Monday, 31 March 2014

Wasn't Australia lucky that Whaling In The Antarctic (Australia V. Japan: New Zealand Intervening) was already before the International Court of Justice by the time Tony Abbott became prime minister


This was Tony Abbott reported in The Age on 12 January 2010:

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says a Coalition government would not take international legal action against Japanese whaling…
While the Coalition would like Japan to stop whaling, ''we don't want to needlessly antagonise our most important trading partner, a fellow democracy, an ally'', he said.
''There are limits to what you can reasonably do, and taking war-like action against Japan is not something that a sensible Australian politician ought to recommend.''…

This is the victory for whale conservation in the Southern Ocean that the former Federal Labor Government bequeathed Australia:


Further information here.

On 31 March 2014 the International Court Of Justice rules that Japan's JARPA II annual whale slaughter in the Southern Ocean must cease



The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has ruled that Japan's whaling program it not for scientific purposes and has forbidden the granting of further permits.
The finding by a 16-judge panel at the ICJ is in favour of Australia's argument that Japan's whaling program is carried out for commercial purposes rather than scientific research.
Japan has been able to kill unlimited numbers of whales in the Antarctic under treaty, arguing that they do so for scientific purposes.
Japan had argued it has complied with the moratorium despite a 2,000-year tradition of whale hunting, leaving coastal communities in "anguish" because they can no longer practice their ancestral traditions.
More than 10,000 whales have been killed since 1988 as a result of Japan's programs.
The ICJ's ruling is final and there will be no appeal.

The Sydney Morning Herald 31 March 2014:

The International Court of Justice has upheld Australia's bid to ban Japan's Antarctic whaling program. 
ICJ president Peter Tomka said the court concluded the scientific permits granted by Japan for its whaling program were not scientific research as defined under International Whaling Commission rules.
Mr Tomka said in The Hague that the court was persuaded that Japan had conducted a program for logistical and political considerations, rather than scientific research.
The court unanimously found it had jurisdiction to hear the case, and by 12 votes to four found that special permits granted by Japan in connection with the program, JARPA II, did not fall within the IWC convention.
It therefore ordered that Japan revoke any scientific permit under JARPA II and refrain from granting any further permits….
Australia sought an order from the International Court of Justice to stop the Japanese whale hunt in a case launched by the Rudd government in 2010.
The case began as tortuous diplomatic negotiations for Japan to phase out its Antarctic hunt broke down in the International Whaling Commission.
Other anti-whaling nations, including the United States, warned Australia against going to the court to fight the hunt which kills hundreds of whales each summer.
Washington's IWC Commissioner, Monica Medina, said that it was an uncertain gamble on whales' lives.
"This is a 'bet-the-whales' case," Ms Medina said then.
But a series of opinions by legal expert panels gathered by international wildlife conservation groups encouraged the then environment minister, Peter Garrett.
He argued strongly inside the Rudd government for taking on Japan, WikiLeaks documents showed….

Australian Water Holdings: Footy, limousines and pole dancing


It would appear that either the directors or the ten or so employees knew how to give themselves a good time…….

Excerpt from NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) Operation Credo-Spicer Investigation public hearing on 27 March 2014 on the subject of Australian Water Holdings Pty Ltd:

GEOFFREY WATSON SC (counsel assisting ICAC): And earlier in your evidence you used an expression horrified, you were  horrified by the expenses, apart from the salaries, you’ve told us about that, were there other aspects that horrified you?

MICHAEL COSTA (former NSW Labor Treasurer who succeeded Arthur Sinodinos as Chairman): Oh, Mr Canaway made it very clear what some of the expenses were via his due diligence um, arrangements and, you know, they were quite staggering.

WATSON: What sort of things?

COSTA: Oh, that stuff that’s been canvassed in the press, limousines um, um, I think he did mention pole dancing um, so I don’t know what that was all about um, look, it was, it was clear that the um, the, the expenses were out of control um  

WATSON: What about the box out at the footy stadium?

COSTA: I, I didn’t find out about that till much later and Robert Groom advised me of that, we - and when I was there I tried, we tried to cancel it um, but it wasn’t um, possible to cancel because they had a, a contract. I think I must have found out um, there might have been two or three games left or ah, but I never of course went there. The other um, was it, the other expenses were things like directors’ fees for the Queensland directors which I thought were ah, you know um, had to be cut ah, that whole Queensland operation though it was, I’ve got to say they were doing good work up there, I mean, the proposal they came up with ah, in terms of the coal seam gas was a very innovative proposal and if it had of been successful would have been um, um, you know, added enormous value to the company.

In which House of Representatives Speaker Bronwyn Bishop fails to acknowledge a Point of Order and allows comment on a matter still before an Australian court


On Tuesday 25 March 2014 former member for Dobell, Craig Thomson, was released on bail (approximately one hour after sentencing) after his legal team appealed the three-month jail sentence.

One day later in the House of Representatives Prime Minister Tony Abbott mentioned Craig Thomson in relation to the matter under appeal.

Because the matter is still sub judice Abbott's remarks were irresponsible at best and prejudicial at worst.

Hansard 26 March 2014:

Mr SHORTEN (Maribyrnong—Leader of the Opposition) (14:40): My question is to the Prime Minister.
Why does the government have a plan to bring back knights and dames, but no plan for Australian jobs? Prime Minister, why is the Abbott government's priority a plan to bring back knighthoods? ….

Mr ABBOTT: This is a government which is capable of doing several things at the same time. But our priority is lifting the burdens on Australian families, and last week we tried to scrap the carbon tax, and Labor made the carbon tax stay. Yesterday we tried to scrap the mining tax, and Labor made the mining tax stay. We are trying to clean up the building and construction industry; Labor is trying to stop that. We are trying to get rid of
union rorts, rackets and rip-offs, and corruption of the sort that the former member for Dobell was engaged in; Labor is still protecting that kind of wrongdoing. These are our priorities; I am proud of them.

Mr Burke: Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. If there was ever a breach of standing order 104(a), it is what we just heard.

The SPEAKER: The Prime Minister has the call.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Is Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott barking mad or merely a silly fool?


Sir Pository of Wisdom from the brush of Ron Tandberg

But that’s what Governors-General do – they encourage us to be our best selves. They are our cheerleaders-in-chief…..
As Sir Peter Cosgrove and Lady Lynne travel the length and breadth of our country, visiting all the places that aren’t important enough for Prime Ministers…

Firstly, Sir Pository of Wisdom ignores the fact that a governor-general is not a cheerleader, but the Monarch’s representative in a constitutional monarchy and therefore one of the safeguards built into the Australian Constitution.

Secondly, he is wrong about the title of the Governor-General’s spouse – she is Lady Cosgrove. She would only be Lady Lynne is she had a title in her own right.

Thirdly, the Governor-General and his spouse take precedence over the Prime Minister and his spouse.

Finally, Sir Pository confirms that he considers much of Australia is beneath his notice as prime minister.

The laughter continues at Abbott's attempt to turn back the clock by reintroducing knights and dames



Editor David Moase in The Daily Examiner, 27 March 2013, Page 11:

If there was one headline I didn't expect to see this week, it was the news Australia will soon have knights and dames in our Order of Australia honours.

It is a staggering decision by the Prime Minister - not a jump to the left or a step to the right but he's definitely doing the time warp.

Was there something particularly wrong with the Order of Australia that needed this extra level of honours using titles we ditched 20 years ago?

Are governors-general or other members of society really in need of an old-fashioned title in front of their name?

But who am I to argue with the PM, so without further ado I'd like to release the first round of honours in the Order of the Opinion Page*.

Firstly, for his long-running and unstinting support of conservative politics, enthusiastic mocking of anything on the political left and battling against the chainsaw-stopping efforts of Greenies and global warming advocates ... arise Sir Fred Perring, of Halfway Creek.

In the interests of bipartisanship, the second honour goes to a man who has been a longstanding foot soldier in the class warfare of the Valley, whose efforts in support of Labor are undiminished and is a champion of the battlers around Maclean ... arise Sir Bruce Apps, of Townsend.

And finally, for hours spent reading Hansard, commitment to fully attributing references in her letters and for holding the council and the conservatives'  feet to the fire ... arise Dame Judith M Melville, of Yamba.

*Due to budgetary constraints, all awards of the Order are strictly honorary.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

When a website tells the unvarnished truth.....


This is an image of Prime Minister Tony Abbott, on his feet during Question Time, which was displayed on the Australian Parliament website on 24 March 2014:


Quote of the Week


People do have a right to be bigots, you know. In a free country, people do have rights to say things that other people find offensive, insulting or bigoted.
[Australian Attorney-General Senator George Brandis on his feet in the Senate, Hansard 24 March 2014]

Friday, 28 March 2014

A Northern Rivers' water authority does not want Metgasco & Dart gas exploration in areas it intends to source future water supplies


Echo NetDaily 25 March 2014:

Rous Water has called on the state government to prevent gas exploration in areas it is planning to explore for underground water sources.
The county council, which supplies Lismore, Ballina, Richmond Valley and Byron LGAs, has identified subterranean water in its future water strategy as the best and most cost-effective source to meet its increased needs in the coming decades.
But the recent pollution of aquifers in the Pilliga by Santos mining with uranium and a number of heavy metals has triggered serious concerns among the board at the prospect of something similar happening in the northern rivers.
At its most recent board meeting Rous Water unanimously passed a motion that the NSW government and all the relevant state members of parliament be informed of the specific areas Rous Water has identified as potential future water sources for region.
‘The motion requested that the government not approve any exploratory or production gas wells in the vicinity of those areas under investigation until such time as Rous Water’s future water strategy is fully determined,’ said one board member, Lismore councillor Simon Clough.
There are two petroleum exploration licences (PELs) – 16 (Metgasco) and 445 (Dart) – where drilling activity could adversely affect Rous’s future water strategy…
Read rest of article here.

On 19 February 2014 the National Archives of Australia and Dept. of Immigration and Border Protection decided to limit information about Anthony John Abbott


While Anthony John Abbott was Federal Leader of the Opposition the National Archives of Australia displayed on its website a digital record of Richard and Fay Abbott’s application for assisted passage to Australia with their first two children, Anthony and Jane.

Sometime after Anthony John ‘Tony’ Abbott became prime minister this digital copy disappeared from view in the original record which still retains its "open" listing.

Now a restricted listing for “Anthony John Abbott” have been posted online by archive staff and, one has to pay $29.90 for a paper copy of an unspecified record pertaining to this person if access is granted.

http://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/NameSearch/Interface/ItemDetail.aspx?Barcode=13147273


The reason given for this apparent desire not to have information on the Prime Minister and his family as freely available to the general public as is the information on other living persons or their parents and grandparents is that: Information or matter the disclosure of which under this Act would involve the unreasonable disclosure of information relating to the personal affairs of any person (including a deceased person).

So it is perfectly acceptable to release the digital records of others and, therefore for the general public to know how many times former Prime Minister John Howard's father was absent without leave when on active duty in France during World War One or how many times many other ordinary servicemen caught a venereal disease or went before courts-martial during both world wars.

It is also acceptable for what sometimes amounts to idle gossip or vindictive accusation about ordinary Australians from as late as the 1950s, 60s and 70s (concerning treason/sedition or membership of the Communist Party) to be digitally available on the National Archives website, as well as copies of ASIO surveillance photographs of May Day marchers and Moratorium protesters, yet Prime Minister Abbott's history is to be hidden from general view. 

One can be forgiven for thinking that there is now one rule for the Prime Minister and another for the rest of Australia.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

The real reason Anthony John 'Tony' Abbott waited until he was almost 24 years old to become an Australian citizen?


When Anthony John Abbott was born to an English father and a first-generation Australian mother at a general lying-in hospital in York Road, Lambeth, London, on 4 November 1957, his parents did not register him as an Australian infant born overseas or immediately apply for Australian citizenship on his behalf.

Presumably because at that time Richard and Fay Abbott thought they would be permanently living in England and raising a family there.

He therefore had only one official nationality status – as a British subject and citizen.

In fact it was not until over twenty years after the family had arrived in Australia as subsidised assisted migrants that Tony Abbott’s parents applied to register his birth with the Dept. of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs and apply for his citizenship, in a document/s dated 19 June 1981.

This application appears to have been treated as urgent by departmental staff.

His parents were subsequently informed in a letter dated 1 July 1981 that Anthony John Abbott was now deemed to be an Australian citizen under Section 11 of the Australian Citizenship Act 1948 which allowed citizenship by descent.

At this time Tony Abbott was 23 years and 7 months of age and, had either applied for a Rhodes Scholarship or was intending to apply for this scholarship to study at Oxford University in the United Kingdom.

Currently such applications must be applied for after 1 June in the year a Rhodes Scholarship is on offer.


Tony Abbott was apparently intending to depart Australia on or about 10 July 1981 and, started his scholarship course at Queens College, Oxford, in October 1981.

One cannot escape the suspicion that the future Prime Minister of Australia only applied for Australian citizenship at that time in order to gain a monetary advantage which would allow him to further his studies overseas.

Which, if true, would make him a somewhat reluctant Aussie and perhaps go some way to explaining his strong admiration of the British monarchy and those anachronistic English titles he has re-introduced (without consultation with Cabinet or party room) into the Australian honours system.

Note: Immigration and citizenship information found at the National Archives of Australia.

UPDATE

There is no National Archives record listed of Fay Abbott applying to register the overseas birth of Tony Abbott’s sister, Jane Elizabeth Abbott (born on 25 January 1959 at Hammersmith, London U.K.) either in 1981 or any other year.

In June 1981 Jane Abbott would have been 22 years of age.

Abbott Government's get-out-of-gaol-free card for closet and open racists


Australian Attorney-General George Brandis’ announcement of his intention to weaken the Commonwealth Racial Discrimination Act 1975:


25 March 2014

The Government Party Room this morning approved reforms to the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (the Act), which will strengthen the Act’s protections against racism, while at the same time removing provisions which unreasonably limit freedom of speech.
The legislation will repeal section 18C of the Act, as well as sections 18B, 18D, and 18E.
A new section will be inserted into the Act which will preserve the existing protection against intimidation and create a new protection from racial vilification.  This will be the first time that racial vilification is proscribed in Commonwealth legislation sending a clear message that it is unacceptable in the Australian community.
I have always said that freedom of speech and the need to protect people from racial vilification are not inconsistent objectives. Laws which are designed to prohibit racial vilification should not be used as a vehicle to attack legitimate freedoms of speech.
This is an important reform and a key part of the Government’s freedom agenda. It sends a strong message about the kind of society that we want to live in where freedom of speech is able to flourish and racial vilification and intimidation are not tolerated.
The draft amendments are released for community consultation.  The Government is interested in hearing from all stakeholders on the proposed reforms.  Submissions can be made until 30 April 2014 at s18cconsultation@ag.gov.au.
A copy of the draft amendments is attached.

Section of the existing Racial Discrimination Act 1975 the Abbott Government is replacing:

Part IIA—Prohibition of offensive behaviour based on racial hatred  
                   If:
                     (a)  an act is done for 2 or more reasons; and
                     (b)  one of the reasons is the race, colour or national or ethnic origin of a person (whether or not it is the dominant reason or a substantial reason for doing the act);
then, for the purposes of this Part, the act is taken to be done because of the person’s race, colour or national or ethnic origin.
             (1)  It is unlawful for a person to do an act, otherwise than in private, if:
                     (a)  the act is reasonably likely, in all the circumstances, to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person or a group of people; and
                     (b)  the act is done because of the race, colour or national or ethnic origin of the other person or of some or all of the people in the group.
Note:          Subsection (1) makes certain acts unlawful. Section 46P of the Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986allows people to make complaints to the Australian Human Rights Commission about unlawful acts. However, an unlawful act is not necessarily a criminal offence. Section 26 says that this Act does not make it an offence to do an act that is unlawful because of this Part, unless Part IV expressly says that the act is an offence.
             (2)  For the purposes of subsection (1), an act is taken not to be done in private if it:
                     (a)  causes words, sounds, images or writing to be communicated to the public; or
                     (b)  is done in a public place; or
                     (c)  is done in the sight or hearing of people who are in a public place.
             (3)  In this section:
public place includes any place to which the public have access as of right or by invitation, whether express or implied and whether or not a charge is made for admission to the place.
                   Section 18C does not render unlawful anything said or done reasonably and in good faith:
                     (a)  in the performance, exhibition or distribution of an artistic work; or
                     (b)  in the course of any statement, publication, discussion or debate made or held for any genuine academic, artistic or scientific purpose or any other genuine purpose in the public interest; or
                     (c)  in making or publishing:
                              (i)  a fair and accurate report of any event or matter of public interest; or
                             (ii)  a fair comment on any event or matter of public interest if the comment is an expression of a genuine belief held by the person making the comment.
             (1)  Subject to subsection (2), if:
                     (a)  an employee or agent of a person does an act in connection with his or her duties as an employee or agent; and
                     (b)  the act would be unlawful under this Part if it were done by the person;
this Act applies in relation to the person as if the person had also done the act.
             (2)  Subsection (1) does not apply to an act done by an employee or agent of a person if it is established that the person took all reasonable steps to prevent the employee or agent from doing the act.

In case your wondering how sexual assault breaks down by gender in Australia


Australian Bureau of Statistics definition of Sexual Assault:
 is an act of a sexual nature carried out against a person's will through the use of physical force, intimidation or coercion, and includes any attempts to do this. This includes rape, attempted rape, aggravated sexual assault (assault with a weapon), indecent assault, penetration by objects, forced sexual activity that did not end in penetration and attempts to force a person into sexual activity. Incidents so defined would be an offence under State and Territory criminal law. Sexual assault excludes unwanted sexual touching - for the purposes of this survey, this is defined as Sexual Harassment. Sexual assault also excludes incidents of violence that occurred before the age of 15 - for the purposes of this survey, these are defined as Sexual Abuse. If a person experienced sexual assault and sexual threat in the same incident, this was counted once only as a sexual assault. If an incident of sexual assault also involved physical assault or threats, this was counted once only as a sexual assault.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics 2012 Personal Safety Survey revealed that 1,494,000 females and 336,000 males had experienced sexual assault since the age of fifteen.

The following infographics highlight some findings from this recently released survey.  See the full report for more information.



Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Morgan Poll of Australian federal voting intentions released on 24 March 2014 shows ALP leading


Scroll down in media release for polling breakdown, tables and graphs.

Word of the unrest spreads......


Letter to the editor, The Daily Examiner, 19 March 2014:

Question bullying

Councillor Margaret McKenna's motion in council regarding violence against people on the basis of their sexuality is commendable (DEX, 15/3).
The violation of anyone's human rights is unacceptable in a civilised society.
Bullying and intimidation in the workplace is equally abhorrent and, I would suggest, a far more widespread form of human rights abuse.
If the good councillor were to ask just how many complaints of this kind of abuse have occurred within Clarence Valley Council over the past 12 months, she may be very unpleasantly surprised.
Bullying in the workplace can become endemic if it is not addressed forcefully and publicly. Bullying and intimidation are trademarks of an absence of quality leadership.
The impact on its victims, their families, their work colleagues, and the productivity and morale of the entire organisation is as profound as it is irreparable.
It cannot be contained or hidden.
We live in an age when social media and personal networks can negate any attempted commercial blackmail of mainstream media.
I would suggest Cr McKenna and all Clarence Valley councillors need to address an issue that threatens not only the reputation and integrity of this council but its continuance in office, and they need to do it immediately.

Ian Saunders
Maclean

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

More dodgy figures to be released by the Abbott Government?


The Australian 24 March 2014:

In which Australian House of Representatives Speaker Bronwyn Bishop appears to invent or ignore standing orders as she pleases


Federal Liberal Party MP and Speaker House of Representatives, Bronwyn Bishop, asserts that Abbott Government ministers are not obliged to answer questions during Question Time, then decides that standing orders relating to relevance don't apply and makes a mockery of the point of order rule by not immediately addressing the point but turning instead to ask a question of the prime minister.


Sinodinos, Senator Arthur

Mr SHORTEN (Maribyrnong—Leader of the Opposition) (14:26): My question is to the Prime Minister. I refer to Senator Sinodinos's statement to the Senate in February 2013 that he played no role in the awarding of the January 2012 contract to Australian Water Holdings by Sydney Water. Was the Prime Minister aware that Senator Sinodinos had in fact arranged for a letter from Premier O'Farrell to help secure the contract? When did the Prime Minister become aware of this?
Mr ABBOTT (Warringah—Prime Minister) (14:27): These are all matters that will quite properly be canvassed by the ICAC inquiry.
Mr Burke: Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order.
The SPEAKER: Has the Prime Minister finished his answer?
Mr ABBOTT: Yes.
The SPEAKER: He has finished his answer. Do you have a point of order?
Mr Burke: Yes, under standing order 104(a), Madam Speaker.
The SPEAKER: The Prime Minister has finished his answer.
Mr Burke: Madam Speaker, it cannot be the case that the moment—
The SPEAKER: You were very quick on your feet.
Mr Burke: I am given the call, you then, instead of hearing the point of order, turn to the Prime Minister for advice.
The SPEAKER: I point out to the Manager of Opposition Business that that is coming close to a reflection.
Mr Burke: Well—
The SPEAKER: Resume your seat! The member would also know that, under the standing orders, ministers are not obliged to answer questions.
Mr Burke interjecting—
The SPEAKER: No, they are not, as you well know. Merely because you do not get the answer you wish does not make it outside the standing orders. [my red bolding]

Excerpts from House of Representatives Standing and Sessional Orders (44th Australian Parliament) concerning questions to government ministers and points of order:
(a) A Member may ask a question in writing of a Minister (but not a Parliamentary Secretary), to be placed on the Notice Paper for written reply.
(b) During Question Time, a Member may orally ask a question of a Minister (but not a Parliamentary Secretary), without notice and for immediate response.
(c) A Minister can only be questioned on the following matters, for which he or she is responsible or officially connected:
(i) public affairs;
(ii) administration; or
(iii) proceedings pending in the House.
(d) Questioners must not ask Ministers:
(i) for an expression of opinion, including a legal opinion; or
(ii) to announce government policy, but may seek an explanation about the policy and its application, and may ask the Prime Minister whether a Minister's statement in the House represents government policy. [my red bolding]


86 Point of order
(a) Subject to standing order 104, a Member may raise a point of order with the Speaker at any time. After the question of order has been stated to the Speaker by the Member rising to the question of order, consideration and decision of every other question shall be suspended until the matter is disposed of by the Speaker giving a ruling thereon. [my red bolding]

Excerpt from Parliamentary Library Research Paper, 22 November 2013, on the subject of relevance:

Standing Order 104 was amended on 29 September 2010 in relation to relevance as follows:
(a) An answer must be directly relevant to the question.
(b) A point of order regarding relevance may be taken only once in respect of each answer.
(c) The duration of each answer is limited to 4 minutes.

Hitherto the requirement had been for answers to be 'relevant to the question'—meaning 'relevant in some way or relevant in part, rather than directly or completely relevant', with the result that 'provided the answer is relevant and is not couched in unparliamentary language Ministers may virtually answer questions without notice in any way they choose'. [my red bolding]

The fact that the Speaker is so visibly partisan does not earn her the respect of her own party.

It is becoming increasing obvious that government ministers, from Prime Minister Abbott down, are cutting short her remarks or directions from the Chair by interrupting/over talking her whenever the mood moves them.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Yet another Abbott Government attack on workers' wages


Australian Government Dept. of Employment 20 March 2014:

Repeal Day - revocation of the Fair Work Principles and the Commonwealth Cleaning Services Guidelines, including the requirements applying to textile, clothing and footwear manufacturers.

Thursday 20 March 2014
News

As part of Repeal Day, the Coalition Government announced that it would cease a number of regulatory arrangements that are administered by the Department of Employment and apply to Australian Government procurements. These changes will take effect from 1 July 2014.

These arrangements create different requirements for suppliers to Government than those required in the private sector. The requirements under the Government’s mainstream procurement framework (such as the Commonwealth Procurement Rules) and the mainstream workplace relations framework will continue to apply.

The changes involve revoking the Fair Work Principles, which currently apply to all procurements above $80,000. The Fair Work Principles require tenderers to complete a declaration of compliance with the Fair Work Act 2009. Existing Government procurement policies and processes that require decision makers to ensure tenderers comply with laws and policies of the Commonwealth, including the Fair Work Act 2009, are not affected.

The Fair Work Principles also create specific obligations for tenderers from the cleaning services industry and those that manufacture textile, clothing and footwear products. These include the requirement for textile, clothing and footwear manufacturers to have accreditation under the Homeworkers Code of Practice administered by Ethical Clothing Australia, a joint union-industry non-government organisation. The Department’s funding agreement with Ethical Clothing Australia will also cease on 30 June 2014 to coincide with the end of this regulatory requirement.

The Fair Work Ombudsman investigates and prosecutes any allegations of underpaid wages or breaches of the Fair Work Laws.

As well as the cleaning services provisions in the Fair Work Principles, the associated Commonwealth Cleaning Services Guidelines (a legislative instrument under the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997) will also cease on 30 June 2014. Cleaning services providers tendering for Government work from 1 July 2014 will still be required to comply with all relevant workplace laws and the Modern Awards set by the Fair Work Commission.

Queries in relation to the revocation of the Fair Work Principles and the Commonwealth Cleaning Services Guidelines may be directed to the Fair Work Principles mailbox at: FairWorkPrinciples@employment.gov.au



Some of the country's lowest-paid workers could lose almost a quarter of their weekly wages under changes quietly introduced by the Abbott government.
Thousands of workers will be hit by the changes, which will strip between $172 and $225 a week from the pockets of full-time contract cleaners who work in government buildings.
The changes are among the 9500 regulations to go under Prime Minister Tony Abbott's red tape ''repeal day'' on Wednesday.
Buried in more than 50,000 pages of regulations and acts of parliaments to be scrapped is the revelation the government will abolish the Commonwealth Cleaning Services Guidelines for cleaners employed on government contracts from July 1.
The regulations are a form of collective bargaining introduced by Labor that lift the wages of workers hired by businesses that win government cleaning contracts, by between $4.53 and $5.93 an hour above the minimum wage. This brings their weekly wage from $664 to $836 for a 38-hour week for level 1, and from $724 to $950 a week for level 3 workers.
United Voice, the union representing cleaners, would not comment on the changes before consulting its members. It is understood the union was not aware of the changes and is trying to negotiate with contractors and the government in an attempt to mitigate the effects on its members.
Labor introduced the Cleaning Services Guidelines in 2011 to tackle the exploitation of vulnerable workers in the contract cleaning industry. A 2010 Fair Work Ombudsman audit of cleaning contractors found that 40 per cent of audited businesses did not comply with workplace laws. It recovered almost $500,000 for 934 underpaid workers…..

Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse: Cardinal George Pell exposed as being selective with the truth


The Sydney Morning Herald  11 March 2014:

Mr Ellis came away from a pivotal meeting with then Archbishop Pell in 2009 with the impression that the litigation had been “a runaway train with nobody at the wheel”. This was after years of legal action that had crippled Mr Ellis mentally and financially…
“No, it left me with the impression that Cardinal Pell was completely out of the loop on all of that decision making,” Mr Ellis said…


The Saturday Paper 15 March 2014:

But on Monday morning, just minutes before Ellis entered the witness box, counsel assisting the commission Gail Furness, SC, in her introductory remarks, dropped something of a bombshell.

She referred to a witness statement by Cardinal George Pell, not yet public because he was not due to appear until later in the week, in which he expressed “some concern” about the way the litigation between the church and Ellis had been handled. She quoted Pell:

“Whatever position was taken by the lawyers during the litigation, or by lawyers or individuals within the archdiocese following the litigation, my own view is that the church in Australia should be able to be sued in cases of this kind.”...

The Sydney Morning Herald 17 March 2014:
Monsignor Rayner who as Archdiocesan chancellor was the official church authority to deal with victim’s complaints, said he told Cardinal Pell about the amounts of money victims of sex abuse sought. But for an agreement to be reached, “finally the decision would have been made by the Archbishop himself”.

 Cardinal George Pell was calling all the shots in the notorious case in which the Catholic Church fought off the damages claim of abuse victim John Ellis, his solicitor has confirmed to the child sex abuse Royal Commission. The 2007 Ellis case established the defence which has insulated the church from paying damages to victims in similar cases ever since... 

 Cardinal Pell himself described the litigation against Mr Ellis as “legal abuse”, the Commission has been told. The case caused Mr Ellis harm and suffering, according to senior counsel for the Commission Gail Furness.

 For more than a week, before the Cardinal himself takes the stand, the Commission has been grappling with the question of how much Cardinal Pell knew. Now Paul McCann, the senior partner with Corrs Chambers Westgarth, which conducted the litigation for the church from 2004, has told the Commission he had no doubt the instructions he received through Cardinal Pell’s private secretary Dr Michael Casey came from the Cardinal himself. Cardinal Pell is due to appear early next week.

“What was your understanding of those instructions and whether or not they were informed by Cardinal Pell?’, asked commission chair, Justice Peter McClellan.
Mr McCann replied: “I didn’t have any doubt that the Cardinal was being kept up to date on developments in the case and it is obvious from some of the exchanges that he was in fact seemingly giving instructions as to various steps.’’

According to the solicitor, he was instructed by Dr Casey, who he believed was doing Cardinal Pell’s bidding in relation to several key decisions in the case. These included refusing Mr Ellis’ offer to mediate before the litigation, refusing a compromise offer to pay $750,000 plus costs before the case started and the decision not to put a counter offer to Mr Ellis….

ABC News 18 March 2014:

In a statement presented to the inquiry earlier this month, Cardinal Pell said he was not aware of ex-gratia offers made to Mr Ellis.

But Monsignor Brian Rayner, who represented the Sydney Archdiocese and Archbishop Pell in Towards Healing matters in 2004, has contradicted that statement.

Under cross-examination, Monsignor Rayner maintained the Archbishop was informed.

"I spoke to the Archbishop on every amount of money that was being offered to any particular victim," he said.

Despite saying he did not have authority, Monsignor Rayner offered Mr Ellis a $5,000 increase on the $25,000 payment before gaining the approval of Catholic Church Insurance.
In a lively exchange with the Church's counsel Peter Gray SC, Monsignor Rayner maintained that he had informed Archbishop Pell of the ex-gratia offers made to Mr Ellis.

"My evidence is correct and I've seen the contrary thoughts of the Archbishop and the Archbishop also has occasions when his recollection of events is not clearly accurate," he said.

He also said the Archbishop was very involved in Mr Ellis' case… 


The Catholic Church's insurer insisted on being "kept in the loop" in the John Ellis case after lawyers expressed concern at Cardinal George Pell's "tooth and nail" approach, according to evidence at the child sex abuse royal commission.

Peter Rush, then general manager of Catholic Church Insurance Ltd, complained to the business manager of the Sydney Archdiocese about being "kept out of the loop" in the case and warned this could jeopardise the church's insurance, the commission heard…

Dr Casey testified that it was his job to convey instructions to the church's lawyers, Corrs Chambers Westgarth, but the instructions came from Cardinal Pell.

"The general instructions were to vigorously defend the claim and to defeat the litigation, is that right?" asked Gail Furness SC for the commission.

"Yes", Dr Casey replied…

At a 2009 meeting Cardinal Pell told him the church's move from mediation to vigorous pursuit of his case was "unfathomable", Mr Ellis said...