Tuesday, 25 April 2017


Trump postures and Fox News attempts to deny it assisted


Carl Vinson Strike Group departs Singapore for the Western Pacific on 8 April 2017 according to the US Government.

So how 'presidential' did that make Donlad J. Trump appear?

Well.......................

Fox News on 10 April 2017


Fox News on 11 April 2017

Fox News in denial on 18 April 2017 of its part in disseminating Trump's 'fake news' 


America, Fox News and Trump are both having a lend of you.

And a worried world has noticed…….

Daily Kos, 19 April 2017:

In South Korea, Hong Joon-pyo ... said: “What Mr. Trump said was very important for the national security of South Korea. If that was a lie, then during Trump’s term, South Korea will not trust whatever Trump says.”​

Is this the Peter Dutton version of "Children Overboard"*


Australian Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Liberal MP for Dixon and multi-millionaire Peter Craig Dutton during a Sky News interview on 20 April  2017:

“There was an alleged incident where three asylum seekers were alleged to be leading a local five-year-old boy back toward the facility”

ABC TV Insiders, excerpt, 23 April 2017:
CASSIDY: I want to ask you about the recent disturbance at Manus Island. You recently linked that to a situation where you said that a 5-year-old boy was led away by three asylum seekers and that caused the mood to elevate quite quickly. Now, that's not true, is it?
DUTTON: Of course, it is true.
CASSIDY: It's not true.
DUTTON: It is true. And the briefing that I've had is particularly succinct and clear.
CASSIDY: Who gave you this information?
DUTTON: Well Barrie, I have senior people on the island. We also have obviously, significant contacts with the governor and people of Manus.
CASSIDY: You didn't speak with the police commander, clearly?
DUTTON: I can give you the facts in relation to it or you can take the Twitter version.
CASSIDY: Well let me give you what I understand the facts to be. The boy wasn't five, he was ten. It didn't happen on the day of the disturbance, it happened a week before the disturbance and there's CCTV footage outside of tent number one that shows the boy went inside and the people are packing fruit into plastic bags. They gave him the fruit and he left.
DUTTON: So let me give you the facts. The fact is that as people would understand, Manus Island is home not only to the regional processing centre but also to the naval base there as well. The point that I was making and certainly the clear advice that I received was that there had been a ramping up in terms of the mood on the ground over a period of time which included a sexual assault, to which you've made no reference, separate to any incident that we're talking about here.
CASSIDY: The sexual assault, that you're talking about two people have been charged with sexual assault but deny the charges.
DUTTON: So as you imagine ...
CASSIDY: You're an ex-Queensland policeman. You know that you're presumed innocent don't you?
DUTTON: Of course, but you're going to the mood on the ground which is not something that you need to prove beyond reasonable doubt in court. You're talking about what the elevation of the mood was on the ground and it was elevated by these allegations around this sexual assault. Now let that go through the courts -
CASSIDY: Elevated by the incident involving the 5-year-old boy?
DUTTON: Well just let me finish. So you've got the sexual assault, which as you say, can be heard in court. Everybody deserves innocence and I don't make any judgement about that. But I'm saying that that it did elevate the mood on the ground. And second to that, there is this incident which is being investigated by the police. Now, that will run its course.
CASSIDY: The police are investigating this incident around the 5-year-old boy?
DUTTON: Yes, they are.
CASSIDY: Do they understand that he's 10 and not 5?
DUTTON: I'll leave the detail to them.
CASSIDY: The detail is important in these matters?
DUTTON: It is. But if your claim is that the mood on the ground hadn't been elevated ...
CASSIDY: It's not my claim. The police commander says that there's CCTV footage showing that the boy was waiting outside the gate, he was looking for food. Food was placed into a plastic bag and given to him. He was ten years old and it happened a week before the disturbance and he left. That's the extent of it. Now how is that relevant to anything?
DUTTON: Well Barrie, I'm not sure whether you can be the judge, jury and executioner in this matter.
CASSIDY: The police commander said this.
DUTTON: Let's allow the police investigation to be conducted.
CASSIDY: Well why didn't you do that? Why didn't you let that happen?
DUTTON: I received different advice from that.
CASSIDY: Why didn't you let the investigation happen before you pre-empted it?
DUTTON: I was asked why the mood had elevated on the ground on Manus Island. These two incidents fed directly into that. That is indisputable. So if you're asking me about why there was an elevation of the angst between those that are living, including on the naval base on Manus, this was part of it. And that was the clear advice to me.
CASSIDY: Do you accept that you got some of the information badly wrong?
DUTTON: No, I do not. And again -
CASSIDY: The age of the boy? The intentions, whether he was led into the facility? He went in and took a plastic bag of fruit and left?
DUTTON: Again Barrie, I think that there are facts that I have that you don't so why don't we let the police investigation run its course and allow them some independent analysis of it because if you're asking me why the mood elevated, these two incidents fed into it and I have that on very good authority on the island. The parents of the boy involved in the incident might have a different view to the one that you have read off tweets and that's fine.
CASSIDY: The police commander said that this happened because there was a soccer game going on beyond a six o'clock curfew and that's what caused the disturbance and he said that some of the PNG soldiers were drunk. And yet, you put all of the blame on the asylum seekers.
DUTTON: I didn't put any blame anywhere. I was asked a question as to why the mood was elevated, I've answered that question honestly and on advice. In relation to the soccer game and the incident otherwise, yes absolutely, that's part of the facts of the whole lead-up to this unfortunate incident. Now, it's being properly investigated by the chief of defence in PNG, by the police commissioner, as it should. I also make the point -- in that interview, which you don't note, I make the point that shots being fired or behaviour as it is reported is completely unacceptable and it should be investigated. I made that point, which you neglect to make reference to. And it is important that this investigation take place, that it is properly looked at and if people are charged or whatever comes out of it, as you say, let them have their fair day in court.
CASSIDY: What would clear it up and it would help to clear up any reflection on you over your version of events is the CCTV footage. Would you allow that to be released so that everybody can be clear on what happened?
DUTTON: Barrie, the police investigation will take place -
CASSIDY: And after that, do you think that it would be appropriate to release the footage?
DUTTON: - if people are charged in relation to it to allow the course to be run.
CASSIDY: But if there's no charges and nothing happened here? Are you happy to have that footage released?
DUTTON: Well we will continue to release footage as is the normal practice now. I'm not making an exception one way or the other in relation to this case. If it is appropriate for it, and that's been the practice in the past, then that will happen. But that is an issue for the PNG Government. They run Manus Island, as you know. We inherited the mess of Manus Island from the Labor Party. We've stopped the boats and we want to get people off Manus island as quickly as possible. We've done that in terms of the negotiation with the US. Kevin Rudd's deal with the PNG Government had no outcome at all for people on Manus island. We are not adding to people on Manus island. We're not repopulating through new boat arrivals because we have stopped boats. But our job now is to get people off. We're doing that as quickly as possible. But we face all of the barriers in terms of returns that we spoke about before……

Given this performance (and a previous instance) one has to wonder about the quality of any evidence given to the courts by Mr. Dutton during the 1990s when he served as a Queensland police officer in the Drug Squad, Sex Offenders Squad and with the National Crime Authority.

Monday, 24 April 2017

NSW Minister for Planning Anthony Roberts pressuring Byron Shire Council on behalf of millionaire developer


The Northern Star, 20 April 2017:

BYRON Shire Councillor Cate Coorey has reacted angrily to a letter received by council from NSW Minister for Planning Anthony Roberts, pushing council to make a Draft Control Plan for the West Byron site that she and a number of other councillors see as flawed.

At a meeting on November 17 last year, council resolved "that subject to peer reviews of frog, koala, traffic, and water and flood management reports, council (should) approve the Byron Shire Development Control Plan 2014".

Instead, the Planning Minister is pushing council to make the DCP without the reports…..                                                                                                                                                                      
"The minister that approved this rezoning never came to Byron and does not understand the site.

"Now this new Planning Minister is doing the same. The State Government ignores what the people of Byron want."

"The previous council did nothing with this DCP - they were happy to accept the one put forward by the developers, which took no account of the major issues with the site - koalas, endangered frog habitat, acid sulfate soils, flooding and traffic.

"This council is trying to address these serious issues and we are being bullied by the minister, who is threatening to make the DCP himself if we don't submit the inadequate one that we were trying to amend.

"Minister's letter to us says - the proposed amendments, if pursued, would likely result in significant land-forming works and clearing to enable drainage, and a loss of dwelling yield across the site.

"Drainage on West Byron is fundamental to the site……

According to a 20 April 2017 newsletter from the Saddle Ridge Community Action Group

Today was a terrific day at the Byron Shire Council meeting.

Four substantial motions that went against staff recommendations.

1.  A motion to return public lands in Brunswick Heads to the community from North Coast Holiday Parks and a restriction limiting them from expanding into the Cypress Pine WW1 memorial grove.  We now have to wait if North Coast Holiday parks will challenge this legally.

2. A motion blocking any attempt to allow heliport operations at Tyagarah airfield and a further motion raising a number of significant issues that need to be addressed before any further expansion and intensification of the airfield goes ahead.

3.  A final attempt by council to write to the Minister seeking peer review of certain elements of the West Byron DCP before it is signed off by the Minister.

4.  The re-exhibition of the Byron Rural Land Use Strategy for a further 28 days with a report to be brought to council before it is again sent back to the Minister.

[my yellow highlighting]

BACKGROUND

The Northern Star, 5 June 2014:

A QUEENSLAND property developer is understood to have bought a major share of the controversial West Byron development.
The Byron Residents' Group, which opposes the development, described the new landowner, property developer Terry Agnew, as "a big player in the Sydney CBD property market" who is about to start building a major resort development on Great Keppel Island.
"We have always been concerned that the West Byron landowners were simply trying to get the development approved before selling out to a developer who could afford to undertake a project of this size," Cate Coorey of Byron Residents' Group said.
"For a long time we have been told that it is local people involved in this development and they have the community's best interests at heart. Now that a major developer has bought this parcel, it changes the landscape quite a bit."

The Northern Star, 5 May 2015:

IT WAS claimed that the West Byron development would alleviate housing distress and make housing more affordable.

But the Byron Residents' Group says recent media reports show this claim to be bogus.

Spokesperson Cate Coorey says the truth about the planned development, a 108 hectare housing/commercial estate opposite the industrial estate on Ewingsdale Road, has started to emerge with reports saying the major landowners are "planning to develop about 500 houses on 600sqm lots to be priced from $850,000 on a 70ha site."

"I doubt many people who are looking to buy "affordable" homes would be considering $850,000 plus price tags," she said.

The reference to the price of the planned homes was in a report in the Weekend Australian.

Echo NetDaily, 21 September 2015:

A major player in the controversial West Byron development appears to be pulling the plug on his holding just days before the council’s Development Control Plan (DCP) for the subdivision is due to go on exhibition.
Prominent Sydney CBD property developer Terry Agnew bought a sizeable portion of the project early last year from failed local property company Crighton.

He now looks set to make millions of dollars in profit just for sitting on the land for a matter of months.

Mr Agnew’s company Tower Holdings has refused to comment on the issue but a sizeable advertisement appeared in Saturday’s Sydney Morning Herald, with a bird’s-eye view of the land for sale, which appears to be his holding.

In May this year Mr Agnew was spruiking the high prices of Byron land and this is echoed in the ad, which reads ‘Byron Bay median house price is now $966,000.’

The ad says the parcel potentially contains allotments for ‘300-450 dwellings’

The Australian, 10 September 2016:
Property developer and Great Keppel Island owner Terry Agnew’s mansion Rona, fronting Fairfax Road, Bellevue Hill, will soon hit the market through Laing & Simmons agent Bart Doff, as revealed in The Australian earlier this week. Doff says the property is a “beautifully renovated six-bedroom mansion with Opera House and Harbour Bridge views as well as uninterrupted views north to Manly”. Agnew is decamping further north to his Wategos Beach mansion in scenic Byron Bay. His daughter, a champion rower, is moving to the US to study while Agnew’s son is weeks away from completing his senior schooling — hence the desire to downsize.

The Australian,  7 September 2016:

 Rona, one of the ­nation’s grandest estates, will hit the market officially with hopes of $65 million.
Rona’s vendor, property developer Terry Agnew, paid $20.5m for the 45-room estate at 49-51 Fairfax Road, Bellevue Hill, in January 2005.

Echo NetDaily, 12 April 2017:

A planning ‘instrument’ that gives the community and councillors a say on one of the largest Byron Bay suburbs in a generation has been circumvented by Gold Coast developer Villa World Ltd.

Instead, a 290-lot development application (DA) was lodged for around a third of West Byron land last week.

Villa World say they are in a joint venture partnership with Sydney-based developer Terry Agnew, who purchased approximately a third of the 108 hectare lot around two years ago.

The land is located opposite the arts and industry estate on Ewingsdale Road.

Councillors and staff had been working through a revised development control plan (DCP); however, Villa World development manager Peter Johnson told The Echo that owing to a change in NSW premier and planning minister, the company were unsure of a determination timeline and have instead circumvented the DCP.

A DCP is a specific planning ‘instrument’ for the site, and aims to address specifics such as traffic and the endangered koala and frog habitats.



Healthy Welfare Card: Dear Indue Ltd.....


Unhappy voters on the subject of the cashless debit card also known as the Heathy Welfare Card......

AIM Network, 5 March 2017:
Indue Ltd
C/- Stargroup Ltd
(Formerly ICash Payment Systems, Formerly Reef Mining).
PO Box 523 Toowong
QLD 4066 Australia
P: +61 7 3258 4222
F: +61 7 3258 4211
E: indue@indue.com.au
5 March 2017
Re the ‘Healthy’ Welfare Card.
Dear Indue Ltd – its Board, Directors and Shareholders,
I am aware that the Commonwealth Human Services Minister in the Turnbull government, Alan Tudge, is intending to transfer all welfare recipients to the ‘Healthy Welfare Card’ for income management purposes in the near future. As an Australian citizen I am aware that levels of unemployment in Australia are high and unlikely to fall soon due to the policies of the Turnbull government and that, therefore, there is a high risk that I may become unemployed in the near future and, hence, subject to the income management welfare card scheme initiated by the LNP government and, specifically, by the Human Services Minister Alan Tudge and the Social Services Minister Christian Porter.
I am also aware that Indue and its owners are to be paid between $4000 and $7000 from the Australian budget as fees for each person on the income management card system including possibly for myself in the future. I understand that how much Indue actually receives of tax payer’s money for each person in its management scheme as an administrative fee, including possibly for myself in the future, will depend upon whether the person resides in an urban or regional location. However, given that the Turnbull government intends to extend the operation of the income management welfare card scheme to all welfare recipients soon then the profit Indue can anticipate making from the scheme is in the region of $4.6 billion dollars. I note this amount is an additional amount of expenditure on top of the existing welfare budget as I understand the implementation of the welfare card system does not create any savings for the government that can be accredited against the alleged budget deficit. In my view this money would be better spent on reducing the alleged debt or on the people of Australia as a whole and not on creating profits for a private company with political connections such as Indue.
I am further aware that those amounts are to be paid to Indue as fees from the Department of Human Services budget which departmental budget is itself obtained entirely from the Australian Consolidated Revenue Fund that belongs to all the Australian people. I am aware that the fee amounts Indue is to receive, or that it has already received so far, for performing its income management duties to welfare recipients, have been, or will be, appropriated by the Department of Human Services from the Consolidated Revenue Fund for the purported purpose of providing welfare for the Australian people and not for misuse as payment of profits to a private company such as Indue.
I consider that if I am compelled to participate in the card scheme and become subject to Indue’s income management scheme in the future then Indue would become my fiduciary. In the case Hospital Products Ltd v United States Surgical Corps Justice Mason of the High Court of Australia said the following:
The accepted fiduciary relationships are sometimes referred to as relationships of trust and confidence or confidential relations …The critical feature of these relationships is that the fiduciary undertakes or agrees to act for or on behalf of or in the interests of another person in the exercise of a power or discretion which will affect the interests of that other person in a legal or practical sense. The relationship between the parties is therefore one which gives the fiduciary a special opportunity to exercise the power or discretion to the detriment of that other person who is accordingly vulnerable to abuse by the fiduciary of his position. The expressions “for”, “on behalf of” and “in the interests of” signify that the fiduciary acts in a “representative” character in the exercise of his responsibility…
Given that the Turnbull government is intending to transfer all welfare recipients to the income management welfare card scheme in the near future and given that I am likely to become unemployed in the future, it is almost certain that Indue will manage my income in the future and that it will do so purportedly in my interests and on my behalf as my fiduciary. On that basis, Indue would owe me the duties and obligations that usually accompany fiduciaries. Those duties would include, but would not be limited to, the obligation of complete disclosure to me, the prohibition against personally profiting from the performance of its duties to me, the obligation to avoid a conflict of interests and duties and a duty to protect me from any possible or actual losses from its management of my income. Losses that I would likely sustain from the income management welfare card scheme would include losses of opportunities to buy cheap goods or services at a cash price that I could not obtain by use of the card due to the restrictions on access to cash in the card system. Anticipated losses would also extend to any additional financial service fees I will incur due to me being forced to use the card in being denied access to cash. In those circumstances, in its capacity as my fiduciary, I would be entitled to hold Indue liable for those and any other possible losses I incur due to the operation of the card and Indue’s management of my income.
I also note that in the Hospital Products case his Honour Chief Justice Gibbs said:
A person who occupies a fiduciary position may not use that position to gain a profit or advantage for himself, nor may he obtain a benefit by entering into a transaction in conflict with his fiduciary duty, without the informed consent of the person to whom he owes the duty.
By this correspondence then, and on the basis that Indue will likely seek to become my fiduciary in the near future and stands to gain from that capacity, as it has already done with the huge profits it has already obtained from the income management welfare card scheme so far, I give notice that I do not consent to Indue managing my income or becoming my fiduciary at any time or of obtaining fees from anyone, including from the Government, for any income management services it purports to undertake for me or on my behalf.
I give further notice that if I am compelled to participate in the card programme I will hold Indue and its owners liable for any and all losses or liabilities I sustain due to the operation of the welfare card and of the income management system. Those losses and liabilities will extend to any legal costs I incur in challenging or remedying Indue’s management of my income without my consent.
Regards,
An Australian Citizen 2017

Facebook, Tina Clausen to Milton Dick MP

I am really angry about the proposed expansion of the Cashless Welfare Card:
After having worked as a professional Social Worker for twenty years including in agency management and interdisciplinary team leader positions, then having to leave the workforce due to illness, how dare the LNP government assume that I am suddenly incapable of managing my own income and decide that I should be treated like a child and a criminal?
LNP are taking away my basic Human Rights of dignity, self-determination and social freedom. They are also illegally disadvantaging me by letting Indue retain interest earned on money in my account as well as forcing me to access goods and services that are more expensive than I get them for now. Money is tight and I'm managing my budget accordingly, they and private for profit company Indue will blow my budget out the window.
Logistically and practically the card is not working and is a nightmare for the general public, whom they are employed to serve in their best interest. This is in no ones best interest except Indue and its shareholders. The $4000 or more the scheme costs to manage per person could be better spent on increasing beneficiary payments, at least that way the money would be funneled back into local communities and thereby stimulating the economy.
The card was initially brought in to support people that had difficulties managing their income appropriately due to addiction issues. That is where it can be targeted, at an individual level for people identified within existing frameworks as being at risk eg via police, child safety services etc.
It is not appropriate to bring the card in wholesale across entire communities and eventually across the nation. We all have the right to live without excessive government interference in our day to day lives. This card only benefits Indue and the big chain stores especially. It is big brother in full action.  
Another issue is that whereas New Start recipients can leave the scheme when they find employment, people with chronic illnesses or disabilities will be stuck on it for life. They already have a hard time and now they want to punish them further?
I would not be able to continue my cheap insurance with Budget Direct, I would have to go to more expensive insurance providers. People can't shop at cheap fresh food markets or garage sales but can go to Woolworths or the very expensive David Jones. 20% cash does not come close to meeting costs where you are unable to use the card, can't even pay off a credit card debt or a mortgage with a re-draw facility if some people have those loans as you are not allowed to transfer money to those.
Unscrupulous individuals as well as shop owners are already taking advantage of people on the card and ripping off the most vulnerable in our society. They do this by taking a percentage of desperate peoples money in return for a cash exchange and shops in areas with little competition massively increase their prices. We are talking 200-400% price hikes.
The sad thing is the card doesn't even address the initial issue the card was brought in for - those few who might actually need such assistance have found ways around it out of sheer desperation or embark on crime sprees to make up their shortfall.
We are a free country and as politicians there to serve the people they have no right to impose such a punitive and draconian scheme on unwilling Citizens. We NEVER voted for or said 'yes' to such a scheme.
Faithfully,
Tina Clausen.
PS. Many people are not aware that the card is not only for people on unemployment benefits but for all people who receive any kind of government benefits including carers pension, family income support, parenting allowance, disability support, youth allowance, sickness benefits and so on, only aged pensioners are excluded (for now).

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Out of the frying pan and into the fire for NSW & Qld regional newspapers?


In June 2016 when APN News & Media announced that it was selling its faltering Australian regional newspaper operations to News Corp, staffing levels at APN east coast regional newspapers had long ago been pared to the bone.

Now News Corp is also embarking on yet another round of staff reductions and work practice changes across its mastheads.

The Guardian, 11 April 2017:

Rupert Murdoch’s Australian tabloids are making the majority of their photographers and subeditors redundant in a radical cost-cutting move designed to keep the ailing newspaper business afloat.

The director of editorial management, Campbell Reid, said the restructure of the traditional newsroom was needed to “preserve in print and excel in digital”.

The Daily Telegraph, the Herald Sun and the Courier-Mail are set to lose dozens of staff each – the Queensland masthead alone will cut 45 – although the company is not revealing the total number of job losses.

The announcement follows a cost-cutting drive in December which saw 42 journalists, artists and photographers made redundant in a bid to slash $40m from News Corp.

Last week the Gold Coast Bulletin was told it had to lose 10 jobs, and sources said dozens of people had been quietly made redundant already this year across all the mastheads.

News Corp said the old model of staff photographers would be retired for a “hybrid model, consisting of a core team of photographic specialists, complemented by freelance and agency talent”.

At a meeting at Sydney’s Holt Street headquarters, the Daily Telegraph editor, Chris Dore, told staff the photographers would lose their permanent status but may be hired back as casuals and freelancers.

Staff at the Herald Sun were told News Corp “is in a fight for its life”.

There was no mention at the meeting of the company’s financial losses which are behind the move. In February News Corp posted a second-quarter loss of $287m and cited impairments in the Australian newspaper business as a key factor. The Australian editors were summoned to the US for a meeting about making substantial cuts to operations.

News described the changes as a modernisation of the newsroom which would “simplify in-house production and maximise the use of available print technology for print edition production”.

“Like every other business today, we have to identify opportunities to improve and modernise the way we work to become more efficient,” Reid said.

According to Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance, 11 April 2017:

Management also flagged significant changes to work practices with earlier deadlines, greater copy sharing across cities and mastheads, and journalists taking up more responsibility for production elements and proofing their own work, which has journalists concerned about already stretched news gathering resources and maintaining the editorial standards of their mastheads.
                                                                              

Australia has the highest rate of land clearing in the developed world, according to the Dept. of Intergenerational Theft




Australia has a land mass of 149,50,000 km2 or est. 14.94 billion hectares.

According to the FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS, GLOBAL FOREST RESOURCES ASSESSMENT 2015 the following figures are fact:

In 2015 only 16.2  per cent of Australia’s land mass was forest and another 32.7 per cent had another form of tree cover.

There are now only 5 million hectares of primary forest remaining in this country and we are losing an est. 201,600 hectares of this type of forest each year, principally due to commercial logging.

Mangroves now cover only 913,000 hectares of coastal land.

Introduced species tree cover, presumably for commercial forestry and orchards, totalled 1.02 million hectares in 2015.