Showing posts with label lobby groups. Show all posts
Showing posts with label lobby groups. Show all posts

Monday, 12 March 2018

Employer groups put pressure on Turnbull Government to stifle union mergers

In 2017 members of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU), The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) and the Textile, Clothing and Footwear Union of Australia (TCFUA) considered a proposal to amalgamate into one union or alternatively to amalgamate only the CFMEU and the MUA.

The ballot was conducted by the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) and results declared on 28 November 2017. There appears to have been no irregularities affecting the ballot outcome.

The Fair Work Commission handed down a decision giving effect to the CFMEU and MUA amalgamation on 27 March 2018.

Employer groups Australian Mines and Metals Association (AMMA) and Master Builders Australia (MBA) are now appealing the Commission’s decision.

The Australian, 9 March 2018, p.2.

Employers have taken legal ­action to try to overturn the Fair Work Commission decision ­approving the merger of the construction and maritime unions.

The Australian Mines and Metals Association and Master Builders Australia yesterday ­appealed the decision to a ­commission full bench.

The employers are also seeking a stay of the decision, which, if granted, would mean the merger would not proceed from its scheduled date of March 27.

The AMMA and MBA say the commission decision contained errors of laws and should not have approved the amalgamation.

Maritime Union of Australia national secretary Paddy Crumlin said the unions would vigorously oppose the appeal and defend the rights of workers to have freedom of association.

“Our members have overwhelmingly supported this amalgamation (with the CFMEU) and it should be up to them to decide whether they merge,” he said.

Former employment minister Eric Abetz welcomed the ­appeal, saying the government should intervene in the proceedings in support of the employer application. He said the government should move urgently to pass laws subjecting union ­mergers to a public interest test.

Workplace Relations Minister Craig Laundy said the government would resume talks with Senate crossbenchers in a bid to win support for the bill, which has yet to be put to a vote.

AMMA is lobbying for an amendment to the bill designed to have the public interest test take affect before March 27 but Mr Laundy declined to express a view on the proposed amendment.

The Australian, 8 March 2018:

Employers have accused the Turnbull government of being missing in action after the Coalition failed to pass laws subjecting union mergers to a public interest test.

Workplace Relations Minister Craig Laundy said today the government would resume talks with Senate crossbenchers in a bid to win support for the bill, which has yet to be put to a Senate vote.

 “The Ensuring Integrity Bill remains a priority for the Government, but because of Labor’s opposition we need the support of the crossbench,’’ he said.

“Despite what has been said in recent days, the Government simply didn’t have the numbers to pass the Bill. I am reaching out to the crossbench to see if that has changed.

Thursday, 1 February 2018

A lesson in political repression courtesy of the Turnbull Government

On 7 December 2017 the Turnbull Coalition Government introduced a bill called the Electoral Legislation Amendment (Electoral Funding and Disclosure Reform) Bill 2017.

It is currently before the Senate and the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters which reports to Parliament on 2 March 2018.

This bill purports to amend the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 to: establish public registers for key non-party political actors; require non-financial particulars, such as senior staff and discretionary government benefits, to be reported; prohibit donations from foreign governments and state-owned enterprises being used to finance public debate; require wholly political actors to verify that donations over $250 come from an organisation incorporated in Australia, or with its head office or principal place of activity in Australia, or an Australian citizen or Commonwealth elector; prohibit other regulated political actors from using donations from foreign sources to fund reportable political expenditure; limit public election funding to demonstrated electoral spending; amend the enforcement and compliance regime for political finance regulation; and enable the Electoral Commissioner to prescribe certain matters by legislative instrument; and Referendum (Machinery Provisions) Act 1984 to make consequential amendments.

The bill contains these clauses in relation to not only donations made to political parties but also to donations made to advocacy groups and charities which lobby government:

# 287AA Meaning of allowable donor

 (1) A person or entity is an allowable donor if:

(a) for an individual who makes a gift—the individual:
(i) is an elector; or
(ii) is an Australian citizen; or
(iii) is an Australian resident, unless a determination is in force under subsection

(2) determining that Australian residents are not allowable donors; or

(b) for an entity that makes a gift:
(i) the entity is incorporated in Australia; or
(ii) for an entity that is not incorporated—the entity’s head  office or principal place of activity is in Australia; or

(c) for a person or entity that is a trustee of an unincorporated trust fund or unincorporated foundation, out of which a gift is made—the person or entity is an allowable donor within the meaning of paragraph (a), (b) or (d); or

(d) the person or entity is in a class of persons or entities prescribed by the regulations for the purposes of this paragraph. Australian residents 

(2) For the purposes of subparagraph (1)(a)(iii), the Minister may, by  legislative instrument, determine that Australian residents are not allowable donors.

# 302P Information relating to allowable donor status

(1) A person (the first person) obtains appropriate donor information from another person establishing that the other person is an allowable donor if:

(a) the first person obtains a statutory declaration from the other person declaring that the other person is an allowable donor (unless subsection (2) applies); or
(b) if the regulations determine information that the first person may seek from the other person in order to establish that the other person is an allowable donor—the first person obtains 11 that information from the other person.

(2) For the purposes of paragraph (1)(b), the regulations may (but are not required to) determine that a statutory declaration that a person is an allowable donor is not appropriate donor information.

Note: A person who obtains appropriate donor information may not commit an offence or contravene a civil penalty provision in this Division (see 17 subsection 287(9) and section 302M).

It should be noted that approved witnesses to a Commonwealth statutory declaration come from specific occupational pools and only justices of the peace are prohibited from charging a fee to act as a witness.

It should be further noted that these clauses are in addition to the bill's amending of the definition of an associated entity which GetUp! asserts threatens its independence.

GetUp! had this to say on the subject:

Our lawyers just uncovered a killer clause in the Turnbull Government's new anti-democratic legislation that would decimate GetUp's ability to fundraise.Can you dig deep to help establish a GetUp Survival War Chest -- while we still can?

If passed, this killer clause would force then anyone who contributes as little as $4.80 a week to the GetUp movement to provide a signed and witnessed statutory declaration.

The impossibility of collecting thousands upon thousands of these documents would spell the end of people-powered fundrasing as we know it.

Of course, we're going to fight tooth and nail to stop this legislation in its tracks. But to prepare for the worst, we're creating a GetUp Survival War Chest, to ensure we run can keep our campaigns thriving no matter what.

Can you dig deep now (while we still can) as an act of defiance against this effort to choke off our people powered impact?

Donations page here.

Monday, 29 January 2018

One of the IPA's unofficial attack dogs is attempting to savage the charity sector once again

The Guardian, 24 January 2018:

The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission has pushed for new powers to regulate charities' "effective use of resources" under its controversial new commissioner, Gary Johns.

The charities sector is up in arms over the proposal, seen as an attempt to control how charities spend their money from a commissioner who has argued that it is not appropriate for charities to fund advocacy.

In its submission to a review of charities law, the ACNC called for two new objects: to promote "the effective use of the resources of not-for-profit entities"; and to "enhance the accountability of not-for-profit entities to donors, beneficiaries and the public".

The ACNC's objects now are to maintain public trust in and the independence of the sector and to promote the reduction of "unnecessary regulatory obligations" for charities.

The commission argued the expanded scope was "appropriate" because "the maintenance and promotion of the effectiveness and sustainability of the not-for-profit sector" was already a factor the commissioner must consider when making decisions.

It said the new objects should come with additional powers, functions and resources.

The Community Council for Australia's chief executive, David Crosbie, said the proposed objectives were "incredibly disappointing" and amounted to a "bizarre overreach" from the regulator.

He said there was "no explanation" of how the ACNC would measure an "effective use of resources".

"It's not the role of a government regulator which may not agree with a particular charity's approach – it's absurd that should tell them how to use their resources," he said.

"As long as charities are meeting their statutory requirements and fulfilling their charitable purpose it is not up to the regulator."
He added: "The use of resources is best left up to charities, the communities they serve and their own governance structures."

Johns was a Labor minister under the Keating government and a former head of NGOWatch at the Institute for Public Affairs. After his appointment in December, Johns said when people gave to charities they expected that "most of [the donation] will be used for the charitable purpose … [and that] the work that is undertaken on behalf of a donor works". He promised to bring those matters "to the fore" in his work at the ACNC.

In 2014 Johns argued that the government should remove advocacy as a charitable purpose to "deny charity status to the enemies of progress", citing the fact the Environmental Defenders Office Queensland advocates against coal mining.

In his 2014 book The Charity Ball, he said advocacy was of "doubtful public benefit". He criticised larger charities "whose service delivery is heavily weighted towards advocacy, research, campaigning and lobbying", including World Vision Australia, the Australian Conservation Foundation and Amnesty International Australia.

Crosbie said Johns' public statements demonstrated that he believed "charities should not be advocating for extra funding from government".
He suggested that advocacy for more housing for homeless people and spending on mental health services were examples of activities that could come under attack.

Crosbie, who served on the ACNC's advisory board for more than three years, said the original objects had been developed after thorough consultation and "not once" had stakeholders suggested adding the new objectives in the ACNC submission.

Labor's charities spokesman, Andrew Leigh, accused the government of an "ongoing war on charities" and said it was "worrying that the new commissioner's first actions have already put the sector offside".

Friday, 5 January 2018

Climate denialists discuss suing a company for NOT increasing pollution

There are times when one wonders just how crazy the people associated with The Heartland Institute can get – then this sentence pops up a 6-page email from the Institute’s CEO Jim Bast to its Director of Communications Jim Lakely:

sue a company for not increasing CO2 emissions, force a court to consider the evidence on CO2 benefits.

The October 2017 email exchange can be read at

A list of people on The Heartland Institute’s mailing list who would be receiving such suggestions, courtesy of DeSmog Blog:

Heartland Institute's Climate Scientists Mailing List
Heartland Institute's Climate Economists Mailing List 

As far-right global warming denialists in the Turnbull Government tend to mimic US moves against science-based policy, I suspect that this pared-down version of the latest Heartland playlist will be used in Australia in 2018 whenever they plan strategy or are quoted in the media on the subject of climate change:

* be briefing news reporters and news readers
* simplify the issue by focusing on one or only a few arguments and images
* identify a few good spokespersons and focus on promoting them
* stop chasing the other side’s latest argument and focus instead on the benefits of CO2
* focus on the “tuning scandal” that discredits the models
* turn debate from referring to median temperatures to high temperatures, which show no trend
* find independent funding for [insert climate change denier of choice]
* respond to [insert climate report of choice]
* get good people onto EPA advisory boards
* we need to be able to say “EPA is reconsidering whether CO2 is a pollutant”
* document instances where EPA etc. fail to cite research findings that contradict their agenda
* conduct a new survey of scientists to refute the 97% consensus claims
* sue a company for not increasing CO2 emissions, force a court to consider the evidence on CO2 benefits
* read The Business of America is Lobbying to understand the tactics of those we are really up against
* never use the phrases “windmill farms,” “all of the above,” “carbon pollution,” “social cost of carbon,” or “air pollution”
* use “industrial windmills,” “reliable and affordable,” “carbon dioxide emissions,” “benefits and costs of fossil fuels,” and “air quality”
* emphasize that we are pro-science and pro-environment… and the other side is not
* always think about what is most important to your audience
* when being interviewed, deliver your headlines first, don’t let the reporter lead you astray or cut you off
* prepare to answer the “what if you are wrong?” question with “what if you are wrong? How much damage will you have caused by costing the average household $4,000 a year for nothing?”
* fundamentally challenge, reform, or replace the [insert government agency of choice], the source of much pseudoscience
* stop funding “more research”
* clearly distinguish “safe” – a policy concept – from “risk” – a scientific concept, and keep scientists from pontificating on the former and advocates from misrepresenting the latter
* doubling the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere would increase plant productivity by 35%.
* any SCC calculation that doesn’t include the benefits of CO2 should be rejected out of hand

Friday, 6 October 2017

National Party President Larry Anthony is not happy and neither are a good many Australian voters

On 30 September 2017 Lawrence James "Larry" Anthony (pictured above) was not happy and here’s the reason why:

The Directors of The SAS Group note reports in Fairfax newspapers today which refer to our firm.  The SAS Group prides itself on achieving outstanding results for our clients.  That has been our track record since our inception almost a decade ago, and we make no apology for the fact that we give our clients the best advice and guidance to help them achieve their business goals.

At all times we operate in accordance with the Federal lobbying laws and code of conduct, and we will always do so. We note that the Fairfax journalist has made no allegation of impropriety, and was not able, when asked, to point to any breach of the relevant code.

We are unbothered by the baseless implications upon which the news story is founded.  However, we are deeply offended that our hard-working staff and consultants should have their achievements debased in this way.

The SAS Group has risen to be one of Australia’s leading strategic communications consultancies because our consultants have a breadth of experience in media, government and a range of industry sectors.  We value the outcomes achieved by our personnel, and we – and our clients – understand that the firm’s success is derived not from the standing of one director, but from the efforts of our entire team.

The media report in question can be found in The Sydney Morning Herald of the same day, Nationals Interest: Larry Anthony, the party president who runs a lobbying firm.

On 30 September 2017 thousands of voters across Australia were also not happy and here’s their reasons why:

The Catholic Leader, 27 September 2017:

THE plan to rollout cashless welfare cards to thousands of residents on the dole in Hervey Bay-Bundaberg has sparked a fierce backlash from opponents claiming the cards will cause social segregation, stigmatise job seekers and entrench poverty.

“The people of the Hinkler region (Hervey Bay-Bundaberg) are feeling threatened, scared and worried for their financial futures and inclusion in our communities,” Hervey Bay’s Kathryn Wilkes, who has launched an online petition opposing introduction of the Federal Government scheme early next year, said.

The scheme is based on a suggestion by Western Australian mining billionaire Andrew Forrest, that 80 per cent of welfare payments be cashless and only available via an electronic debit card that cannot be used for alcohol or gambling.

“The insults that we cannot manage our funds, that we are all drunks, druggies and pedos are unjust and not true,” Ms Wilkes said.

“The cashless welfare debit card will completely destroy people on so many levels and we don’t have the mental health services to cope with the loss of self and autonomy.

“The card does not care what colour your skin is, your religion, or your circumstance; it is about profits for private business.”

The Guardian, 18 September 2017:

A new research paper has issued a damning assessment of the quality of the report the Turnbull government has been using to promote its cashless welfare card trials, saying the report shows the program is not working.

Janet Hunt, the deputy director of the centre for Aboriginal economic policy research at the Australian National University, says the government has ignored serious flaws in the Orima Research report, which it released this month.

She said the report showed the government’s cashless card trials had not actually improved safety and violence figures in the two trial sites in Ceduna and the East Kimberley, despite that being the point of the card.

Her findings support the work of social researcher Eva Cox, who has already found significant problems with the design of the report, including the way interviews were conducted in Indigenous communities and the ethics of the process.

“Indeed, the authors qualify a number of their apparently positive findings with various caveats, but, at the same time, the evaluation itself has serious flaws, so even these findings are contestable,” Hunt says in her report, The Cashless Debit Card Evaluation: Does it Really Prove Success?

ABC News, 14 September 2017:

A researcher studying the impact of the cashless welfare card has linked the Federal Government's welfare program to the issue of youth suicides in the Kimberley.

Coroner Ros Fogliani is examining the suicides of 13 children and young adults in the Kimberley, and is this week hearing testimony in the town of Kununurra.

Among those to give evidence was Melbourne University researcher Elise Klein, who is midway through a study on the effects of the implementation of the cashless welfare initiative in Ceduna and the west Kimberley.

All of the suicides being examined in the inquest took place before the cashless welfare card trial began in the East Kimberley in April 2016.

But Dr Klein argued the program would add to the disempowerment felt by Aboriginal people in the region.

"It has become a symbol of not having control over one's life and of state intervention over people's lives," she said.

Questioned on her findings so far, Dr Klein said local people and the community as a whole felt weakened by being subjected to the mandatory spending restrictions.

"Maybe the relevance to this inquest is that the kind of atmosphere that this feeds into is extremely disempowering for people.

Dr Klein was scathing of the implementation of the cashless card program, saying there was no proper consultation in Kununurra or Wyndham, and inadequate explanation as to how it worked.

"People were given a manual, that was full of technical language that was difficult to understand, so people had a lot of difficulty using the card," she said.

"When the trial began there was a fair amount of chaos.

"People were directed to a mobile app to check their balance, but some people didn't know how to use the internet, never mind have a mobile phone."

What connects all this unhappiness? Well it’s the SAS Consulting Group of which Larry Anthony is a founding director and part owner through Illalangi Pty Ltd as Trustee for the Anthony Family Trust and Indue Limited a financial services corporation established in 1999.

Anthony is listed as an owner, as well as a contact person for and employee of the SAS Consulting Group on the current NSW Register of Third-Party Lobbyists.

In my opinion this is a blatant work-around of the Australian Government Lobbying Code of Conduct at s8 & s10, because the NSW Lobbying of Government Officials (Lobbyists Code of Conduct) Regulation 2014 allows for more wriggle room.

From 17 February 2005 to 30 October 2013 Larry Anthony sat on the Indue board as a director and, for much of that period he was also Senior Vice President Australia of the National Party.

The Australian Government Register of Lobbyists shows that Indue Limited is one of the 19 clients on whose behalf SAS Consulting lobbies. Indue has been reportedly a client since mid-2014.

Indue Limited has the federal government contract to supply the cashless debit card and associated financial/banking services.

All welfare recipients, excepting age pensioners, have been placed on the cashless debit card in Ceduna SA, Kununurra and Wydham WA.

By January 2018 it is expected that all welfare recipients under 35 years of age who receive unemployment or single parent benefits and live in Goldfields WA or Hervey Bay Qld will also be placed on this income management scheme.

It is likely that within the next five years an est. 24,633 people on Centrelink income management as of 25 March 2016 will also be transferred onto the cashless debit card program.

Larry Anthony can expect to see more media articles in the future which make him uncomfortable, now his relationship with Indue Limited has begun to be scrutinised.


SAS Consulting Group Pty Ltd talks up Larry Anthony:

Larry has had a distinguished career in both business and politics and is the current President of the National Party, one half of the ruling Coalition Government. 

He is the founding Director of the SAS Group and prior to his current commercial career was a former member of the Australian Parliament and served between 1996- 2004 in the Howard Government. During this period, he held numerous Ministries:  Children and Youth Affairs, Minister for Community Services and Parliamentary Secretary for Trade.  Larry also served on House of Representatives' Standing Committees on Financial Institutions; Public Administration; and Corporations and Securities. 

Larry was the longest serving Minister responsible for Centrelink with an annual budget of over $60 billion and is widely regarded for his achievements in social policy reforms.  In trade, he was responsible for driving export market development programs. 

Larry is the third-generation Anthony family member in the Australian Parliament - the only family in Australian history where each elected member served as Minister of the Crown and collectively served 56 years in the Australian Parliament.

Prior to entering Parliament, Larry was a stockbroker and investment banker with Potter Warburg and Merrill Lynch.

Larry is a professional company director with a keen interest in information technology, finance, media and human services sector.

As Minister for Community Services in 2000 Anthony introduced a Centrelink pilot data matching program which compared data held on welfare recipients with data held by the Australia Taxation Office and the Australian Investment & Securities Commission.

Larry Anthony held the seat of Richmond for the National Party for over eight years and lost it at the federal election on 9 October 2004.

Anthony became National President of the National Party in September 2015.

Larry Anthony's professional profile.

Indue Limited on North Coast Voices at

#cashlesswelfare on Twitter.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Quotes of the Week

“Tens of millions of dollars are spent annually on political lobbying for the interests of the fossil fuel sector. That investment serves the interests of a small amount of company shareholders in keeping a legacy industry alive, despite the availability of newer, clean technologies, at lower cost. In the wake of these behind-the-scenes policy negotiations, the real and present impacts of climate change, such as bushfires, coastal flooding and reduced crop yields are left at the door of future generations to deal with.” [Professor Tim Flannery writing in The Guardian, 13 September 2017]

“The main problem bedevilling Australia’s energy sector at the moment is a lack of settled policy to define the investment framework. It means companies like AGL have to guess what regulations they will face in the future.” [Journalist Katherine Murphy writing in The Guardian, 12 September 2017]

“Trump is the most ignorant, offensive president of my lifetime. His rise is a direct result of white supremacy. Period." [ESPN SportsCenter cohost Jemele Hill tweeting about US President Donald Trump on 11 September 2017]

Monday, 3 July 2017

Is the Liberal Party of Australia taking a leaf out of Steve Bannon's playbook

This was a ‘news’ banner on the Liberal Party of Australia’s The Fair Go website on 27 June 2016:
The short eight sentence long spiel behind the login wall began with:

Where does Getup get its money from and what is the real agenda behind the bluster?

From Open Society to Podesta to The Sunrise Project, Avaaz to GetUp in Australia! There’s certainly been a lot of US money a-flowing toward Aussie Leftists groups. So, who is giving who how much and where is it all going?

And ended with this image:

However it did not disclose any “secret money trails” and appeared to base its claims in part on 'fake news' produced during the 2016 US presidential election and the political donations disclosures GetUp! (Getup Limited est. 29 April 2005) regularly submits to the Australian Electoral Commission which can be found on the commission’s website as well as on a GetUp! web page.

According to the staff writers at The Fair Go the villain of the piece is George Soros – one of the people Donald Trump likes to hate – who is supposedly nefariously funding GetUp! through Avaaz.

Of course no mention is made of the fact that two co-founders and current board members of GetUp! were later also co-founders of Avaaz, so there is an existing and acknowledged relationship which has seen these two groups work together on climate change campaigns.

Instead this little gem made it off a staff writer’s keyboard and onto the website:

Getup alone spent $10m on pro-Union, pro-Green, anti-development, anti-jobs agenda last year. They have been getting some help from American organisation Avaaz with $275,000 in donations over the last two years.

But where does Avaaz get their funding from? Open Society Foundation of course! 

All roads lead back to George Soros.

Small problem with the maths though. The figure for the last two Third Party Return of Political Expenditure forms submitted by GetUp! show zero donations from Avaaz in 2015-16 and a single $99,985 donation in 2014-15. Even if one goes back to the 2013-14 form, that included donation would only bring the Avaaz donation total to $195,605 over the last three financial years declared to date.

It should come as no surprise to find that Avaaz also publishes its US expenditure declarations which means that there is even less to The Fair Go’s secrecy claims. Avaaz received a general support grant in 2008-09 from the Open Society Institute (OSI est. 1979) and since then does not appear to have accepted donations from “foundations or corporations”.

As for George Soros and the Open Society Foundations (formerly OSI) – well that registered philanthropic organisation operating world-wide produces annual budgets which show what programs it is involved with and where. Australia is not one of the countries in which it has a presence and, apart from attending at least one international conference which happen to be held in this country and including Australia in its “Case Watch” series and the occasional report, it does not appear to be active here.

The 2016 Open Society Foundations budget showed expected expenditure of US$544.6 million and the 2017 budget expenditure is expected to come in at US$940.7 million. This money goes to small and medium sized organisations such as those providing advocacy, legal aid, assistance to refugees, early childhood development and education and food security in the face of climate change programs, as well as to grass roots activism.

Who would you believe when it comes to “secret money trails”? A political party (with its own political donation probity issues) which couldn’t even come up with an original design for a website which appears to be using the Steve Bannon approach to facts and is aping one of Donald Trump’s pet conspiracy theories, or the publicly available political donation disclosures GetUp! has been submitting since 2006-07.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

A wolf in sheep's clothing in the human rights fold?

“We resource strategic legal cases that are related, either directly or indirectly, to the protection and advancement of freedom of thought, conscience and religion or belief. This includes cases relating to other rights and freedoms such as speech and association……The Human Rights Law Alliance is able to provide fully funded legal advocacy with respect to a limited number of highly strategic cases that have significant implications for fundamental freedoms. The purpose of our grant funding program is to ensure that no strategic case is under resourced on account of the victim’s inability to pay.” [Human Rights Law Alliance (HRLA), 10 September 2016]

Sounds legitimate, doesn’t it?

Well, this little group was established by the Australian Christian Lobby* as a “new initiative” and its interest in human rights appears to be restricted to defending the rights of ‘aggressively’ Christian individuals, those who are against abortion, anti-gay rights & same sex marriage and apparently would support a weakening of provisions in the Racial Discrimination Act 1975.

In addition to aiding Christian individuals this group makes submissions to government.

What the HRLA states on its website in 2017 is that:

“We arrange good lawyers and funding for cases where people are in trouble with the law for living out their faith. By providing this practical help, we also set freedom-protecting legal precedents……The Human Rights Law Alliance produces resources for faith-based organisations to better protect their freedom.

The HRLA is also of a mind that the Australian Human Rights Commission should be altered:

In a show of hypocrisy this pressure group also stated:

Being just twelve months old the AHRLA has few notches on its belt, but in the fetid far-right atmosphere of parliamentary corridors of power I don’t doubt it is getting a hearing.

This bears watching.

* Human Rights Law Alliance has been a registered business name since 25 May 2016. The managing director of the Human Rights Law Alliance since its inception is Martin Iles, former Chief of Staff at the Australian Christian Lobby. Donations made to this group are not tax deductable and “Because HRLA participates in some political activities, donations of over $13,000 may be subject to disclosure under Commonwealth laws.”

Friday, 5 May 2017

National Rural Health Alliance welcomes Labor commitment to National Rural Health Strategy and implementation

Medianet Logo
AAP Logo
 Medianet Release

26 Apr 2017 7:24 PM AEST - Welcome commitment to National Rural Health Strategy and implementation

The National Rural Health Alliance today welcomed the commitment of the Federal Opposition to the development of a dedicated National Rural Heath Strategy and Implementation Plan.

The commitment was made by Shadow Minister for Health Catherine King in the opening session of the 14th National Rural Health Conference, which started in Cairns today.

Alliance Chair, Geri Malone, said today that the commitment by Ms King represented an important breakthrough for the seven million people who live in rural and remote Australia.

"The Alliance has been encouraging broad, non-partisan support for a national strategy for rural and remote health and wellbeing," Ms Malone said.
"For too long, Australia has been without an overarching strategy and implementation plan which is dedicated to bridging the health divide between the city and the bush.

"There is overwhelming evidence which shows that where you live impacts on your health and wellbeing – that the further you are away from a capital city, the worse your health, and your access to services, tends to become.

"But we are now in a rare period in decades of rural health planning and reform where we do not have a current National Rural Health Strategy, and that needs to change."

Ms Malone said the first National Rural Health Strategy was released in 1994.
"There were various updates and revisions of the strategy over the ensuing years, with the last being the National Strategic Framework for Rural and Remote Health, endorsed by Health Ministers in November 2011. 
"At the time, the Alliance called for a National Rural and Remote Health Plan to be developed to operationalise the goals set out in the Framework, but it never eventuated.

"So the Framework has not been actioned in a consistent, comprehensive way, there are no national reports on progress against the Framework, and no action has been taken to update it."

Ms Malone said the Alliance recognised the effort being put into health workforce programs, including for rural and remote Australia.

"We also know workforce is only one part of a more complex equation about what's different and what needs to be done to fix the divide in health outcomes for rural Australia," she said.

"We constantly seem to have to remind the non-believers in our cause, be that politicians and funders, metro centric decision makers and influencers, that firstly as 30 percent of the Australian population, we are entitled to equity in health service provision. 

"This does not mean doing the same. One size does not fit all. We know there are many ways of achieving the same end result, but that requires adaptation and contextualization to make it work – contextualized to place, place-based and individualised care.

"It is not an easy task and it can become somewhat disheartening to have to plead our case repeatedly. 

"We therefore see a national rural health strategy and plan not as ends in themselves but rather they provide the framework within which policies should be developed, planned, implemented and measured.

Distributed by AAP Medianet

© Australian Associated Press, 2017  

Monday, 6 March 2017

The American Resistance has many faces and this is just one [or two or three or more] of them (5)

Every day, Americans across the political spectrum are recognizing that our country is at risk of sliding toward a modern form of authoritarianism. We are already seeing signs of that happening.
But we have stronger tools than those found anywhere else in the world to prevent this. We the People, armed with our Constitution and the rule of law, can act to stop it.
That is our mission. Linking together lawyers who served at the highest levels of our federal government, in service of all concerned Americans, we are United to Protect Democracy. Join us.

Politico, 23 February 2017:

Top lawyers who helped the Obama White House craft and hold to rules of conduct believe President Donald Trump and his staff will break ethics norms meant to guard against politicization of the government — and they’ve formed a new group to prepare, and fight…..

has already raised a $1.5 million operating budget, hired five staffers and has plans to double that in the coming months. They’ve incorporated as both a 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4), allowing them to operate as a nonprofit but participate in some forms of political advocacy as well…..

They started by submitting 50 Freedom of Information Act requests this week that they believe will confirm their suspicions. The plan is to bring what they find to reporters, build it into pressure for congressional oversight with the help of a campaign director they’ll hire, and, as necessary, to file lawsuits.

They’re also hoping to establish themselves as a base for government employees worried about ethics violations — up to and including becoming whistleblowers — and are hoping that their website,,can become a resource.

24 February 2017· 

The time for normalizing, dissembling, and explaining away Donald Trump has long since passed. The barring of respected journalistic outlets from the White House briefing is so far beyond the norms and traditions that have governed this republic for generations, that they must be seen as a real and present threat to our democracy. These are the dangers presidents are supposed to protect against, not create.
For all who excused Mr. Trump's rhetoric in the campaign as just talk, the reckoning has come. I hope it isn't true, but I fear Mr. Trump is nearing or perhaps already beyond any hope of redemption. And now the question is will enough pressure be turned to all those who enable his antics with their tacit encouragement. There has been a wall of unbending support from virtually every Republican in Congress, and even some Democrats. Among many people, this will be seen as anything approaching acceptable. And mind you, talk is cheap. No one needs to hear how you don't agree with the President. What are you going to do about it? Do you maintain that an Administration that seeks to subvert the protections of our Constitution is fit to rule unchecked? Or fit to rule at all?
This is an emergency that can no longer be placed solely at the feet of President Trump, or even the Trump Administration. This is a moment of judgement for everyone who willingly remains silent. It is gut check time, for those in a position of power, and for the nation.

Statement of Purpose
Those involved in Rogue Potus Staff are not part of a partisan attack against Republican politics. To the contrary, most of us are devout Republicans. We are, however, opposed to the egregious incompetence, idiocy, and pettiness of President Trump's White House, and the effective divorce from reality with which it is run. We aren't working to support Democratic victories. We want the American People to regain control of their government through civic engagement, careful contemplation, intellectual scrutiny, activism, and ultimately voting action. This is why we encourage people to be skeptical about who we claim to be, but we vigorously attack absurd reasoning and attacks against the movement.
If our actions were to inspire anything, we hope it would be to underscore the necessity for our country's civic process to be ruled by higher principles than those that characterize President Trump. Those who wish to rally in support of merely different principles have wandered into the wrong place (especially if those principles are equally petty as those offered by President Trump). Nero is fiddling while Rome burns. We all have a choice to make. We can either stand in opposition to the emperor's negligence that's causing the destruction and chaos, or we can take a stand against bad music. Those who choose the latter should not expect to find their cause championed by us.
We have no objection to anyone who does not want to sign the petition we created, or participate in an event we suggested. Everyone has the right to choose for his or her own self. We don't believe that a White House petition will magically make President Trump change his behavior. The success of a White House petition is in gaining enough signatures to require a response. It provides an opportunity to focus the public conversation. In this case, our petition hopes to demand for President Trump to address his negligence head on, and on the record. Maybe he makes excuses. Maybe he gaslights. By itself it may not have any substantive effect. But just like mounting pieces led to Flynn being forced out, the sum of many small chinks in the armor can eventually penetrate President Trump's aura of protected recklessness.
We are not whistleblowers of illegal activity. We are not a news agency. We are not here to leak secret information to the public. We don't offer news, we offer context. We are here to show people those truths that aren't news worthy. If any one of us decides to engage in leaking news to media sources, they do so with 100% separation from Rogue Potus Staff (and yes, it has happened). We are not heroes. We are not magical wizards, nor do we hold any special keys to take him down. The only way that our country can be spared the damage President Trump would exact upon us is through the power of the people.
Resistance is not about hitting a grand slam, or a barrage of knockout punches. It's about wearing down the target. It's about small successes that add up over time. It's about being asymmetrical against an overpowering opponent. It's not about instant gratification, it's about realigning yourself to persist against all odds. It's not about painting profanities on the wall to express your disdain, it's about doing the work to swing the hammer against the wall, even if it will take a million swings.