is infinite care and accuracy and constant attention to detail.’
And, another comment:
‘The real thinking and leadership in Australia has to be done by the Australian people, informed by the truth in all matters.’
Rupert Murdoch: “Kill Miliband!” Kill Labour. Kill Labor.
Mind you, these words were not written to support the Labor Party. Murdoch senior was never anything other than a Menzies conservative, even though he would often brush aside complaints from Menzies. Keith much preferred Billy (William Morris) Hughes as prime minister.
He wrote personal messages to his staff in his own hand and chose to do so because he suffered from a speech defect.
As a newcomer at his Melbourne primary school, he was both shy and afraid of the rowdier youngsters who chose him as a target because his conservative religious upbringing came in a strict family of two clerics — a grandfather and father of the Scottish Free Church. He paid the price of being a child within a public school of mixed and rowdy backgrounds. A well-mannered, well-behaved newcomer soon became an easy target for bullies.
He developed a nervous stutter that haunted him throughout his life, even in spite of those who helped him. When he was a young man, his family sent to him England to study and to take speech lessons from the celebrated Adelaide therapist, Lionel Logue, who had a practice in London and had famously taught a stuttering King of England to speak in public.
Keith Murdoch”s speech improved in London as he moved through higher circles because of his short connection with the Anzacs. Back home, as his journalistic career thrived, he eventually became editor in chief of the Herald and Weekly Times under Theodore Fink, the company’s founder, chairman and managing director.
From that time, Keith preferred writing short notes of both praise and criticism to his editors and reporters, both to encourage them and to train them in the arts and skills of journalism.
To a Herald editor who allowed an error to escape his eagle eye, he wrote:
‘We must always assume that the public reads us critically and so must be ever watchful wherever a meaning might be misinterpreted.’
To a reporter:
‘The circulation of our newspaper is based on sound writing and intense loyalty to the truth and such must never be in doubt.’
More false glorification of war. Why embellish if the truth is so great? Sir Keith Murdoch’s Gallipoli heroics https://independentaustralia.net/business/business-display/the-truth-about-sir-keith-murdochs-gallipoli-heroics,7656#.VUgFL4FsZvA ….
To a new political reporter in Canberra:
‘I hope you will move consistently among the Federal members and write about their personalities and be ready to challenge any of their scattered inconsistencies.’
To a sub-editor:
‘You have made your leading headline scarcely worth reading. A good rule is the advice to a musician – ”do not sound a top note every day and make the unimportant unnecessarily important.”‘
To an editorial writer:
‘The real thinking and leadership in Australia has to be done by the Australian people, not by this newspaper.’
To a young reporter:
‘The secret of a good story is infinite care and strict attention to detail.’
To a rural correspondent:
‘We talk of land monopolists. Why? The sheep men are doing great work for Australia. We should not ally ourselves with those who call good men ”land monopolists.”‘
To all the staff one day he circulated:
‘When you travel home by train please count the number of people reading The Herald.’
And then an occasional word of praise:
‘The paper is well edited today and the wireless and bus features are splendidly done. It is altogether a paper to be proud of.’
How all Australians could bring down the Murdoch news empire, if only they followed this advice from a young girl. http://tinyurl.com/lax4a3u
We hardly need to be reminded of it, but the ABC funding cut demonstrates the utter political ineptitude of the Abbott government.
It’s not just that it’s an obvious broken promise (one that Coalition members compound foolishly by denying).
Nor is it merely that the government is picking a fight with the most wide-reaching and respected media organisation in the country. Or that Coalition partners the Nationals will bleed votes as a result of cuts made to regional coverage.
It highlights the extent to which the government is out of touch with ordinary Australians, preferring the counsel of a small group of right-wing ideologues to the clear-cut research that the ABC is still the most trusted news source in the country. But this isn’t the worst of it, not by far.
Even the ABC critics have angrily made the point that the government has barely attempted to build a case that the cuts could be sustained. It’s an open secret that there are some areas of the ABC that could use some trimming – like any major organisation. But this isn’t an excuse for such major cuts, nor was it used as one; it provided an opportunity for the government to hold a mature debate about spending and debt, about public broadcasting’s role and the virtue of keeping a responsible eye on all government-funded institutions. But as is becoming common, the chance was missed by Abbott et al, and any political capital that might have been gained was squandered. If you listen closely, you can still hear echoes of Coalition politicians fighting the wrong battle.
It’s not even that the government is doing all this at a time when it needs all the support it can get, as even its few remaining boosters – Alan Jones, Andrew Bolt, the Australian – turn on it. The cuts have almost no support on the rest of the political spectrum, apart from two libertarian senators, who feel the same way about all government spending. Christopher Pyne, wily fox that he is, knows the score: recognising the unpopularity of his own cabinet’s decision, he’s campaigning against it. Hopefully he kicks his own arse while he’s at it.
So what’s to gain? The support of a handful of angry old men who would never vote for anyone else anyway.
The point’s been made over and over that the ABC is essential – in regional areas, in order to prevent the total domination of the likes of News Corp, in order to cover the sorts of community service broadcasting that commercial stations could never afford, and so on and so on. What’s the argument in favour of cuts? No idea, except to shore up a broad, almost ideological point that there’s “too much waste” in government. It comes in the context of a much wider conversation about the budget that the government has already lost. Did Hockey and Abbott think this would help?
If the point was that the ABC is wasting taxpayers’ money, the Coalition has never actually bothered to make it. (If it was that the ABC is an ideological threats to the government, as it prefers News Corp’s support, it would be honourable to say this.) As usual, Abbott has gone silent rather than front up and explain the reasoning behind his government’s stance. Like the recent bluster about shirt-fronting Putin, he’s less than brave when push comes to shove. In this case he’s handed the steaming pile to his good friend and supporter Malcolm Turnbull.
Four hundred jobs will be lost in the ABC alone, five regional radio stations, the TV studio in Adelaide, all non-news TV production outside Melbourne and Sydney and numerous programs and presenters.
But the most humiliating thing about the campaign to cut public broadcasting, for all of us, is that all of the pain caused, all this traumatic upheaval, all this stupidity and lost political capital is the result of an ineptitude that could be exposed in a single short message on Twitter (@mmccwill): “Politics, apparently, should be understood in context: $254million cut from ABC. Extra $245million found in May budget for school chaplains.”
The Abbott government deserves the kicking it’s going to get over this.
Turn off 2GB , give up on News Corp and the Bolt Report
Nauru child sex abuse allegations to be examined in new inquiry…..Andrew Bolt
Because Morrison wants to stop the “chatter” Not mentioned in Andrew Bolt’s Blog.
This is the source and the bullshit attributed to the lies Bolt gets paid to distribute and why his lawyers are paid hefty amounts to protect Newscorp from conviction.
- theguardian.com, Friday 3 October 2014 10.13 AEST
Scott Morrison says reports charity workers helped children protest against offshore detention policy will also be investigated
The federal government has announced a further inquiry into children in detention on Nauru,
The immigration minister, Scott Morrison, confirmed 10 employees of Save the Children, a non-government organisation contracted to provide welfare, education and protection for children on Nauru, had been told to leave the island.
Morrison has appointed former integrity commissioner and acting department head Philip Moss to head the wide-ranging inquiry investigating “all of these matters”.
The 10 staff members told to leave Nauru are not alleged to have engaged in misconduct against children, but are accused of encouraging protests, complaints of abuse and even of coaching self-harm.
The chief executive of Save The Children, Paul Ronalds, rejected the minister’s allegations and said the governmement had not provided his organisation with any evidence of staff wrongdoing before the claim was leaked to the media, or since.
Nor had it received the report cited by Morrison.
Five Save The Children staff were suspended in August over allegations they had supported a detainee protest by giving a “thumbs up” sign to demonstrators.
“In that case, all of the allegations against Save the Children staff were found to be unsubstantiated, and all of the staff returned to full duties,” Ronalds said.
Save the Children said in an earlier statement instances of child self-harm were “a reality that has been well-documented”.
“The evidence is very clear to us: the long-term and prolonged detention of children has a devastating impact on the mental and physical well-being of children. This can no longer be denied.”
Morrison said he would be appalled if accusations of sexual abuse proved true, but that the fabrication of allegations to further a political agenda was also serious.
Guardian Australia has published extensive evidence of child abuse and instances of self-harm on Nauru, including:
- pictures and video of children with their lips sewn shut in protest
- internal reports from centre managers Transfield detailing allegations of sexual misconduct by staff against children
- detailed descriptions from staff about violence against child detainees by guards employed by Wilson Security.
Australian federal police confirmed to Guardian Australia it had received a referral from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. It had not started an investigation.
Australian Media Spawned By Andrew Bolt have no compassion
The only place to deal withe the leader of this swarm is Section 18C of the RAD
Bruce Giles AFP Commander said:
“He(Numan Haider hadn’t been monitored for a long time, it was very early days of investigation with this individual”
Totally ignored by these news hounds baying for a headline and grasping at any rumour that might come to their perverted imaginations.
That Numan had been on police radar for months,bullshit. That he planned to behead the two cops crap. That the young man was a full blown terrorist in constant communication with ISIL. In their kafkaesque media storm they have turned this young 18 year old kid with no priors into the devil. Their moronic reporting is doing what extremists want. Fairfax ought to be ashamed Newscorp is on par. Andrew Bolt has spawned print media morons everywhere. The image of Mr Smith in Matrix has morphed into Andrew Boltcame when I picked up this mornings paper.
The only sensible words heard anywhere were those of Gaith Krayem of the Islamic Council of Victoria
“brandishing a flag and making disparaging comments about agencies does not make someone a terrorist”
“Many young men of that age can be brash, angry and immature. None of those things make him a terrorist”
Not one single reporter or commentator many of them with kids of their own gave any creedance that this young man might just have been suffering from a mental illness.
The percentage of people meeting the criteria for diagnosis of a mental illness was highest in younger people, with the prevalence decreasing with age. Twenty-six per cent of 18-24 year olds had experienced a mental disorder, while only 5.9% of people aged 65 years and over had experienced a mental disorder. – See more at:
When for the past few years the papers have been full of the fact that mental illness is is increasingly prevalent amongst young men none of the reporting even gave it consideration. 26% of young men 18-24 no matter their religion suffer from a mental disorder.
This young man had all the markers of a psychotic breakdown which had been building up for some time.
- He was extremely stressed because he’d broken up with his girlfriend who was extremely important in his life some months before. A common trigger in the onset of a mental breakdown among young men.
- His friends indicated that he’d changed. That he had become withdrawn and really didn’t want to talk.
- Neighbuours said he was quite removed just nodded when they passed
- He had left the “extremist” group months before which was yet another an indication of his withdrawl
- His parents didn’t know what he was doing he wasn’t talking to them another sign of withdrawl.
- He was paranoid and angry as he’d only just had a confrontation with police on the 18th of September. Bruce Giles head of the ADF comment above says it clearly that he’d just come on their radar.
- He had a strong relationship with god. Not uncommon in mental illness.
- He was by and large a normal Aussie kid.
The above are all telling signs of a young man suffering from a mental illness rather than the fanciful idea of being a heroic over idealised terrorist. Gaith Krayem of the Islamic council of Victoria seems to be the only one quoted by the media that is the voice of reason and more-over compassion in the circumstance for everyone involved
Andrew Bolt has kids he should be so lucky as to not have one of his sons come down with a mental illness so crippling that something like this occurs. Any of the other media fuckwits that claim to have half a brain should have considered this possibility. They have certainly gone down in my eyes. Christian,Muslim,Seikh or Buddhist are not immune to the crippling effects of Paranoid Schizophrenia,Schizo-Affective Disorder, Chronic Bi-Polar Episodes, or Devastating Depression which can bring about psychosis.
I’m sure some of the above media dolts suffer or have suffered from a mental disorder at some time in their life. Or that they have experienced the effects of it in others yet none even considered the possibility of it climbing over themselves for the headline. I’m certain Andrew Bolt more than any of you knows what mental illness is …no compassion, blinkered tunnel vision, inflexibility, inability to listen are also symptoms
Why do we march against the Abbott Government? Admittedly marching will not change the government or the government’s ideology, but it will help to raise awareness of important issues and get people thinking.
I had seen the media bias and I had seen the damage this bias had caused; both at a personal level and towards our national psyche. I knew that we could never rely on the media to support our cause. Newscorp has 70% control of our MSM print distribution. It’s as if we are Foxtel controlled. Even when 100,000 march the MSM ignore the fact. Strange that it goes unnoticed.
This a great country no doubt but it does have some great inequalities and injustices. March Australia is not aligned with any political party, its grassroots and calling for decency, transparency and accountability in government.
What happened to understanding and education on issues, instead of judgement and fear? It is mind-boggling to have an election based around slogans ‘stop the boats’ and ‘axe the tax’ and now ‘terror alert’. It really gives us sense of an Orwellian world more so when $650 mill is to be directed at ‘national security’ and the ADF budget is increased while welfare is to be axed. $650mill ‘to keep us safe’ . It’s a very ominous sound bite if you ask who is the ‘us’,’ and from ‘whom’ employing increased surveillance,hardware and policing will lead to arrests just to substantiate these decisions.
Are Australian’s really so concerned about a small amount of asylum seekers that wouldn’t even fill a small stadium ? Especially since most asylum seekers come by plane? Do we ever hear ‘stop the planes’? The majority of boat people are found to be genuine refugees. It even says so on the parliamentary website. Why pander to people’s fear and ignorance for cynical political gain. It’s What about ‘stop the ignorance’ and ‘stop the fear mongering’ ‘attend the issue’? Using words like ‘leaners’ and ‘illegals’ ‘radical’ does nothing to help people understand the situation. Why not tell people that ‘it is not illegal to seek asylum,in Australia whether by boat, plane or any other.
Labeling people as ‘leaners’ creates unnecessary stigma and actually demoralises people. Particularly when the majority don’t want to be on welfare. 15% youth unemployment isn’t solved by heavy-handed supervision it’s about creating jobs and opportunity. Youth radicalization comes with demoralization of people who need to be energized and inspired by hope and opportunity.
It’s why 100,000 March for Australia
“These signs from a Sydney protest suggest beheading is indeed considered by many Muslims to have religious sanction. These protesters haven’t just independently dreamed up some punishment of their own”………….In short they are here!!
“The fact that Foley’s killer has an English accent is actually one of the most significant details about this horrible murder.” ……….They have Australian accents as well!!
235 Journalists have been killed in Syria & Iraq according to Committee to Protect Journalists 111 murdered with impunity
CPJ is extremely concerned for all journalists, most of them Syrians, held captive by Islamic State, which murdered U.S. freelancer James Foley. Islamic State kidnaps, kills, and threatens journalists in the territories over which it holds sway. Syria has been the most dangerous country in the world for journalists for more than two years, with at least 70 killed covering the conflict. At least one journalist is killed, another arrested, and several injured amid intensifying clashes between the Iraqi government and its allies, and the insurgency spearheaded by the Al-Qaeda splinter group Islamic State.
“Local and foreign journalists already knew that Syria was the world’s most dangerous place to be a reporter before the beheading of James Foley brought that knowledge to the general public,” said CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney.
Despite that, Syrian and foreign reporters like Jim Foley are prepared to put their lives at risk, in an attempt, in the words of another U.S. journalist killed in Syria, Marie Colvin, to ‘bear witness.'”
James Foley accepted the risks involved and had experienced captivity in Libya for 55 days once before. Death is a part of war. Mai Lai was a brutal and illegal event committed by US troops in Vietnam. Illegal acts are done by all sides in a wars. Sarin gas was used by Assad in Syria. MH17 is a recent case in which 38 Australians perished.
I think one has to be extremely carefull as to who we are blaming here. The use of Sarin was a condemnation of the Assad government and not the Syrian people or Islam. MH17 wasn’t shot down by the Russians. Abbott backed off after his knee jerk reaction pointing a finger at Putin and the Russians.
Bolt and his Newscorp mates however blame Islam. For them this public eventis yet another opportunity to give Islam a verbal shalacking rather than ISIS it’s leadership and propaganda arm. Isis wants the USA to escalate they want them in on this war and what better way to goad Obama than a public beheading. Retaliation by the USA is as good as any recruitment drive. Take Gaza the collateral damage Israel does in their effort to destroy Hamas simply increases Hamas’s ranks and results in another generation of youth filled with hate for Israel.
Murdoch’s global news machine always responds in unison – to some divine wind – it pursues a relentless campaign in favour of current Murdoch objectives – particularly his political ones it’s not reporting. Every journalist in Australia knows that.” Along with Fox News Murdoch uses his media empire as a standard-bearer for the radical-conservative front that’s undermining social democratic parties and progressive politics throughout the English-speaking world. For god sake he doesn’t need to ring his editors or producers to let them what he wants. They know what he thinks he Tweets the world daily and tells us what he thinks. He hates Obama and loves the neocons. He hates the ALP and supports Abbott at the moment. His global media once supported Bush & the invasion of Iraq. Weapons of Mass Destruction never found but were used as a necessity for US intervention then. Now it’s Isam because it’s good for Abbott, Cameron, the Tea Party and conservative front.
The more fear,the more alarm about an enemy that lurks within Australia, the more ground Abbott and the coalition will regain. James Foley died as a war correspondant as others have before him. He knew the risks and didn’t quiver when his time came. But Newscorp Bolt, Blair, Devine, McCrann & others will use James Foley to tell us know Tony Abbott is the ‘Man’ “the Oxonian Rhodes scholar”, “the volunteer fire-fighter and surf club member”, “the hugely intelligent, hugely decent, down-to-earth bloke”, equally at home downing “beers” and “writing books about political philosophy” – these commentators will practise their character beatification and take us to war or at least ensure that this government stays in power. This government that will guarantee an increase in youth suicide, the mental breakdown of asylum seekers and further alienation of the poor and minorities in this country