Showing posts with label Liberal Party of Australia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Liberal Party of Australia. Show all posts

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Australia Post-Port Arthur Massacre

Twenty years after the Port Arthur Massacre when a lone gunman killed 35 people and wounded 23 more…….

The Conversation, 27 April 2016:

The 1996 firearm laws were immediately followed by a buying spree, as banned rapid-fire rifles and shotguns were replaced with freshly imported single-shot firearms.
By 1999, civilian gun imports had dropped to a record low. And most gun dealers closed their doors.

In the years that followed, gun-buying climbed steadily to new heights. By 2015, the arms trade had broken all previous records. Last financial year Australia imported 104,000 firearms.

The million guns destroyed after Port Arthur have been replaced with 1,026,000 new ones. And the surge only shows upward momentum.

Twenty-one years after……, 12 October 2017:

THERE is a major “loophole” in Australia’s gun laws which allows for private arsenals with hundreds of guns and owners to “buy their first ... or 310th gun”.

Tighter restrictions on gun ownership — including a compulsory requirement to show “genuine reason” for owning each firearm — were introduced in 1996 following the Port Arthur massacre.

But the number of weapons that can be owned by an individual have since been weakened in various states and are not exclusively capped.

NSW Greens spokesman David Shoebridge said “a loophole in NSW’s gun laws allows private individuals to use the same reason to buy their 1st, 10th or 310th gun” and that Australia faces another mass shooting if the national approach to gun control isn’t tightened.

“A 20-year review of gun laws enacted after the Port Arthur Massacre in 1996 did not even look at capping the number of guns that can be owned by one individual,” he said.

“We are seeing private arsenals being built up in our major capital cities ...(and) suburbia.”

NSW Police figures for private firearm ownership obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show there are 31 private arsenals across Sydney with 73 to 305 guns each.

“Of the top 100 private arsenals with the most guns, 31 are in Sydney,” Mr Shoebridge said.

“These gun owners are not collectors or arms dealers but private individuals who have been allowed to amass private arsenals.

“It is inevitable that some of these private arsenals with end up in the hands of criminals.

“This really isn’t a question of mere politics it is a question of life and death.”

Almost 22 years later……

ABC News, 1 March 2018:

Thousands of automatic rifles, handguns and a rocket launcher are among the weapons handed in during last year's National Firearms Amnesty.

The final results, released today, show 57,324 firearms were handed in between July and September across Australia to be registered or destroyed.

Authorities received around 2,500 fully-automatic or semi-automatic guns that were previously unaccounted for, and 2,900 handguns.

The rocket launcher was handed in to a licensed firearms dealer in Queensland, who believes it was once recovered at a local tip.

New South Wales received the highest number of firearms at 24,831, followed by Queensland on 16,375. Victorians handed in 9,175 guns.

Almost a third of the weapons were destroyed, with the rest either registered and handed back, or passed on to a licensed dealer for resale.

Federal Minister for Law Enforcement Angus Taylor said the weapons were no longer on the "grey market", which refers to guns that are not registered and not in the hands of criminals.

"It's critical to get them off this grey market … so they don't end up in the black market," he said.

Despite the evidence before his eyes Home Affairs tsar Peter Dutton is apparently considering expanding the political power of the Australian gun lobby – à la U.S. National Rifle Association……

The Guardian, 15 March 2018:

The home affairs minister, Peter Dutton, is considering establishing a committee to allow gun importers to review proposed changes to firearm regulations for “appropriateness and intent”.

Following a meeting with a pro-gun lobbyist in February, Dutton is weighing up whether to establish a so-called “firearms advisory council”, which the gun lobby says would give it “a seat at the table” to advise the government on firearms policy.

Last month Dutton met with officials from Nioa, one of Australia’s largest gun dealers, and members of the shooting lobby to discuss the council.

Nioa is run by Robert Nioa, a major political donor to his father-in-law, the federal MP Bob Katter. He is also a director of the firearms industry lobbying group Shooting Industry Foundation of Australia, or Sifa.

Sifa’s other directors include the general manager of Winchester Australia, Clive Pugh and the managing director of Beretta Australia, Luca Scribani Rossi.

The group donated to Liberal and National MPs in the lead-up to the 2016 federal election and pumped hundreds of thousands of dollars into a campaign that helped minor rightwing parties gain votes in last year’s Queensland state election.

Held at Nioa’s company headquarters in Brisbane, the meeting was attended by Laura Patterson, Sifa’s communications and research officer, and Nioa official David Briggs. Robert Nioa was not at the meeting.

In a video posted by Sifa on social media, Patterson said the meeting was aimed at “formalising” the establishment of a “firearms advisory council”.

In the video, which included an image of the department’s logo, Patterson said the council would “establish a mechanism for expert government to industry consultation” and would allow Sifa to “review proposed regulatory changes for efficiency, appropriateness and intent”.


Australian Government, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2017:

Rates of firearm-related injuries for both hospitalised cases and deaths fell between 1999–00 and 2005–06 from a starting rate of 2 cases per 100,000 population to 1.5 per 100,000 for hospitalised cases and 1 per 100,000 for deaths in 2013–14 (Figure 6).

Rates for hospitalised cases were relatively steady from 2005–06 onwards, while rates for deaths continued to fall:

* The fall in rates for hospitalised cases in the early part of the period was mainly attributable to a decline in unintentional cases, from 221 to 105, between 1999–00 and 2005–06.

* The fall in rates for deaths over the entire period was mainly attributable to a decline in intentional self-harm (suicide) cases, from 236 to 166, between 1999–00 and 2012–13.

The rate of firearm suicide by males was about 6 to 7 per 100,000 population annually for about 30 years, to the late 1980s.

The rate then declined to less than 1 per 100,000 by 2011 (Figure 7). A similar pattern was seen for females, although rates were much lower.

Monday, 19 March 2018

A year ago the Turnbull Cabinet decided to elevate "a fascist like Peter Dutton"

This is Peter Craig Dutton, Australian Minister for Home Affairs, Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, millionaire property speculator, alleged closet racist and former Queensland police officer.

Twelve months ago government and national intelligence circles were unhappy about his elevation to powerful Tsar

Dutton's portfolios are now under audit and review as they merge and grow.

BuzzFeed, 12 March 2018:

The new super agency created by home affairs minister Peter Dutton is facing unprecedented government scrutiny, amid a series of audits and reviews into visa arrangements and anti-corruption measures.

The federal government merged a large number of Australian government agencies into one super agency headed by Dutton earlier this year.

In an unprecedented government initiative, Dutton is overseeing more than 13,000 staff across the immigration department, Australian Border Force (ABF), Australian Federal Police, Australian Crime and Intelligence Commission, Austrac and the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation.

The agency is absorbing a range of functions from the attorney-general's department, the department of infrastructure and the prime minister's department, and will have a total budget of more than $2 billion.

The arrangement was particularly controversial because there was no recommendation to actually create the agency; its establishment rests on the contested assumption that centralising these government agencies will ensure greater efficiency across immigration, law enforcement and other government areas.

But the new agency is now facing unprecedented scrutiny as home affairs secretary Michael Pezzullo grapples with how to bring disparate government entities under the umbrella of a single agency.

The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) is currently undertaking three separate audits into the integration of the immigration department and customs, the efficiency of visa processing and personnel security risks.

It is currently considering an additional six audits into staff integrity measures, payment standards, cape class patron vessel support, intelligence operations, collection of visa revenue and the tourist refund scheme.

Previous ANAO reports have scrutinised the immigration department's detention contracting arrangements and found them to have serious flaws. One review into contracting on Nauru and Manus found it spent more than $1 billion without proper approvals, and another found it failed to oversee healthcare arrangements in onshore detention centres.

Watch this space.

* Photograph found at The Guardian.

Friday, 16 March 2018

With a royal commission having found that all major religions house and protect paedophiles we still find Liberal Party MPs seeking to extend the influence of priests & ministers in the Australian school system in 2018

Dozens of federal Liberal MPs have reportedly signed a petition calling for a 25 per cent funding increase for the controversial National Schools Chaplaincy Program. 

Whether the budget can afford the funding increase or whether the money would be better spent elsewhere are interesting issues. The bigger legal issue is that the way the chaplains program operates is illegal…….

The High Court has struck down the chaplains program as illegal twice already. In 2012, the High Court ruled the program illegal because the federal government was paying for the chaplains program without any legislation authorising the spending. To overcome the High Court decision, federal Parliament quickly passed legislation to authorise the spending.

The chaplains program again was struck down again in 2014. Federal Parliament can only pass legislation dealing with certain subject matters. The High Court ruled that school chaplains do not fall within any of those.

To get around its own lack of power to run the chaplains program, the federal government now grants money to the states for them to run it. Lots of federal government programs operate this way with the states running programs on behalf of the federal government using federal money.

Getting a job as a chaplain requires a person to be recognised as qualified for the role "through formal ordination, commissioning, recognised religious qualifications or endorsement by a recognised or accepted religious institution". In other words, a person has to be religious and endorsed by a religious group in order to get a job as a chaplain. Atheists need not apply.

Individual schools pick which religion they want their chaplain to be a member of and then recruit a person from that religion for the job.

But it makes no practical sense to require a chaplain to have a particular religion. Chaplains are strictly prohibited from religious proselytising, although there are sometimes reports of chaplains breaking the rules. The High Court even commented that despite the religious sounding job title, the actual work chaplains do has nothing much to do with religion. Justice Dyson Heydon wrote that the work of chaplains "could have been done by persons who met a religious test. It could equally have been done by persons who did not".

In other words, there is no genuine occupational requirement for a chaplain to be a member of any particular religion or to be religious at all. The federal government has simply decided that it wants all chaplains to be religious.

Requiring a chaplain to be a member of a particular religion is inconsistent with the nature of public schools……

Requiring a chaplain to be a member of a particular religion is also illegal. Each state has anti-discrimination or equal opportunity legislation making it illegal to discriminate against a person on the ground of religion in employment decisions. These anti-discrimination rules apply to public schools and their hiring decisions.

Public schools cannot advertise a teacher’s job and require that only Hindus are eligible to apply. Public schools cannot advertise a cleaner’s job and require that only Baptists are eligible to apply. The reason is because that would be discrimination on the ground of religion in employment.

It’s exactly the same with chaplains. Requiring a chaplain to be a member of a particular religion is religious discrimination and completely illegal for public schools…..

The state anti-discrimination commissions should do something about public schools breaching religious discrimination laws. If they don’t, someone will eventually go to court and the school chaplains program will probably be ruled illegal for the third, and hopefully final, time.

Friday, 9 March 2018

Senior Liberal adviser trolled during Tasmanian election campaign and then went that step too far

This was senior advisor to Tasmania’s Liberal Premier Will Hodgman hiding behind a fake Facebook account during the recent Tasmanian state election campaign.

Images sourced from Google Images

And this is her now.

The Examiner, 6 March 2018:

A senior Liberal adviser who used a fake online account to email a woman’s employer after she spoke out about the lack of abortion services in Tasmania has been forced to resign.

Martine Haley used the alias Alice Wood-Jones to email the woman’s employer to have her reprimanded for her comments about abortion services in Tasmania.
In a statement late on Tuesday, Mr Hodgman said he had accepted Ms Haley’s resignation.

“I understand Martine deeply regrets her actions and has personally apologised to the person responsible.”

The woman, who spoke anonymously, said she was upset about the email to her boss.

“I'm still concerned about what might happen in retribution,” she said.

“It was a personal view and not linked with my role.

“I just wanted to challenge the claims that abortion is accessible and affordable in Tasmania.

“I don't believe I was the only one targeted and that others may be too afraid to speak up for fear of repercussions and even losing their jobs.”

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Was the Australian Minister for Screech bullied in Senate Estimates? You be the judge

This is a fairly typical mainstream media snap of Liberal Senator for Western Australia & Minister for Jobs and Innovation Michaelia Clare Cash.

On 1 March 2018 Prime Minister Malcolm Bligh Turnbull rose to his feet in the House of Representatives to claim that Cash had been bullied during a Senate Estimates hearing on 28 February 2018.

"Mr TURNBULL (Wentworth—Prime Minister) (14:01): All of us should show respect to the staff in this building, and indeed we should show respect to each other—although, obviously, as we will see no doubt in the next 70 minutes, that principle can sometimes be challenged in practice. The honourable member refers to some remarks made by Senator Cash during a very heated exchange in Senate estimates, where she was being bullied and provoked by Senator Cameron......But Senator Cash was being bullied and provoked by Senator Cameron, who was making insinuations about staff." [Hansard, 1 March 2018]

This is the incident to which he is referring.
After the hearing suspension at 10:20am Minister Cash went on to repeat her threat to name individual parliamentary staff.

The full transcript of the Cash-Cameron exchange during the Senate Estimates Education and Employment Legislation Committee hearing on 28 February can be found here.

Readers may judge for themselves whether Minister Cash was bullied and insinuations made about her staff.

From where I am sitting it appears as though the only insinuations were made by the Minister herself as were the verbal threats.

Saturday, 3 March 2018

Senate Estimates Appearances of the Week

In which we find Liberal-National Party MP for Dawson George Christensen does indeed have questions to answer over his gun-toting Facebook post threatening violence against "greenie punks"....

And the Australian Federal Police investigation into Liberal Senator for Western Australia Michaelia Cash and her staff widens....

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

George Christensen running a little distraction for his 'mate' Barnaby Joyce?

Far-right federal politicians tend to stick together in the face of negative media coverage and on 17 February 2018 thirty-nine year old George Robert Christensen, Liberal-Nationals MP for Dawson, apparently decided to give social media something else to talk about other than his 'mate' Nationals Leader Barnaby Joyce.

Unfortunately when picking a topic George showed all the maturity and sound judgement voters have come to expect from members of the Turnbull Coalition Government.

Cristensen's Facebook caption reads "You gotta ask yourself, do you feel lucky, greenie punks?"

Unfortunately for George at least one member of the public reported his Facebook post to the police and the prime minister. So it wasn't that long before he changed the captioning of this gun-totting image.

Some time later he also removed the image with a silly show of petulance.

 Perhaps he finally got around to considering whether his prime minister might be as unamused as many other Australians given these facts about those so-called "greenie punks".

Conservation Watch, 07.03.2017

“Two hundred environmental activists, wildlife rangers and indigenous leaders trying to protect their land were killed in 2016, according to the watchdog group Global Witness – more than double the number killed five years ago.” [The Guardian, 13 June 2017]

"A New South Wales farmer who shot and killed an environment officer involved in land clearing prosecutions against his family has been found guilty of murder." [ABC News, 25 May 2016]

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Is Turnbull laying the groundwork to throw Joyce under a bus if it becomes neccessary?

A very careful choice of words on the part of the Prime Minister leaves the door open to walk back support of his Deputy Prime Minister if Joyce is found to be telling the Australian Parliament untruths.

House of Representatives Hansard, excerpts, 13 February 2018:

Mr TURNBULL (Wentworth—Prime Minister) (14:25): The honourable member refers to some statements attributed to a spokesman of mine yesterday. Those statements, I'm advised, followed a background discussion. They were not authorised by me, but I will answer the question. As the Deputy Prime Minister confirmed in his statement of Saturday, 10 February, and again in his statement this morning, The Nationals are responsible for decisions relating to staffing the office of Nationals members. He confirmed that the Prime Minister's office has an administrative role in informing the Department of Finance of changes. All ministers are bound by the ministerial standards.

All ministers are bound by the ministerial standards. The Deputy Prime Minister has today explained his circumstances as it relates to the standards, and I refer you to that statement. I would add that whether somebody is a partner of another for the purposes of clause 2.23 is, of course, a question of fact. The facts of the relationship which you're referring to are, of course, known to the Deputy Prime Minister. It is his responsibility to address it and comply with the standards, and he addressed that in his statement today.  [my yellow highlighting]

Shock, Horror! A Liberal minister finally makes a stab at lessening gouging by payday lending and rent-as-you-buy companies and Liberal MPs have a conniption

According to the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) this bill has merit.

2. We support the financial inclusion objectives of the Exposure Draft of the National Consumer Credit Protection Amendment (Small Amount Credit Contract and Consumer Lease Reforms) Bill 2017 (the Bill). The consumer harms that can be associated with payday loans and consumer leases are a longstanding and systemic feature of these sectors and often fall on financially vulnerable and disadvantaged consumers. We consider that the Bill will provide an effective suite of protections commensurable to the risk of harm to consumers from these products, balanced against the need to ensure that the industry can remain viable.

3 In particular, we support the level of the cap on costs for consumer leases proposed in the Bill. We expect a cap set at this level will address the excessive costs some lessors charge consumers, while still allowing a viable and sustainable consumer lease sector.

4 We also support the introduction of the Bill’s comprehensive anti-avoidance regime, which will benefit both consumers and compliant businesses. These measures will be essential to address the increased risk of avoidance activity following the introduction of the reforms.

Yet this is the response from Liberal Party backbenchers.........

The Courier Mail, 12 February 2018:

IRATE backbenchers have revolted over Financial Services Minister Kelly O’Dwyer’s tough payday lending draft laws and have successfully enlisted Treasurer Scott Morrison to reverse Cabinet’s support of the Bill.

As the Turnbull Government desperately searches for a circuit breaker from Barnaby Joyce’s sex scandal, frustrations have spilt over against Ms O’Dwyer’s original handling of new laws targeting payday lenders and rent-to-buy businesses, with backbenchers complaining to the Prime Minister.

A bloc of about 20 backbenchers, including several in Queensland, are warning Ms O’Dwyer’s reforms will send some businesses broke and are an affront to Liberal values.

In a move that will be pilloried by consumer groups angry over rent-to-buy lenders charging up to 800 per cent interest, a group of MPs, labelled by some in the Government as the “Parliamentary Friends of Payday Lenders” – a title that is angering the bloc – has convinced Mr Morrison to retreat on parts of the draft laws.

It would be an embarrassing move for Cabinet, which ticked off on the reforms last year.

Monday, 12 February 2018

AUSTRALIA CARD MARK II: no national digital ID number will mean no access to any Australian federal government services

“When signing up to the platform for the first time, users will be asked to provide their name, email address, and phone number, and verify their details via email or SMS. They will then be asked to provide information from three identity documents, which goes through the exchange to the identity provider for verification. The exchange receives encrypted details back which it passes on to the government service the user wants to reach, which then grants the user access.”  [IT News, 20 March 2015]

IT News, 8 February 2018:

The Department of Human Services looks set to become the federal government's exclusive manager of digital identities after being selected to build the identity provider solution that will be used for the Govpass platform.

The Govpass framework is a decentralised identity model that allows individuals to choose their identity provider - an organisation that issues identity documents, like Australia Post or the ATO - and access a range of public and private sector services through a single digital identity credential.

There is no limit on the number of identity providers outside of the Commonwealth that can be accredited for Govpass; Australia Post has already indicated it will seek to become the first non-government identity provider, using its Digital iD platform.
Several state and territory government agencies and private sector entities are also expected to become identity providers over time.

However, the federal government last year made the decision that only one identity provider would operate for the entire Commonwealth.

The Digital Transformation Agency revealed the decision following meetings with existing Commonwealth identity service providers, DHS and the ATO. Its rationale for the move was to focus security efforts in one place and avoid complex administrative structures.

iTnews revealed in October that the DTA was yet to make up its mind up on which of the two agencies would serve as the federal government’s sole identity provider for GovPass, even as testing of the new platform was taking place with the ATO’s new online tax file number application service.

Instead the DTA said it was working closely with the ATO and DHS on the “next steps” for the platform.

But in response to questions on notice from recent estimates hearings, DHS revealed it had been instructed to develop the federal government’s single identity provider platform, to be known as myGov IdP.

“The department was commissioned by the DTA to build the identity provider (IdP) for the whole-of-government,” it said.

“The myGov IdP will enable citizens to verify their identity online and use it to apply for government services.”

iTnews has made several attempts to clarify the statements with the DTA and DHS, but both refused to comment on the build and DHS’ apparent position as the single government identity provider.

The ATO similarly redirected questions about its involvement with Govpass, including whether it had also been asked by the DTA to build an identity provider solution, to the DTA.

Selecting DHS as the sole government identity provider would be an obvious choice for the DTA - the agency is the government’s current defacto whole-of-gov identity provider through the myGov digital services platform.

A private beta release of myGov IdP is currently planned for later this month.

Identity providers on Govpass will use the DTA-built identity exchange – and in turn the document verification service (DVS) and facial verification service (FVS) – to verify an individual’s credentials without revealing their identity to service providers.
[my yellow bolding]

NoteThe Face Identification Service (FIS) is a one-to-many, image-based identification service that can match a photo of an unknown person against multiple government records to help establish their identity. FIS is also available to police, security services, Dept. of Immigration and Dept. of Foreign Affairs. [Australian Attorney-General's Department, October 2017]

Saturday, 10 February 2018

Thursday, 8 February 2018

The Liberal Party of Australia's inability to avoid adding more rigthwing hardliners to its ranks is disturbing

“Plus  ça  change, plus  c'est  la  même  chose”

John Howard's quasi military protégée during his prime ministershipformer "special envoy" for a later Australian prime minister, Tony Abbott, 'speaker and entertainer' for hire, border control hardliner, retired major-general Andrew James "Jim" Molan formally took up a Senate seat on 5 February 2018 as Liberal Party Senator for New South Wales.
Having failed to be elected at the last federal election he came to the Senate after the High Court of Australia ruled Susan Nash was ineligible to continue sitting in the Senate due to holding dual citizenship.
The senator from Royalla near Queanbeyan NSW has created a new Facebook page now he has been sworn-in, however the original page still exists. As does his Twitter account where he has a tendency to retweet praise of himself.
A right-wing warrior with an imperfect understanding of human rights, a controversial war record and an apparent antipathy to est. 2.6 per cent of the Australian population is now a member of the Turnbull Coalition Government.

This is how the mainstream media saw him on the day........
ABC News, 5 February 2018:
Newly-elected Liberal senator and retired senior Army officer Jim Molan is defending his decision to share anti-Muslim videos posted by far-right UK group Britain First on Facebook.
In March last year Mr Molan, who was sworn in as a senator this morning, shared posts from the group on his personal, public Facebook page.
One of the Britain First videos purports to show Muslim men attacking a police car in France, while the other purports to show Muslim men harassing and assaulting young women in France and the Netherlands.
The second video has been discredited by online fact-checkers.
Today Senator Molan said he did not remember sharing the videos, but upon watching them again, was shocked by the violence within them.
He said the videos were not inflammatory, and not racist.
"I have no apologies, I have no regrets," he said.
Senator Molan said he rejected any suggestion he was racist……..

Britain First shot to global attention when US President Donald Trump shared anti-Muslim videos from the group in November last year.
It prompted outrage in Britain, and he was criticised by UK Prime Minister Theresa May.
Last week Mr Trump apologised for re-tweeting the posts, saying he knew nothing about the group.
Senator Molan has also shared posts made by far-right figure Milo Yiannopolous and controversial cartoonist Larry Pickering.
Those posts were not anti-Muslim in nature.
A spokesman for Senator Molan said the senator shared content online to provoke debate, and was not endorsing anything.
"The senator often posts material in order to generate debate," he said.
"The sharing of any post does not indicate endorsement."
Senator Molan has not posted commentary with the more controversial posts, and does not regularly respond to comments made on the posts.
But he did respond to a comment on one Britain First post, which read: "Charming. And we're meant to be tolerant, accepting and welcoming of this 'breed' in our country."
Senator Molan replied "Unbelievable".