Friday, 2 December 2016

#TurnbullGovernmentFAIL: let's threaten to sue the little bloke

Snapshot 23 November 2016 7:48pm

The Sydney Morning Herald, 23 November 2016:

The Turnbull government has threatened to sue a retiree who established a little-visited website that campaigns against cuts to Medicare, accusing him of unauthorised use of the healthcare system's green and yellow logo.

The use of Medicare against the government has become a point of extreme sensitivity for the Coalition since its near-death experience in July and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's angry election night claim that unions "peddled lies" to voters in text messages purportedly sent by Medicare.

But Mark Rogers, a Sydney grandfather of two, said it was "beyond over the top" and "Monty Pythonesque" for the government to threaten him with court and damages for his part-time personal crusade to protect Medicare.

On Wednesday last week he received a legal letter from the Australian Government Solicitor giving him less than 48 hours to shut down his "Save Medicare" website and agree to never use Medicare branding again……

Mr Rogers's website and domain name is similar to Labor's "save Medicare" campaign website but the ALP has not been threatened with legal action, Fairfax Media has confirmed.

Wellington Times, 24 November 2016:

Mr Turnbull was asked for a second time on Thursday why his government was targeting a retiree with a little-visited website that campaigns against cuts to Medicare.

"I will speak to the minister, I will have a look at the legal advice and I will review it," Mr Turnbull told Parliament.

Earlier, Human Services Minister Alan Tudge indicated he backed the department's pursuit of Mr Rogers, insisting it was not a matter of seeking to shut down free speech as the retiree and some legal academics have insisted.

"The Department is concerned about the misuse and misrepresentation of the Medicare brand, not legitimate use in public debate."

On Melbourne radio on Thursday, Mr Tudge could not say if any member of the public had complained about being misled by Mr Rogers' website.

Mr Rogers said he had been flooded with offers of legal assistance and financial backing to fight the government.

In less than 24 hours, more than 26,000 people had signed a GetUp! petition in his support.

"The feedback is that the government does not have a valid case on the basis of copyright and they are just trying to crush me," Mr Rogers said.

Matthew Rimmer, Professor of Intellectual Property at Queensland University of Technology said he was "puzzled" that the government would push so hard against an individual who was clearly not trying to misrepresent Medicare in any commercial sense.

"I'm not sure they have picked the right target here. I'm concerned it's overreach in terms of copyright law and trademark law," Professor Rimmer said.
"Medicare has been politically contested and used in all sorts of advertising, particularly in during the last election.

"This whole thing would have a much different complexion if it was a commercial player like a bank or insurer using the name Medicare but if you look at Mr Roger's website, it is clearly not pretending to be Medicare, who is it going to mislead?"

Obviously the Turnbull Government doesn’t really care how much of a petulant bully it looks to the national electorate.

Former Queensland LNP politician found guilty of fraud

What started with this……

Hockings v Queensland Retail Traders and Shopkeepers Association (Industrial Organization of Employers) [2014] QIRC 037
Hockings, John Norman
Queensland Retail Traders and Shopkeepers Association (Industrial Organization of Employers)
Application to re-open proceedings
19 February 2014
12 and 26 April 2013
30 May 2013
Deputy President Bloomfield
1.  Matter No. RIO/2012/155 be re-opened on the Commission's own initiative.
2.  Orders in Matter No. RIO/2012/155, issued on 10 September 2012 and formalised on 5 December 2012, be vacated.
3.  Mr Scott and Mrs Emma Driscoll be referred to the Queensland Police Service for investigation.
4.  Mr  Scott Driscoll  be referred to the Speaker of Queensland Parliament for possibly misleading Parliament.
Ended with this…….

Brisbane Times, 25 November 2016:

Former Queensland politician Scott Driscoll has admitted to soliciting thousands of dollars in secret commissions and falsifying records during his term as the Member for Redcliffe.

Driscoll was expected to stand trial in the Brisbane District Court next week but on Friday pleaded guilty to 15 charges, including fraud.

The 41-year-old was released on bail and is due to be sentenced next year on March 6.

The former Liberal National Party MP won office in the Newman government's landslide in the March 2012 election victory.

Driscoll resigned in disgrace from State Parliament in November 2013for misleading the House about his financial interests and his role in the Queensland Retail Traders and Shopkeepers Association.

A year later, Driscoll was charged by the Crime and Corruption Commission for soliciting secret commissions worth at least $400,000 on behalf of the QRTSA from Wesfarmers and Woolworths in October 2012 while he was in office……

Driscoll did not speak to the media as he left the court with his wife Emma, who was sentenced in September to three years jail, wholly suspended, for multiple counts of falsifying a record and making a false declaration.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Australian internet speeds improving at snail's pace

My Broadband v Reality has been running a State of the Internet online survey here.

On 24 November 2016 the organisers tweeted some interim survey results:

Which ISP do you use?

Telstra 26.2%
iiNet 14.7%
Internode 11.7%
TPG 10.4%
Optus 9.2%
Skymesh 6.7%
These are the five most common Internet service providers named by survey respondents

What type of Internet connection?

ADSL 54.9%
Satellite 10.4%
FttP 9.4%
HFC 8.1%
FttN 6.1%

Median download speed of the 400 survey respondents was 11Mbps.
Average download speed was 22.9Mbps

Average cost of Internet plan : $84.34 per month

To place these preliminary results in perspective here are the April-June 2016 Top 10 average connectivity rankings found in Akamai Technologies latest State of the Internet report:

Here is how Australia officially compares with some of its trading partners:

IQ rankings and where Donald J Trump might just fit

**Please note before reading that there is no verifiable proof available online for the Intelligence Quotients (IQs) listed.This post is based on a casual Google search**

Standardised IQ tests produce a rough approximation of an individual’s perceived intelligence level in comparison to others.  An I.Q somewhere between 90 and 110 is usually considered average intelligence and an estimated 8.9 per cent of the population is likely to have an IQ score of 120 or over.

This is what Donald Trump says of his own intelligence level:
Browsing the Internet gives some examples of estimated intelligence levels of famous and not-so-famous individuals ranging from paragons of virtue through to serial killers:

187. Bobby Fischer 
185. Galileo Galilei 
180. Rene Descartes
178. Tim Roberts
175. Immanuel Kant
175. Peter Rodgers
170. Stephen Hawking
170. Paul Allen
168. Sharvin Jeyendran
165. Charles Darwin
165. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
162. Lydia Sebastian
160. Albert Einstein
160. George Eliot
160. Nicolaus Copernicus
160. Bill Gates
155. Rembrandt van Rijn
153. Joshua Madugula
150. Nolan Gould 
149. Jimmy Saville
148. Abraham Lincoln 
145. Thomas Edison
145. Napoleon
143. Richard Nixon
141. Adolf Hitler
140. George Washington
140. Hillary Clinton
140. The woman down the road from me  
132. Nicole Kidman
130. Barack Obama
125. George W. Bush
120. Ulysses S. Grant
120. Dwight D. Eisenhower
ß--------------------------------------------------- Right about here is where I would place U.S. Republican president-elect Donald John Trump based on his own estimation.
119. John F. Kennedy
118. David Berkowitz
113. Zombie Girl
111. Sarah Palin
ß--------------------------------------------------- Right about here is where I would place Donald Trump based on my estimation.
109. Charles Manson
104. Max Nocerino

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Review of the Four Major Banks (First Report) published 24 November 2016

House of Representatives Standing Committee Review of the Four Major Banks (First Report), November 2016, opening lines of Chair’s forward:
Banking regulation should have two key goals: promoting financial stability and achieving strong outcomes for consumers. Financial stability is critical – but so is ensuring that consumers get a fair deal from the banking sector.

Due to Australia’s strong regulatory framework and the banking sector’s prudent management of financial risk, no Australian bank regulated by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) has ever failed. We need only consider the economic impact of bank failures in other nations to understand the importance of a stable banking system.

However, while they have remained financially strong, Australia’s major banks have let Australians down too frequently in too many other ways.

Australians turn to banks for assistance when making some of the most important decisions and facing some of the most serious challenges of their lives: borrowing to buy their first home; investing to support their retirement; and, in some cases, accessing insurance policies that they had hoped they would never need.

Australians should be able to trust that their bank will act in their best interests when they turn to them for help. It is clear that in some cases this has not happened….

Financial Review, graphic, 24 November 2016: