Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Five Australian Prime Ministers & Nine Immigration Ministers Named In Communique To The International Criminal Court in 2016


“Perpetrators – Individual responsibility
40. On the basis of the brief factual outline provided above, there are a number of persons who have, or would have had whilst elected, knowledge of the relevant facts outlined in the elements detailed below, and played a considerable role in the implementation and enforcement of the Immigration Policies. Further, these people have, or would have had whilst elected, the requisite intent to cause a particular consequence or were aware that the consequence would occur in the ordinary course of events (for example, that the implementation and enforcement of the Immigration Policies would result in Immigration Detention, or deportation and Immigration Detention, of boat people).” [In The Matter Of A Prosecution Of The Australian Government In Relation To Indefinite Detention And Forcible Removal Of Asylum Seekers (2016), p.]

In a communique to the International Criminal Court, Malcolm Turnbull, Tony Abbott, Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard, John Howard, Peter Dutton, Scott Morrison, Tony Burke, Brendan O’Connor, Chris Bowen, Chris Evans, Kevin Andrews, Amanda Vanstone, Phillip Ruddock, Baron Waqa and Rimbink Pato were all named as administrating authorities in relation to the offence of unlawful confinement.

Tony Windsor on fighting the Santos pipeline


They were there in an attempt to survey a pipeline to convey coal seam gas from gas giant Santos’s proposed Narrabri gas field. As one landholder, David Chadwick, said: the pipeline was the “head of the snake” and if allowed to proceed would provide the infrastructure to convey the gas to Sydney or internationally and provide the political pressure to develop about 850 gas wells near Narrabri, with a view to hundreds more across the Liverpool Plains and associated areas.” [Tony Windsor, former  independent member for the federal seat of New England]

The Saturday Paper, 9-15 December 2017:

Last week I was working with my son Andrew on our farm 25 kilometres north of Coonamble when he received a message that there were trespassers on the neighbouring farm. A digital alert system had been put in place for such an event.

Within minutes, farm vehicles from all the neighbours converged on the scene. Others moved in on the trespassers from the eastern side and in a pincer movement the trespassers became trapped and unable to gain access to their vehicles.

By this time, about 100 agitated and concerned farmers, their employees and families were there to express their disgust at what had just occurred. The police had also arrived.
It was ascertained that these trespassers were not your everyday illegal pig hunters or bushwalkers. But they were no less illegal and in breach of the law.

These trespassers were eventually allowed to leave after the police took their details. They proceeded to another small town called Warren, more than 100 kilometres away, where they were observed acting strangely.

The next day, they were followed on the ground by vehicle and in the air by aircraft and again they invaded private lands without appropriate authority and were hunted off. They returned to Coonamble to complain to police about being harassed, and then they left the district.

The trespassers were dressed in new clothes, trying to look like ecological scientists but without any identification. They had a security officer with them.

The question is why? Why would these people climb over a gate to gain access to the property when on that gate was a sign warning about biosecurity, with the farmer’s mobile phone number on the sign? Why wasn’t contact made? Why were they behaving like this?

It has often been said there will be wars over water. In its own way, the scene I was watching was a skirmish in what has the potential to become a war and rewrite the politics of water, land use and energy in this country. It was also an insight into how threatened the farm community felt and demonstrated how it would be difficult to fight these farmers’ guerilla tactics. It was a warning they were serious players.

It also occurred to me that most people in our major cities would not necessarily understand why a small community would mobilise itself so quickly at an apparent breach of their rights.

This article is an attempt to explain some of the detail and policy clashes that will evolve over the coming year, on the Liverpool Plains, on the plain country west of the Pilliga, and around the Adani coalmine in Queensland.

Read the full article here.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Turnbull was out and about in an orgy of self-praise in the days following Australian Parliament vote for same-sex marriage


“I've personally delivered the marriage bill to the Governor-General. Same sex marriage will be the law of the land at midnight!” [Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Twitter, 8 December 2017]

Coffs Coast Advocate, 8 December 2017:

AUSTRALIAN Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has hailed the passage of same-sex marriage legislation in Canberra as a "huge success" in a "day of joy".

"What a day. What a day. What a day in history. What a day for love," the Prime Minister said on The Project.

"What a day to put our arms around same-sex couples and say we love you, we respect you, you have all the rights that everyone else has had for so long - now we're all at one."

While he acknowledged the postal survey had a "few critics", Turnbull said it allowed the country to have their say and he was "so proud" to be the country's leader "when we have made this big decision."

When shown comments from same-sex marriage advocate Magda Szubanski accusing him of "gloating and taking credit" for what has been a painful and divisive few months for many, the PM was unrepentant.

"We have delivered this. But we've delivered this in a way that is respected all Australians and it's now the law of the land," he said.

Speaking to Leigh Sales on 7.30, Mr Turnbull expressed similar sentiments.

"I am so proud this has occurred while I'm prime minister, while the Liberal and National parties are in government," he said.

"Surely you would also like to acknowledge that the Labor Party has played a role in getting this legislation through," Ms Sales shot back.

"Well, look Leigh, this is not the time to do the usual tit-for-tat. I mean, Labor certainly supported it, and that's good. They had six years in office and did nothing about it. That's not so good.
And of course they did everything they could to stop every Australian from having their say."

That is not exactly how I remember it, Mr. Turnbull……….

On 3 December 2011, Australian Labor Party’s policy platform was amended to include support for same-sex marriage, with Labor parliamentarians allowed a conscience vote on the issue.

Then on 19 September 2012  Marriage Amendment Bill 2012, A Bill for an Act to amend the Marriage Act 1961 to establish marriage equality for same-sex couples, and for related purposes, introduced by Labor MP for Throsby Stephen Jones on 13 February 2012, voted down in Division on 19 September, Aye votes included – Shorten, WR, Noe votes included - Turnbull, MB.

It took until 8 August 2016 before the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey was announced and, as a voluntary, national non-binding postal survey on the question of same-sex marriage it did not require a vote in the Australian Parliament in order for this survey to be conducted.

By 10 August 2017 Leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten had delivered the Matter of Public Importance – Marriage speech in the House of Representatives supporting same-sex marriage survey:

But we cannot let illegitimate tactics deter us; we cannot sit on the sidelines. I can understand LGBTI Australians' sense of frustration and of betrayal by the parliament. But the most powerful act of resistance is to vote yes for equality. Maintain your hope, maintain your enthusiasm and vote yes. And make sure your friends, relatives, colleague, classmates and teammates vote yes too. Get your name on the electoral roll today; make your voice heard. Voting yes is not about endorsing this illegitimate process, it's about refusing to walk past our fellow Australians when they need us. This is my message for business leaders, sporting clubs, the union movement and community groups: it's time to get involved; it's time to organise and fight for equality……I will be voting yes. I will be campaigning for a yes vote. I will do my bit, and I encourage people to join the movement for marriage equality, because no true leader is ever too busy to fight for the fair go in this country.  

Australian Marriage Law Survey forms began to be posted out to eligible voters on 12 September 2017.

However, the only person stopping the tabling of a new bill amending the C'wealth Marriage Act 1961 between August 2015 and September 2017 was you, Prime Minister Turnbull and your personal fear of the far-right in your own government.

"What alternate universe does the Australian Treasurer inhabit?


According to AMP chief economist Shane Oliver “consumer spending is being dragged down by low wages growth, slowing wealth accumulation, poor sentiment, high debt levels and rising energy costs."

In the 2017 September quarter households were spending less on clothing, footware, health, furnishings, household equipment, entertainment, dining out and alcohol - as the pressure on disposable income bites.

Yet this is the Australian Treasurer in December 2017……………
The Sydney Morning Herald, 6 December 2017

Monday, 11 December 2017

Adani Group still cannot find financial backers for Galilee Basin mega coal mine


Indian multinational, the family-owned Adani Group, appears to have financed its Queensland mining venture with debt.

The book value of Adani Enterprises' Carmichael mine project was just under US$2.3bn by mid-2017. While latest report shows its debt has risen by almost US$400m to US$3.83bn.

This debt is further complicated by fraud allegations and investigations by the Indian Government.

The Guardian, 7 December 2017:

Adani’s operations in Australia appear to be hanging on by a thread, as activists prove effective at undermining the company’s chances of getting the finance it needs.

China seems to have ruled out funding for the mine, which means it’s not just Adani’s proposed Carmichael coalmine that is under threat, but also its existing Abbot Point coal terminal, which sits near Bowen, behind the Great Barrier Reef.

The campaign against the mine has been long. Environmentalists first tried to use Australia’s environmental laws to block it from going ahead, and then failing that, focused on pressuring financial institutions, first here, and then around the world.

The news that Beijing has left Adani out to dry comes as on-the-ground protests against construction of the mine pick up. Two Greens MPs, Jeremy Buckingham and Dawn Walker, have been arrested in Queensland for disrupting the company’s activities.

Is China’s move the end of the road for Adani’s mega coalmine in Australia, and will the Adani Group be left with billions of dollars in stranded assets?.........

While threats to reputational damage were not effective against Adani Group, since it is family-owned, the same was not true of Australian banks, which were targeted heavily by activists.
And one by one, each of the big four Australian banks ruled out financing the mine.

The first of the big four banks declared it would not lend to the project two years ago. NAB distanced itself from the mine in September 2015 and ANZ followed suit in December.
Then in April this year Westpac became the third of the big banks to rule out funding the project, drawing criticism from resources minister, Matthew Canavan, who said the bank had a conflict of interest because of its interest in other coal-producing regions, and called for a boycott of the bank.

Undeterred, and in the face of a large campaign by environmental groups, the Commonwealth bank followed suit in August this year.

By then Adani had seen the writing on the wall, and had shifted to seek finance from overseas institutions. It entered negotiations with the state-owned China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC), which was thought to raise the potential of subsidised Chinese government loans.

The Australian government, which was seeking to give Adani its own subsidised loan, had supported the company’s efforts in China, according to a freedom of information request by the Australia Institute that reveals “several hundred pages” relating to formal representations to foreign financiers by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade…….

Turnbull Government's gift to welfare recipients this Christmas? More pain....


Nothing like receiving bad news in the lead up to the festive season......

News.com.au, 6 December 2017:

CONTROVERSIAL plans to drug test unemployed welfare recipients will be suspended indefinitely after the Senate refused to endorse the idea.

The Turnbull government had hoped to drug test 5000 Newstart and Youth Allowance recipients across three trial sites in NSW, Queensland and Western Australia from January.
But Social Services Minister Christian Porter indicated this morning provisions for the pilot will be stripped from an omnibus welfare bill and dealt with separately, so other measures can be signed off by Christmas.

“There are some difficulties that are going to be presented in getting that part of the bill through the Senate, but that does not mean that we are abandoning drug testing,” Mr Porter told Sky News.

“No one can be perfectly certain with these things but my best assessment is the rest of it, everything other than drug testing, will likely succeed through the Senate.”

Minister Porter stood by the trial last month but indicated it might be split from other reforms that were crucial to overhaul the “near to dysfunctional” welfare system.

“The bulk of that bill, which reforms the compliance system, is so critical to what we are trying to achieve that I wouldn’t want to sacrifice the bulk of that in terms of timeliness while we are still negotiating around drug testing,” Mr Porter said at a National Press Club speech in November.

One reform the government wants to pass as a priority is the new “three strike” demerit point system for welfare recipients that would mean those who continually skipped appointments or job interviews would eventually lose their payments.

Another will fold seven welfare payments into one to become the main payment for people of working age.

That is slated to begin in March 2020.

According to the Australian Council Of Social Services (ACOSS) this bill:

* Sets a dangerous precedent that allows governments to determine who is covered by social security rights and protections and who is not, without legislation;

* Would make it more difficult for people to access payments;

* Will make applicants wait much longer for first payments and, in certain cases this could be as long as 26 weeks;

* Cuts payments to people seeking work by removing back-pay provisions;

* Cuts $478m from social security payments over the forward estimates, with most losses incurred by people who are unemployed and single parents;

* Rolls Wife and Widow B pensions & allowances (including the Bereavement Allowance) into the Jobseeker Payment which will leave pension recipients worse off unless they are transferred to another pension;

* Ensures that the Jobseeker Payment keeps recipients living well below the poverty line so that they will be unable to meet essential costs; and

* The new mutual obligation requirements and breach schedule indicates that annually an est. 80,000 people will lose at least one week’s payment and an unknown number up to four week’s payment.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

A Tweet To Remind Us All


"Lucifer" Dutton takes up role as Australian Minister for Home Affairs on Sunday 17 December 2017


The Saturday Paper, 6 December 2017:

Attorney-General George Brandis has confirmed immigration minister Peter Dutton will take up the new home affairs “super ministry” on December 17. The home affairs portfolio, announced in July, will give Dutton sweeping powers over Australia’s intelligence, security and border control apparatuses, and has been criticised for centralising too much authority under one figure and stripping the attorney-general position of its ability to hold security agencies accountable. Brandis denied rumours he will retire from politics before the December reshuffle, saying he intended to stay put. Last week a Canberra Times investigation found a web user with an IP address connected to the Australian Taxation Office edited Dutton’s Wikipedia page, briefly changing his middle name to “Lucifer”.

The Home Affairs super portfolio will merge Australia’s immigration, border protection, law enforcement and domestic security agencies in a single portfolio, including spy agency ASIO, the Federal Police, Border Force and the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission - under the control of millionaire former Queensland police officer and Liberal National Party MP for Dickson Peter Dutton, with allegedly increased oversight by Australian Attorney-General and Liberal Senator for Queensland George Brandis.

A political pairing from Queensland which may yet turn out to be the stuff of nightmares, given these two gentlmen's attitudes to human rights and civil liberties.

Mr. Huang Xiangmo becomes terse


After allegedly giving a number of large political donations to the Liberal, National and Labor parties, wealthy Chinese national and former chairman of the Australian Council for the Promotion of the Peaceful Reunification of China, Mr. Xiangmo of Yuhu Group Australia, grows tired of the media attention ………..

Herald Sun via @johhnybridge2

Mr. Xiangmo pictured with some of his many political acquaintances

Photographs sourced from Google Images

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Political Cartoon of the Week


Jack Ziegler, Cartoonist

Quotes of the Week


"We truly hadn't ever considered that people could just be really evil." [Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince in Gizmodo on 1 December 2017, on why this service provider company protects virulent neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer]

"Some families, some communities, some cultures breed strife. Governments cannot always fix it. Compulsory contraception for those on benefits would help crack intergenerational reproduction of strife." [NewsCorp journalist and newly appointed  head of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission, Gary Johns, in BuzzFeed, 19 May 2015]

Tweet of the Week - HEATBREAK WARNING




* The size of this dead elephant indicates that it is likely it was a very young adult when it was shot.

Friday, 8 December 2017

Is the NSW Berejiklian Coalition Government moving against Clarence River communities?



According to the state-owned corporation Port Authority of New South Wales, during the 2017-18 cruise season which commenced in October, international cruise ships will be visiting Sydney, Newcastle, Port Kembla and Eden.

On its website the Authority proudly announced an expectation of a bumper season – as other parts of the world buckle under the weight of the cruise ship industry’s agenda and start to say ‘no more’.

When cautionary tales like this are appearing…..

Traveller.com.au, 20 November 2017:

Venice is planning to divert massive cruise liners. Barcelona has cracked down on apartment rentals.

Both are at the forefront of efforts to get a grip on "overtourism", a phenomenon that is disrupting communities, imperiling cherished buildings and harming the experience of travellers and local residents alike……

The backlash has even given rise to slogans such as "Tourists go home" and "Tourists are terrorists".

"This is a wake-up call," Taleb Rifai, secretary general of the United Nations' World Tourism Organisation, told tourism ministers and industry executives last week at the World Travel Market in London.

Meanwhile Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (USA) and Carnival Corporation (USA) – the biggest cruise lines operating in Australian waters – are moving some of their passenger ships off the NSW list of scheduled stops and berthing then in Melbourne, Brisbane, Singapore and China.

The cruise ship industry goes where its rapacious business model can be utilised most effectively and Australia has been the flavour of the month for a few seasons now, even if Sydney is losing its sheen.

Before this latest Martin Place brain snap Port of Yamba was the only open port in New South Wales that had not been targeted by cruise lines as a destination port. Perhaps in part because they realise that a barrier estuary – where the barrier is the remains of a once living indigenous woman turned to stone - and multiple deck cruise ships are as compatible as oil and water.

Now the NSW Berejiklian Government and, particularly the NSW National Party, want to include this small regional estuarine port in grand plans for increasing cruise ship traffic in the state. Even though, according to Cruise Lines International Association Australasia, by 2016 New South Wales had captured around 58 per cent of the total Australian cruise market annual dollar spend - that's not enough for those greedy politicians down south.

The government tells us these passenger ships will only be “smaller cruise vessels” but it is also considering building an international cruise terminal in the Clarence River estuary.

Now if one goes online and looks at the cruise ships currently operating on the Australian east coast what is immediately obvious is the dearth of "smaller" ocean-going passenger vessels which might enter the Clarence River safely.

There aren’t enough of them to bring the economic benefit NSW Minister for Maritime, Roads and Freight and MP for Oxley Melinda Pavey implies would flow into the Lower Clarence River along with these ships.

Currently the NSW Dept. of Transport is sending a React Future Transport 2058 van all over the state selling the Draft Future Transport Strategy 2058 and asking people to tell those manning this van what they would like to see happen with regard to local transport needs.

The van came to Grafton in the hinterland of the Clarence Valley on 27 November 2017 wanting to hear opinions on trains, buses, roads, cycleways and air travel, but carefully avoided mention of sea transport, cruise ships or a cruise terminal unless a local specifically asked.

This van is never coming to the Clarence Coast - residents will never see it in Maclean, Iluka or Yamba. Their opinions are being deliberately limited in this faux consultation.

So what is going on here?

Perhaps the answer can be found in the idea being canvassed by the Berejiklian Government that all three NSW designated regional ports should ideally be multi-purpose ports which include cargo shipping, cruise ships and naval facilities.

The state government's push to establish the cruise ship industry in the Clarence River estuary looks suspiciously like the first move to bring this about, as inevitably demands will come from the international cruise lines for significant dredging to occur from the river entrance and along main the navigation channel to ship berths.

If such dredging occurs then it is possible the Australian Navy will be encouraged to revisit its strategy for use of smaller coastal ports and, a Sydney-centric NSW Government will begin to insist more freight passes through the port despite the known strong opposition of the wider Clarence Valley community to an industrialised Clarence River estuary.

Now might be the time for Ms. Pavey to consider the possibility that, Oxley being a regional electorate bordering the Clarence electorate, may induce many increasingly concerned people in the Lower Clarence to pack a hamper, get in their car and drive down to Oxley for the day and campaign for whomever of her political rivals takes their fancy during the next state election.

At the very least many are likely to write to local papers in her electorate during the 2019 state election campaign informing them of her actions in Clarence.

These letters could start off by mentioning those troublesome smokestacks at WestConnex, her support of the foreign multinational miner Adani’s plans for a mega coal mine which will inevitably pollute the Great Barrier Reef if it goes ahead,  her failure to support road workers who built a section of the new Pacific Highway for her on zero pay for months (pay they are never likely to see), removing historic Windsor Bridge, the reaction of others to her bizarre transport strategy - before moving on to the mess she is about to make of the Clarence River estuary.

After all the Clarence Valley has a habit of standing up for the aesthetic, environmental, cultural, social and economic values that underpin community in this valley and the wider Northern Rivers region.

Just ask Metgasco, Australian Infrastructure Development or Malcolm Turnbull.

NOTE

The name of the culturally significant reef just outside the mouth of the Clarence River is variously spelt Dirragun and Dirrangun in various books and documents, so both spellings are used interchangeably in North Coast Voices posts.

It should come as no surprise that the Adani Group is offering traditional owners compensation which is well below industry standard


We, the Wangan and Jagalingou people, are the Traditional Owners of the land in Queensland’s Galilee Basin. Corporate conglomerate, Adani, wants to use our ancestral lands for their Carmichael coal mine.
We do hereby firmly REJECT a Land Use Agreement with Adani for the Carmichael mine on our traditional lands.
We DO NOT consent to the Carmichael mine on our ancestral lands.
We DO NOT accept Adani’s “offers” to sign away our land and our rights and interests in it. We will not take their “shut up” money.
We will PROTECT and DEFEND our Country and our connection to it." [http://wanganjagalingou.com.au/our-fight/]

ABC News, 1 December 2017:

A hotly contested deal between Adani and traditional owners of its proposed Carmichael mine site in Queensland's Galilee Basin would deliver compensation "well below" what most big miners pay, according to a new analysis.

The Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) people would only get 0.2 per cent of Adani's earnings from the mine, less than half the industry average, respected mining industry outfit Economics Consulting Services has found.

Its report, obtained by the ABC, was commissioned by six W&J representatives whose looming court challenge to the deal stands as the final legal hurdle to Adani's contentious mega-mine.

It found the W&J people would earn up to $145 million over 30 years, out of the project's estimated $77.4 billion in gross revenue, a share which was "well below industry benchmark standards".

The benchmarks for such deals usually ranged from 0.75 per cent to 0.35 per cent.

Only 11 per cent of the deal would come to the W&J people in cash, up to $17.4 million over 30 years, or about $2,300 a year per adult member of the clan.

Report author Murray Meaton, who was awarded an Order of Australia in 2014 for services to the mining industry, found the benefits to the W&J people would be "dramatically lower" if job promises for locals fell short as they did "in most jurisdictions and agreements".

To gain finance for the $21 billion project, Adani needs an Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) with the W&J people, or it must call on the Queensland Government to forcibly extinguish any native title claim over the mine site in the Galilee Basin…….

The Adani supporters in the W&J have argued the mine is inevitable and they need to seize the miner's offer to economically benefit their people, including some who live in Queensland's more disadvantaged communities.

However, the anti-Adani group object to the destruction of their ancestral lands and culture, and contest the legitimacy of the meeting that approved the Adani deal.

The dispute will go to trial in the federal court in Brisbane in March.

The case has pushed back Adani's deadline on clinching finance for the project, which remains in doubt.

Wangan and Jagalingou have been defending their country in court since at least 2008.

The Guardian, 3 December 2017:

Traditional owners opposed to the Adani Carmichael coalmine have filed an application for an injunction with the federal court to prevent the native title tribunal from signing off on an Indigenous land use agreement before the outcome of a court challenge.

The application was filed following a meeting of the W&J traditional owners council in Brisbane on Saturday, where the 120 attendees voted against the Ilua for the fourth time since it was proposed in 2012.

Echo NetDaily, 6 December 2017:

North Coast Greens MLC Dawn Walker and NSW Greens mining spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham were arrested yesterday by Queensland police after taking part in a blockade of the Adani Carmichael coal mine rail construction site at Belyando, 270km west of Bowen.

The MPs were arrested at 6:35am along with a dozen other climate activists and charged with trespass unlawfully on a place of business.

Ms Walker said, ‘It was a very important day for me, stopping work on the Adani mine and being arrested with climate activists who understand the importance of preventing this destructive project from going ahead,’ said Greens MP Dawn Walker.

‘I was proud to stand with traditional owners who have said ‘no means no’ to Adani, and made it clear they will not be surrendering their land and water to this coal corporation.

‘Although this mine is miles from anywhere, the eyes of all Australia are on it. We have travelled days to get here but believe many more will follow.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Marriage Equality finally arrives in Australia



NSW North Coast Nats blame Turnbull for their re-election fears but refuse to look at the state government blunders they support


Image courtesy of Clarrie Rivers

This was The Daily Telegraph on 5 December 2017:

NATIONALS backbenchers have thrown their support behind NSW leader John Barilaro’s comments that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull should resign by Christmas, with one MP saying he was reflecting the views of “the whole country”.

Tensions between the Liberal and National parties reached boiling point yesterday on both a state and federal level as George Brandis labelled Mr Barilaro’s words “the dribblings of some obscure politician who nobody outside of NSW has ever heard of”.

The comments — which were made to Sydney’s 2GB radio last week — have also angered state Liberals, with one senior figure telling The Daily Telegraph Mr Barilaro was “losing the support” of his colleagues….

However, NSW Nationals backbenchers backed Mr Barilaro, with Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis claiming his state leader was echoing the “views of NSW and probably whole country”.
“We’ve seen it month after month in the polls,” he said.

Mr Gulaptis said that while he conceded the comments were “unhelpful”, Mr Barilaro was “entitled to make statements like that” and had his full support.

Coffs Harbour Nats MP Andrew Fraser said they “had a history of going with what the electorate was feeling” and that voters were “frustrated” with Mr Turnbull.

“Malcolm Turnbull doesn’t seem to be engaging with the electorate,” he said.

Oh, all the gods on all the holy mountain peaks give me strength!

Yes, the Turnbull Government is a train wreck careering towards the precipice. Yes, the failures of Truffles & Co and their arrogant sense of entitlement will probably colour views in a number of electorates ahead of the next NSW election on 23 March 2019.

However, the NSW Nationals and especially the North Coast Nationals have also not been adverse to supporting punitive policy measures created by the Abbott and Turnbull governments which would impact on local people.

While they have almost invariably initially thrown their weight behind every hair-brained state government idea floated in far-off Sydney which would make life difficult for local communities, local government or damage the Northern Rivers environment.

From withdrawing state agencies or severely reducing their staff and slashing their budgets, through to the push to unsuccessfully impose super-sized regional councils the size of small European principalities, the failed attempt to rob coastal rivers of their water, the unsuccessful push to impose an industrialised landscape filled with gas fields on rural landowners or the current ploy to destroy a biodiverse, environmentally sensitive waterway and surrounding estuary land through a proposal like the Port of Yamba debacle – all of which were initially supported by some or all North Coast National Party MPs.

Communities on the NSW North Coast have always had to talk long, hard and very publicly before their erstwhile elected National Party representatives give them a decent hearing.

So these Nationals need to understand that calls to oust Malcolm Bligh Turnbull will not erase the memory of what their own votes in the NSW Parliament are doing to their electorates and the wider North Coast.

Don't laugh, this Nationals MP was serious


David Arthur Gillespie of Wauchope entered the Australian Parliament in 2013 as a National Party Member of the House of Representatives representing the Lyne electorate, with an annual salary many of his constituents can only dream about.

He is quite literally a man of property – aside from his house and farm he owns four commercial and residential investment properties, which appear to be snugly sitting in one or more family trusts along with a portfolio of shares.

His total parliamentary entitlements expenditure paid by the Department of Finance was $65,512.97 in 2013,  $399,946.31 in 2014, $339,797.06 in 2015 and $381,651 in 2016.

Yet two years ago he caught the greed bug and wanted more, more, more………..

ABC News, 2 December 2017:

The Prime Minister's Department has lost a two-year fight to conceal a minister's bid for thousands of dollars in extra pollie-perks, including charter flights and boat rides.

Former speaker Bronwyn Bishop's taxpayer-funded helicopter ride sparked an inquiry into politicians' entitlements.

Most MPs and senators' submissions were publicly released, but bureaucrats decided to hide Nationals MP David Gillespie's proposal.

After a lengthy freedom of information (FOI) battle, the ABC can reveal Dr Gillespie argued politicians in seats like his should annually be given:

* Nearly $15,000 extra "charter allowance" for charter flights, hire cars, boat rides or taxis
* 14 days more travel allowance for overnight stays within the electorate
* An additional office
* One more full-time employee

Dr Gillespie is the member for Lyne on the New South Wales mid-north coast.

He argued the boost would help meet "the significant logistical challenges that confront all rural MPs in meeting the needs and expectations of their constituents".

"If the additional costs are $10 million, it is a small price to pay to ensure fairness within our democracy is delivered," he wrote in the October 2015 submission.

Dr Gillespie wanted extra expenses for all electorates 10,000 square kilometres or larger.

The Assistant Health Minister's seat is about 16,000 square kilometres in size, and includes towns of Taree and Wauchope.

If implemented today, 24 Coalition MPs would benefit, along with six Labor members and two independents.

Electorates 100,000 square kilometres or larger would have received an even bigger windfall under the blueprint.

But the Government has only partly adopted one of his ideas by funding an extra office in Australia's seven biggest electorates — a group of seats that does not include Lyne.

I’m sure David Gillespie is as pleased with mainstream media outing this attempted cash grab as he was when they reported this……

The Sydney Morning Herald, 1 October 2017:

A Turnbull government minister is facing up to $500,000 in personal legal bills to defend his job against a Labor High Court challenge.

While the government is covering the costs of the seven federal politicians referred to the court over their citizenship status, the eighth MP facing constitutional eligibility questions is not getting the same assistance.

Labor is challenging Assistant Health Minister David Gillespie's right to stay on in Federal Parliament, putting the government's slender majority at risk, because it believes he may have an indirect financial interest in the Commonwealth – grounds for disqualification under section 44(v) of the constitution.

As revealed by Fairfax Media in February, the Nationals MP owns a small suburban shopping complex in Port Macquarie and one of the shops is an outlet of Australia Post – a government-owned corporation.

The Lighthouse Beach Australia Post outlet in Port Macquarie owned by Nationals MP David Gillespie. 
Photo: Peter Daniels

Alley v Gillespie [2017] HCA is scheduled to be heard on Tuesday,12 December 2017 by High Court of Australia.