Tuesday, 31 March 2015

A NSW Liberal MLC displays his stupidity

This was one Liberal member of the NSW Upper House on election night.....

What the international legal system is hearing about Abbott's Australia

The West Australian 23 March 2015:

One of the nation's senior barristers, Julian Burnside, has started a campaign to convince the International Criminal Court to investigate Prime Minister Tony Abbott and former immigration minister Scott Morrison for crimes against humanity committed on refugees in offshore detention centres.
Mr Burnside, a Melbourne QC, told a Perth audience at the weekend he was trying to recruit high-profile international lawyers, including Amal Clooney, to conduct the investigation.
"If we got Tony Abbott, Scott Morrison and a couple of others in the dock at The Hague, the Nuremberg Defence ("I was only following orders") wouldn't work," Mr Burnside told a sold-out auditorium at the University of WA.
"I'm working on a plan to persuade the ICC to investigate the things that we are concerned about.
"I think the fact that an investigation was happening would have a real, chilling effect on their conduct.
"I'm trying to recruit (leading British barrister) Geoffrey Robertson and Amal Clooney."…..

ANDREW WILKIE Independent MP For Denison, media release 19 March 2015:


The Independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, and eminent human rights lawyer Greg Barns will be available to discuss the most recent correspondence with the International Criminal Court in regard to Australia’s non-compliance with the Rome Statute and crimes against humanity against asylum seekers.

In essence Mr Wilkie, in cooperation with Mr Barns, has drawn the Prosecutor’s attention to the damning findings in this month’s United Nations Report of the Special Rapporteur, Juan Méndez, on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.  He has also highlighted that the Prime Minster and his Cabinet have also repeatedly rejected the findings by the UN Human Rights Committee that the continued detention of refugees subject to adverse security assessments constitutes arbitrary detention.

Extracts of Mr Wilkie’s letter
``I wish to draw your attention to the findings contained in the United Nations Report of the Special Rapporteur, Juan Méndez, on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. The Report was released in Geneva by the Human Rights Council on 6 March 2015.

``In particular I respectfully draw the attention of the Office of the Prosecutor to the conclusions of the Special Rapporteur about the ongoing detention of 203 Sri Lankan asylum seekers and their incommunicado detention. I also note the Special Rapporteur’s conclusions about the impact of legislation drafted and introduced in the Australian Parliament by the members of the Cabinet of Prime Minister Tony Abbott. The Migration and Maritime Powers Legislation Amendment (Resolving the Asylum Legacy Caseload) Bill 2014 and the Migration Amendment (Character and General Visa Cancellation) Bill 2014 are now Australian law.

``The Special Rapporteur concludes that the above legislation violates the rights of a group of persons, namely asylum seekers and migrants, to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

``I would also like to take this opportunity to draw your attention to the Prime Minister’s response to this Report. In a public statement he said that “Australians are sick of being lectured by the United Nations, particularly given that we have stopped the boats and by stopping the boats we have ended the deaths at sea”.

``It is respectfully submitted that the Prime Minister’s comments in relation to the Report indicate a state of mind that is, at the very least, reckless as to whether or not breaches of the Rome Statute are occurring as a consequence of his and the Cabinet’s policies. The issue of intent is of course one for your office.

``The Prime Minster and his Cabinet have also repeatedly rejected the findings by the United Nations Human Rights Committee that the continued detention of refugees subject to adverse security assessments constitutes arbitrary detention.

``For instance recently their government failed to comply with, and missed by almost a year the 180-day deadline to respond, the Committee’s July 2013 ruling regarding more than 30 recognised refugees. These people were subject to indefinite detention without trial and the Committee recommended they be released and compensated.’’


In October last year Mr Wilkie, in cooperation with Mr Barns, requested the Prosecutor at the ICC initiate an investigation in accordance with Article 15(1) of the Rome Statute.

Article 7 of the Rome Statute defines ‘crimes against humanity’ to mean acts such as deportation, imprisonment or other severe deprivation of liberty in violation of fundamental rules of international law, and torture and other similar acts that are committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population.  Actions such as forced transfers to other countries, detention without trial, detention of children and conditions of detention clearly constitute breaches of Article 7.

``The actions of the Prime Minister and members of his Government against asylum seekers are criminal,’’ Mr Wilkie said.

Last month, Mr Wilkie provided the Prosecutor with a comprehensive brief on this matter.  The Office of the Prosecutor has replied that it is analysing the situation to decide if there is reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation.

A copy of the letter is attached.Andrew_Wilkie_MP_to_ICC_Prosecutor_19_Mar_2015.pdf

Monday, 30 March 2015

Abbott's at it again - leaving rich superannuants alone & beating up on low-income retirees & pensioners

With Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott announcing that his 2015-16 Budget would be a dull and boring one, it is reasonable to conclude that the over-the-top tax concessions for super funds and rich superannuates will remain unchanged.

However, Abbott is endorsing the raising of fees paid by older low-income retirees and pensioners who want to stay at home for as long as possible in their later years.

The Australian 25 March 2015:

Older Australians will fail to get the help they need and community aged-care providers will struggle to survive if fees suggested by the government for its $1.7 billion aged-care home-support scheme go ahead as planned.

The Commonwealth Home Support Program begins in July and will provide a national, entry-level, aged-care service for those over 65 who can be aided to stay at home as long as possible, reducing the pressure on expensive and rationed residential-care places.

Draft fees released by the government, however, outline minimum expected payments for pensioners and part-pensioners up to double those paid by the same people under the four existing programs, which will be subsumed by the CHSP. “At this stage, the feedback I am getting is that the fees are probably too high and they (clients) won’t pay,” Aged and Community Services Australia chief executive John Kelly told The Australian.

“The clients will vote with their feet and they won’t use the services. That’s when you start having negative social and health consequences.”

About 750,000 people use home-support programs. Under the proposed fee schedule, single people with an income of more than $51,500 will pay a standard fee for the cost of service, those who earn less than $25,118.60 will get the full pension discount and those in-between will be given part-pension discounts.

The suggested minimum fees for pensioners for domestic assistance, personal care, nursing and allied health service is $10 per hour, $9 per hour for food and social support and $9 for meals, not including cost of ingredients……

Essential Energy, Ausgrid & TasNetwork fined $20,000 each for unexpected loss of electricity supply to customers known to require life support systems

On top of government-owned Essential Energy’s fight with local governments over proposed increases in public lighting costs to councils across New South Wales which could see public lighting bills rise in the Northern Rivers by up to 73 per cent in 2015-16 and, unease over the company’s plans with regard to its Nymboida water licence, comes news that supply interruptions are not being managed well.

Australian Energy Regulator media release, 23 March 2015:

NSW and Tasmanian electricity distributors pay $60,000 in penalties regarding their life support obligations

Three electricity distribution businesses, Essential Energy, Ausgrid, and TasNetworks, have paid penalties of $20,000 each, following the issuing of infringement notices by the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) in relation to incidents in which customers known to require life support equipment unexpectedly lost electricity supply.

“The unexpected loss of supply can have serious, potentially fatal, consequences for customers who require life support equipment, making compliance with life support obligations by energy distribution businesses a priority area for the Australian Energy Regulator,” AER Chair Paula Conboy said.

“The AER will continue to closely monitor compliance with the life support rules and take appropriate enforcement action where businesses fail to comply with these important obligations,” Ms Conboy said.
Essential Energy, Ausgrid, and TasNetworks reported these incidents to the AER pursuant to their reporting obligations under the National Energy Retail Law and National Energy Retail Rules (the Retail Law and Retail Rules).

The payment of a penalty specified in an infringement notice is not an admission of a contravention of the Retail Rules. The AER can issue an infringement notice where it has reason to believe a business has contravened a civil penalty provision of the Retail Law and Rules.


Essential Energy, Ausgrid and TasNetworks are electricity distribution businesses that supply customers in New South Wales (Essential Energy & Ausgrid) and Tasmania (TasNetworks). Under the Retail Law and Rules, life support customers in New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, Tasmania, and South Australia have a range of protections.

The Retail Law and Rules set out key protections and obligations for energy customers and the retail and distribution businesses they buy their energy from. The AER monitors and enforces compliance with the Retail Law and the Rules. The Rules require particular protections for customers registered as requiring any of the following life support equipment:

* an oxygen concentrator;
* an intermittent peritoneal dialysis machine;
* a kidney dialysis machine;
* a chronic positive airways pressure respirator;
* crigler najjar syndrome phototherapy equipment;
* a ventilator for life support;
* in relation to a particular customer - any other equipment that a registered medical practitioner certifies is required for a person residing at the customer’s premises for life support.

Customers who are reliant on life support equipment should contact their retailer and distributor. Premises registered with life support equipment are subject to a range of protections under the Retail Law and Rules, including strict controls on de-energising life support customers, requirements that distributors provide notice of planned interruptions to energy supply and information to assist customers to prepare a plan of action in case of an unplanned interruption.

To be eligible for these protections, customers must provide their energy retailer or distributor with confirmation from a registered medical practitioner that a person residing at the customer’s premises requires medical life equipment.

Related documents: 
Contact details: 
ACCC Media1300 138 917

Sunday, 29 March 2015

How the vote count stood in Ballina, Clarence, Lismore & Tweed state electorates at midnight on 28 March 2015

From the NSW Electoral Commission Virtual Tally Room at midnight on 28 March 2015.
Counting is still ongoing.

Ballina initial primary vote

The Greens Tamara Smith wins.
Swing way from the Nationals 31.9%.

Clarence initial primary vote

Nationals MP Chris Gulaptis likely to be returned. Swing to Labor 22.1%.

Lismore initial primary vote

The Greens Adam Guise likely to win. Swing away from the Nationals 26.3%.

Tweed initial primary vote

Nationals MP Geoff Provest returned. Swing to Labor 19.9%.

Note: Swing percentages taken from ABC Election Results.

Statewide on the night there was an 8.6% swing towards NSW Labor, a swing of 2.9% against NSW Liberals and a swing of 2.6% against NSW Nationals.

Australian PM Tony Abbott blatantly lies to the Australian Parliament: "I never said that"

Deliberately misleading the House

May states:
The Commons may treat the making of a deliberately misleading statement as a contempt. In 1963 the House resolved that in making a personal statement which contained words which he later admitted not to be true, a former Member had been guilty of a grave contempt.127 (Profumo’s Case, CJ (1962–63) 246)

The circumstances surrounding the decision of the House of Commons in Profumo’s Case are of importance because of the guidance provided in cases of alleged misrepresentation by Members. Mr Profumo had sought the opportunity of making a personal statement to the House of Commons to deny the truth of allegations currently being made against him. Later he was forced to admit that in making his personal statement of denial to the House, he had deliberately misled the House. As a consequence of his actions, he resigned from the House which subsequently agreed to a resolution declaring him guilty of a grave contempt.....

A tale of three federal opinion polls

Same subject and two polls show a similar two-party preferred result.

March 23 2015

Finding No. 6138

Topic: Federal Poll Public Opinion

Finding No. 6138– This multi-mode Morgan Poll on Federal voting intention was conducted via face-to-face and SMS interviewing over the last two weekends, March 14/15 & 21/22, 2015 with an Australia-wide cross-section of 3,146 Australian electors aged 18+, of all electors surveyed 2% did not name a party.

ALP support increased to 56% (up 2.5%), still well clear of the L-NP 44% (down 2.5%) on a two-party preferred basis.  If a Federal Election were held now the ALP would win according to this week’s Morgan Poll on voting intention conducted over the last two weekends, March 14/15 & 21/22, 2015, with an Australia-wide cross-section of 3,146 Australian electors aged 18+.

Primary support for the ALP increased to 40% (up 2%) now ahead of the L-NP 38% (down 1%). Support for the other parties shows The Greens at 11% (down 0.5%), Palmer United Party (PUP) 1.5% (down 0.5%) while Independents/ Others were 9.5% (unchanged).

Support for PUP is highest in Western Australia (4%) and Tasmania (4%) with little support in all other States following the defection of Queensland PUP Senator Glenn Lazarus last week to become an Independent Senator alongside his former party colleague Jacqui Lambie, now an Independent Tasmanian Senator.

Essential Research 24 March 2015:

This report summarises the results of a weekly omnibus conducted by Essential Research with data provided by Your Source. The survey was conducted online from the 20th to 23rd March and is based on 1,012 respondents.

While the third poll shows a very different two-party preferred result.

Newspoll 23 March 2015:

Saturday, 28 March 2015

NSW State Election 2015: links to Virtual Tally Room, online radio & live TV commentary

NSW Electoral Commission Virtual Tally Room - online from 6 pm AEDT with progressive figures displayed. XML format figures at ftp.elections.nsw.gov.au.

ABC News 24 Election Centre - from 6pm AEDT onwards.

ABC Radio 702 Sydney - election night cover.

Hashtag - #nswvotes

ABC Election Calculator - predictive tool which gives number of Coalition & Labor seats based on percentage swings.

The Sydney Morning Herald NSW Decides  and ABC NSW Votes – online reading before the polling booths close.

Sausage Sizzle Locator - for the hungry