Saturday, March 16, 2013

Government revenues $6bn less than forecast: Finance Department

FEDERAL government revenues are running just over $6 billion less than was forecast at the time of the mid-year budget review, new Finance Department data shows. 
 
The financial statement for January, released today, showed the underlying cash balance at $26.8 billion in the financial year to January.

This compares with the $21.7 billion estimated for the year to January at the time of the mid-year fiscal and economic outlook (MYEFO) released in October, and when the government was still predicting a $1.1 billion budget surplus.

Treasurer Wayne Swan subsequently shelved his surplus promise in December.

Total revenue was $6.06 billion less than MYEFO had projected by January.

A spokeswoman for Finance Minister Penny Wong said tax receipts were well below forecast, mainly due to the substantial hit to company profits as a result of the high Australian dollar, falling commodity prices and continued global economic uncertainty.

“The government has continued to exercise spending restraint,” she said.

Total expenses were $1.38 billion less than predicted in the MYEFO by January.

The combined total of the government's minerals and petroleum resource rent taxes was $403 million in January for $1.55 billion in the financial year to date.

This compared with a MYEFO prediction to January of $5.58 billion.

theaustralian.com.au 15 Mar 2013

Watch now as the government will go on a financial assault to re-coup the finances with old methods and new ones.

Maybe the government's financial calculations were wrong, just like the invasion of Iraq.

See article:

Iraq, the war and how we got it wrong

Queensland police to use surveillance drones to combat crime ahead of G20 conference

QUEENSLAND police plan to send drones into the skies for bikie and anti-terror surveillance ahead of the G20 conference in Brisbane. 
 
The $30-an-hour drones would also be used for covert drug crop identification, traffic operations and natural disasters following a successful trial last year.

The Courier-Mail can reveal Police Minister Jack Dempsey wants the aircraft, possibly second-hand ex-military drones used in Afghanistan, in time for the trans-national G20 conference in November next year.

But the plans have angered privacy advocates, with the head of the Australian Council for Civil Liberties saying they amount to "Big Brother in the sky".

Mr Dempsey said drones would be a "cost-effective" measure in police aerial intelligence, with an hourly operating fuel price-tag of $30 compared to $500 per hour for a helicopter.

"Originally even basic drones cost upwards of a million dollars but today they can be purchased for as little as $50,000 and the price continues to fall," Mr Dempsey said.

"Furthermore, with many countries continuing their withdrawal from various theatres of war we may see their high-end surplus military drones come on to the market at very low prices.

"I believe if the business case for drones stacks up they'd be invaluable for a range of policing tasks, including traffic management, covert drug crop identification and even surveillance for events such as the 2014 G20 meeting and reconnaissance during outlaw biker runs.

"Additionally there are many emergency applications such as being used for spotting bushfires for the Rural Fire Service and providing real-time aerial intelligence from flood or cyclone affected areas."

Mr Dempsey said helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft were useful "when it comes to search and rescue activities".
"But of course they are limited by fuel capacity and fuel availability in remote areas," he said.

"With some drones able to fly and hover for days and weeks on end, we'd be able to keep a single aircraft up for much longer while beaming back real-time video which, together with traditional aircraft, would complement most search and rescue activities."

In the US the Pentagon has splurged on drones, reportedly increasing the number to 7000 compared to about 50 a decade ago.

However, the government is currently locked in a fierce political debate on how they are used and associated privacy concerns.

In Australia, 34 organisations are certified to use drones for activities including aerial photography, surveying and power line inspection.

Australian Council for Civil Liberties president Terry O'Gorman said giving police access to drone technology was a "huge boost" to their powers and shouldn't be done without legislation and parliamentary debate.

"There is a real concern about the eye in the sky, the flying Big Brother who can see everything and anything, in the hands of police," he said. "Bikies are just the selling point, it will be used across the board."

He said using drones to monitor public protests was unjustified and could make people afraid of expressing themselves publicly.

couriermail.com.au 16 Mar 2013

Another way to monitor the masses at every single step, under the best pretext on the planet ... 'terrorism', before it was ... 'communism'.

Australia, the new Alcatraz.

Iraq, the war and how we got it wrong

FORMER prime minister John Howard has admitted that "mistakes" were made by the US-led coalition in Iraq, but he stands by his decision a decade ago to join friend George W Bush in invading the oil-rich nation. 
 
And his foreign affairs minister at the time, Alexander Downer, has revealed the United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, virtually blamed former Australian diplomat and chief weapons inspector Richard Butler for the war.

A decade on from the invasion of Iraq by the US-led coalition of the willing and Australian special-forces troops and RAAF fighter jets in March 2003, Mr Howard said he had not changed his mind because Iraq was better off without Saddam Hussein.

"Post invasion, mistakes were made, most particularly the dismantling of the Iraqi Army," Mr Howard said.
He said most people believed that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction and then Labor spokesman Kevin Rudd had even stated that it was "empirical fact".

Mr Howard denied intelligence on the matter was manufactured.

He also said the Iraq experience could have been one of the catalysts for the so-called Arab Spring.

However, former Defence chief and Iraq war opponent General Peter Gration said the war was "immoral, illegal and unnecessary".
He said it was also one of the dumbest strategic decisions in Australian history.


"The civilian casualties and damage have been enormous and it was the first time in history that Australia had taken offensive action against a country that had done nothing to us," General Gration said.

"We need some way to ensure that this never happens again."

Mr Downer this week said the UN had been writing reports about Iraq's weapons stockpile for years.
He said Mr Annan had said to him that he could not believe that former head of the UN weapons inspection team, Mr Butler, had been made Governor of Tasmania.

"Annan said to me, `If not for Richard Butler there would not have been an Iraq War'," Mr Downer said.
Mr Butler denied the claim.
"The substance of what Annan is alleged to have said is incorrect," he said.

heraldsun.com.au 16 Mar 2013

Governments are not supposed to get it wrong, and they did not get it wrong.

The whole idea was to invade a country, supported by the official pretext, kill the resistive civilians, and grab the treasures.

If there is any ill-doing then there is room for litigation and compensation.

Government sponsored killings of civilians, not the first time nor the last.

Australia being, America's lap dog could not say 'No!'.

NB. Governments are above the law and beyond prosecution.

Customs inquiries sniff out compromised officers

Customs and Border Protection authorities conducted 700 secret inquiries into staff in just three years, two-thirds of which led to adverse findings, raising serious questions about the integrity of the organisation charged with policing the country's borders.

The cases, unearthed by a Fairfax investigation, examined allegations that included the trafficking of weapons and drugs, large-scale fraud and the pilfering of sensitive Customs intelligence.

The allegations are contained in previously classified Internal Affairs records that underscore the enduring vulnerability of the service to infiltration by organised crime, after a recent police taskforce arrested 17 people, including four allegedly corrupt Customs officers.

The files, obtained after a freedom-of-information fight that lasted two years, show senior executives have long known that Customs officials have been linked to groups such as bikie gangs, African crime syndicates, the Italian Mafia and even suspected terrorists.

They also expose the institutional failures and under-resourcing that have gravely compromised Customs' ability to properly investigate itself over the past decade.

The new head of Customs, Mike Pezzullo, told Fairfax Media he was determined to overhaul the service's internal professional standards unit, to bring it up to ''the highest calibre'' and place it ''beyond reproach''.
''I am inclined to the view that some of these standards have not been necessarily met in the past,'' he admitted.

The logs reveal that 930 individual matters were referred to professional standards officers between 2007 and 2010, of which 527 were substantiated. Despite this, Customs could point to only five prosecutions.
Of the total, 166 were unproven, 206 were found to relate to other agencies, and 522 were dealt with as an internal disciplinary matter.

Smuggling allegations covered not just drugs and illicit tobacco but exotic animals and, in one case, children. The files show that crime groups attempted to bribe officers with amounts of up to $80,000.

At least 11 officers resigned between 2008-09 and 2010-11 before inquiries into their conduct could be completed, effectively suspending those investigations.

Since the dossier was compiled, Customs has embarked on a reform program and Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare and Mr Pezzullo have vowed to root out corruption. Customs is among several agencies now allowed to conduct covert integrity testing as well as drug and alcohol testing. As of February 14, it also demands the mandatory reporting of misconduct.

Mr Pezzullo is centralising Customs' internal affairs unit, and increasing its resources. It now boasts 10 dedicated investigators to monitor the organisation's 5000 staff; three years ago it had only five.

But despite a statement by Mr Clare to the contrary, Mr Pezzullo still lacks the power to terminate an employee known to be closely associated with organised crime figures on that ground alone, Fairfax has established.

Several investigations - including at least seven inquiries into fellow investigations or intelligence staff - raise questions about the management of sensitive Internal Affairs cases, including those involving high-level leaks and suspect associations with drug runners.

In October 2008, for example, an internal inquiry into an officer from ''Enforcement and Investigations'' was marked ''file to be closed''. The officer was alleged to be linked to a ''syndicate responsible for the importation of approx 100kgs of MDMA tablets and 140kg of cocaine''. Customs now says this friendship was with a third party who was linked to the syndicate and thus was not substantiated; yet the contemporaneous record of the investigation says her ''associations have been confirmed''.

theage.com.au  16 Mar 2013

Corrupt customs officers have been co-operating with criminal syndicates for decades with little or no intervention from authorities.

Articles have been written with respect to the amount of criminals in customs, with convictions which the government knowingly employed.

Customs officers run a sophisticated drug trade route, with their superior's knowledge.

Another lax approach to organised crime, by a government supporting criminal activities.
 
The real figure may never be reported by the corporate media.

Friday, March 15, 2013

IT jobs raise anger in war of skilled workers visas

THOUSANDS of "jobs of the future" in information technology are being denied to Australian youth by employers importing foreign workers, Prime Minister Julia Gillard will tell an ACTU conference today. 
 
Stepping up her war on abuses of the controversial 457 visa for skilled foreign workers, Ms Gillard says it is unacceptable that jobs in IT, retail, accommodation and food services are being taken by foreigners.

"The number of people coming here to fill short-term gaps should not be growing at 20 times faster than employment overall."

Ms Gillard will today outline what she says is "clear evidence" that in some sectors, importing workers has been a substitute for spreading opportunities to Australians.

"It is just not acceptable that information technology jobs ... should be such a big area of imported skills," says the PM's speech notes, obtained by the Herald Sun.

Ms Gillard says 5800 temporary workers in IT have been imported in the past seven months, 5000 in accommodation and food services and almost 2500 in retail. 
 
"These are plainly areas where the two million Australians in insecure work or the 660,000 Australians who are unemployed could be trained and could find secure, skilled work," the PM will say.

heraldsun.com.au 13 Mar 2013

Australian law makers and corporations are laughing all the way to the bank with the advent of globalisation, and the open slave labour trade market.

Governments rake in thousands of dollars for each visa application, as some are rejected only to benefit the pockets of government only to be accepted at a later stage.

Telstra recently axed 600 Aussie jobs, only to employ 1500 Indian workers, with the company still in profit to the tune of two workers per person employed from overseas.

The Australian job market has been barstardised by politicians and law makers, to the detriment of the general community, forcing skilled I.T. professionals to the dole queues, effecting their families well being.

Politicians and law makers jobs should be outsourced as a way of improving the Australian economy.

Registered vehicles are government property.


When contacting legal firms with regards to corporate or government fraud, most shy away when it comes to open interviews or even taking on matters as there is a small detail called precedence which is not to allow judgements to be in favour of the general population, and if some do, certainly not to be publicised by the ‘lap dog’, the corporate media.

Information in this article has therefore been provided from a source within the industry that does not want to be identified publicly for fear of persecution and/or job loss.

Most people may be aware of the relatively new ‘hoon’ laws introduced to various states at various times to allegedly combat unruly road behaviour with the seizure of the perpetrator’s vehicle, impounding it, and if caught again, delegating it to the crushers.

As mentioned by the anonymous source, what the (ignorant) masses are not aware of is that any registered vehicle is government asset or in simpler terms government property, and therefore can be seized or impounded or confiscated or clamped at any time. 

"A non registered vehicle cannot be legally clamped or confiscated by any authority", the source said.

It is widely accepted that the second biggest purchase of the average family is the motor vehicle. To the layman, the shelling out of many tens of thousands of hard earned and saved family dollars  to purchase of a vehicle and take a photo with the salesman congratulating the new ‘’owners’ is nothing more than another photo to be added to the government asset pool.

There are many treacherous legal secrets withheld from public knowledge, where some media organisations will be quick to label as ‘conspiracy theories’ rather than actual facts buried within the legal system, deliberately described in ‘legal jargon’ so that the ‘layman’ will not understand.

Such are the intricate workings of Australia’s ‘basket case’ legal system.

South Australia's rego system being investigated for illegalities

THE STATE'S car registration system is being investigated amid concerns it may be operating illegally. 
 
If that is the case, thousands of car owners could claim compensation for being charged fees for periods during which their vehicle was not officially registered.

At present, if a motorist renews a registration up to 90 days after it has expired, the new registration applies from the original expiry date - not the date on which it was paid, unless a $15 fee is applied.

The state Attorney-General has asked the Crown Solicitor's Office to determine whether this was within the law.

The investigation was sparked by motorist John Staszynski, 66, after he was fined $375 late last year for driving his vehicle two weeks after the registration had expired.

When Mr Staszynski renewed his registration for three months he was told the registered period applied from the expiry of his old registration - which included the time he was driving unregistered.

"I was effectively receiving a registration period of two weeks less than I had paid," Mr Staszynski said.
"It seemed they wanted it both ways - to fine me for being unregistered then retrospectively charge registration for that same period."

The Clearview resident said he first challenged the matter in the Magistrates' Court where he was fined only $100 because the magistrate couldn't determine if the Transport Department was within its rights to apply a renewal retrospectively.

Mr Staszynski then wrote to his local MP, Attorney-General John Rau.

Mr Rau referred the legality of the actions to the Crown Solicitor's Office and said that he was awaiting its advice.

Law Society of SA president John White said if the advice went against the department "the potential is, there might be some money that's been paid (by motorists) that should be repaid".

adelaidenow.com.au  12 Mar 2013

There is more fraud in the government's hands in the form of vehicle ownership.

Firm fined $15k over pensioner solar deal

A SOLAR company that approached a pensioner, signed her up for a $9000 contract and failed to inform her of her right to cancel has been fined $15,000 in a West Australian court. 
 
The pensioner gave her details to Solar Harness at a temporary stall in a shopping centre so she could participate in a competition to win solar panels.



She later received a phone call offering an in-person quote for installation and subsequently signed a contract and payment plan.

But under Australian Consumer Law, that action was an "unsolicited consumer agreement" because the consumer was approached by the seller, rather than the other way around, Consumer Protection commissioner Anne Driscoll said.

She said consumers had a cooling-off period during which they could cancel the contract, but the pensioner was never informed of her right.

It was only thanks to a friend that she was able to terminate the contract before any payments were made or goods installed, Ms Driscoll said.

Solar Harness pleaded guilty in the Mandurah Magistrates Court on Wednesday to five offences and was also ordered to pay court costs of $1320.

Ms Driscoll said the case was the first successful legal action of its kind undertaken by Consumer Protection.

theaustralian.com.au  14 Mar 2013

Pensioners are a common target by corporations to commit fraud on.

Australia's corporate fraud laws are lax, and need updating for a start. The authorities are slow to act in the protection of the consumer against corporate criminals as described in this article.

Laws created in Australia, be the members of the Masonic brotherhood, actually support corporate fraud, at the highest level including politics.

This can be seen by some of Australia's largest businesses committing fraud / tax evasion, and getting away with it.

Young Australians are fat, oversexed and underemployed

YOUNG Aussies are overeating, oversexed and underemployed, a new national snapshot shows. 


Although Australia is a rich country, many young people are doing poorly, according to the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth report, to be released in Federal Parliament.

The research, titled Report Card: The Wellbeing of Young Australians, shows one in three young people is overweight or obese, one in six is not in employment or education, and the teenage pregnancy rate is well above the international average.

It also shows more than one in 10 young people suffers intense psychological distress, and one-quarter worry about family conflict.

But on the upside, many young people have somewhere to turn for support, are safer than they think they are, and 93 per cent have the internet at home.

ARACY board member, pediatrician Gervase Chaney said Australia was "not doing as well as we could in areas such as immunisation, childhood obesity and measures relating to child abuse and neglect".

"These are issues we can address and we need to," he said.

Since the first summary of how young people are faring was undertaken five years ago, the lives of many young Australians haven't improved, and in some areas have gone backwards.

The 2013 report, covering people from birth to age 24, shows one in six lives below the poverty line, 15 per cent are raised in jobless families and one in five feels unsafe at night.

Comparison with 33 OECD countries shows Australia is also not doing enough to stop young people from dying from preventable injuries, to prevent youth suicide and to vaccinate all babies.

Public Health expert Professor Fiona Stanley, AC, said rising rates of inequality across society were "driving the negatives and dulling the positives".

ninemsn.com.au  14 Mar 2013

Quite simply put, obesity is due to Trailer Park Trash eating mentality.

Junk food kings, the likes of McDonald's, KFC,  Hungry Jacks and Coca Cola Amatil are literally 'making a killing' on the loser Aussies who eat their carcinogenic 'food'.

Wherever there's a trash population the companies will flourish.

Jobs growth enjoys record surege in Feb

Australia has notched up its strongest jobs growth in 13 years, but the employment spurt may reduce the chances of more interest rate cuts.

Total employment surged by 71,500 in February - the largest monthly increase since July 2000.

But the unemployment rate remained at 5.4 per cent as a large number of people re-entered the workforce, figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed on Thursday.

CommSec chief economist Craig James said while there have been headlines about a small number of companies announcing job cuts, small-to-medium sized firms were hiring.

"The latest figures show that businesses are still more inclined to hire part-time workers and contract staff than take on full-time staff," he said.

"That is likely to change over 2013 as firms get more confident about the outlook for their businesses and about the broader economy.

"The people getting jobs probably prefer full-time work to part-time work, but it still means there is extra spending power for retailers to tap."

In February, full-time employment increased by 17,800, while there were 53,700 part-time jobs created.

Mr James said it was a safe bet that the Reserve Bank of Australia will keep the cash rate steady at three per cent at its April 2 board meeting, with financial markets pricing in only a five per cent chance of a rate cut.

St George chief economist Hans Kunnen said the RBA would be in no hurry to cut the cash rate in the next few months.

"The question is whether the strength in the labour market suggested by today's data will be sustained," he said.

"Confirmation in future labour force reports will be required before we take our call for a June rate cut off the table."

Mr Kunnen said the big surge in employment was good news for the economy, even though most of it was in part-time jobs.

"The spending power of full-time workers is generally greater than that of part-time workers," he said.
"However the sheer numbers of new part-time workers may indicate that many households now have an extra income earner.

"The retail sales figures for March and April will bear watching."

HSBC Australia chief economist Paul Bloxham expects the unemployment rate to stay below 5.5 per cent for the remainder of 2013, edging down in the second half of the year.

"This survey helps add further weight to our view that the soft patch in the economy is probably behind us," he said.

"The housing market is recovering, house prices are rising, consumer sentiment has bounced and equity markets are up."

Mr Bloxham repeated his forecast that the RBA won't be cutting the cash rate for the foreseeable future.
The participation rate - people looking for work, in work or ready to start work - was 65.3 per cent in February, up from 65.0 per cent in January.

 ninemsn.com.au 14 Mar 2013

Another blatant government lie, supported by the corporate media.

Publishing lower then actual jobless rate, has many benefits to the banking and financial community.

The corporate media being the government 'lap dog' perpetuates the government lies.

The more accurate figure in closer to 9.7%.

The corporate media has no intentions of unmasking this government lie, as the implications are literally worth billions to the Australian economy.

A blatant lie proudly supported by the lap dog corporate media.

Williams sought sweeteners to dob in ex-cop

UNDERWORLD murderer Carl Williams wanted a $1 million reward in exchange for giving evidence implicating former detective Paul Dale in the murders of police informers Terence and Christine Hodson.

Williams made the demand while also seeking police assurance he would not be prosecuted over his role in the murders.

The demand was just one part of an "extremely generous financial assistance" package Williams was negotiating in exchange for giving the police assistance, the court heard at the trial of former drug investigator Mr Dale yesterday. Mr Dale is facing charges for allegedly lying to the Australian Crime Commission about his relationship with Williams.

Williams also requested a reduction in a 35-year sentence for murder, authorisation for his father George's $750,000 tax bill to be wiped, immunity from prosecution over the murders, as well as eligibility for a $1 million reward for assisting detectives investigating the Hodson murders.

Defence barrister Geoffrey Steward told the court the "extremely generous financial assistance" was negotiated despite the Crown arguing during Carl Williams's earlier murder trials he would not be used to help solve other crimes.

"Mr Geoffrey Horgan, SC, indicated to the court (in the earlier murder trial) that the Crown would not be relying upon the utterances of Carl Williams in respect of unsolved crimes," Mr Steward said.

"And then when Carl Williams later made a statement implicating Paul Dale, it was at a time, not in between the first and second (ACC) examinations, but after the second examination ... he made a statement at a time at which the incentives were being provided to him."

The statement provided by Williams led to the Petra Taskforce, a specialist group of detectives formed to investigate the Hodson murders that disbanded in 2010.

The trial, before Justice Elizabeth Curtain, continues.

dailytelegraph.com.au 13 Mar 2013

Paul Dale, another crooked cop on the crime syndicates payroll.

Watch the legal farce unfold.

Aussie Home Loans boss John Symond faces court over tax-breaks

AUSSIE Home Loans boss John Symond has the image of an average bloke and a champion of the people. 
 
But when it comes to tax a court has heard he has received the sort of tax-break most Aussies can only dream of.

Symond used a tax-free $58 million windfall to build his harbourfront mansion, referred to by locals as "Westfield Point Piper".

The four-storey house was built with tax-free cash Symond received from his company between 2003 and 2006, the Supreme Court has heard.

Details of the tax-free windfall have emerged as part of a negligence lawsuit Mr Symond has taken against the law firm which advised him on his tax and company structure.

The court heard it wasn't until after the ATO audited Symond in February 2007, that Symond paid tax on the $58 million as part of a settlement of the tax dispute - in December 2007.

As part of the settlement he agreed to pay a $568,450 penalty and $5.7 million in back taxes.

Symond, who is worth an estimated $600 million, is suing his lawyers Gadens - and former partner Ross Seller - claiming the advice they gave him on June 19, 2003, that he could draw the $58 million without paying tax was negligent.

In its defence, Gadens claims Mr Symond was aware his senior finance executives and lawyers had arranged a restructure of Aussie Home Loans so he could "draw money from the new holding company tax-free".
The restructure was considered "risky" because there was a chance the ATO would prosecute him for tax avoidance.

Mr Symond argued he would never have agreed to the controversial financial structure if he had been told he was at risk of a tax audit.
 
In documents filed with the court, Mr Symond claimed he told his executives David Makinson and Rob Wannan: "I can't risk any problems with the ATO. The last thing I want is for the media or the public to think I'm some kind of tax cheat."

Justice Robert Beech-Jones is to hand down his decision later this year.

news.com.au 12 Mar 2013

Some 'Aussies' are allowed to receive ax breaks whilst some are not.

Belonging to the right Masonic lodge is a good start.

The government allows certain amount of its brethren not to pay taxes, where the balance is taken up by media labelled 'tax cheats'.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Counterfeit 100s in Melbourne

Australia's (illegal) drug manufacturing and distribution industry is worth approximately $1.2 billion monthly. The proceeds of crime are used in various ways ranging from money laundering in casinos, businesses to reinvestment in other illegal activities.

Information withheld from the public, suggests that approximately two months ago the crime syndicates have successfully been using counterfeit one hundred dollar notes on the unsuspecting  public which have made their way down to Melbourne.

Banks regularly check for fraudulent currency, a move that the general populous may not be aware of.

Various crime syndicates in Melbourne are fully aware of the counterfeit notes are using them to dilute the counterfeit notes or for larger purchase of goods and services.

Melbourne's outer northern suburbs house a large low class migrant middle eastern community where involvement in criminal activities is the highest in any ethnic denomination or geographical location.

The criminal activities of these people ranges from organised luxury car thefts (with the help of corrupt police and road traffic authorities), to prostitution and drug distribution.

Australia has imported many of these criminals under the 'asylum seeker' banner.

This is not new information, but rather has been going on for decades, with a policy of little or no intervention from authorities.

The government question: is it stupid or misleading?

Yet again we're faced with an invidious choice: is the federal government especially stupid, or is it wilfully misleading an electorate that it regards as especially stupid?

I'm not sure which is worse, to be treated so cynically by the desperates attempting to cling to power, or to find the nation is in the hands of fools.

Brendan O'Connor was hard at it yesterday, doing one or the other, maybe both, in his thankless role of Immigration Minister. The portfolio is a hospital pass to begin with, but when also burdened with trying to justify the Prime Minister's xenophobic slash at 457 visas, it looks more like a ticket to the political morgue. Here he was giving his very best shot on the ABC's Insiders:

“I think the most significant evidence, Barrie, is that the fact is that the growth in visa applications, and the growth in 457s generally, over the last several years have far and away outstripped total employment growth. That's the macro evidence.”

D'uh! Brendan, of course it has, as a sensible Immigration Minister would expect. By the nature of 457 temporary worker visas, they are meant to fill gaps that open up in the rapidly expanding parts of the economy. Sometimes that's in places to which Australian residents who already have jobs don't want to move, but the skills shortages are not limited by geography.

You wouldn't expect the slower-growing or contracting bits of the Australian economy to require many guest workers to fill holes because shrinking or stagnant industries don't have many. The growth in 457 visas is where the growth is, not in the overall labour market which has indeed being growing slowly – by just 1 per cent in the year to the end of January.

But maybe Brendan was being particularly simplistic, that he didn't mean growth, as in percentages, but simple overall numbers. And in that case he would be more obviously wrong.

Taking his “several years” to mean seven, employment growth since January 2006 totals 1,519,300 – there are a few more than 11.5 million Australian residents in work. At the end of January, there were 105,330 primary 457 visa holders in Australia, up a strong 22 per cent on the same time last year, but still less than 1 per cent of the workforce and less than 7 per cent of the jobs growth. What's more, the trend for new applications has been falling over the past three months.

As the word “temporary” suggests, 457 visas don't last. (If you want to be pernickety, they don't even exist – it's actually a 457 “subvisa”, but we'll let that pass.) Sometimes 457s are renewed, sometimes the worker leaves the country, sometimes they become permanent residents, taking one of the positions available in our overall migration program after effectively auditioning for it (and making no difference to our total migration numbers in the process). But that January peak is the total number of jobs “taken” in this economy.

And with a moment's thought, if the minister wasn't being simple or thinking the electorate is simple, there should come the realisation that the work done by 457 visa holders has allowed a great many other people to have jobs, the good ol' multiplier effect.

To use a simple example (in case the minister or his political advisers read this), the second-biggest nominated occupation for granted applications in the first seven months of this financial year was cooks – 1690 of them. Without cooks you don't have waiters, mine sites, armies that can march very far or a whole pile of other jobs. A more obvious example again is mining engineers – you need them to build mines which make much more employment possible. Without 457 visa jobs, there would be fewer jobs for everyone else.
And then there is the biggest single occupation granted 457s in the first seven months of this year: doctors.

The system breaks them down into two categories, general medical practitioner (1020) and resident medical officer (720), jointly making 1720 docs – a number that is down by nearly 200 on this time last year. Apparently we need doctors to make all sorts of other things happen too, with most of the 457 sawbones employed by health departments around the nation.

But the labour market is more complex than that. For a start, Australia is getting a bargain by picking up people with education and skills we didn't pay for and didn't think of investing in. And when they're no longer needed, they go elsewhere, not on the dole. Then there are the extra jobs generated by the extra demand our 105,330 primary 457 visa holders and any dependants create while they're here. And, to take in the bigger picture, without the temporary workers providing a safety valve in several hot spots, we would have been more likely to have suffered inflationary pressures during the height of the resources construction boom that would mean higher interest rates than we've had and therefore lower economic growth with – you guessed it – fewer jobs.

That's half an idea that Brendan O'Connor, the former union official, did nearly catch on to. Having talked rubbish in his opening effort on Insiders, he then made a bigger fool of himself by saying:
“Insofar as other evidence, as I say, we're looking at the way in which it's affecting wages. And what we found, for example, in the area of IT, which is probably the sector that receives most of the 457s, we've seen over several years now a fall in real wages between 5 and 12 per cent in those positions that are held by 457 applicants. The consequence of that, of course, is ultimately an effect – an adverse impact on jobs in that sector held by local workers.”

For a start, the minister is astoundingly wrong in claiming IT “receives most of the 457s” – maybe that's a line his former colleagues in the Australian Services Union have been feeding him. And I do wonder who the “we” is that he refers to – it doesn't sound like the skilled professionals within his department.

The “Information Media and Telecommunications” category with 3990 visas granted so far this year makes up less than a tenth of the total and is running in fourth place behind construction (5060), health care and social assistance (4980) and “other services" (4780). You get something as simple as that wrong, there's a good chance you really don't have a clue about your portfolio.

As to the bald assertion of falling real wages in the IT industry, I don't know where it comes from and haven't been able to Google up a source. It doesn't seem to gel with the tone of the most recent industry salary survey I could find and, in any case, there are a great many factors impacting on the local IT industry right now aside from people working on 457 visas. What I do know is that a crucial driver in outsourcing IT work is the unavailability of skilled workers in Australia, not that it's much cheaper, if at all, in the long run.
So, based on the quality of the rest of the minister's claims, I see no reason to believe him on that until proven otherwise.

There is some little irony in O'Connor chiming in on Julia Gillard's “Australians first, foreigners to the back of the queue” rant. Like Gillard, Tony Abbott and the other 26 per cent of us, O'Connor is a migrant, born in London of Irish parents. He was a union official here for nine years before taking Australian citizenship in 1995 – six years before being bumped up to parliament.

It's beyond irony and well into farce that Gillard's supposed communications expert, John McTernan, is here on a 457 visa – clearly an example of the government putting a foreigner ahead of several million Australians who couldn't do any worse, given the lack of success in the prime minister's spin doctoring.

But then the whole thing slips into tragedy. O'Connor was plain wrong and incompetent as he sniffed the dog whistle, but the alternative immigration minister, Scott Morrison, was giving it both lungs' worth in a particularly tacky attempt to politically cash in on the trauma of a young woman being sexually assaulted, allegedly by an asylum speaker.

Crikey's Bernard Keane said it first and best last week: “We await Morrison and Abbott committing to electronic ankle bracelets for priests and politicians, both of whom have far higher rates of criminal prosecution [than asylum seekers] and yet who are allowed to roam our streets in freedom with the community none the wiser.”

It seems a terrible choice we're left with, between the intellectually bereft or the morally deficient.

theage.com.au 11 Mar 2013

The government is far from stupid.

AusAID investigates fraud claims surrounding Australia Award education scholarships

AUSTRALIA'S $5.2 billion foreign aid program has been hit by corruption claims involving a flagship project in Afghanistan, while a forestry deal in Papua New Guinea has triggered a diplomatic rift. 
 
AusAID has confirmed an investigation is under way into allegations that education scholarships, known as Australia Awards, were being on-sold for profit by corrupt officials in Afghanistan.

AusAID said GRM International, which had managed the program, was conducting an independent investigation after losing the $80 million contract when the allegations were raised in August.

However the new manager, US firm International Relief and Development, is itself subject to a fraud claim involving US aid.

AusAID boss Peter Baxter said he had expressed "strong concern" to the head of IRD that AusAID was not told about that allegation. He said the level of fraud activity had halved across its programs but it was investigating 178 "active" allegations.

Meanwhile, concerns have been raised that hundreds of millions of dollars are being wasted on useless climate change programs.
Foreign-Aid-Contracts
In one case Papua New Guinea's Forestry Minister Patrick Pruaitch wrote to his Australian counterpart Senator Joe Ludwig to complain that PNG was not consulted before Australia engaged US-based environmental organisation The Nature Conservancy to help deliver a $6 million sustainable forestry program.

The PNG government said the decision could have "serious ramifications" for the livelihoods of local communities.

"We are not happy with the manner in which the project has been formulated," Mr Pruaitch wrote on January 18. "Consultation and needs analysis have not been undertaken to capture the requirements of the (PNG) government."

It comes after opposition whip Warren Entsch blamed AusAID cutbacks in PNG health funding for a rise in tuberculosis cases, which had spread to Australia. The Coalition has said it would redirect aid funding to Australia's East Asian and Pacific neighbours.

V:\Graphics\4-Infographics\Foreign Aid\Foreign-Aid-Skyrocket2.jpg

news.com.au 11 Mar 2013

Australian charities are one of the biggest scams in 'Money for Mates' deals put on the Australian populous.

What the general population perceives about a charity and what really happens behind closed doors are two different things.

In order for authorities to push an agenda, pictures of suffering or 'special' children are used to obtain an emotion reaction from the 'mob'.

One of the better money making scam out there, i.e. to start a charity.

If you say it how it is, the corporate media will shoot you down with (government sponsored) propaganda, and call you a conspiracy theorist.

Defence out of depth in billion-dollar contracts

Defence Force mandarins are calling for private sector help after admitting the organisation lacks the skills and ''general business acumen'' to prudently negotiate billion-dollar contracts with America's military-industrial complex.

The move by the Defence Materiel Organisation comes after the latest official review of its major projects found that they were running 32 months behind schedule on average.
Of 29 major projects worth $47.3 billion, 18 have ''experienced schedule slippage'', the Australian National Audit Office said.

It also noted that while DMO was confident 91 per cent of projects would be delivered on time, the ANAO found this was 'in some cases overly optimistic''.

Defence was unable to respond to questions by deadline.

DMO this month called for experienced private sector negotiators to tender for a spot on new  ''negotiation cell'' that would help bureaucrats at the negotiating table get better contracts for the Australian government when buying air, land and sea defence equipment.

DMO's chief executive, Warren King, is quoted in tender material saying ''people in DMO do not have a good enough business acumen to really understand what’s being negotiated and the challenges for industry''.

At a national security lecture in late February Mr King said a recent study found DMO's major project cost over-runs were less than in the private sector, and delays were comparable, but DMO was worse at delivering small projects. However, it also noted staff were out-skilled at the negotiating table.

''What we found is that industry bring their very best negotiators to the table. We didn't necessarily do so. If you look at companies, big American companies, the money that their commercial people earn, the sort of skills and expertise they can bring into the company to win that deal - remember we are talking about deals of three, four, five billion dollars – we do need to have good negotiating horsepower on our side, so we are trying to build that up,'' he said.

He also suggested more public-private partnerships so companies would have ''skin in the game'' with penalties for late or non-delivery.

Admiral Chris Ritchie, the recently retired chairman of the Australian Submarine Corporation, which built the Collins-class submarine fleet, and the former chief of the Navy, said a 2007 review found that ''people in Defence didn't have bottom line responsibility in a profit or loss sense for what they did, and that breeds a different kind of management structure''.

''They need to have more commercially experienced people on staff.''

Current projects of concern include the $3.6 billion purchase of 46 multi-role helicopters from an Australian subsidiary of European defence giant EADS to replace the Black Hawk and Sea King fleet.

The project was officially flagged as troubled in November 2011 and a report released by DMO in January showed it has fallen behind schedule due to ''reduced aircraft acceptances due to technical  deficiencies and contractual non-compliances as well as delays in other areas of the project''.

Sustainment of the Navy's six Collins Class submarines, which costs $500 million a year, has been on the government’s projects of concern list since 2008.

The $12-billion Joint Strike Fighter project has also suffered delays but is not listed as a project of concern because it still considered to be in development.

Australia agreed to buy 100 F-35 jets in 2002, with the deadline fast approaching to deliver the first two aircraft in 2014–15. DMO signs about 100 contracts a day and has an annual budget of $8 billion, about 37 per cent of the Defence budget. Its purchases range from underpants for soldiers to airplanes and warships.
The Defence Department plans to grant private sector negotiators the same access to internal information as it does to its own staff.

At an industry briefing about the tender, a spokesperson said intellectual property and on-going maintenance were as important as price when negotiating contracts. It also wanted help training executives, and for private sector negotiators to remain involved for the life of a project.


theage.com.au8 Mar 2013

Another classic government created Problem-Reaction-Solution, where the hidden agenda is more sinister.

In line with the order of the new world policies, all government assets are to be held in private hands.

Australia followed suit with the privitisation of utilities, with the 'excuse' that poor government administration was to blame and better performing private ownership would be the solution.

Similarly the 'excuse' is that of poor government handling of contracts, and now the private sector needs to move in.

Defence contracts will be held in 'private' hands, together with the country's top secret technology accessible not to government but private individuals.

Another win for the corporate elite.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Qld privatisation opposed by 85%: poll

A NEW poll shows the overwhelming majority of Brisbane residents don't support asset sales. 
 
The automated ReachTEL poll commissioned by public service union Together told 50,000 respondents the government would on Monday consider the Costello report into the state's finances which recommends privatising public services, and asked if they supported or opposed the proposal.

Of those asked, 85 per cent said they opposed the proposal.

"Privatisation is even more unpopular than former Labor premier Anna Bligh's asset sales. We expect this government would be punished at the polls," union secretary Alex Scott told AAP.

Treasurer Tim Nicholls claimed the survey of residents in government-held seats was a push-poll, an underhanded marketing ploy used to influence the view of respondents under the guise of a survey.

"They are running a fear mongering and scare campaign in the worst way of totalitarian regimes," he said.
"Get people frenzied up, get people afraid of the future, and then try to stop what should be done from being done in a sensible and logical way."

Mr Scott denies it is push polling and misrepresents facts.

"We just need to make sure that Queensland politics isn't a spectator sport and the only way we can stop privatisation is through a community-based campaign," he said.

One concern in the community is that electricity prices would be pushed up if assets are sold.

Mr Nicholls conceded that prices could go up after privatisation, but argues they'd go up anyway if they were government owned.

"If you look at what happens in business and industry ... you'll generally see prices go up," he said.
"We need to make sure that the government isn't investing more and more tax payers' money into businesses which cost more and more to run."

Mr Nicholls was handed the report by former federal treasurer Peter Costello on February 28 and insists no decisions have been made on outsourcing and asset sales.

Only the executive summary of the report has been publicly released.

Queenslanders would have to wait less than two months to see the full 1000-page, which would be released alongside the government's response.

Mr Nicholls says he's now read the report and would pass it on to cabinet ministers for the first time on Monday.

theaustralian.com.au 10 Mar 2013

The Australian 'sheeple' have literally been screwed over by the government's sale of the people's utilities to the private sector / multinational companies.

The companies are literally allowed to charge whatever they 'feel' like, in addition to fraudulently taking out funds from users accounts for services not rendered.

Another type of fraud supported by the authorities.

Govt pulls plug on Origin Energy contracts

Electricity bill an 'outrage': Newman


A furious premier Campbell Newman vows to refer Origin to the ACCC and encourages Queenslanders to change electricity suppliers after receiving a notice saying some of his charges will go up by 125%.

The Queensland government will scrap almost $27 million in contracts with Origin Energy after accusing the energy provider of unjustified price hikes.

Energy Minister Mark McArdle says letters will be sent to government departments telling them to switch providers.

"We are very serious about this," he told ABC Radio.
"Make no mistake, this government is very firm in its resolution to deliver cost of living decreases to the people of this state and will take the action we need to show our resolve."

The action comes after Premier Campbell Newman on Friday announced his own family was switching providers and urged other Origin customers to follow suit.

The government froze price rises for the household electricity tariff, tariff 11, as an election commitment.
However, Mr Newman said Origin raised that tariff and others, as well as various service charges.

The hikes were "not justified" and "unacceptably high", he said.

Mr Newman today said electricity providers were using the carbon tax as an excuse to increase prices.

"They're trying to use that as an excuse, while consumers are confused, to actually put up prices more than what the carbon tax actually justifies," he told reporters in Townsvillewhere a community cabinet mereting is being held today and tomorrow.

Mr Newman regional consumers who couldn't "shop around" should be protected by the government's tariff 11 freeze.

"The only price increase that we should see is the actual carbon tax increase," he said.

brisbanetimes.com.au 1 Jul 2012

Just a reminder of how much Australians are getting ripped off by the 'fraudulent' utility companies.

Origin Energy solar rebate fraud

Origin Energy has been caught out in defrauding customers thousands of dollars each in a solar rebate fraud.

The Australian government is pushing the masses to install solar panels on the roofs of their home, in a so called bid to go with ‘green energy’, covering up a more desperate reality, is the privatised utilities did not expand with population growth and demand.

What the general population also are not aware of is the resources required and the energy needed to produce the so called ‘green energy’ solar cells far outweighs their ‘free energy’ benefit.

Once ‘switching’ over to Origin Energy, customers who have solar on their roofs are told by Origin that heir panels are not producing any electricity, and therefore are not entitled to a rebate.

Once questioned or put up against a wall with information and proof of fraud, Origin, back peddles and says that the customer does not owe anything when it comes to paying their electricity bill.

This is analogous to a person shoplifting, but once caught by police they apologise, and wish to return the stolen product, without any criminal convictions, which in real life does not work.

Corporations are allowed, by the authorities, to steal monies from the masses without any consequences.
 
Previously government/public owned utilities have been sold and consequently bastardised, with this fraudulent state of operations only supported by government and not regulated.