Monday, 26 January 2015

Pure gold from a long suffering Liberal Party member

Victorian radio station 3AW released this video of Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott taking a call from Liberal Party member Andrew McNabb during its Mornings program of 21 January 2015:

Australian Government still failing to meet its overall target for Indigenous representation in the public sector

Perhaps MP for Warringah and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott , the self-declared Prime Minister for Indigenous Affairs, might like to inform voters as to how he is going to ensure that the 2.7 per cent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ASTI) representation in the Australian Government public sector is finally met?

He has managed to boost the percentage of ASTI employees in the Dept. of Prime Minister and Cabinet from 0.8 per cent in 2012-13 to 14 per cent in 2013-14 by transferring approximately 260 staff from the former Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs to his department.(a)

However, this does not increase indigenous representation overall.

Excerpts from The Auditor-General Audit Report No.33 2013–14 Performance Audit, Indigenous Employment in Australian Government Entities:

* 5. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reports that, as at June 2013, there were approximately 248 500 Australian Government employees located in metropolitan and regional locations nationally.2 Of these, 167 2573 were employed under the Public Service Act. The remaining employees were employed by Australian Government entities under entityspecific legislation. Entities employing staff under the Public Service Act are known as Australian Public Service (APS) agencies. Those employing under other legislation are known as nonAPS bodies.4 As at February 2014, there were 122 APS agencies5, and 86 nonAPS bodies including 66 Commonwealth authorities and 20 companies.6

* 2.43 ANAO analysis of 104 APS agencies indicated that 79 per cent (82 agencies), reported Indigenous representation within the agency of between zero to two per cent…..

* Overall conclusion

22. To promote increased Indigenous employment, Australian Government entities currently implement a range of strategies to support the recruitment and retention of Indigenous employees. These include: APS Special Measures and Identified Positions, and similar recruitment arrangements in nonAPS bodies, to attract and recruit Indigenous employees; Indigenous employee representative bodies, mentoring arrangements, and specialised training programs to enhance career development and increase retention; and cultural awareness training for nonIndigenous employees to support an inclusive work environment. The development and implementation of these strategies reflects a commitment to increase Indigenous employment and retention. However, achieving the Australian Government's overall target of 2.7 per cent Indigenous representation in the Australian Government public sector by 2015 is unlikely, based on current data and trends.

23. The target of 2.7 per cent included both APS agencies and other Australian Government bodies. In June 2013, Indigenous representation in the APS was reported by the APSC to be at 2.3 per cent, a decline from 2.9 per cent in 2001, to 2.7 per cent in 2004, and 2.5 per cent in 2010. While there are significant differences in the level of representation achieved by entities in the public sector, in general, most APS agencies18 (79 per cent) recorded less than 2 per cent Indigenous representation in their workforces. Overall, based on a total APS population of 167 257, Indigenous employees would need to number 4515, nearly 700 (669) more than are currently employed in the APS, to achieve 2.7 per cent representation in the APS.  

24. The overall performance of nonAPS bodies is more difficult to assess as a coordinated reporting approach does not exist for these bodies as it does for APS agencies. However some individual entity reporting does exist, which shows, similar to APS agencies, there is considerable variability amongst individual nonAPS bodies. The ANAO reviewed a sample of reports from nonAPS bodies for the financial year 2012 –13 which indicated that Indigenous representation in these organisations varied from 0.11 per cent to 68 per cent. In particular, nonAPS bodies with an Indigenousspecific service
focus recorded higher representation. Based on available data for individual nonAPS bodies, it is likely that nonAPS bodies, in general, face similar challenges in recruiting Indigenous employees and contributing to the Australian Government target of 2.7 percent.  

(a) As at 30 June 2014 the Dept. of Prime Minister and Cabinet had 2,467 employees, including part-time and non-ongoing employees. [DPMC Annual Report 2013-14]

"White. WHITE. white." *WARNING: offensive language & racist comment*

[Unknown tweeter]

It’s the 2015 Australia Day long weekend and the Aussie arm of the twitterverse has been discussing everything from patriotic cake decorations and barbeques through to invasion, colonial occupation and race-based discrimination.

All is as expected. Some tweets are happy, some sad. Others are hurt, angry or defensive. Many more are insightful, balanced and supportive of other people’s views.

At some time over the last two days I began to realise that my Twitter timeline was showing signs of a savage argument developing somewhere else and, that a number of people living in Australia were having their racial and/or cultural identity questioned in some manner.

I peeked at this ongoing argument. Big mistake. I fell into a sewer.

The main focus seemed to be the fact that a well-known young Aboriginal woman was erroneously having her identity questioned because the colour of her skin, hair and eyes were judged to be too light for her to be recognised as indigenous. Shades of journalist Andrew Bolt!

However, I was surprised at both the degree of vitriol spewed across the Internet and the places it originated.

Along the way, other Australians were gratuitously insulted as well.

In no particular order here are just some of the comments made by those seeking to denigrate the Australian indigenous experience (click on any of the images to enlarge):

And the vileness spread far and wide:

This attack went on and on and on. Leaving a bad taste in the mouth and a tarnished holiday weekend in its wake.

@ebswearspink, @upjulie and @StringStory didn’t deserve the hate sent their way.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

An open letter to Prime Minister Abbott and his coterie of knuckle-dragging fascists

This letter was reportedly sent to The Australian which appears to have declined to publish.

The Conversation January 2015:

We, the undersigned, are concerned about recent public criticism of one of Australia’s most respected independent public office-holders, Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) President Gillian Triggs. Below we comment on the relentless attacks, including from Prime Minister Tony Abbott, of her recommendation in the Basikbasik matter. In our view, they are based on a misunderstanding of the role of the commission.

Independent public office-holders are an important part of modern democratic societies. Their task is to ensure accountability for abuses of power by government. Their capacity to perform this role depends on their independence and ability to act impartially.

Independence and impartiality are undermined when a political leader publicly attacks holders of public office and when the media presents inaccurate accounts of the work of public institutions.

The Australian Human Rights Commission Act provides in Section 11(1)(f) that the commission has a function to:

… inquire into any act or practice that may be inconsistent with or contrary to any human right.

In the Basikbasik case, which has been at the heart of the recent criticism, the AHRC did not recommend that Mr Basikbasik be released into the community forthwith. Rather, the commission found that Mr Basikbasik had been held in detention for a total of 13 years – a six-year period of imprisonment following a criminal conviction, then a further seven years in immigration detention.

The commission found that the government had not established that continued detention after completion of sentence was necessary. It was therefore arbitrary and in breach of the human rights standards Australia has voluntarily accepted. The commission recommended that a less punitive form of community detention be found for Mr Basikbasik and that he be compensated for his lengthy arbitrary detention, in line with widely accepted national and international standards and precedents.

President Triggs has made clear that she respects the government’s right to reject her findings, including her recommendations. The government should likewise respect the commission’s role in investigating complaints and reporting its findings to the minister according to law.

If the government disagrees with the commission, providing a reasoned explanation of why it considers the commission’s reasoning or conclusions to be wrong as a matter of law would be the most constructive way of contributing to the discussion of the important and sensitive issues involved in this case.

In our view, the President of the Australian Human Rights Commission has carried out her duties under the Act with independence, impartiality and professionalism.

Signed by:

Professor Don Anton, Professor of International Law, Griffith Law School, Griffith University
Associate Professor Afshin Akhtarkhavari, Griffith Law School, Griffith University
Kevin Boreham, Lecturer, ANU College of Law, Australian National University
Professor Andrew Byrnes, Australian Human Rights Centre, Faculty of Law, UNSW
Professor Hilary Charlesworth, Centre for International Governance and Justice, College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University
Professor Holly Cullen, Faculty of Law, the University of Western Australia
Dr Alice de Jonge, Senior Lecturer, Department of Business Law & Taxation, Monash University
Professor Andrea Durbach, Director, Australian Human Rights Centre, Faculty of Law, UNSW
Emeritus Professor Judith Gardam, Law School, University of Adelaide
Professor Fleur Johns, Faculty of Law, UNSW
Professor Sarah Joseph, Castan Centre for Human Rights Law, Monash University
Professor David Kinley, Chair in Human Rights Law, Sydney Law School, University of Sydney
Professor Penelope Mathew, Griffith Law School, Griffith University
Professor Jane McAdam, Scientia Professor and Director, Andrew and Renata Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law, UNSW Law
Associate Professor Adam McBeth, Faculty of Law, Monash University
Associate Professor Justine Nolan, Australian Human Rights Centre, UNSW Law
Professor Anne Orford, Michael D Kirby Professor of International Law, Law School, University of Melbourne
Professor Dianne Otto, Francince V. McNiff Chair in Human Rights Law, Director, Institute for International Law and the Humanities, Melbourne Law School
Professor Joellen Riley, Faculty of Law, University of Sydney
Professor Ben Saul, Professor of International Law, Faculty of Law, University of Sydney
Professor Tim Stephens, Professor of International Law, Faculty of Law, University of Sydney
Professor John Tobin, Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne
Associate Professor Margaret Young, Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne
Associate Professor Matthew Zagor, ANU College of Law, Australian National University

Cecil drank the Kool-Aid while John held his nose

In what may be his one and only letter in recent years, retired local businessman Cecil Denis White regurgitates the Liberal-Nationals party line with gusto in The Daily Examiner on 16 January 2014.

The other side of the political coin was represented by another Northern Rivers resident, history buff John Drydale, who registered his disgust in the same newspaper five days later on 21 January.

Abbott on the nose

OVER the past several months I have sat down to write letters about the current Federal Government's latest atrocity: on refugees, the unemployed, the ADF, Medicare, the universities, education.
Each time my concerns have been overtaken by yet another Federal Government stuff-up.

In the cabinet reshuffle at Christmas, Tony Abbott, the country's worst prime minister since Billy McMahon, could have done the right thing and fallen on his sword. Alas, for the LNP and the nation he did not.

He continues to blunder along, promising more money for the unwinnable war in Iraq while denying the ADF a sensible pay rise; supporting the "latest" changes to Medicare the day before his recently promoted minister scraps them while local National Party members, who obviously have not been told anything, try to defend the indefensible.

They just do not understand the people they claim to represent.

The Gillard Government was a model of order and purpose compared with this rabble.

John Drysdale


Saturday, 24 January 2015

You had one job........

A sharp-eyed reader pointed North Coast Voices in the direction of one of NSW Nationals MP for Clarence Chris Gulaptis' 2014 newsletters.

Mr. Gulaptis is not so important to parliament or his party that he wouldn't have had ample time available to approve this newsletter and, one wonders why he let these three sentences pass on to publication.

[Chris Gulaptis Clarence Valley Newsletter, 30 June 2014]

Did Gulaptis really mean to say that the National Party and its Liberal Party partner had prevaricated and failed to fund this second bridge for sixteen years?

Surely he was intending to have a dig at the former NSW Labor Government instead?

Does he also mean to say that he alone convinced the NSW Government to fund this new bridge?

Can he have forgotten that his own party in Opposition had promised Grafton this bridge in 2005, seven years before he stood for election? This pledge was repeated again in 2011 when in government and, seventeen months before the surprise by-election which saw Gulaptis elected, the then Member for Clarence told parliament that; Planning is well on the way: at present, possible sites are being considered. Indeed the NSW Dept. of Planning & Environment as well as Roads & Maritime Services have been progressing the second crossing for years.

Laffin' at Tony Abbott

SBS The Backburner 19 January 2015:

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has been left red-faced after being unable to stop an unexpected leak pouring out of his cabinet this weekend.

The leak, which is causing major structural damage, first became an issue following the repeal of changes to medicare. As of the time of publishing it is unclear what is causing the leak or exactly where it is coming from.

“I just got this cabinet,” said a distraught Abbott. “I don’t understand what’s happening. They just don’t make things like they used to. What happened to infrastructure in this country? Was it me? Did I happen?”

“It’s not stopping either. I thought for a moment some plumber had stuck a pipe straight into it or something. It’s ruining the carpet.”…….

By day it sits on Tony's head. By night, it's a crime fighting patriot who protects our streets from terrorists and dole bludgers.

Tony Abbott’s comb over discussed on Twitter:

Tony Abbott asks the Queen, “Your Majesty, you run such an efficient government.
Are there any tips you can give me?”
“Well,” said the Queen,
“The most important thing is to surround yourself with intelligent people.”
Abbott then asked,
“But how do I know if the people around me are really intelligent?”
The Queen took a sip of champagne.
“Oh, that’s easy; you just ask them to answer an intelligent riddle, watch”
The Queen pushed a button on her intercom.
“Please send Prince Charles in here, would you?”
Prince Charles walked into the room and said,
“Yes, Mummy?”
The Queen smiled and said,
“Answer me this please Charlie.
Your mother and father have a child.
It is not your brother and it is not your sister.
Who is it?”
Without pausing for a moment, Prince Charles answered
“That would be me.”
“Yes! Very good.” said the Queen.
Tony Abbott went back home to Australia by Qantas
He decided to ask Joe Hockey the same question.
“Joe, answer this for me.”
“Your mother and your father have a child.
It’s not your brother and it’s not your sister.
Who is it?”
“I’m not sure,” said Hockey.
“Let me get back to you on that one.”
He went to his advisors and asked everyone, but none could give him an answer.
Frustrated, Hockey went to the toilet, and found Clive Palmer there.
Joe Hockey went up to him and asked,
“Hey Clive, see if you can answer this question.”
“Shoot Joe.”
Your mother and father have a child and it’s not your brother or your sister.
Who is it?”
Clive Palmer answered,
“That’s easy, it’s me!”
Joe Hockey grinned, and said,
“Good answer Clive, I see it all now!”
Joe Hockey then went back to find Tony Abbott.
“Tony, I thought about it, and I have the answer to that riddle.”
“It’s Clive Palmer”
Tony Abbott got up, stomped over to Joe Hockey, and angrily yelled into his face,
“No! You idiot! It’s Prince Charles!”