Saturday, 24 June 2017

Koalas in Iluka, NSW lead such interesting lives


One young well-known koala attempting to hide in Loxton Street from the Iluka paparazzi……

Quotes of the Week


If you want to build a new coal plant you have to think about what is going to happen to electricity prices over the next 20 or 30 years, because that is the time frame that you have to sell over to make back the cost of building the plant. The reality is that renewables and storage is going to be much cheaper than coal in far less than 20 years, so anyone building a coal plant today is never going to make back their money. [Senior economist at The Australia Institute Matt Grudnoff writing in The Guardian, 14 June 2017]

“Keep him away from Twitter, dear God, keep him away from Twitter”  [anonymous quote alleged to come from White House sraffer concerning US President Donald J. Trump]

“Advisers to the President describe Mr Trump as increasingly angry over the investigation, yelling at television sets carrying coverage and insisting he is the target of a conspiracy.” [ABC News, 18 June 2017]

"At what point does America get demeaned? At what point do they start laughing at us, as a country?" [President Donald J. Trump, 1 June 2017]

Friday, 23 June 2017

Members of Australian Parliament receive third pay rise in four years raising base salary to $203,020 per annum


The 226 members of the House of Representatives and Senate will receive a base salary which is almost six times higher than the June 2017 full-time minimum wage – commencing on 1 July 2017.

Excerpts from Remuneration Tribunal 2017 Review of Remuneration for Holders of Public Office Statement, 22 June 2017:

The Tribunal has decided to increase remuneration by 2 per cent for public offices in its jurisdiction, with effect from 1 July 2017…….


In conducting its annual review of remuneration, the Tribunal takes account of economic conditions in Australia, past and projected movements in remuneration in the private and public sectors (including the APS), as well as the outcomes of reviews of public offices completed by the Tribunal. In order to inform its conclusions the Tribunal draws upon authoritative external sources such as the published material available from the Government, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) and the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) as well as trends in public and private sector remuneration. It is obliged by its legislation also to consider the Annual Wage Reviews of the Fair Work Commission.

Adjustments arising from the Tribunal’s annual review generally apply to the broad spectrum of offices in the Tribunal’s determinative jurisdiction including the most senior offices in the public service and statutory agencies, certain government-owned businesses, Secretaries, numerous part-time offices and the federal judiciary, as well as parliamentarians. Ordinary annual adjustments in remuneration of this kind recognise the achievement of ongoing objectives and the steady evolution in responsibility that is characteristic of public administration.

The Tribunal considers it important that remuneration for offices in its jurisdiction be maintained at appropriate levels over the longer term to attract and retain people of the calibre required for these important high level offices. The Tribunal is conservative in its approach to annual increases and in this case is conscious of the Government’s policy of wage restraint for the APS and non- APS government agencies. Ideally, the Tribunal is concerned to avoid, in the future, any need for significant one-off increases to restore proper relativities and to recognise fully ongoing changes in work requirements…..

The Tribunal sets remuneration for a range of offices that sit at the forefront of the private/public sector ‘divide’. Heads of agencies, members of boards and technical/professional specialists often straddle roles between both sectors. Many of these office holders do not expect or require that monetary compensation be set at private sector levels.

Rather in the true sense of the phrase ‘public service’, office holders serve for the public good. This means that in setting remuneration the Tribunal has traditionally set rates below those of the private sector.

Nonetheless over the past year there has been a notable increase in submissions to the Tribunal seeking higher remuneration for offices and individual office holders based at least in part on private sector remuneration.

As well as achieving an appropriate balance in the assessment of both private and public sector wage movements, the Tribunal must make its assessment of wages and other economic considerations based not just on past experience but also on predictions of future movements. The Tribunal is also conscious of the Government’s policy of wage restraint applying to APS and non-APS agencies. Ultimately the Tribunal has decided to set its general increase at 2 per cent…..

This wage increase translates into the following figures.

The Australian, 22 June 2017:

The rise will push ordinary members of parliament up by just under $4000 to $203,020 per annum.
The Prime Minister will get a $10,350 pay rise from $517,504 a year to $527,854
Cabinet ministers, currently paid a base salary of $343,344, will get nearly $7000 extra and will now be paid $350,210 a year.
Shadow ministers, on $248,800 per year, will get bumped up to $253,776 a year.

MPs and senators had already been granted additional taxpayer-funded support staff six months ago.

The Australian, 20 December 2016:

Taxpayers will fork out an extra $35.8 million over the next four years for federal politicians to ­employ 33 additional staff, adding to more than 1500 people already employed by MPs.

The allocation will see the extra full-time positions divided ­between the Coalition, Labor, the Greens and crossbench MPs, and also provide for some existing roles to be reclassified, costing $9.1m annually from 2017-18.

The mid-year budget review says $35.8m will “allow parliamentarians to more effectively manage their workload and represent the interest of their constituents”.

The total number of personal staff employed by government MPs is 448, including 401 for the 30 ministers and 25 for the 12 parliamentary secretaries, who are called assistant ministers.

Eight staff work for government whips and a further 14 have other roles.

The opposition employs 101 personal staff; 37 are allocated to the Leader of the Opposition, and six to opposition whips. The Greens have 17 personal staff. Each of the 15 crossbench MPs and senators have been allocated an extra three staff. In addition, there are almost 1000 staffers working in electorate offices, with the 226 MPs and ­senators entitled to four workers each.

Department of Finance documents show the number of staff classified as senior advisers ­jumped from 61 in February last year to 101 last month. In the same ­period, the total staff in lower-paid positions fell by eight.

Government staff are paid ­between $48,000 annually for an entry-level electorate staffer to $245,000 for a senior adviser, plus allowances of up to $30,000 a year.

The staff have just signed a new enterprise bargaining agreement that locks in salary and allowance increases of 2 per cent a year for the next three years.


About those rules for joining the Liberal-Nationals' cosy little citizenship club.......



This bill raises the bar on applications for citizenship and increases the power of the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Peter Dutton, over the citizenship process - including granting him the power to override Administrative Appeals Tribunal decisions on citizenship applications.

One of the components of this bill is the introduction of an English language test, which means that with few exceptions applicants between 16 and 60 years of age will need to demonstrate competent English language listening, speaking, reading and writing skills before being able to sit the citizenship test.

Applicants will be required to undertake a separate upfront English language test with an accredited provider and achieve a minimum level of ‘competent’.

According to the Immigration Minister the minimum level of competency is the IELTS General Training language test at  “Level 6 of the General stream focuses on "basic survival skills in broad social and workplace contexts".

This particular test has three components – listening, reading and writing - and takes the better part of three hours to complete.

An example of the type of questions contained in the General Training reading test can be found here.

There is a strong likelihood that between est. 7-16 million Australians (including those born in Australia of Australian parents) would fail this test if they were required to take it today.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) recorded the results of direct measurement of three critical information-processing skills: literacy; numeracy; and problem solving in technology-rich environments and the 16.3 million people whose skills were measured included those not in the workforce, those in employment and those without a job.

In 2016 ABS recorded:


By 2011-12 ABS was stating:


In the 2011-12 round of testing 43% of participants born in Australia and 51% of participants born outside of Australia had English literacy levels below Level 3.

The chances of the majority of these people, regardless of whether they are citizens or residents with visas, being able to pass Peter Dutton’s new English language test is slim to say the least.

According to Catherine Elder, a world-leading expert at Melbourne University and president of the International Language Testing Association; "A level six on both tests requires you to be highly literate and to be able to do things like write an essay. It would take a great deal of time and be beyond the reach of many people who come to Australia."

The fact of the matter is that in 2011-12 it was people who had attained a higher education qualification (Bachelor degree and above) who were more likely than others to have achieved a score at Level 3 or above in literacy and numeracy, and Level 2 or above in problem solving in technology-rich environments.

So according to the new citizenship rules being supported by millionaire parliamentarians Malcolm Bligh Turnbull and Peter Craig Dutton, it would appear that only those that managed to acquire a decent education need apply to join the Liberal-Nationals’ cosy little citizenship club.1
  
Footnote:

1. In 1788 when the forbears of many individuals and families - which are both grand and humble members of  Australian society of today - first stumbled off those early British convict ships onto shore the vast majority of them would have been illiterate. On the basis of poor literacy levels and criminal records Malcolm Bligh Turnbull's many convict forbears wouldn't be allowed to become permanent residents much less citizens today under the new rules.

When Labor senators play petty politics and women literally pay the price


On 19 June 2017 The Greens Senator Larissa Waters moved an amendment to the Treasury Laws Amendment (GST Low Value Goods) Bill 2017.

This amendment sought to remove the Goods and Services Tax (GST) from sanitary products used by the vast majority of Australian women and girls during their reproductive years.

The Australian Parliament Senate Hansard recorded the fate of this proposed amendment of 19 June 2017 at Page 17:

The TEMPORARY CHAIR (Senator Leyonhjelm): The question is that amendments (1) to (4) on sheet 8153 be agreed to.
Question agreed to.
Senator WATERS (Queensland—Co-Deputy Leader of the Australian Greens) (11:52): I move amendment (1) on sheet 8156:
(1) Page 27 (after line 16), at the end of the Bill, add:
Schedule 2—Exemptions
A New Tax System (Goods and Services Tax) Act 1999 1 At the end of Subdivision 38-B
Add:
38-65 Sanitary products
A supply of *sanitary products is GST-free.
2 Section 195-1
Insert: sanitary products means tampons, sanitary pads, panty liners and similar items.
3 Application
The amendments made to the A New Tax System (Goods and Services Tax) Act 1999 by this Schedule apply in relation to supplies made on or after 1 July 2017
…………..

The CHAIR: The question is that amendment (1) on sheet 8156 as moved by Senator Waters be agreed to. The committee divided. [12:07] (The Chair—Senator Lines)

Ayes ......................15
Noes ......................33
Majority...................18

AYES
Di Natale, R
Gichuhi, LM
Griff, S
Hanson-Young, SC
Hinch, D
Kakoschke-Moore, S
Leyonhjelm, DE
Ludlam, S
McKim, NJ
Rhiannon, L
Rice, J
Siewert, R (teller)
Waters, LJ
Whish-Wilson, PS
Xenophon, N

NOES
Bernardi, C
Burston, B
Bushby, DC
Chisholm, A
Cormann, M
Dodson, P
Duniam, J
Farrell, D
Fawcett, DJ
Fierravanti-Wells, C
Gallagher, KR
Georgiou, P
Hanson, P
Hume, J
Ketter, CR
Kitching, K
Lines, S
McAllister, J (teller)
McCarthy, M
McGrath, J
McKenzie, B
Moore, CM
Nash, F
Payne, MA
Pratt, LC
Reynolds, L
Roberts, M
Ryan, SM
Sinodinos, A
Smith, D
Sterle, G
Watt, M
Williams, JR

Question negatived.
Bill, as amended, agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments; report adopted.

Noticeably absent for this particular vote were all 26 Labor senators.

The House of Representatives passed the Treasury Laws Amendment (GST Low Value Goods) Bill 2017 (with the four other Senate amendments agreed to) on 21 June 2017.

Females of all ages who still have their menses will continue to pay GST on the sanitary items necessary for their general health and wellbeing.

I'll remember to 'thank' those missing Labor senators at the ballot box, along with those senators who voted Senator Waters' amendment down.

In my case that means not voting for NSW senators Sam Dastyari, Jenny McAllistar, Deborah O'Neill and Doug Cameron (all Labor), along with Brian Burston (One Nation), Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, Fiona Nash, Marise Payne  and Arthur Sinodinos (Liberal) & John Williams (Nationals).

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Airbrushing the ugly underbelly of special religious education classes in state public schools


Government reports that review policies which interface education, religion and political ideology can be slippery creatures......

The Sydney Morning Herald, 21 September 2016:

The findings and recommendations of a controversial $300,000 review of special religious education and ethics classes in schools has been kept under wraps by the NSW government for up to nine months.
The review was a recommendation of a 2012 upper house inquiry into ethics classes in NSW schools, which found they should be retained as an option for students who do not want to take part in special religious education.
The inquiry recommended the Department of Education publish the number of students taking part in ethics (SEE) and special religious education (SRE) classes, or neither, and that both types of class be reviewed in 2014-15.
The review, by ARTD Consultants, cost $295,988. Submissions closed on July 31 last year and the review was due for delivery to the NSW government shortly after the contract period ended on December 31…..
A spokesman for Mr Piccoli confirmed the cost of the review.
But he would not say when the report was handed to the government, whether a draft was first provided to the minister, when it would be released or when the government would respond…
A new enrolment form was later introduced that removed a clear choice between ethics and scripture by omitting a box that could be ticked by parents who wanted to enrol their children in ethics classes.
It came after documents obtained under freedom of information laws revealed religious groups blamed the introduction of ethics classes for falling participation in special religious education classes for the 2015 school year.
The NSW government's review of scripture in public schools deleted a section of a 2015 draft report showing children were exposed to lessons on the conservative Christian concept of "headship" – where women "submit" to their husbands – and negative messages on homosexuality.
When the Department of Education released a final report in April, after a 17-month delay, sections of the draft report that validated scripture opponents' concerns about the growing and unacknowledged influence of evangelical Christian groups in state schools were deleted or paraphrased.
The deleted sections included a primary school principal's difficulty obtaining evidence of working with children clearances from a special religious education (SRE) or scripture provider, and examples of children exposed to messages on gender and homosexuality that breached department guidelines…..
The draft ARTD Consultants report found an unidentified major Christian publisher's lesson material taught "the concept of 'headship' and that women should submit to their husbands, abstinence only sex education, negative LGBTI messages and that sexual intimacy is only acceptable to God between a married man and woman".
The Department of Education deleted the sentence and replaced it with the words: "The text also contained messages about sex education, which is not appropriate or the role of SRE"…..
The department deleted a section of the draft stating the conservative Sydney Anglican Diocese-backed Generate Ministries "has become a very influential player" in the delivery of secondary school SRE. The organisation was founded by Sydney Anglican Youthworks, Presbyterian Youth NSW, NSW Baptist Churches and Scripture Union NSW.
The department also deleted that "parents (and schools) appear to be largely unaware of the links their high school SRE teacher might have with Generate Ministries", and that the "influence" of third party groups "such as Generate Ministries on the delivery of SRE is currently unacknowledged".
It replaced the section with a sentence noting that the roles of boards, committees and "third party groups doing their human resource functions may not always be known or clear to parents", and without identifying Generate Ministries. 
Generate Ministries is governed by its founding partners, has at least 110 SRE "boards" and received $4 million in government funds in 2016 to provide chaplains in more than 200 NSW schools. Its website values include seeking to "be dependent on God" and "model courageous, entrepreneurial, servant-hearted leadership". 
The final ARTD Consultants report released in April noted some NSW school principals reported feeling "undue pressure" from a scripture provider, but the Department of Education deleted the draft report's naming of it as an Anglican provider…..
The final report retained a section of the draft showing a large Christian publisher's workbook in 2015 contained material that was "age-inappropriate and insensitive to children's welfare", with "negative passages" including that "cancer is a consequence of our sin and a gift from God" and that "we should die for our faith if necessary".
The ARTD report found the level of complaints about SRE was low but they were most often about lesson content. Parents were less satisfied than principals and scripture providers that complaints were handled appropriately.

BACKGROUND

NSW Dept. of Education, website as of 19 June 2017:

Review of Special Religious Education and Special Education in Ethics in NSW government schools
The 2015 Review of Special Religious Education (SRE) and Special Education in Ethics (SEE) in NSW Government Schools was conducted by ARTD Consultants.
The report makes 56 recommendations. 22 of the recommendations will be considered in consultation with the NSW Consultative Committee for SRE and NSW Consultative Committee for SEE. The department has responded to the remaining 34 recommendations. These are provided as separate documents.
Full report (PDF 2.96MB) [airbrushed report, dated 23 March 2016]*

* My annotation

Legal profession sets out core principles and commitments on human rights as international spotlight shines on Australia


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16 Jun 2017 10:55 AM AEST - Legal profession sets out core principles and commitments on human rights, as international spotlight shines on nation





The Law Council today launched its Policy Statement on Human Rights and the Legal Profession, laying out core principles and commitments of behalf of the Australian legal profession.

The Policy Statement sets out a framework for evaluating the merits of legislation, policy, and practice by reference to international human rights law.

The Statement includes a commitment to advocate for a federal charter or bill of rights, as well as for more State and Territory charters of rights to join those of Victoria and the ACT. It also commits the Law Council to promote respect for human rights by Australian corporations and other incorporated and non-incorporated entities, including through implementation of the UN's Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

The Law Council of Australia's President, Fiona McLeod SC, said with Australia bidding for a seat on the UN Human Rights Council this year the policy was particularly timely.

"Australia has a proud history in the human rights sphere. We played a prominent role in drafting the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and have since been an active participant in the development of an international system for the protection and promotion of human rights," Ms McLeod said.

"The Law Council endorses a central and constructive role for Australia in the international human rights system. This year, as Australia seeks a seat on the UN Human Rights Council, it is important to assert and articulate the legal profession's principles and commitments on human rights.

"The Law Council supports an approach, consistent with international law and practice, which confirms that all human rights are universal, indivisible, and interdependent and interrelated.

"We believe this makes it vital to consider legislation and government action through a human rights lens. The principles in this framework guide myriad aspects of the Law Council's work in the policy space – from asylum seekers to marriage equality to metadata," Ms McLeod said.

The Policy Statement on Human Rights and the Legal Profession was prepared by the Law Council's National Human Rights Committee and approved by its Directors.

The Statement is available at https://lawcouncil.asn.au/
Patrick Pantano: Public Affairs / P 02 6246 3715 / Patrick.Pantano@lawcouncil.asn.au 
Anil Lambert: Media / P 0416 426 722 / anil@hortonadvisory.com.au



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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.”

Trump still unwilling to let his 'Muslim Travel Ban' go


According to Lawfare on 13 June 2017 :

Yesterday the U.S. Court of Appeals of the Ninth Circuit, in a per curiam opinion, affirmed in part a preliminary injunction against the Trump administration's revised travel ban issued by a federal district court in Hawaii v. Trump. The decision comes on the heels of the Fourth Circuit’s decision in IRAP v. Trump, which we summarized for Lawfare here. The government has appealed that decision to the Supreme Court…..

The court rests its holding on statutory limits to the President’s immigration powers. Although the court recognizes the President’s broad powers to control an alien’s entry to the country and to protect the nation, the court concludes that Trump exceeded the authority given him by Congress when he suspended the entry of 180 million nationals from six countries, suspended the entry of all refugees, and reduced the admission cap of refugees from 110,000 to 50,000 because he did not make a sufficient finding that their entry would be “detrimental to the interests of the United States.” The court also finds that the executive order is also incongruent with other INA provisions, including anti-discrimination provisions, and upheld the preliminary enjoining of most of Sections 2 and 6 of the order.

Donald Trump then issued this presidential memorandum while he awaits the response of the US Supreme Court.

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
June 14, 2017

MEMORANDUM FOR THE SECRETARY OF STATE                                        THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
                                       THE SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY
                                       THE DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE
SUBJECT:         Effective Date in Executive Order 13780
This memorandum provides guidance for the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the Director of National Intelligence in light of two preliminary injunctions that bar enforcement of certain provisions of Executive Order 13780, "Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States" (Mar. 6, 2017).  The preliminary injunction entered by the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, and affirmed in substantial part by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, bars enforcement of section 2(c) of the Executive Order.  The portions of the preliminary injunction entered by the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii that were affirmed by the recent decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit bar enforcement of certain provisions of sections 2 and 6 of the Executive Order.
Various provisions of sections 2 and 6 of the Executive Order (as well as sections 3 and 12(c), which delineate the scope of the suspension contained in section 2(c)), refer to the Order's effective date.  Section 14 of the Executive Order provides that the Order was effective at 12:01 a.m., eastern daylight time on March 16, 2017.  Sections 2 and 6, however, were enjoined before that effective date, and the courts of appeals have affirmed the injunctions with respect to certain provisions of sections 2 and 6.  As a result, under the terms of the Executive Order, the effective date of the enjoined provisions (as well as related provisions of sections 3 and 12(c)) is delayed or tolled until those injunctions are lifted or stayed.
In light of questions in litigation about the effective date of the enjoined provisions and in the interest of clarity, I hereby declare the effective date of each enjoined provision to be the date and time at which the referenced injunctions are lifted or stayed with respect to that provision.  To the extent it is necessary, this memorandum should be construed to amend the Executive Order.
Because the injunctions have delayed the effective date of section 12(c), no immigrant or nonimmigrant visa issued before the effective date of section 2(c) shall be revoked pursuant to the Executive Order.
I hereby direct the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the Director of National Intelligence to jointly begin implementation of each relevant provision of sections 2 and 6 of the Executive Order 72 hours after all applicable injunctions are lifted or stayed with respect to that provision, to ensure an orderly and proper implementation of those provisions.  Prior to that time, consular officers may issue valid visas to, and the Secretary of Homeland Security may admit, otherwise eligible aliens without regard to sections 2 and 6.  If not otherwise revoked, visas and other travel documents issued during this period remain valid for travel as if they were issued prior to the effective date.
DONALD J. TRUMP

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Should Derryn Hinch really be a senator?


THE PROPHETIC QUESTION IS POSED


Should Derryn Hinch really be a senator?......
One of the outcomes of Saturday's federal election is that Victorians now have as one of their 12 representatives in the Senate a man who has over the past 30 years been to jail twice and fined $100,000 for breaching court orders, and who has been roundly criticised by the High Court for undermining the right of an accused person to a fair trial. We are talking about broadcaster Derryn Hinch.
While Hinch is not disqualified under the constitution from being a candidate for the Senate because he is not serving or waiting to serve a sentence for an offence under Commonwealth or state law punishable by a prison sentence of 12 months or more, the broader question is whether a person with Hinch's record is fit to hold the office of a legislator whose role is to ensure that laws are enforceable and that the rule of law is upheld?

THE ANSWER IS IN THE SENATOR'S FAILURE TO SUPPORT THE RULE OF LAW


it was Senator Hinch - twice jailed for contempt - who declared "the system is rotten".
"The three ministers were well within their rights to do what they did," he told Fairfax Media. "If I was the minister I would have told them to go jump. Courts are not inviolate."…
"I watched the performance yesterday and those guys up there in their black robes, it was like something out of Kafka," he said. "If that's contempt of court, I couldn't give a shit."

What was started by three Turnbull Government ministers allegedly working in unison to attack the judiciary now threatens to widen into something that may not be able to be easily contained.

US court gives President Trump another black eye and Standing Rock Sioux Tribe a partial win


Earth Justice, 14 June 2017:

Washington, D.C. — 

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe won a significant victory today in its fight to protect the Tribe’s drinking water and ancestral lands from the Dakota Access pipeline.

A federal judge ruled that the federal permits authorizing the pipeline to cross the Missouri River just upstream of the Standing Rock reservation, which were hastily issued by the Trump administration just days after the inauguration, violated the law in certain critical respects.  

In a 91-page decision, Judge James Boasberg wrote, “the Court agrees that [the Corps] did not adequately consider the impacts of an oil spill on fishing rights, hunting rights, or environmental justice, or the degree to which the pipeline’s effects are likely to be highly controversial.” The Court did not determine whether pipeline operations should be shut off and has requested additional briefing on the subject and a status conference next week.  

“This is a major victory for the Tribe and we commend the courts for upholding the law and doing the right thing,” said Standing Rock Sioux Chairman Dave Archambault II in a recent statement. “The previous administration painstakingly considered the impacts of this pipeline, and President Trump hastily dismissed these careful environmental considerations in favor of political and personal interests. We applaud the courts for protecting our laws and regulations from undue political influence and will ask the Court to shut down pipeline operations immediately.”

The Tribe’s inspiring and courageous fight has attracted international attention and drawn the support of hundreds of tribes around the nation.
  
The Tribe is represented by the nonprofit environmental law firm Earthjustice, which filed a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for issuing a permit for the pipeline construction in violation of several environmental laws.

“This decision marks an important turning point. Until now, the rights of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe have been disregarded by the builders of the Dakota Access Pipeline and the Trump administration—prompting a well-deserved global outcry,” said Earthjustice attorney Jan Hasselman. “The federal courts have stepped in where our political systems have failed to protect the rights of Native communities.”

The Court ruled against the Tribe on several other issues, finding that the reversal allowing the pipeline complied with the law in some respects. 

The $3.8 billion pipeline project, also known as Bakken Oil Pipeline, extends 1,168 miles across North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Illinois, crossing through communities, farms, tribal land, sensitive natural areas and wildlife habitat. The pipeline would carry up to 570,000 barrels a day of crude oil from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota to Illinois where it links with another pipeline that will transport the oil to terminals and refineries along the Gulf of Mexico.