Sunday, 30 November 2014

Speaker Bronwyn Bishop's head count grows



The Sydney Morning Herald noted on 27 November 2014 that:

The total number of MPs removed by Ms Bishop in the life of the current Parliament is 285 – 280 of them Labor.
Ed Husic, Nick Champion, and Melissa Parke – who had never before been sent out – were among the MPs to be removed from question time on Thursday.

Excerpt from House of Representatives Hansard of 27 November clearly demonstrates that it takes little to be ejected from the Chamber these days:

The SPEAKER: The member for Freemantle on a point of order.
Ms Parke: Government members have been asking and answering questions all week about the China free trade agreement—
The SPEAKER: You are to speak to the standing order. What standing order are you referring to?
Ms Parke: Standing order 100(d)(i): 'Questions must not contain statements of fact unless they can be authenticated.'
The SPEAKER: The member will resume her seat. Indeed, having sat down she too will leave under 94(a) sequentially.
The member for Fremantle then left the chamber.

Coal seam & tight gas miner Metgasco Limited and community consultation


This is a snapshot from a Metgasco Limited 17 page ‘community consultation’ document dated March 2014:



So is this image a slice of the Berwyndale gasfield in Queensland and is it really a bucolic nivarna as suggested?

Berwyndale and the Undulla Nose gasfields are situated here:



The field configuration in the Metagasco snapshot does not match the Berwyndale South gasfield (left), but appears to be land sandwiched between that intensive gasfield and another to the north. Gas production on this land is apparently not yet fully developed and, the land itself may possible belong to the mining corporation holding the tenement.


Conclusion? 

By not precisely naming the gasfield and limiting the image in its community consultation document to a small number of paddocks, it looks suspiciously like an attempt by Metgasco to conceal the bigger picture in the Berwyndale area.

UPDATE

The 'community consultation' document also states that Metgasco has entered into:

More than 300 voluntary landholder agreements.

These 300 land holder agreements to date appear to cover less than 50 boreholes, 63 drill cores and only two gas sites (NSW Trade and Investment: Energy & Resource MinView) with one potential production well.

However, like its "suscessful co-existence" spin, all is not quite as the community is being told.

The Northern Star, 10 June 2014, Page 4:

When asked about the inconsistency between the claims, Metgasco CEO Peter Henderson said: "We have approximately 50 land access agreements for wells, the remainder are associated with seismic programs." 

Apparently Megasco believes that it is acceptable to fudge the facts during its alleged consultation process.

Saturday, 29 November 2014

For those hoping to see Tony Abbott receive a vicarious boot between the legs - here's the Victorian State Election Virtual Tally Room link & apps for 29 November 2014


Follow the action at the official Victorian State Election Virtual Tally Room after 6pm on 29 November 2014 at: http://tallyroom.vic.gov.au/vtr/tallyroom.html

Victoria Votes Mnet Mobile apps for Android and iOS devices.

ABC online coverage at: www.abc.net.au/news/vic-election-2014/

ABC Radio 774 Melbourne at: http://www.abc.net.au/melbourne/ & follow the count on livestream after 6pm at http://www.abc.net.au/radio/player/beta/#live/local_melbourne

The Age newspaper online at: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/victoria-state-election-2014

Herald Sun newspaper online at: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria-state-election-2014/victorian-election-2014-live-coverage/story-fnqggr3j-1227138237845

ABC News 24 Victoria Votes 2014 from 6pm

Once around the park with Australia's political cartoonists


Cartoonists and subjects which were popular in mainstream and social media in November 2014.....



Quote of the Week


Black people are constantly divided, chained to an ideology and sacrificed by others in the pursuit of their idea of the greater good. I’ve worked in the interface between black and white for long enough to be exploited most often as the proof of life.
I am in the ubiquitous photos of participants rounded up to pose and confirm the community engagement objective of a workshop was met. I am the counterweight that provides balanced reportage to a site, once I have been edited and strategically placed. I am the polarizing link that provides the dark to their light. I am what sustains their precedence over my self determination.
Is it any wonder that it is so difficult to find an Indigenous person willing to express an opinion?
[Siv Parker, On Dusk, 22 November 2014]

Friday, 28 November 2014

George Brandis: I will decide who has a right to access my metadata and the manner in which they access it


Personal information contained in metadata is 'owned' by you if you just happen to be Australian Attorney-General George Brandis (left) or one of his political or personal acquaintances, but not if you are unfortunate enough to be Bazza Citizen…..

The Sydney Morning Herald 27 November 2014:

Attorney-General George Brandis wants your private phone and internet metadata to be accessible by law-enforcement agencies without a warrant but won't let you see his.
As the Abbott government moves to make it a requirement for internet and phone providers to store every Australian citizens' metadata for two years, Mr Brandis has refused to divulge the metadata of his mobile phone bill.
Instead, a redacted version not even showing the cost of his bill has been released. It shows his Telstra bill for July is 17 pages long - 13 pages longer than this author's bill for the same month.
According to Mr Brandis' chief of staff, the decision to entirely censor the bill was due to it containing "personal information about a number of individuals' telephone numbers", as well as the time and origin of calls, reports technology publication ZDNet.
"Disclosure of the personal information in the document is unreasonable," Mr Brandis' chief of staff Paul O'Sullivan said, adding that who the minister called was not relevant…..
Telstra is refusing to hand it over and the case is currently before the Privacy Commissioner, who is set to decide on the matter before the end of the year.

Snapshot from reply to FOI request for Brandis metadata dated 27 November 2014:



* Photograph from news.com.au, May 2014

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott's on again, off again, support for White Ribbon Day 2014


White Ribbon Day helps raise awareness and funds to stop men's violence against women in Australia.

This was Prime Minister and self-appointed Minister for Women Tony Abbott sporting the official white ribbon at one of the main Canberra events on 25 November 2014:



This was the Prime Minister a few hours later minus ribbon during Question Time:


Apparently, unlike many of his parliamentary colleagues, he did not consider it worth the effort to wear this ribbon for the day instead of just for a morning media opportunity.

Bill Shorten on the other hand was wearing his ribbon during the afternoon as this second screen shot shows:






Thursday, 27 November 2014

Vale Phillip Hughes


Best Question Time Exchange - Part 1


It took some doing but Opposition Leader Bill Shorten finally made Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott admit without qualification that he had uttered that now infamous statement and, this exchange was recorded by Hansard at 14:01 on 25 November 2014:

Mr SHORTEN (Maribyrnong—Leader of the Opposition) (14:01): My question is to the Prime Minister. On the night before the election, 'somebody' was interviewed on SBS and made the following statement: 'No cuts to education. No cuts to health. No change to pensions. No change to the GST, and no cuts to the ABC or SBS.'
Prime Minister, no-one will now own up to making that statement. Does the Prime Minister have any idea who said this?....
Mr ABBOTT (Warringah—Prime Minister) (14:02): Of course I made that statement.

Fans of Lower Clarence Community Radio TLC 100.3 FM all their lives!


Here are two members of the Lower Clarence community who have been listening to TLC 100.3 FM on the radio dial since they were ten weeks old.


They enjoy the eclectic mix of easy listening, light jazz, nostalgia and presenters' personal favourites, but what they really croon along to is country and western classics.

If you haven't listened to the little radio station beaming out from Pilot Hill, Yamba, before - give it a try today.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Coal seam/tight gas miner Metgasco Limited's major shareholder makes the news again as Australian Senate inquiry into Queensland Government continues


Metgasco Limited's major shareholder ERM Power gets a mention in the Brisbane Times on 24 November 2014:

State Energy Minister Mark McArdle held a Liberal National Party fundraiser at the offices of one of the nation's largest energy companies, but did not declare it in his ministerial diary.
The 2013 event was held in the boardroom of ERM Power, one of many meetings between the minister, the energy company and lobbying firm SAS Group, according to documents seen by Fairfax Media.
A spokesman for Mr McArdle said the minister always complied with the reporting obligations set down by Premier Campbell Newman's demand for the most transparent and accountable administraton in Queensland's history, but the boardroom fundraiser did not fall into the category of a reportable event.
"Fundraising is carried out by the party organisation in strict compliance with state and federal laws," the statement says.
A spokesman for ERM Power said political fundraising was a "legitimate exercise of the freedom of political association and expression".
"ERM Power complies with the regulatory framework in Queensland for such activities, making the required disclosures under the Electoral Act," he said.
The documents, which the Electrical Trades Union is expected to submit to the Senate Inquiry in to the Queensland Government, show meetings and meals between the government, ERM executives and their lobbyists stretch back to 2012, soon after the LNP took office.
Locations included Minister McArdle's office, the LNP state conference and the Queensland Club.
Mr McArdle's spokesman said the minister regularly met with a wide range of stakeholders in the energy and water sectors.
So far this year:
* Mr McArdle met ERM Power representatives at The Queensland Club on February 5 to discuss "renewable energy" on February 5;
* The state government announced on March 6 it was axing the 8 cent solar feed-in-tariff paid to 40,000 Queenslanders in favour of a system where customers negotiated directly with retailers; and
* On March 11 Mr McArdle was the guest at a lunch hosted by SAS Group in the lobbying company's boardroom. 
SAS Group did not declare the event on the contact register maintained by the state's Integrity Commissioner but Mr McArdle did, listing its purpose in his diary as "boardroom lunch" and naming the lobbyists as the organiser......
Fairfax Media last year revealed that ERM, which had previously predominately donated to the Labor Party, had donated more than $25,000 to the LNP since 2010, with $1500 going to the Labor Party in the same period. 
The government appointed the company's non-executive chair, Tony Bellas, as head of its Independent Review Panel into the electricity sector in May 2012.
An ERM Power spokesman said the company, whose Brisbane office was opened by Premier Campbell Newman in April 2013, was a major Queensland employer and ASX listed entity and as a matter of good business practice maintained appropriate relationships with all of its stakeholders, including the government and opposition.
The Senate Inquiry into the Queensland government will hold its next public hearing on November 28.

The question a number of voters on the NSW North Coast are asking is: How much is ERM Power donating to the NSW Liberal and Nationals election campaigns ahead of the March 2015 state election?

Because unless the current Liberal-Nationals Coalition Government headed by Premier Baird wins re-election Metgasco Limited will lose all its North Coast coal seam gas tenements and ERM Power the value of its investment.

BACKGROUND

Details of the Senate Select Committee inquiry into Certain Aspects of Queensland Government Administration related to Commonwealth Government Affairs can be found here.

Yet another policy Abbott & Co didn't think through


The Sydney Morning Herald 21 November 2014:

A central pillar of the Abbott government's fledgling environmental plans - the $300-million Green Army - has been hobbled by a High Court ruling.
In June the High Court ruled that the Commonwealth did not have power under the Constitution to fund the school chaplaincy program through direct funding as proposed. 
The case has meant the types of projects approved for the Green Army must now be of a national focus and "directed towards meeting Australia's relevant international obligations" or "conserving matters of national environmental significance".
The Coalition marketed the Green Army as delivering "local conservation outcomes" and first-round projects approved on guidelines set before court ruling had a strong local theme, including weed and pest control in Nillumbik, removing weeds in the Dandenongs, and revegetation and fencing in the Macedon Ranges.
The chaplaincy ruling may also mean some of the 196 Green Army projects approved under the first round of the scheme may not survive a High Court challenge.
The Green Army scheme was a key Coalition election promise at the 2010 and 2013 elections and involves young people aged between 17 and 24 paid an allowance to do up to 30 hours a week of environmental work.
About 2500 participants across 250 projects are expected in the first year, climbing to 1500 projects and 15,000 participants a year by 2018-19. 
The scheme is to be funded directly by the Commonwealth government.
Environment Minister Greg Hunt described the first-round projects as "community-led projects that support practical, grassroots environment and conservation activities".
But new guidelines released this month for second-round Green Army projects include a new clause, stating that projects "must be directed towards meeting Australia's relevant international obligations or, alternatively, directed towards protecting and conserving matters of national environmental significance".
One project co-ordinator hoping to be involved in the Green Army scheme - who did not want to be identified - said their project would no longer meet the guidelines because it came under state heritage regulations and was not of national and international significance. 
"The scheme has been gutted for community projects," they said. 
A spokeswoman for Mr Hunt declined to directly comment on the High Court decision……

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Fans of Ginger Meggs, stand up and be counted






APN newspapers has informed its readers that it will be reducing the number of cartoons it publishes from six to three.

As a mighty big fan of Ginger Meggs this blogger will be casting a vote to have Ginger be one of the three that continues to appear.

All fans of Ginger Meggs are called on to visit an APN website and give our home-grown little mate their vote.

Vote here here here here  here  here by Saturday November 29.

Image from  gingermeggs.com

Don't know what to get him for Xmas? Here's just the thing to get him.


When reading today's Northern Star I had to check that it wasn't April 1.






Today's Star reports: 

Now you can "let it rip" in public without reproach thanks to a North Coast TAFE student who has introduced new underwear to Australia designed to mask the smell of farts.

Proving you are never too old for a fart joke, Wayne Hooper, 62, has just launched his Cheeky Wearables website selling underwear made with high-tech fabric claimed to absorb the odour of flatulence.

"This material, Zorflex, is a carbon-absorbent cloth that can absorb the toxicity of 200 times the average fart," Mr Hooper, of Tweed Shire, said.

"Farts are tame compared to the chemical warfare this material was designed to cope with."

The former film editor discovered the UK-made fart-proof pants while researching wearable technology as part of a Certificate IV course in IT Technology he has been studying at Kingscliff TAFE.

"Instead of doing the project as an experiment, when I came across these pants I decided I would start up a business and I am now the Australian distributor," he said.

The "flatulence filtering" underwear have the activated carbon cloth sandwiched between layers of regular fabric, and this specialty layer absorbs and traps fart odour.

"The average person will fart 14 times a day," he said.

"The pants won't mask the sound, but they will absorb the smell."

While farting is a perfectly natural body action, the smell is considered anti-social and the pants could help in those awkward situations like being caught in a lift, out on a date or while working out at the gym, Mr Hooper said.

The fart-proof pants are available in gift boxes, cost no more than Calvin Klein's designer underwear and could make the ideal Christmas gift to ward off fruit cake-induced flatulence.

Mr Hooper's website design will be among the projects by Kingscliff and Murwillumbah TAFE Creative Arts, Multimedia and Web Design students to be exhibited on Friday at the Synectic Exhibitions at the Kingscliff campus. 

And just in case you think I'm pulling your leg about today's date, read the real thing in the Star here.

Credits: The Northern Star, 25/11/2014

Clarence Regional Library seeks feedback on their collection - complete the survey and be in the running to win a Samsung Galaxy tablet


Mayor: Richie Williamson
General Manager: Scott Greensill                                                                  
21 November 2014    

Library seeks feedback on their collection, with a prize incentive!

As part of the goal of providing a high quality, relevant service the Clarence Regional Library is asking the community to give their opinion on the items you can borrow.  A major collection survey will be made available to the community during December and January, and will be asking for suggestions about authors, areas of interest and different formats.

Developments such as the growth in popularity of ebooks, the recent introduction of DVDs to the library and the changing subject interests of the community make it necessary for libraries to engage their customers in the selection of materials. In the Valley this is carried out on an ongoing basis through purchase requests and community book selection days, but this survey will help to gain a better view of what people want.

Mayor Richie Williamson is encouraging everyone, regardless of age, to complete the library survey which will help to guide future planning and purchasing for the collection. 

"A public library's collection is one of the community's most valuable resources. It is a storehouse for knowledge and we need to ensure that information is relevant for our community's learning and leisure needs and is in a format that is easy to access."

You can access the web survey from Clarence Regional Library Web site at www.crl.nsw.gov.au  from 1st December until 31st January. Or visit one of our many branches to complete the survey. It will take 10 minutes to fill out, and can be completely anonymously or you can add your details to be in the draw to win a Samsung Galaxy tablet.

Release ends.

For media inquiries, phone 6643 0230
Clarence Valley Council
Locked Bag 23
Grafton, NSW, 2460
Australia

What could possibly go wrong when the Abbott Government is creating Fortress Australia to protect us all from a veritable host of 'terrors'?


When the Abbott Government’s wider surveillance powers were passed by the Senate, the Australian public was being assured by both major parties that the sweeping ‘anti-terrorism’ legislation had built-in safeguards which would protect us all from over reach by intelligence agencies and police.

The good citizens of Tacoma in Pierce County, Washington, United States probably thought they were protected too. After all, didn’t the police need to get a warrant from a Superior Court judge?

The News Tribune article of 15 November 2014 shows just how easily a mockery can be made of surveillance laws:

Pierce County judges didn’t know until recently that they’d been authorizing Tacoma police to use a device capable of tracking someone’s cellphone.
Now they do, and they’ve demanded that police change the way they get permission to use their so-called cell site simulator.
From 2009 to earlier this year, the county’s Superior Court judges unwittingly signed more than 170 orders that Tacoma police and other local law enforcement agencies say authorized them to use a device that allows investigators to track a suspect’s cellphone but also sweeps cellphone data from innocent people nearby.
In August, the assistant chief of the Tacoma Police Department told The News Tribune that investigators never deployed the device — a cell site simulator, commonly known as a Stingray — without court authorization.
The newspaper since learned police never mentioned they intended to use the device when detectives swore out affidavits seeking so-called “pen register, trap and trace” orders allowing them to gather information about a suspect’s cellphone use and location…..
Neither the pen register orders nor the affidavits filed by law enforcement mentioned that police had a Stingray or intended to use it.
Instead, detectives used language commonly associated with requesting an order that would force a cellphone company to turn over records for a particular phone, and, where possible, the real-time location of the phone…..

The News Tribune 17 November 2014:
The Tacoma Police Department, which owns the Stingray, did not want to reveal it to the public. The FBI, which provided it, was leaning on the city to keep the technology secret. As a result, the judiciary that monitors investigations for constitutional abuses wasn’t aware of the kind of surveillance it was authorizing. However noble the motives, this was subterfuge….
But a Stingray — which employs technology known as cell site simulation — is so much more intrusive than conventional surveillance that it demands extra scrutiny. It pulls in cellphone transmissions from all callers in a given area and identifies the unique signatures of each phone…..
This could get spooky in a hurry. The Pierce County Superior Court now has another safeguard in place: Police must sign affidavits that they will not store data on people who are not targets of the investigation…..

Think this example of over reach is too far removed from Australia to matter? Think again…..

The Sydney Morning Herald reported on what is already occurring in Australia on 7 July 2014:

Australian federal and state police are ordering phone providers to hand over personal information about thousands of mobile phone users, whether they are targets of an investigation or not.
Fairfax Media has confirmed Australian law-enforcement agencies are using a technique known as a "tower dump", which gives police data about the identity, activity and location of any phone that connects to targeted cell towers over a set span of time, generally an hour or two.
A typical dump covers multiple towers, and mobile providers, and can net information about thousands of mobile phones.
The dumps are usually used in circumstances when police have few leads and can be a useful, powerful tool in tracking down criminals. But privacy advocates say that while they may be helpful to police, they also target thousands of innocent people and don’t have any judicial oversight.
In addition to no warrant being required to request a tower dump containing the mobile phone data of thousands of people to track down one or more criminals involved in a crime, privacy advocates also question what is being done to the data collected once an investigation is complete….

Monday, 24 November 2014

Some things you may not have known about 'electronic' voting options in NSW state elections


According to the NSW Electoral Commission iVote is technology assisted voting and has been used in a New South Wales general election and five by-elections since 2011 for certain classes of electors - those with impaired vision or a physical disability requiring assistance, the profoundly illiterate, persons living more than 20 kms from the nearest polling station and those out of the state on polling day.

Voting is done on the Internet using a standard web browser or by call centre operators taking phone votes. Originally the second voting method was by phone using a standard handset and DTMF tones, but this was changed after the 2011 general election.

The largest group of iVote users were electors voting outside NSW on election day (over 43,000).

Of those electors who registered to iVote, 4,239 or 8.30% did not eventually use this system to cast their vote and 1,438 or 2.90% did not vote at all.

Over one thousand electors (1,335) registered to iVote during the 19 November 2011 by-election for the state seat of Clarence on the NSW North Coast and, most of these were first time uses of this voting system.

It has been proposed that the iVote system be used again for the March 2015 general election and during the September 2016 local government elections.

However, there are some issues with the iVote system that are not generally advertised by the NSW Government.

Below are excerpts from the Federal Government Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matter’s Second interim report on the inquiry into the conduct of the 2013 federal election: An assessment of electronic voting options, with my red bolding:

For example, the lost vote rate in the 2013 West Australian Senate race (1370 out of 1,348,797, slightly over 0.1%) was about the same as the demonstrated vote misrecording rate in Australia’s largest Internet voting trial, the NSW iVote project (43 misrecorded electronic votes out of 46,864, slightly under 0.1%) (PWC, 2011). The WA Senate incident received much more attention because it impacted an election outcome, not because the system was inherently much less reliable. Even more importantly, the paper-based Senate process retained paper evidence of the 99.9% of votes that weren’t lost; the iVote system produced no meaningful evidence of the correctness of any of the votes.

the ‘weak point’ in a paper-based voting system, resulting in a lost box of ballot papers, may lead to an unverifiable close result (such as in WA): but one ‘weak point’ in a wide-ranging electronic voting system has the potential to expose an entire election’s vote data to manipulation, corruption or attack, undermining the parliamentary system supported by the electoral process.

The NSW iVote system (outlined in Chapter 3) used in the 2011 state election had an average cost per vote cast of $74 compared to an average cost of all votes cast of $8.

While the iVote system is relatively secure, due to the fact that it utilises telephone systems for blind or low vision voting transactions and encrypted internet data architecture, the vote data on the voter’s computer or in the NSWEC’s servers is still open to potential manipulation.

In response to criticisms of the system’s security, the NSWEC has commissioned a third-party provider to strengthen the security of the system software prior to the 2015 state election, along with other hardware and data transmission improvements.

Vision Australia made a submission to the Joint Committee concerning telephone assisted voting during the 2013 federal election which included these observations:

It was anonymous, but not truly secret. People felt uncomfortable about verbalising their voting intentions to another person, and expressed the view that no-one else in the community would regard it as acceptable to be required to do this. Some clients in residential facilities and other places with limited privacy also expressed concern that their conversation with the call centre staff would be overheard and their voting intentions revealed…..
Clients who had voted using the iVote system in the NSW 2011 election were especially aware of the lack of independence involved in using the call centre option.
Some clients noted that they had no way of verifying that their voting intentions had been notated accurately and lodged correctly. While they did not necessarily mistrust the call centre operator, they were nevertheless aware that any human-mediated process introduces the possibility of errors, and such errors are more likely to occur when the process becomes complex, such as when a voter is voting “below the line”.

OVERCOMING INDIGENOUS DISADVANTAGE 2014 report released 19 November 2014


M e d i a R e l e a s e
Wednesday 19 November 2014

Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision

OVERCOMING INDIGENOUS DISADVANTAGE 2014

The 2014 Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage (OID) report released today shows some positive trends in the wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, with improvements in health, education
and economic outcomes. However, results in areas such as justice and mental health continue to cause concern.

The report shows that, nationally, for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians:

• economic outcomes have improved over the longer term, with higher incomes, lower reliance on income support, increased home ownership, and higher rates of full time and professional employment.
However, improvements have slowed in recent years
• several health outcomes have improved, including increased life expectancy and lower child mortality.
However, rates of disability and chronic disease remain high, mental health outcomes have not improved, and hospitalisation rates for self-harm have increased
• post-secondary education outcomes have improved, but there has been virtually no change in literacy and numeracy results at school, which are particularly poor in remote areas
• justice outcomes continue to decline, with adult imprisonment rates worsening and no change in high rates of juvenile detention and family and community violence.

“It has been almost three years since the last OID report. For this report we made a concerted effort to increase the involvement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. Their input contributed to significant developments, including broadening the focus from overcoming disadvantage to improving wellbeing, and the inclusion of new indicators, such as Indigenous language revitalisation and maintenance, valuing Indigenous cultures (including experiences of racism and discrimination) and participation in decision making” said Peter Harris, chairman of the Productivity Commission and of the Steering Committee.

The OID report is the most comprehensive report on Indigenous wellbeing produced in Australia. It contains accessible data for an extensive range of wellbeing measures as well as case studies of programs that have led to improved outcomes. “This report should be compulsory reading for anyone interested in outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians or working in service delivery or program design,” said Commissioner Patricia Scott, who convenes the expert working group that advises on the report.

The report is a product of the Review of Government Service Provision. It is overseen by a Steering Committee comprising senior officials from the Australian, State and Territory governments, and supported by a secretariat from the Productivity Commission. This report is the sixth in the series, which traces its origins to the final report of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation in 2000.

The full report can be found here.

On the same day the Productivity Commission report was released the Abbott Government walked away from another one of its 2013 election promises, according to The Australian, 20 November 2014:

THE national peak body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services NATSILS is angry at the Abbott government for “back flipping” on a pledge to consider introducing justice targets as part of the Closing the Gap policy agenda, a move which NATSILS along with many other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders and organisations have long called for.
It comes after this week’s Productivity Commission Overcoming indigenous Disadvantage report revealed a shocking increase of nearly 60 per cent in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander incarceration rates over the last decade.
NATSILS Chairperson, Shane Duffy, said that confirmation from the Minister for indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, during question time in the Senate on Wednesday that the government would not be progressing with introducing a justice target, despite publicly supporting such in the lead up to the 2013 election, was a troubling development…..
Mr Duffy said that the development of Closing the Gap justice targets was not just about throwing more money at the issue, as the Minister had described it, but was rather about getting the policy settings right to affect real change and to make sure resources in the justice space are used most effectively.
“The high cost of incarceration combined with the fact that prisons actually offer little in terms of effective rehabilitation, means that addressing incarceration rates should be an economic priority for the Government and its budget bottom line,” Mr Duffy said.
“It is costing Australian taxpayers more than $795 million per annum just to maintain the current level of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander over-imprisonment, so to reiterate the sentiments of the Minister in recent days, we shouldn’t just keep throwing money down the drain.”

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Brian Robins standing as an independant candidate for the Clarence electorate in March 2015 says he offers real choice


Photograph of Brian Robins from The Daily Examiner, 2 August 2014

Brian Robins media release, 18 November 2014:

LOCAL COMMUNITIES FIRST.

Former Clarence NSW State Emergency Service Executive Officer, Bryan Robins will stand as an Independent candidate for the Clarence Electorate in the 2015 State Election.
He said it was his disillusionment with the policies practised by the major parties that persuaded him to make his stand. "I feel disillusioned with this Government for its failure to deliver benefits to the Clarence electorate" he said.
"I'm also disgusted with the behaviour of a disturbing number of elected Members from both the Labor Party and the Liberal-National Coalition". ICAC has revealed disgraceful behaviour and standards that indicate that both sides are as guilty as each other"
"People have had enough of poor party representation and their arrogance."

Mr. Robins said a strength of standing as an Independent was he could take his instructions straight from the people in this Electorate. " I don't have to ring head office in Sydney to be told how I'm supposed to feel about every issue. The locals will advise me and their views will be represented"
He said he had impeccible credentials as an Independent. "I've never been a member of a political party, I don't own any shares and Iv'e never been aligned to any faction or political interest group"

Mr' Robins moved to the Clarence Valley in 1982 to commence duties as the Executive Officer for what is now the Clarence-Nambucca Region of the SES, a position he served for over 20 years. Over those years I was privileged to develop close working relationships with communities across the Electorate.
"I had a senior Emergency Management role and I witnessed the electorate experience major floods, severe storms, bush fires and drought, man-made disasters....even a tornado in Tucabia"

Iv'e seen the area at it's best and also when under severe threat, and I have always admired the strength and resillience of the Community and its fierce determination to protect what we all recognise as one of the wonderful places to call home."

Mr. Robins has already announced his opposition to CSG mining in the Clarence Electorate. "Rightly so, the local communities simply don't want it"
He also encouraged the anti CSG Lobby to continue it's fight. I'm hopeful I can help them and join with them to continue to voice the message loud and clear" 
"It is already a huge issue"

"I look forward to meet with as many groups and individuals as possible in the coming months. I invite them to contact me"
For the time being, please phone 6642 8473 or email
bryanandkerry@outlook.com.