Thursday, 27 April 2017

Turnbull Government not exactly charging ahead in latest Newspoll - which is unlikely to foster calm and considered decision making on the part of the prime minister



These polling numbers represent a dangerous period for the people of Australia.

We already have Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull quickly popping over to a war zone this month for a photo opportunity in a flak jacket (left) and he is scheduled to meet with President Trump on 4 May 2017 to talk about the Korean situation, China and whatever thought bubble is exercising the U.S. president's mind at the time.

No prizes for suspecting Turnbull will offer more support for Trump's attempt to force a breakdown of the almost 64 year-old military armistice agreement between the United Nations and Korean People's Army & Chinese People's Volunteers and, a recommencement of the hostilities with North Korea.

After all, becoming a war leader is almost always good for polling numbers - at least in the first heady rush into combat - and both Turnbull and Trump have persistently low voter satisfaction levels which neither can currently shake off as well as unhealthy budget deficits and/or public debt levels*.

Both the U.S. governing Republican Party and the Australian governing Liberal-Nationals Coalition go the ballot box again in 2018, with mid-term elections for the U.S on 6 November and a general election in Australia anytime from 4 August 2018 through to 18 May 2019.

* In January 2017 the US Government budget deficit was an est. US$559 billion and public debt stood at est.US$14.8 trillion. While the Australian Government budget deficit stood at est. AUD$42.5 billion and public debt at AUD$323.8 billion net

Of course, certainly, we keep your personal information safe from prying eyes!


Anyone who is certain that all information a state/federal government department/agency or civil corporation holds about their social, financial, genealogical or health status is strictly protected from prying eyes needs to seriously question why they appear to hold that unsafe assumption.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 21 April 2017:

More than 700 public patients have had their privacy breached and potential delays in their follow up care after more than 1600 medical letters were found dumped in a Sydney bin.

NSW Health is investigating the incident involving a sub-contractor for a company tasked with transcribing medical letters sent from specialists to general practitioners.

On Tuesday, April 11, a man found piles of follow-up letters containing patient details stuffed into a garbage bin at an apartment block in Ashfield. It is understood there were more than 1600 documents in total. Some of the letters were duplicates. 

The man called in his neighbour, a female health worker, who recognised the documents were out-patient letters and contacted Ashfield police. 

A sub-contractor for Global Transcription Services (GTS) was supposed to take the letters home to post but instead stuffed them into the bin. The young woman had been dealing with personal upheaval and health issues, Health Minister Brad Hazzard said on Thursday, adding it was inappropriate to comment further.

The letters related to 768 public hospital patients from Royal North Shore, Gosford Hospital outpatients and Cancer Centre and Dubbo Hospital Cancer Centre.

There were also 700 letters relating to patients from six private providers: Chris O'Brien Lifehouse, providing services to Dubbo Cancer Clinic, Northern Cancer Institute (Frenchs Forest and St Leonards), Sharp Neurology, Southside Cancer Care Centre, Strathfield Retina Clinic and the Woolcock Institute.

Newcastle Herald, 17 April 2017:

The NSW privacy commissioner has called for a thorough investigation after thousands of photo ID cards, including gun licences, were mistakenly sent to the wrong people in a "significant" security breach.

A total of 2693 cards were sent to the wrong people earlier this month.

Among the documents mailed out were 2000 driver's licences, 104 firearm licences, 318 permits to use disabled parking, 242 proof of age cards, 26 security licences and 3 commercial and private investigator licences.

It is understood people affected went to Service NSW to apply for their licence on April 5, with the licences printed at the agency's card operations centre on April 7.

The error was discovered four days later. Service NSW informed police, Roads and Maritime Services and the privacy commissioner.

Shortly afterwards, gun shops were contacted by police and told to be "extra vigilant" in checking licences until all licences sent to the wrong address were retrieved, News Corp reported.

Those affected have been advised to "be alert to activities that may indicate their identity is being misused by others".

Acting NSW Privacy Commissioner Elizabeth Coombs said the breach was significant as it involves the identity of members of the public.

"These cards contain personal information that can identify individuals. Health information, which is even more sensitive, appears to have also been affected (eg on disability status)," Dr Coombs said.

"This breach is of particular concern as it occurs at a time when the NSW Government is increasing its digital interaction and service provision with the NSW community.

Education HQ Australia, 12 April 2017:

The traumatic, sensitive details of a Victorian mother's life lingered online for days after the education department thought it had dealt with a privacy breach.

The woman was one of 120 people affected when the Victorian education department inadvertently published personal details of parents online after receiving 558 submissions on proposed new regulations for state education.

The department thought it had taken the documents offline, but they were still publicly available five days after the breach, with several still listed on Google's search engine on Wednesday afternoon.

The Australian, 7 April 2017:

A Senate committee which investigated secret Defence training that teaches soldiers how to deal with being taken prisoners of war accidentally disclosed the confidential evidence of witnesses to each other.

On March 7, the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade references committee took evidence from witnesses in-camera, which means it wasn't a public hearing, as part of an inquiry into training procedures for resistance to interrogation and conduct after capture.

Witnesses were posted copies of their transcripts to check over by registered mail, but the committee accidentally sent witnesses all transcripts rather than just individual ones.

Crickey.com.au, 4 April 2017:

Qantas customers’ personal data has been compromised after a data breach revealed the names, seat numbers and frequent flyer numbers of eight passengers to another passenger looking at the Qantas check-in app on Thursday. The app, which was used to check in for a flight between Newman, Western Australia, and Perth, showed the length of the flight and that a snack or brunch would be available, but the Qantas passenger was shocked to be able to see details for other passengers…..

It is not the first time Qantas customer details have been shared with others. In January, an email sent to customers flying out of Melbourne warned of traffic delays on the Tullamarine Freeway included surnames and booking references of other passengers

The Age, 26 March 2017:

A hospital is being investigated for breaching the privacy of dozens of patients after medical records revealing a "swollen penis" and mental illnesses among other things, were found in a Coburg street.
The Australian Information and Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim is investigating how the records of 31 patients were removed from the John Fawkner Private Hospital in Melbourne's north last month.

Determination
1. I find that the respondent, Comcare, interfered with the complainant’s privacy in breach of Part III of the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (Privacy Act) by:
a. disclosing the complainant’s personal information, including sensitive health information on a publicly available website contrary to Information Privacy Principle (IPP) 11; and
b. failing to take such security safeguards as it is reasonable in the circumstances to take, against loss, against unauthorised access, use, modification or disclosure, and against other misuse contrary to IPP 4.


Findings
1. Commonwealth Bank of Australia Limited (the CBA) interfered with the complainant’s privacy by:
* disclosing her personal information to the principal of a Commonwealth Bank Mortgage Innovation agency (MIA) for a purpose other than the primary purpose of collection, in breach of National Privacy Principle (NPP) 2.1 of the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (Privacy Act), and
* failing to take reasonable steps under NPP 4.1 to protect her personal information from misuse and loss and from unauthorised access, modification or disclosure.

Ninety-six per cent of Australian federal parliamentarians own a property


ABC News, 20 April 2017:

There's no housing affordability crisis in the ranks of Federal Parliament's members and senators.

The politicians charged with tackling the thorny issue of spiralling house prices are among the nation's most aggressive property investors, an analysis by the ABC has revealed.

The 226 individuals own 524 properties between them and about half of them own investment properties.

That means many of our politicians have a very personal interest in any changes to negative gearing and the capital gains tax discount……

Ninety-six per cent of parliamentarians own a property. Only 10 out of our 224 elected officials aren't in the game.

Compare that to the rest of Australia, where home ownership is expected to dip below 50 per cent sometime this year.

Register of Members’ Interests for 45th Australian Parliament.

Although a number of investment properties are listed in the members’ register this does not necessarily mean that additional property is not owned as part of superannuation schemes (other than that operated by the Commonwealth of Australia) or included in the assets of a private corporation in which a member has a significant shareholding.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Ceduna, South Australia and the Turnbull Government's cashless debit card trial


On 15 March and 26 April 2016 the Turnbull Government began a twelve month long trial of the Cashless Debit Card aka Healthy Welfare Card in Ceduna and surrounds, South Australia and the East Kimberly region in Western Australia.


More participants said the CDCT [Cashless Debit Card Trial] had made their lives worse than made it better (49% compared to 22%). Family members of trial participants gave a similar pattern of answers (37% and 27%).

The evaluation report also contained a wealth of unsupported anecdotal information bolstering implementation of the cashless debit card – a few instances of which read like pure fairy tales. None of which could be fact checked by readers of the interim report.

However, Turnbull Government claims in the media of reduced crime statistics due to introduction of the cashless debit card can at least be broadly checked.

This is an excerpt from the South Australian Police Annual Report June 2015- June 2016 covering the Eyre and Western Service Local Area which includes Ceduna:

From 2014-15 to 2015-16, Homicide and Related Offences decreased by -25% (18 offences), with Other Homicide and Related Offences decreasing by -39.6% (21 offences). Sexual Assault and Related Offences decreased by -7.2%(150 offences) overall. There were decreases in the three groups within the Sexual Assault and Related Offences subdivision, with Non Assaultive Sexual Offences decreasing by -14.1% (63 offences).

Robbery and Related Offences decreased by -12.9% (90 offences), with Aggravated Robbery Offences decreasing by -16.8% (84 offences).

Serious Criminal Trespass increased by 4.6% (600 offences) over the previous year. The main driver for this was Serious Criminal Trespass – Residence which increased by 5.8% (476 offences), where offenders are breaking into homes, flats, units and apartments. Serious Criminal Trespass – Non Residence increased by 2.6% (124 offences), where offenders are breaking into domestic sheds and garages.

Theft and Related Offences have increased by 8.4% (3383 offences) over the previous year. The main drivers are Theft from Shop which increased by 16.7% (1118 offences) and Other Theft which increased by 11.4% (2209 offences). Theft from Service/Petrol Station was one of the causes for the increase in the Other Theft category. Theft/Illegal use of Motor Vehicle has increased to 4.6% (149 offences). The 2015-16 result of 3364 stolen vehicles represents a decrease of -60.8% from a high of 8574 offences in 2006-07.

Fraud, Deception and Related Offences have seen an increase of 5.5% (152 offences). The main driver for this was Obtain Benefit by Deception which increased by 4.6% (105 offences).

Property Damage and Environmental has seen a slight increase of 10 offences. Environmental relates to the natural world and the impact of human activity on its condition, also relating to or arising from a person’s surroundings e.g. environmental noise. Property Damage by Fire or Explosion increased by 3.4% (59 offences). Graffiti offences decreased by -12.4% (315 offences).

Illicit Drug Offences have increased by 24.2% (768 offences). One of the main drivers is the 72.8% (437 offences) increase in Possess/Use Drugs. Other Drug Offences refers to the possession, use, sale or furnishing of any drug or intoxicating substance or drug paraphernalia, that is prohibited by law. This group has seen an increase of 51.1% (324 offences). Weapons/explosives Offences have increased by 12.0% (329 offences). The main driver of this increase is Prohibited weapons/explosives of 23.4% (150 offences). Justice Procedure Offences have increased 15.3% (2367 offences). This category includes Breach of bail which increased by 17.6% (1486 offences) and Breach of violence and non-violence restraining orders which has increased by 17.8% (629 offences). This is largely due to an increased emphasis on encouraging and supporting reporting of those offences associated with family and domestic violence.

Other Theft GENS have increased by 63.2% (2199 offences). This is due to the Public Transport Safety Branch focusing on high visibility policing and passenger safety throughout the metropolitan public transport system.

Total General Expiations have increased by 9.8% (2867 offences). One of the main drivers is the 28.9% (1615) increase in Drug Diversions with police emphasising the educational aspect of engaging with adult offenders using diversionary options.

South Australian State monthly crime statistics from March 2016 to February 2017 and Eyre and Western Service Local Area monthly crime statistics for the same period also do not appear to support the lower incidence of crime claims by Human Services Minister Alan Tudge and Social Services Minister Christian Porter.

Uniting Communities, formerly UnitingCare Wesley Adelaide and the Adelaide Central Mission, observed on 14 March 2017:

The Report states a decrease in overall crime in the Ceduna trial site. However, the statistics for a range of crimes, as provided by SAPOL for the Eyre Western LSA over the past 12 months when compared to the previous year, indicate an increase in offences against property and against the person. Most notably, there was a 111% increase in robbery and related offences, and a 400% increase in non-aggravated robbery.

Schrapel says, ‘It’s alarming to note that the Minister for Human Services has indicated in an interview today with ABC News that the crime figures in the Report were “preliminary and not conclusive” and yet this very same crime data has been used to validate the extension of the Cashless Card. Surely we need a more rigorous assessment of such evidence before it is used to justify a major policy announcement’.

Because DSS frequently relied on broader SLA statistics perhaps local media can be useful in fleshing the situation on the ground out a little more.

Ceduna Local Government Area has an estimated resident population of 3,716 people and The West Coast Sentinel  covers local news in the region.

Here are some of the crime reports in this newspaper during the cashless debit card trial period as of 22 April 2017:

18 April 2017:
Two Ceduna businesses were broken into early last Thursday morning. Items were stolen from Spry's Newsagency and Mitre 10, while the Ceduna Sailing Club was also damaged. Police are investigating the incidents, with electrical items and cigarettes stolen from the newsagency. Eleven mobile phones, including Samsung, ZTE and HTC brands and a Telstra Essentials black tablet were stolen along with a number of packets of ciagrettes.

3 April 2017:
A man was arrested after being caught drink driving at Koonibba on Sunday morning. Police stopped the vehicle just after 1am and requested the driver submit to a breath test.
He was directed to attend the Ceduna Police Station for further testing but became agitated and attempted to walk away.
He was arrested for refusing to obey reasonable police direction, driving under the influence with an alleged reading of 0.162 and resisting police. He was issued a 12-month loss of licence.

30 March 2017:
Four drink drivers were caught at Ceduna and Streaky Bay late last week including a driver detected during a school drop-off.

2 March 2017:
Police stopped the car and found three women and three children aged 9, 8 and 4 all not wearing seatbelts.
The 32-year-old driver was breath tested and returned a blood alcohol reading of 0.120 per cent.
Further checks revealed she only held a learner's permit.
The Ceduna woman was reported for a number of traffic offences including drink driving, breaching learner's permit conditions, failing to ensure passengers were wearing seatbelts and driving with unrestrained children in the car.
The car was also defected and impounded for 28 days and the woman was issued with a six-month instant loss of licence.
The adult passengers were also fined with failing to wear a seatbelt.

2 February 2017:
A MAN had his licence suspended for a year after he was caught drink driving in Ceduna last Thursday.
Police stopped a Ford station wagon on Denial Bay Road at about 4.30pm and breath tested the male driver who returned a positive reading of 0.165 per cent.

Just before 8pm, police stopped the woman as she was driving a Holden sedan along Poynton Street for a mobile screening test.
The 31-year-old Ceduna woman provided a positive preliminary breath test and later returned a breath test result of 0.134 per cent.
She lost her licence for six months and will be summoned to appear in court at a later date.

12 January 2017:
TWO youths were arrested following a police pursuit with a stolen van at Ceduna last week.

8 December 2016:
POLICE reported a man for speeding and drink driving in Ceduna last Thursday.
Police were conducting speed detection duties along the Eyre Highway west of Ceduna when they detected a car travelling at 124 kilometres an hour in a 110km/h speed zone.
Police breath tested the driver who allegedly produced a blood alcohol reading of 0.114 per cent.
The 46-year-old was issued with a six-month instant loss of licence and had his car impounded.

27 October 2016:
A WEST Coast man was arrested following a domestic disturbance in Ceduna last Tuesday night.
Police were called to Goode Road following reports that a woman had been stabbed. She was found adjacent to the Eyre Highway with a stab wound to the leg and taken to the Royal Adelaide Hospital in a serious condition.
A 54-year-old man was charged with aggravated assault causing serious harm. He was refused police bail and appeared at Ceduna Magistrates' Court the following day.

28 August 2016:
A DRIVER was reported for traffic offences after rolling his car near Penong on Saturday… It seems the driver had taken evasive action to avoid an echidna that was crossing the road.
The 59-year-old Yalata man was reported for drink driving and failing to immediately report the crash to police. He recorded a blood alcohol reading of 0.261 - more than five times the legal limit.

10 July 2016:
POLICE have arrested a woman following a domestic disturbance near Ceduna on Friday night.
Police were called to a house west of Ceduna just after 11pm, July 8, following reports that a man had been stabbed.
When patrols arrived, they located a 25-year-old man with stab wounds to his leg. He was taken to the Ceduna Hospital in a serious condition and will be airlifted to the Flinders Medical Centre on Saturday morning.
A woman was arrested at the scene and was also treated for minor injuries at the hospital.
Police advise that both parties were known to each other and this was not a random incident.                                                                                                                                                                                          
16 May 2016:
A 27-year-old man was arrested after leaving his ID at the scene of a break-in at Ceduna on Saturday, May 14.
Just after 5am, neighbours of an elderly resident in Collins Street, Ceduna, woke to the sound of smashing glass.
The neighbours, including an off-duty police officer, investigated the scene and startled the two offenders, who ran off.
One of the suspects left his bank card at the scene and was subsequently arrested and charged with two counts of aggravated serious criminal trespass, two counts of illegal interference, property damage and theft.
It will also be alleged the 27-year-old Koonibba man stole a number of items from a shed.

21 March 2016:
THREE Ceduna men were taken into police custody and were charged with aggravated counts of robbery and serious criminal trespass after cars were stolen and a service station broken into last Wednesday night.
At about 8.45pm, a Ceduna man was allegedly assaulted by three men and had his Holden sedan stolen. Police will allege the trio then drove to Streaky Bay and broke into a service station before continuing to Port Kenny. Once there it is alleged they stole another vehicle which was later located by police near Streaky Bay. The three men were found walking along the highway the following morning and were arrested by Ceduna detectives. They were charged with aggravated robbery, serious criminal trespass and illegal use, and appeared at the Ceduna Magistrates' Court on Thursday.

To an outsider looking in it doesn’t seem like much has changed for the better in relation to criminal activity.

Perhaps ministers Tudge and Porter might like to comment further?

GREED Inc: rental income & negative gearing in Australia


The Guardian, 12 April 2017:


The ATO stats also show the number of landlords with an interest in six or more rental properties has grown quickly in the last three years, up 8.6%, from 17,671 to 19,198 individuals.

Landlords with an interest in five rental properties have grown even faster, up 9.8%, from 16,600 to 18,231. Those with an interest in three or four properties have also grown quickly, up 7% each.

By comparison, the largest number of landlords are those with an interest in a single rental property, at 1.5 million. Their number increased by just 2% over the last three years.

The Conversation, 13 April 2017:

The latest data from the ATO is consistent with what we’ve seen in the past. It shows that people with high-income occupations – doctors, lawyers, and others – are more likely to use negative gearing than the nurses and teachers on whom Treasurer Scott Morrison focuses when he tries to justify retaining negative gearing. It also shows that negative gearing is typically worth four to five times more for doctors and lawyers than nurses and teachers.



The Guardian, 13 April 2017:

The release of the taxation statistics for 2014-15 reveals that, while the number of people negative gearing has levelled in the past three years as interest rates have fallen, the greatest share of the benefits of negative gearing goes to above average earners – and the biggest growth is to those owning multiple properties.

With housing affordability and negative gearing the hot topic in the run up to the May budget, the annual release of the taxation statistics by the ATO on Wednesday served to reinforce how greatly negative gearing figures in people’s tax affairs.

In 2014-15, 1.27 million people recorded a rental net loss. This was down slightly from the 1.3 million in the years before and meant that 12.8% of taxpayers were negative gearing.

Again that was down from the previous year and the peak of 2012-13 when 13.4% of taxpayers were recording a rental loss…..

The reason for the drop is mostly because the main way to achieve a loss on your rental investment is through payments on the interest of the mortgage. But, as interest rates fall, that cost also falls, which means it is actually harder to record a loss.

Over the past four years, the number of people claiming a deduction for payments of interest on a rental property have increased but the total amount claimed has fallen…..

The median rent in NSW in the December Quarter of 2014 for housing ranging from 1 bedroom to 4 or more bedrooms was $420-$500 per week. With the median rent being $450-$600 in Greater Sydney, $230-$433 in the Greater Metropolitan Region and $230-$245 in the rest of NSW.

During the same quarter median rents across the NSW Northern Rivers region ranged from $180-$580 per week.

In 2014 the gross rental yield for apartments in Sydney CBD, Paddington, Darling Point, Double Bay, Kirribilli, Rose Bay, Tamarama, Bellevue Hill, Point Piper, Potts Point, and Vaucluse, i.e., the gross return on investment in a apartment if fully rented out, ranged from 2.8 per cent to 5.0 per cent according to Global Property Guide.

Want to know the average rental loss claimed for taxation purposes by landlords in your postcode? Then use this interactive map.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017


Trump postures and Fox News attempts to deny it assisted


Carl Vinson Strike Group departs Singapore for the Western Pacific on 8 April 2017 according to the US Government.

So how 'presidential' did that make Donlad J. Trump appear?

Well.......................

Fox News on 10 April 2017


Fox News on 11 April 2017

Fox News in denial on 18 April 2017 of its part in disseminating Trump's 'fake news' 


America, Fox News and Trump are both having a lend of you.

And a worried world has noticed…….

Daily Kos, 19 April 2017:

In South Korea, Hong Joon-pyo ... said: “What Mr. Trump said was very important for the national security of South Korea. If that was a lie, then during Trump’s term, South Korea will not trust whatever Trump says.”​