Friday, 31 January 2014

I'd laugh if the Abbott-Hockey ploy didn't presume Australian voters were idiots


To date the Abbott Government has run up at least an additional $29.3 billion dollars in national debt over the last 135 days.

This means as of today the nation owes in excess of $189,422.8 billion in gross public debt.

Having mapped out this level of rising debt some months ago, the Abbott Government abolished the legislated debt ceiling late last year.

On 22 January the Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey made this nonsense announcement:
The directive apparently expires rather appropriately on April Fool’s Day 2024, as at the rate it is currently borrowing this $500 billion debt cap (now unsupported in law and therefore meaningless) will be exceeded by Abbott, Hockey and Co in under three years.
After all, Abbott still hasn’t said how the nation will fund his proposed personal $250 million VIP aircraft and other little prime ministerial luxuries or compensate for the reduced revenue his industry level taxation cuts will produce before the next federal election in 2016.

In which Australian PM Tony Abbott realises how many times he embarrassed himself and prepares excuses for non-attendance at future Davos forums


AFTER a flying three-day visit to the World Economic Forum in the Swiss Alps, Tony Abbott believes the Prime Minister of Australia should attend such conferences but not all of them and not every year. As the chair of the G20 this year, the world leaders' premier economic forum, the Prime Minister attended the World Economic Forum for three days with 2500 delegates, 40 world leaders and scores of chief executives for the world's biggest corporations. [The Australian, Dennis Shanahan In Davos, 25 January 2014]


Video evidence of Abbott's poor sense of geography: http://youtu.be/o5QWqmrh47E

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Australian Prime Minister hangs on for dear life as cameras click


Obviously determined to make the most of any photo opportunity with world leaders or their representatives, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has taken to employing a stick-like-glue handshake.

Using both his hands to either clasp the other's hand or sometimes the hand and arm, until enough cameras have clicked enough times to satisfy his ego.

Photographs found on Google Images

Recalling yet another taxpayer-funded hotel bill run up by a Federal Liberal MP


As Federal Liberal MP for the Gold Coast and Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer, Steve Ciobo, has been busy this month announcing the closure of more government agency offices in regional areas such as the Northern Rivers in order to reduce government expenditure, I was reminded of his own record of spending at taxpayers’ expense.

News.com.au 13 July 2012:

Liberal MP Steve Ciobo and wife Astra's luxury lodgings in New York at the Bristal Plaza. 
Source: The Daily Telegraph

FEARING a diplomatic incident, Australian consular officials in New York have had to step in and settle an outstanding $8000 hotel bill for a Liberal MP who is still refusing to pay.
Federal politician Steve Ciobo has vowed to fight the federal government in court over the account for a three-month stay at New York's ritzy Bristol Plaza late last year while he was on a US exchange program.
An email obtained by The Daily Telegraph revealed the incident reached the highest diplomatic levels in New York, after the hotel issued a letter of demand for the bill to be paid.
"The lack of payment is causing irreparable damage to the relationship (consulate) Post has enjoyed with the Bristol Plaza dating back more than 10 years," said the email to the Department of Finance from the Australian Consulate-General in New York City, dated May this year.
"Furthermore we fear it may negatively affect the reputation of the Australian Government more broadly throughout the network of hotels and agencies in New York."
The consulate warned that the hotel was threatening to take the Australian government to court to recover the money which had been in arrears for six months.
The outstanding amount of $7486 was finally paid by the Australian mission in New York to prevent a diplomatic controversy.
But the Department of Finance in Canberra is refusing to reimburse the mission and has issued several letters of demand to Mr Ciobo to pay up......

In 2011 the Dept. of Finance recorded total overseas travel expenses of $93,828.49 by Mr. Ciobo -  $23,041.53 from January to June and $70,786.96 from July to December.

A total of $65,696.90 is listed as expenses incurred in the U.S. between 10 September and 16 December 2011, with $41,471.33 of that being costs of accommodation and meals.

It is uncertain as to whether Mr. Ciobo ever repaid the debt he incurred in New York in 2011 while reportedly on a United Nations exchange program funded by the Australian government.

In 2012 an apparently chastened Member for the Gold Coast was recorded as only spending $7,522.45 on overseas travel during a six-day ‘study’  trip to Israel over the end-of-year parliamentary break and, in the first half of 2013 he spent nothing at all.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

ReachTEL poll shows support may be plummeting for Abbott Government


On 23 January 2014 ‘phones began to ring ........

Question 1:
If a Federal election were to be held today, which of the following would receive your first preference vote? If you are undecided to which do you even have a slight leaning?

Question 2:
Please rate the performance of Tony Abbott as Prime Minister?

Question 3:
Please rate the performance of Bill Shorten as Leader of the Opposition?

This survey was conducted using an automated telephone based survey system among 3,547 voters. Telephone numbers and the person within the household were selected at random. The results have been weighted by gender and age to reflect the population according to ABS figures. Please note that due to rounding, not all tables necessarily total 100% and subtotals may also vary. Copyright ReachTEL Pty Ltd.

The complete seven question poll conducted on behalf of Channel 7 can be found here.

Scientist bites back at climate change denialist claims


Mother Jones 24 January 2014:
In 2012—after writers for National Review and a prominent conservative think tank accused him of fraud and compared him to serial child molester Jerry Sandusky—climate scientist Michael Mann took the bold step of filing a defamation suit. The defendants moved to have the case thrown out, citing a Washington, DC, law that shields journalists from frivolous litigation. But on Wednesday, DC Superior Court Judge Frederick Weisberg rejected the motion, opening the way for a trial.
Although public figures like Mann have to clear a high bar to prove defamation, Weisberg argued that the scientist's complaint may pass the test. And he brushed aside the defendants' claims that the fraud allegations were "pure opinion," which is protected by the First Amendment:
Accusing a scientist of conducting his research fraudulently, manipulating his data to achieve a predetermined or political outcome, or purposefully distorting the scientific truth are factual allegations. They go to the heart of scientific integrity. They can be proven true or false. If false, they are defamatory. If made with actual malice, they are actionable.
Weisberg's order is just the latest in a string of setbacks that have left the climate change skeptics' case in disarray. Earlier this month, Steptoe & Johnson, the law firm representingNational Review and its writer, Mark Steyn, withdrew as Steyn's counsel. According to two sources with inside knowledge, it also plans to drop National Review as a client.
The lawyers' withdrawal came shortly after Steyn—a prominent conservative pundit who regularly fills in as host of Rush Limbaugh's radio show—publicly attacked the former judge in the case, Natalia Combs Greene, accusing her of "stupidity" and "staggering" incompetence. Mann's attorney, John B. Williams, suspects this is no coincidence. "Any lawyer would be taken aback if their client said such things about the judge," he says. "That may well be why Steptoe withdrew."
Steyn's manager, Melissa Howes, acknowledged that his commentary "did not go over well."* But Steyn maintains it was his decision to part ways with his attorneys.......
Order made in MICHAEL E. MANN, PH.D. Plaintiff, v. NATIONAL REVIEW, INC. et. al., Defendants, Case No. 2012 CA 8263 B, Judge Frederick H. Weisberg:

More jobs go in Lismore under an Abbott Government


The AUSTRALIAN VALUATION OFFICE is a fee for service federal government agency situated within the Australian Tax Office:

A valued partner in government – delivering asset solutions.
The Australian Valuation Office has a team of professionals in cities, regional centres and remote locations across Australia. We provide valuation, assessment, risk management, business intelligence, advice and consultancy services for all types of assets and for all levels of government.
As a government agency, we deliver professional, ethical and intelligent solutions. Our solutions deliver value for money and meet all compliance requirements.
Our position within government guarantees independent advice and results you can trust and use with confidence.

Land and property valuations are supplied to the NT Government under an agreement with the Australian Valuation Office (AVO).
Requests for valuations from NT Government agencies must be submitted in writing to the AVO by facsimile to 08 8995 5365, or by email to thevaluergeneral@nt.gov.au
Agency requests are regarded as commercial valuations and the costs are charged directly back to the requesting agency.

While the Abbott Government and Federal Labor Opposition issue competing media releases (see below), the fact remains that the Northern Rivers region will see job losses once again as a result of government cost cutting.

The Sydney Morning Herald 23 January 2014:

The office’s remaining work is expected to be taken over by private sector valuers.
The closure will affect workers in Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney as well as regional towns including, Young, Bowral, Wagga Wagga, Lismore, Mildura and Port Lincoln.

Federal Nationals MP for Page, Kevin Hogan, remains silent on the fate of Lismore staff, although he did respond when The Daily Examiner questioned him about the fate of Australian Tax Office staff at Grafton. He’s written another letter.

________________________

The Hon Steven Ciobo MP
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer

4 January 2014

Closure of the Australian Valuation Office
The Australian Valuation Office (AVO) will cease to provide services by 30 June 2014.
The AVO has delivered valuation services exclusively for the Government since 1910 but has become unsustainable and is expected to incur losses of up to $4 million this financial year.
The losses are forecast to get worse each year as the AVO’s revenue declines sharply due to technological changes in the valuation industry and government departments decreasing their use of the AVO’s services.
On top of the predicated losses, at least $1 million would have been required for the AVO to bring their IT equipment up to date.
A compelling case for the Commonwealth providing its own valuation services no longer exists, particularly given there is a highly competitive market of private sector providers.
The Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer, Steven Ciobo, said he paid tribute to those who have worked in the AVO. The organisation has a rich history and has assisted organisations over many years to meet policy outcomes and financial reporting requirements.
The Australian Taxation Office will work with affected employees and manage the wind-down period for the organisation, with up to 198 staff to be offered redundancies.



ANDREW LEIGH MP
SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER
ACTING SHADOW FINANCE MINISTER
MEMBER FOR FRASER

MORE JOBS LOST AS ABBOTT GOVERNMENT KILLS PUBLIC VALUATION OFFICE
The Abbott Government’s decision to axe the Australian Valuation Office jeopardises the jobs and livelihoods of almost 200 people across Canberra, Sydney, and Melbourne and in remote and regional cities.
The decision smacks of an ideological preoccupation with cutting government services without regard to their effectiveness.
The 104 year-old AVO, located in the Australian Taxation Office, has been doing an effective job. While the government refers to a projected loss in the future, it fails to point out that the AVO has consistently run a profit.
At the same time that the Minister for Social Services has announced a review of welfare spending, the Government is axing the office that conducts compliance valuations for Centrelink.
The AVO’s team of professionals provide valuation, assessment, risk management and independent advice regarding property and other assets. If the government does not know what its assets are worth, it risks making bad decisions in everything from defence to social security.
Tony Abbott gave no indication of this when in Opposition. The government has not consulted with staff before making this decision.
If there is a compelling case to axe the AVO, the government needs to make it. Scrapping a century-old institution deserves a proper report, not just a short press release from the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer.
The Coalition said that they wanted more services delivered in regional Australia, but all they have done is cut jobs.
The decision comes off the back of revelations this week that the ATO plans to close regional tax compliance offices across four states.
Why is the Coalition axing jobs at a time of rising joblessness and insecurity? Is this a preview of the savage cuts to come with the Commission of Audit?
Friday, 24 January 2014

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Is Kevin Hogan playing coy with the media over his position on coal seam gas mining?


The Nationals Member for Page, Kevin Hogan, went to the 7 September 2013 federal election declaring his opposition to coal seam gas exploration and mining on the NSW North Coast until it could be proved there were no negative impacts.

As late as November 2013 he was attending the Kyogle Gas Free Celebration stating that he had “great reservations”, “real questions marks” about the industry, and was willing to “cross the floor” on any vote concerning CSG.

Although a month earlier in the print media he had begun to state that he could see where pro-mining Federal Resources Minister Ian Macfarlane was coming from in his support for the NSW gas industry.

Since that 2013 rally Mr. Hogan has been rather quiet on the subject of coal seam gas mining and the opposition of Northern Rivers communities to establishment of this industry in the region.

There is no current mention of coal seam gas on his official website that I can find, he lists no advocacy on behalf of the electorate concerning coal seam gas in his own review of his first 100 days as an elected representative.

Similarly his Facebook timeline has been silent on the subject since he became a member of parliament, whilst his Twitter account makes no mention of his position at all except in one tweet praising Metgasco’s temporary suspension of exploration activity way back in March 2013.

Behind the scenes in 2014 there are journalists, working for state-wide and national newspapers, who are beginning to wonder why he is now "ducking and diving" any coal seam gas questions posed to him.

Safely ensconced in his seat with a healthy boost to his income, part of the Canberra political scene; has Kevin already begun to forget the little he knew of his electorate and quietly joined the coal seam gas club?

Clarence Valley youth rock!


Letter to the editor in The Daily Examiner 25 January 2014:

Positive youth models
In the light of all the recent media comments regarding young people's behaviour and 'coward's punches', let's remind ourselves of the positive behaviours of most young people.
In Grafton, on December 21, an estimated 1200 young people gathered together from lunchtime onwards throughout Grafton; all ending up at the Grafton Racecourse for the ninth annual Santa Crawl.
These young people were all enjoying themselves, having fun with their friends, listening to music, dancing and, yes, drinking.
There were no violent incidences - no fights, no aggression, nobody hurt.
Following this event there was $12,000 quietly donated to Vinnies - the total proceeds of that one event - what a fabulous result.
So in this current climate, it's important to reflect and acknowledge that the majority of young people do behave as this group did at the Santa Crawl - having fun, drinking responsibly and respecting others, while at the same time being generous and thoughtful to those less fortunate than themselves.
Well done the young people of Clarence Valley and beyond, who attended and contributed to this event.
Hats off and congratulations to the young people who continue to organise this event each year and who are as proud of their record of holding a peaceful event as they are of the significant donation they make to a local charity.
Sue McKimm
Grafton

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott is caught misquoting and therefore changing meaning in speech full of oft repeated slogans


That intellectual poseur Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott is caught misquoting and therefore changing meaning in his Address To The World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland, on 23 January 2014:

In Lincoln’s words, government should do for people what they can’t do for themselves – and no more.

What Abraham Lincoln actually said on the basic role of government:

Fragment on Government [1]


[April 1, 1854?]
Government is a combination of the people of a country to effect certain objects by joint effort. The best framed and best administered governments are necessarily expensive; while by errors in frame and maladministration most of them are more onerous than they need be, and some of them very oppressive. Why, then, should we have government? Why not each individual take to himself the whole fruit of his labor, without having any of it taxed away, in services, corn, or money? Why not take just so much land as he can cultivate with his own hands, without buying it of any one?
The legitimate object of government is ''to do for the people what needs to be done, but which they can not, by individual effort, do at all, or do so well, for themselves.'' There are many such things---some of them exist independently of the injustice in the world. Making and maintaining roads, bridges, and the like; providing for the helpless young and afflicted; common schools; and disposing of deceased men's property, are instances.
But a far larger class of objects springs from the injustice of men. If one people will make war upon another, it is a necessity with that other to unite and cooperate for defense. Hence the military department. If some men will kill, or beat, or constrain others, or despoil them of property, by force, fraud, or noncompliance with contracts, it is a common object with peaceful and just men to prevent it. Hence the criminal and civil departments.

Annotation
[1]   NH, II, 182-83. This fragment is obviously related to the companion piece supra. No trace of the original document or a copy remains in the Lincoln papers.
[Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865,Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln: Volume 2]

A second version exists from the same source:

Fragment on Government [1]

[July 1, 1854?]
The legitimate object of government, is to do for a community of people, whatever they need to have done, but can not do, at all, or can not, so well do, for themselves---in their separate, and individual capacities.
In all that the people can individually do as well for themselves, government ought not to interfere....

Annotation

[1]   AD, DLC-RTL. The date assigned to this fragment by Nicolay and Hay has been retained for want of satisfactory evidence to the contrary. It seems, however, to be an entirely arbitrary date, without supporting evidence. Together with the companion version (infra), which seems to be a revision, this fragment may have been used in, or at least intended for, a lecture, but if Lincoln delivered such a lecture no reference to it has been found. 

UPDATE:

In the Abbott Government's Terms of Reference for the latest National Commission of Audit, this Lincoln misquote has been further rendered into economic terms as; government should do for people what they cannot do, or cannot do efficiently, for themselves, but no more.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Tony Abbott supporter tweets on Australia Day 2014 *WARNING: Strong Language*


On 26 January 2014 one member of the Tony Abbott fan club suffered a meltdown on Twitter.....


The intellectual level of his support is truly daunting.

The Lies Abbott Tells - Part Nine


The Lie

We’ve established a once-in-a-generation Commission of Audit to re-consider the size, scope and efficiency of government.
[Prime Minister Tony Abbott in his Address To The World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland, on 23 January 2014]

The Facts

Commissions of Audit have been used by incoming Coalition governments at a State and Federal level over the past two decades to implement substantial reform of the public sector and government operations....
The National Commission of Audit was established immediately after the election of the Coalition government in 1996. The Commission was charged with the task of reporting to the Government on the finances of the Commonwealth and measures to improve its fiscal position.
The Terms of Reference for the 1996 Commission were substantially similar to those released for the 2013-14 Federal Commission of Audit and included an examination of Federal/State service overlap, cost-saving mechanisms and financial performance targets...
The Final Report of the 1996 Commission of Audit is available here.
[Hawker Britton, October 2013, National Commission of Audit – Past and Present]

Classic Political Twitter Exchange


Educating Tony.....


Sunday, 26 January 2014

Australian Local Government Women's Association (ALGWA) hosting forum in Clarence Valley on 8 February 2014

Media Release
Councillor Toms hosts ALGWA Executive meeting &
“Leading Ladies” Forum

In the interest of promoting community awareness and education for women in the Clarence Valley local government area, Cr Karen Toms has successfully secured an executive position on the New South Wales Branch of the Australian Local Government Women’s Association (ALGWA). This is the first time a Clarence Valley Councillor has been elected to the Executive of ALGWA NSW.

ALGWA NSW branch executive will be holding their executive branch meeting in the Clarence Valley on 8th February 2014. This is a unique opportunity to showcase the Clarence Valley to councillors from across the State.

In conjunction with the executive meeting, a Free Community Forum will be held on Friday 7 February 2014 at the Treelands Drive Community Centre at Yamba. The Forum is titled: “Leading Ladies”.

The “Leading Ladies” Forum will examine leadership stumbling blocks women meet in daily activities, at home, socially or in the workplace. The focus of the Forum is to provide practical straight forward solutions for the modern world through practical leadership techniques for women. Become skilled at maintaining your personal values without disrespecting traditional values of others. It is designed for all ages and people from all walks of life, who aspire to become, or already see themselves as leaders or anyone who simply want to improve their confidence or increase their self-awareness. Parents may also find the Forum beneficial to assist daughters with transition into the workplace.

The presenter, Katie Clayton-Vincent, has formal education in Management and Leadership. She will share her experiences of climbing the corporate ladder, and reveal leadership technique adopted when overcoming the difficulties of working as a senior management in male dominated industries. In addition to running a successful agricultural business, Ms Clayton-Vincent conducts mentorship and business coaching work with women in the Clarence Valley.

The President Cr Colleen Fuller and her team look forward to their visit to the Clarence Valley.

DETAILS

Event: ALGWA Leadership Forum – “Leading Ladies”
Date: Friday 7 February 2014
Time: 4.30pm (Registration & refreshments) 5.00pm – 6.30pm Forum
Venue: Treelands Drive Community Centre, Treelands Dr, Yamba
RSVP: RSVP by 31 January 2014
Cr Karen Toms: Ph 0403 195 178 or email: karen.toms@clarence.nsw.gov.au
Medial  contact: Cr Karen Toms

**************Celebrating Australia Day 2014**************



Faces of 21st Century Australia

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Tony's best friend Gina is offering advice to government yet again

The Australian 2012: Rinehart (centre) and Abbott (standing)

Multi-billionaire mining magnate Gina Rinehart offers advice to yet another member of the Abbott Government, on the subject of recipients of aged/veterans/widows/carer pensions, sole parent payments, unemployment benefits and assorted other cash transfers including Austudy.

The Sydney Morning Herald 23 January 2014:

In audio of the meeting heard by Fairfax Media, Mr O'Dowd also argued that too many Australians were exploiting the social security system, and that something needed to be done to stop welfare cheats. He recalled a conversation he had had recently with billionaire Gina Rinehart.
"[Rinehart's] biggest whinge to me was, she said, 'Ken, you blokes in Canberra have got to stop the welfare system," Mr O'Dowd told the community meeting.
"There is [sic] 60 per cent of Australians on some sort of welfare payment. [Rinehart] said, 'They can't be all that badly off'."

Friday, 24 January 2014

Gillard would never have brought Australia to the sorry pass Abbott has


If one looks back on the life history of the Federal Member for Warringah, Tony Abbott MP, it is obvious that he operates best as a belligerent. That he thrives on conflict.

Not being known as a creator of good public policy or a builder of lasting parliamentary consensus, he seeks to aggressively oppose as a substitute for effective political action.

No longer being able to oppose the Federal Government because he is now the head of that very government, one has to suspect that Abbott is now casting about for another political enemy – a ‘baddie’ to his own ‘goodie’ - to fight for the sake of being seen to be fighting.

I fear that he seeks to engage Indonesia as his new opponent and that he would not (given his obvious admiration of all things military) be averse to leading Australia into a physical skirmish with this close neighbour.

One senses that Abbott finds the idea of being a ‘wartime’ prime minister an attractive proposition, given his recent rhetoric about the enemy and war with regard to towing/turning back asylum seeker boats.

If the Liberal Party of Australia doesn't swiftly depose this mindless adrenalin junkie he will bring our country to its knees.

The situation thus far.......

The Jakarta Post 23 January 2013:


With Canberra pressing ahead with its hard-line policy of turning back asylum seekers to Indonesian waters, Jakarta told its neighbor on Wednesday the policy could lead to violations of Indonesia’s sovereignty and that it had increased security on its borders to prevent incursions. 

A number of Indonesian Navy warships have been deployed and four Air Force defense radars have been programmed to closely monitor the southern border, military officials told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday. 

“We are watching four radars in Timika, Merauke [in Papua], Saumlaki [Maluku] and Buraen [East Nusa Tenggara], which all face Australia,” Air Force chief spokesman Air Commodore Hadi Tjahjanto said.

“If we notice any border violations, our air base in Makassar will be ready. Australia is reachable from there.” Hadi was referring to the Sultan Hasanuddin Air Force Base in the South Sulawesi provincial capital, which is the base of the 11th squadron, consisting of 16 Russian-made Sukhoi Su-27/30 Flankers. 

The Flankers have a maximum range of some 3,000 kilometers. The sea border lies some 1,000 km from Makassar. At Mach 1, or the speed of sound, the Flankers would reach the border in little over an hour. 

Navy chief spokesman Commodore Untung Suropati confirmed that a number of warships had moved toward the Australian border. He said these included frigates, fast torpedo craft (KCT), fast missile craft (KCR) and corvettes as well as maritime patrol aircraft. He declined to reveal the precise number and location of the assets.

“All the ships are on the move, patrolling the waters,” he said.

Tension between the two neighbors reached a new height Wednesday after Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, that stopping the boats was “a matter of sovereignty” and Jakarta should understand Canberra was taking the issue seriously. 

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who suspended cooperation with Australia following allegations that it attempted to spy on him and members of his inner circle, skipped the Davos meeting to oversee the handling of recent nationwide flooding and the eruption of the Mount Sinabung volcano. 

Abbott’s statement came only days after Australia admitted that its naval ships had entered Indonesian waters. It later apologized to Indonesia for the incursion. 

Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Djoko Suyanto said it was Australia that should respect Indonesia’s sovereignty, “which was violated by the Australian navy.” 

“Asylum seekers that have entered a country, including Australia, must be managed according to the UN Convention on Refugees,” he asserted in a written statement. 

Australia is a signatory to the convention. He added that the country concerned must also handle the problem in cooperation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) or the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Yudhoyono’s foreign affairs spokesman Teuku Faizasyah said, “A violation of our national territory for any reason cannot be tolerated.”

“If Prime Minister Abbott asks President Yudhoyono and the Indonesian people to understand Australia’s seriousness with regards to its sovereignty, in the same vein, Indonesia also asks Australia to understand our firm commitment to our vital interests.”

Novan Iman Santosa contributed to the story.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s statement saying that Australia would continue to stop the boats carrying asylum seekers was a defiant stance against the 1951 Refugee Convention, an expert says.
“Abbott’s statement which used Australia’s sovereignty as the ground of his policies to turn back the boats is not in line with the convention. The asylum seekers were labeled as illegal immigrants without scrutiny first,” University of Indonesia international law expert Hikmahanto Juwana said in a statement sent to The Jakarta Post on Thursday.....
Calling Abbott’s statement as “very unfriendly to Indonesia,” Hikmahanto also slammed Australia’s decision to unilaterally address the boat people issue using military forces.
“It is a pity that such a nation that as developed as Australia still has policy makers that tend to violate human rights. Traditionally, it is nations like Australia which are supposed to preach developing nations how to respect human rights,” he said....
Jakarta has recalled Indonesia’s ambassador to Australia since November and it is not yet known when he would be returned to Canberra.

BACKGROUND

The Sydney Morning Herald 15 January 2014:

Navy personnel carrying out border protection were quietly stripped of some workplace safety protections and obligations last month in an apparent preparation for dangerous operations such as turning back boats.
The Chief of the Defence Force, General David Hurley, used his powers under workplace safety laws shortly before Christmas to exempt Navy sailors from their obligation to take ''reasonable care'' to ensure their own safety and that of other sailors and asylum-seekers.
The change aims to give sailors legal protection, meaning they would ''not face individual criminal sanctions under the Act for giving effect to Government policy'', an explanatory statement issued by General Hurley states.
General Hurley acted in consultation with Employment Minister Eric Abetz to make the change, which effectively puts the sailors on a similar footing to military personnel fighting in battle.
The change, made on December 19, came as the government enacted its hardline election promise of turning back asylum-seeker boats, which critics have warned poses dangers to Navy personnel and asylum seekers. As many as six are believed to have been turned back to Indonesia in recent weeks.

Is the Australian general public losing confidence in the future under the Abbott Government?


On 21 January 2014 Essential Research published the results of an online survey of 1,087 respondents conducted between 17 and 20 January.

Trust in government and political leadership has dropped since the Abbott Government was elected in September 2013.

There is a strong expectation that job security will reduce, cost of living grow more expensive and personal financial situations worsen.

In fact respondents believed all issues measured (except company profits) would get worse under the current Liberal-National Government.



Click on image to enlarge


Thursday, 23 January 2014

Is Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott desperately avoiding being photographed under this particular art work?


World Economic Forum art work in January 2014 at Davos, Switzerland.

Top row, third from left - former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard whom current Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott never managed to beat at a federal election.





















Artist: F Morales-de la Cruz @fmdelac 

BACKGROUND

Gillard labels Abbott sexist and misogynist on the floor of the House of Representatives on 9 October 2012

World Economic Forum The Global Gender Gap Report 2013

This is what happens when you put a right-wing political ideologue and an army general in charge of sensitive naval operations


I am well aware that Royal Australian Navy ship drivers can be very gung-ho, but I also know that in the past they were trained up to be accurate navigators and better officers than the type of men who would deliberately cause international incidents in peace time at the behest of federal politicians.

So what has happened to the professional discipline and ethical perspective of senior naval officers and ships' captains since the Abbott Government came to power?

Joint media release
21-01-2014 –

The Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS) and the Australian Defence Force have commenced a joint review into Australian vessels which entered Indonesian waters contrary to Australian Government policy, during operations conducted in association with Operation Sovereign Borders.
The review was announced by Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, the Hon Scott Morrison MP, and Commander Joint Agency Task Force Lieutenant General Angus Campbell DSC, AM, on Friday 17 January 2014. The review will be co-chaired by senior officers from the ACBPS and the Australian Defence Force.
ACBPS and Defence acknowledge the seriousness of this matter and the urgency required as a consequence of the importance of our relationship with Indonesia.
The joint review will focus on the circumstances leading to the entry of Australian vessels into Indonesian waters. Specifically, the review will assess the sequence of events and cause of Australian vessels entering into Indonesian waters in connection with Operation Sovereign Borders.
The joint review will identify any potential procedural weaknesses or deficiencies in maritime operations and make recommendations to ensure that any immediate operational policy or procedure issues are highlighted and rectified promptly.
ACBPS and Defence expect to complete the report in the coming weeks. At that time, the ACBPS Chief Executive Officer and Chief of the Defence Force will consider release of the review’s findings.
Media contact:
Customs and Border Protection Media (02) 6275 6793
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999
Note:
The review’s Terms of Reference are attached.

Snapshot from the 
Terms of Reference – Review of Operation Sovereign Borders vessel positioning

Somewhat typically for a NSW North Coast Federal National Party politician, Page MP Kevin Hogan, is more concerned with medals than breaches of international law by the government of which he is a member.