Saturday, January 14, 2017

We're being serially ripped off

After a couple of weeks of wriggling, denying, claiming it was all within the rules, Health Minister Sussan Ley has finally yielded to increasing public pressure over her rorting of the system and resigned. But only resigned from the front bench, not from parliament, which would have been the appropriate thing to do.

The longer she left it the more damaging information came to light, showing her using taxpayer money for what were obviously private expenses.

For example, to keep her pilot's licence she has to fly three times every ninety days, Conveniently, she felt she had to fly a charter plane this often because commercial flights, of which there were many, were inconvenient.

She charged us for over twenty trips to the Gold Coast, where here partner has a business and where she has viewed and bought investment properties.

And so it went on.

It was all so obviously wrong that the Prime Minister should have removed her immediately, and pressured her to resign from parliament.

But a by-election would risk losing the seat, so bad for the government are the opinion polls, and he only has 76 seats with 74 against him. So instead of doing the right thing, and gaining some respect from the electorate, he did the politically expedient thing - nothing.

The whole thing went on so long that the media started digging into other MPs expense claims - or entitlements as they refer to them.

To no-ones' surprise, a whole swag of them have been dipping into the public purse for things which have no benefit to the electorate - attending weddings, New Year's Eve parties, polo matches and the like.

They claim that as they talk to people at these places it's therefore government business.

Typical of their lies was Steve Ciobo claiming that his taxpayer funded junket to the AFL Grand Final in 2013 was because he was Trade Minister. Social media was quick to point out that he didn't become Trade Minister until 2016.

The public isn't going to let this die down now the genie's out of the bottle

Monday, January 09, 2017

You couldn't make it up

After days of outrage at her stealing from the taxpayers, health Minister Sussan Ley has finally stood aside.

Not resigned or been fired as the situation demands, but standing aside while there's an investigation into her expenses. Investigation by the government, by the way.

This comes after she tried to hide her false expense claims, claimed she bought an $800,000 apartment 'on a whim', then apologised for misusing taxpayers money and said she'd pay it back.

Endless denials and wriggling as more and more fraudulent expense claims were revealed.

The latest is that since 2013, she's flown in and out of the Gold Coast 27 times and had 37 nights’ accommodation, all taxpayer-funded.

Two trips she claimed over New Year’s Eve in 2013 and 2014 were “at the invitation of a prominent Queensland businesswoman” to discuss the Coalition’s agenda for education and training.

She said the 2013 trip was “for a business lunch” and the 2014 trip was to attend the businesswoman’s “annual New Year’s Eve event”.

She thought it appropriate to charge all this to us!

But even worse, the Prime Minister has temporarily replaced her as Health Minister with the very dodgy Arthur Sinodinos..

On his watch, illegal political donations were made to the Liberal Party, he refused to appear before a Senate committee investigating political donations and was subject to an ICAC investigation, in which the NSW anti-corruption watchdog found it “difficult to accept” he had no knowledge of the illegal funding.  Under questioning he used the amnesia defence - never remembering, not able to recall and so on.

He's been so publicly dodgy for so long that I have to wonder how and why he stays in senior position.  It's an obvious conclusion that he has so much dirt on others that they daren't upset him.

It shows the ultimate very public contempt for the electorate that the PM would not only not fire Ley but would then foist a man like Sinodinos on us.


Saturday, January 07, 2017

More contempt from the feds

The federal government continues to serve up an endless string of examples of their members' arrogance, greed, belief in their unlimited 'entitlements', contempt for the electorate and belief that we're all totally stupid.

We've got the ongoing cock-up of Centrelink sending out threatening letters claiming repayment of alleged overpayments to recipients - 20,000 a week, no less.

It's based on a flawed IT system, very basic & unsophisticated as pointed out by many IT experts.

Nevertheless, the minister in charge says it's a great system, it's doing its job effectively, there's no problem. Despite clear evidence to the contrary.

At the same time we have Health Minister Sussan Ley spending a taxpayer funded $12,000 for a private jet to fly to a conference from Canberra to Gold Coast in March 2016 as commercial flights were 'not suitable'.

That got people looking more closely at what she's been charging us for.

It transpires that a year earlier she went on official business, at our expense, to the Gold Coast and, just by chance, while she was there she bought at auction an $800,000 apartment. Naturally, we paid for her partner to accompany her and for their overnight stay after buying the apartment.

Twitter has gone ballistic of course, investigations showing she'd been on two trips to the Gold Coast, staying five days, in the few weeks leading up to the purchase.

Treating us with the usual contempt she claims it was simply an impulse purchase. You know, there on government business, happened to come across an auction, wandered in with a spare $800,000 and on an impulse bought it.

Most of the mainstream media is ignoring it, being as it's Murdoch controlled or influenced. Fairfax is giving the stories an airing, plus of course social media.

It's the way the coalition has been going since John Howard's days, when the ministerial code of conduct was changed to fit in with what ministers were actually doing. lecturing us about the age of entitlement being over while rorting the system for all they're worth.

They usually finally say that it's all within the rules - rules which they write for themselves of course.

Friday, December 23, 2016

We don't deserve this.

We're really scraping the bottom of the barrel with the bunch of politicians we've got at the moment.

There are examples of stupidity, ignorance, blind ideology, bigotry almost daily.

Latest example is Liberal National Senator Matt Canavan - who is Minister for Resources & Northern Australia.

He was interviewed on ABC radio about the Adani coal mine project - a huge disaster for the environment if it goes ahead. It'll be Australia's largest coal mine which will need a new rail line built across half of Queensland to the new port they plan to build on the Great Barrier Reef.

Our useless federal government has offered a soft loan of a billion dollars of our tax money to help the Indian owners of the mine build the rail link.

It's been common knowledge for years that Adani is a very dodgy company run by very dodgy people. Murky finances, a web of companies that lead back to the Cayman Islands tax haven, lies about how many jobs the project will create and so on.

(Big companies only have to say they will create jobs, or threaten to cut them, and this government does whatever the company wants, usually without due diligence).

Anyway, the latest revelation is that the Indian government is investigating Adani for siphoning money offshore and artificially inflating electricity prices, ripping off Indian consumers.

Senator Canavan was asked: 'were you aware of this investigation into the Adani group?'

A simple question. but his first answer was: 'Well before I get to that question Kim, can I just thank you for having me on your program because I have been very disappointed in the ABC's coverage of this issue in the past week. Your reports have been nothing but fake news.'
The question was asked eight times but he refused to answer, just rambling on with rubbish such as '... it's very good to be joining you as a Minister for Resources but it's even better to be joining you as a proud resident of North Queensland.

I'm looking out at the Great Barrier Reef right now, I'm lucky enough to have a view from my house.'

It was a surreal, bizarre few minutes of absolute rubbish from someone who came across as barely literate, struggling to put a meaningful sentence together. And most certainly dodging the questions, telling lies (the ABC has no video journalists in his area when in fact they have seven, for example) and just trying to spout the pro-Adani spin both the Queensland and federal governments are churning out.

And the accusation that the public broadcaster is creating fake news is a very serious matter. He should be called out on it with demands that he support his ludicrous claim with some facts.

But so low is the standard we've come to expect from our politicians that we expect their constant lies to be simply laughed off. 

The full transcript of the interview is here.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Close-up wildlife

People down in Victoria are having very close encounters with wildlife, according to stories in The Guardian.

One of the nice things about Oz is the abundance of wildlife all around - nice apart from things like snakes of course.

And even the cute furry ones can  be less cute if they're too close.

First story was about a woman in Frankston who found a venomous tiger snake pretending to be a decoration on her Christmas tree. She took a quick photo, and very sensibly shut the door and called a professional snake catcher.

Then in Torquay, a couple were having a Sunday morning lie-in when a kangaroo crashed through the window and jumped on the bed with them.  It bounced around the house until it found the back door open and hopped off.

Only in Oz.

The stories are here:



Monday, December 19, 2016

Defrauding the electorate

We have another example of arrogant policians treating the electorate with contempt, with One Nation's Rod Culleton resigning from the party but remaining in parliament.

He isn't the first to do it and unless the system is changed he won't be the last.

This is nothing less than defrauding the electorate. Votes were cast for One Nation and as one of their candidates, Culleton was elected.

To now resign and stay on as an Independent is totally unacceptable.

Had he stood as an Independent, he would have got a handful of votes - from his family and close friends.

Friday, December 16, 2016

On the nose

It's no wonder we're so sick of our politicians.

Ex-NSW Labor 'power broker' Eddie Obeid has just been given 5 years jail for his corruption when he was in office. Previously, ten Liberal members had to stand aside or resign after ICAC revelations.

The federal government is in disarray, full of incompetents and a PM running scared of the party's small but very vocal extreme right fanatics, doing their bidding each time they shout.

The buffoon of an Immigration Minister, Dutton, continues to go public with brainless statements.

Treasurer Scott Morrison (second-worst Treasurer in living memory after Joe Hockey) hasn't a clue and answers all questions by blaming Labor for everything negative.

Ex-PM Abbott is still sniping away wanting his old job back, currently extolling the virtues of Pauline Hanson - the person he made sure went to jail when he was John Howard's attack dog.

And at a local, more mundane level, we keep getting garbage spouted at us by our local federal member Lucy Wicks.

Typical of our 'representatives', she wilfully ignores the facts if they don't agree with her agenda, the latest being her statement on marriage equality, published in one of our local papers. She's firmly against it of course.

She states that "Changing the definition of marriage is not simple...". 

In fact, it is.

Marriage was not defined in our 1961 Marriage Act.  In 2004, John Howard, determined to not recognise same-sex marriages lawfully made overseas, amended the Act to define marriage as 'a union between a man and a woman'.

The excuse was that marriage needed to be defined in law - which it would equally have done if the wording had been 'between two people'.

It was a simple approval by parliament that changed, the Act. The same can be done again.

Trying to con her electorate into believing it's difficult is typical of the contempt in which we're held by our 'representatives'.