Thursday, 17 April 2014

One blogger's reaction to what the mainstream media are not saying about the O'Farrell resignation

Blogger Victoria Rollison in The Australian  Independent Media Network, 16 April 2014:

Today the media have presented their preferred frame for the resignation of Barry O’Farrell as: he mistakenly lied to an ICAC enquiry because he forgot that he received a $3,000 bottle of wine from the CEO of Australian Water Holdings. But of course O’Farrell didn’t resign because of his problems with ‘memory’. He resigned because he could no longer deny a personal expensive-wine-recipient, hand-written-note-receiver, phone-call-taker-relationship with someone who was earning over a million dollars a year as CEO of a company in a public-private partnership with the government Barry O’Farrell was in charge of up until today. This information is completely absent from the media’s framing of this story. But just imagine for a moment if one part of this story was different. Imagine for a moment that Barry O’Farrell was a Labor Premier. Imagine if Tony Abbott, standing by O’Farrell and brawling with a journalist asking questions about corruption, was a Labor Prime Minister. The ‘chaos, scandal, dysfunction, smear’ machine works in overdrive for Labor stories, but can’t even get out of second gear when Liberals are involved.

From Those Wonderful Folk Who Gave You Wal-Mart Grand Openings: Abbott Government picks Japanese global media group to deliver its political propaganda and campaign advertising

Mitchell & Partners, with experience in government media management, is about to become the Abbott Government’s new master media agency with a contract worth approximately $137 million.

Mitchell & Partners was formerly part of the Aegis Media Group. 

The Japanese Dentsu Group acquired the Aegis Media Group in 2013 and formed Dentsu Aegis Network Ltd in London.

In August 2013 major shareholders in the parent company of this global media group were The Master Trust Bank of Japan Ltd. (Trust accounts), Kyodo News, Jiji Press, Ltd, Japan Trustee Services Bank Ltd (Trust accounts), Group Employees’ Stockholding Association, Mizuho Corporate Bank  Ltd, Yoshida Hideo Memorial Foundation, Recruit Holdings Co. Ltd, Tokyo Broadcasting System Television Inc, SSBTOD05OMNIBUS ACCOUNT-TREATYCLIENTS.

It will come as no surprise to find that Aegis Media/Mitchell & Partners appears to have had one or more contracts with Rupert Murdoch’s News Ltd.

Mitchells says of itself:

We are thought leaders and reputation managers, protecting and promoting the missions, visions and values of our clients.

I suspect that neither Mitchells nor Dentsu realise what an onerous contract they may have entered into.

Australian Government Dept. of Finance media release:

Mitchells appointed as the Australian Government’s master media agency

15 Apr 2014
Author: John Sheridan
Hi all,
I am pleased to announce that Mitchell and Partners Australia Pty Ltd (Mitchells) has been appointed as the Australian Government’s master media agency for an initial period of four years. Mitchells was awarded the contract following a competitive open tender process undertaken by the Department of Finance, which was overseen by industry, probity and legal advisers.
Mitchells, in an alliance with Adcorp Australia Ltd, will provide both campaign and non-campaign advertising services and deliver operational efficiencies to departments and agencies through the amalgamation of advertising services, the use of an online system and increased visibility of transactional data.  Mitchells will also be offering a number of optional services under the contract such as econometric modelling and creative content development and production services.
It is mandatory for departments and agencies covered by the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 to use the arrangement for media planning, buying and placement.  Bodies covered by the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 will have the option to utilise the arrangement.
Finance is planning for a smooth transition for users of the advertising arrangement and will be in contact with departments and agencies over the next few weeks.
Campaign Brief 15 April 2014:

Says John Thompson, general manager of Mitchells: "Our approach to develop a customised and innovative solution for the Australian Government allows Mitchells and Adcorp to deliver a full service media model covering core media activity as well as search and performance marketing, social media, creative services and econometric modelling. We have a deep appreciation of the needs of Government and look forward to bringing a new level of innovation, understanding and capability to the Australian Government media activity."

Job Search advertisement for Australian Minister for Women 13 April 2014

When a citizen becomes desperate for quality political representation the oddest things can happen.

Like this ……

Snapshot of mock ad placed with Job Search at and published online 13 April 2014


We invite you to apply to be Australia's next Minister for Women.
Essential criteria:
- The candidate must recognise herself as female. 
Whilst we acknowledge that men and women have the right to apply for any job they like, we are respectfully declining applications from men based on their lack of experience in being a woman. 
Any men who legitimately identify themselves as female are quite welcome to apply.
About the role
- The Minister for Women will consult with her fellow cabinet ministers on policies that  affect the status, health, welfare and equality of all women in Australian society.
- She will build up a deep understanding of the current state of women's affairs by forging links with prominent bodies and groups that are focussed on promoting women's access to all parts of society.  
-  The minister will be expected to maintain a high profile and engage with her constituents on a regular basis. In order to engage with women most effectively, the role will demand frequent travel to all parts of Australia.
Candidates with any of the following attributes are encouraged to apply:
- Ability to juggle motherhood with a full time job
- Discontentedness with receiving a lower pay rate than equivalent male counterparts
- A history of objecting to sexist or demeaning remarks
- Severe repulsion at media stereotyping of gender roles
- A willingness to work alongside other women in Parliament

13 Apr 2014
Location: ACT
Salary: $150k+ plus super
Work type: Full Time
Classification: Government & Defence  Government - Federal


Given that the then Opposition Leader and now current Minister for Women, Prime Minister Tony Abbott, obviously had to be restrained when passing one particular woman in the workplace, is it any wonder that this mock ad was created?

Found at @KieraGorden

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Independent Commission Against Corruption claims Liberal NSW Premier O'Farrell's scalp

NSW Premier and Liberal Party MP Barry O’Farrell denied receiving a $3,000 bottle of Penfold's Grange Hermitage wine on or about 20 April 2011, from long-time Liberal Party member and then Australian Water Holdings CEO Nick Di Girolamo.

He did not declare this gift in either his ministerial or member’s declarations of pecuniary interests.

Further, in evidence before the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) on 15 April 2014 O’Farrell could not recall many details of his official or private contact with Di Giolamo.

Then this made its appearance reportedly courtesy of Mr. Di Girolamo:

 The Telegraph 15 April 2014

Subsequently Barry O’Farrell announced his intention to resign as premier.


Courier billing document listing Australian Water Holdings' Gift to Barry O'Farrell & Wife:

Abbott Government move increasing the cost of getting married by a celebrant?

According to the Australian Attorney-General Department’s website, there are currently more than 10,000 Commonwealth-registered marriage celebrants in this country.

Those wishing to become Commonwealth-registered celebrants now have to pay an upfront $600 application fee, on top of the cost of the basic training course (usually between $1,000-$2,000) and cost of required ongoing professional development.

All Commonwealth-registered celebrants will also have pay the Federal Government a $240 annual registration charge.

Their first annual charge invoice will arrive in July this year. If celebrants fail to pay by 3 September (or fail to apply for the very limited exemption) they will be deregistered on 13 September 2014 – no ifs or buts.

There were 10,300 Commonwealth-registered celebrants on the departmental list in 2011 and, if that number has not decreased the Abbott Government can expect to receive at least $2.4 million into its coffers in five months’ time and every year thereafter. Although the Attorney-General’s Department denies that the new annual charge is a revenue raising measure.

Celebrants conduct approximately 60,000 marriages each year which roughly averages out as 6 wedding ceremonies per celebrant each year and, with the celebrant’s fee ranging from an estimated $350-$950 (depending on the type of ceremony required the bride and groom), there does not appear to be much of an income to be derived.

I suspect that this new annual cost may see many celebrants raise their price for conducting weddings.

March 2014 complaint lodged with the Australian Stock Exchange concerning Metgasco Limited

Coal seam and tight gas exploration & mining company Metgasco Limited is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX).

An individual has lodged a 3-page complaint with ASX alleging that the company failed to meet its disclosure obligations and engaged in allegedly misleading and deceptive conduct (click on page images to enlarge):

The Australian Stock Exchange sent a 2-page reply in which it stated it was investigating the complaint in relation to the mining company's listing obligations:

Click on page images to enlarge

The complainants address has been redacted from both letters for privacy reasons.
These digital copies of the complaint and response were received by North Coast Voices as a direct result of Metgasco Limited's release on 9 April 2014 of email addresses on its subscriber list.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Not a good look for Metgasco Limited

From aabbaadd66, aandhumphries, aaron, aarong, abhijeet, abraham, acashman through to piers, pochu, pradeep, pranay, pscutti, pudney - and every letter of the alphabet in between – Metgasco Limited released email addresses out into cyberspace on Wednesday 9 April 2014 at 9.29am

I suspect that subscribers to Megasco’s newsletter with email addresses beginning with Q through to Z are also in the same boat.

Metgasco realised its mistake and tried to recall this email 29 minutes later:

[redacted] would like to recall the message, "Confirmation of Release - MEL - Rosella drilling update".=

However, that merely resulted in subscribers’ email addresses being sent out a second time.

It is my understanding that Metgasco's indiscretion saw subscribers on its list receiving emails from unexpected quarters within twenty-four hours.

Metgasco CEO Peter Henderson sent out this email apology on Friday 11 April at 4.20pm :

Ladies and Gentlemen

Earlier this week our email entitled “Confirmation of Release – MEL – Rosella drilling update” was erroneously sent with the recipients’ email addresses visible.  As a result, we inadvertently shared the email addresses of some of our subscribers with others.  We apologise for the error and any inconvenience this may have caused you.

Metgasco has controls on the release of data in place and will review and increase them to prevent any error of this kind in future.

Again, our apology for any inconvenience caused.


Peter J Henderson | Managing Director and CEO
Direct:  +61 2 9923 9104
Mobile:  +61 416 007 824