Category: AusVotes

Albanese admitted his leading role in the deposing of Gillard on Election Night…..

By Kate Doak.
By Kate Doak.

Earlier today, the following exchange between Barrie Cassidy and The Hon. Anthony Albanese took place about loyalty on the ABC’s Insiders program, in relation to The Hon. Kevin Rudd and the overthrow of Former Prime Minister Julia Gillard earlier this year.  This statement by Mr Albanese is in stark contrast to his comments on the night of the 2013 Federal Election, about Former Prime Minister Gillard’s disposal back in June.

BARRIE CASSIDY: Further on the question of loyalty, can you say hand on heart you knew nothing of the destabilisation and the undermining that was going on against Julia Gillard?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Of course not. Everyone knew about it Barrie, it was in the paper.

BARRIE CASSIDY: Yes but you knew beyond what was written in the paper and you knew who was doing the undermining?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Everyone knew what was going on, Barrie, everyone knew it. The question is do you involve yourself in it? And certainly I didn’t. I was of the view, I was of the view very strongly, that we should concentrate on taking up the challenge to the opposition.

And I think now what we need to do is actually look to the future. We need to draw a line in the sand under this and we need to unite and move forward with whoever is the leader Barrie.

BARRIE CASSIDY: OK, but you say you knew it was going on. You heard talk of the cardinals, the group that called themselves the cardinals, Kim Carr, Joel Fitzgibbon and Richard Marles, that was Rudd’s core group of supporters. Why didn’t you go to them at some point and say “This has to stop”?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well, Barrie, the fact is, going over history, everyone knew this was going on. What my job was, each and every day, Barrie, I was leader of the house, minister for infrastructure and transport, minister for regional Australia and local government. I frankly, Barrie, had enough on my plate arguing against our political opponents. That was what I concentrated on each and every day.

What we need to do is to make sure that every member of the caucus moving forward does just that, Barrie.

BARRIE CASSIDY: You could have done more surely. And the suspicion is you didn’t want to because, as Pam Williams wrote in the Financial Review, that you were a secret cardinal. What do you say to that?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well, Barrie, that’s just not the case. Pam Williams didn’t bother to speak to me about any of those articles.

Now this is a particularly interesting series of commentss by Mr Albanese, given that at the Cyprus Club in Stanmore on Election Night he confirmed off-the-cuff on stage and on camera, that he had purposefully been undermining former Prime Minister Gillard in the weeks and months prior to her removal from the ALP Leadership only a couple of months ago. Needless to say, the campaign to replace Prime Minister Gillard earlier this year was anything but positive, according to Mr Albanese.

Mr Albanese: One of the lessons the Labor Party needs to learn and needs to show in the coming weeks, days and weeks, is that when we talk about ourselves, people switch off. We need to talk about Australians and what is of interest to them. And when we are not united, when we are not united, we will be punished for it.

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The Liberals’ Jaymes Diaz is going for a “Greenway” in more ways than one (videos attached)

By Kate Doak.
By Kate Doak.
James Diaz, Courtesy of The Liberal Party of Australia, NSW Branch
James Diaz, Courtesy of The Liberal Party of Australia, NSW Branch

Just when you think things couldn’t get any weirder in this election, two new videos and a website involving the Liberals’ Candidate for Greenway Jayme Diaz have emerged over the course of the past few hours which throw further water upon his electoral flame.  This includes an extended video of Channel 7’s encounter with Jaymes Diaz from a couple of days ago, as well as some interesting environmental commentary of Mr Diaz’s from mid 2005.

As stated by the ABC’s resident Political Social Media Reporter, Latika Bourke:

Now this is where the fun and games begin, as the link that Latika provides goes straight to an old Google Blogger account that Jayme Diaz apparently possessed from early 2000 through to late 2005.   As you can see via the screenshot below, there’s a direct link to a 2005 environmentalist video that Mr Diaz looks to have created and posted on “The Diaz Foundation’s” website, entittled “Tree Huggers Unite”.  Given that the Diaz Foundation’s website has been taken down since 2007, The Wayback Machine Internet Archives gives us a glimpse of what was on that video (which is the same video attached to this paragraph) and The Diaz Foundation’s website itself.  This website also includes a photo biography of a Mr Jaymes Diaz, which corresponds with his official Liberal Party biography.

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Ian MacDonald and Lee Rhiannon: How many (Australian) Green(s) Miners are there?

By Kate Doak.
By Kate Doak.
Senators Christine Milne and Lee Rhiannon - Photo from the launch of the Greens bill to increase overseas aid in Canberra on 7 May 2013, Courtesy of the Australian Greens.
Senators Christine Milne and Lee Rhiannon – Photo from the launch of the Greens bill to increase overseas aid in Canberra on 7 May 2013, Courtesy of the Australian Greens.

As an interesting sidenote to the scandals surrounding former NSW Agriculture and Natural Resources Minister Ian MacDonald and the mining industry, during the research for my previous article I came across the NSW Greens’ voting record for the Brigalow and Nandewar Community Conservation Area Bill of 2005. As well as this, I also came across Senator Lee Rhiannon’s commentary about the Shenhua Watermark and BHP mines near the townships of Breeza and Caroona on the Liverpool Plains, both of which are situated on Zone 4 (Mining Specific) former State Forests within the Brigalow and Nandewar Community Conservation Area.

Senator Rhiannon stated:

Working closely with the right and left factions of his party, Mr Macdonald was involved in a range of activities which need close examination. It seems clear that Mr Macdonald played a role in bringing the financial muscle of the mining industry to the cabinet table. While the former Labor Party member is becoming known far beyond New South Wales borders for alleged corrupt allocation of mining leases, it was not just a favoured section of the big end of town that benefited from Mr Macdonald’s largesse. The New South Wales government also picked up mining money in unusual ways. BHP Billiton paid $125 million for an exploration licence on the rich black soil of Caroona on the Liverpool Plains and China Shenhua paid $300 million to operate in neighbouring Watermark.

Prior to these payments, the highest fee for an exploration licence my office could find was $10 million. Why the sudden increase? What long lunches were held to smooth out these deals? What promises did the former minister make in return for this money being paid to the New South Wales government? Mr Macdonald’s role as architect of this new engagement with the mining industry warrants a close examination. These funding streams would have made him popular in cabinet and may help explain why for so long Labor headquarters stood by him and why he was kept on as minister. Meanwhile there was growing community concern with his activities.

This is in contrast to Senator Rhiannon’s comments about the mining activities in such areas in 2005, during the Second Reading of the Brigalow and Nandewar Community Conservation Area Bill in the NSW Legislative Council.

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If Rudd is serious about cleaning up NSW Labor, then Albanese and Cameron need addressing….

By Kate Doak.
By Kate Doak.

Early on Sunday morning on the ABC’s Insiders program, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said the following statement to Barrie Cassidy in response to a question on the health of the Australian Labor Party and the current election campaign:

Thirdly, I think we also saw something wrong happening in the Labor Party. We’ve seen of course the report of ICAC (Independent Commission Against Corruption) in New South Wales. So the actions we have taken there, mine, to reform the leadership structure of the Labor Party so there is a new system for electing the leader but also to authorise federal intervention in the New South Wales branch.

Screen Shot 2013-08-26 at 11.44.26 AM
Deputy Prime Minister Albanese and Prime Minister Rudd. Sydney, 26th August 2013, Courtesy of ABC News24 – Photo via Screenshot.

Now Mr Rudd has made this statement on a couple of occasions since he regained the Prime Ministership, which begs the question as to why he’s failed to address his own Pecuniary Interest issues, as well as why he has allied himself with two of Ian MacDonald’s key state and federal allies throughout the 2000’s. Namely the Deputy Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and former AMWU National Secretary, NSW Senator Doug Cameron.

Now it’s an open secret that Cameron and Albanese have been long-term members of the “Hard Left” MacDonald camp, which also included others such as Albanese’s wife Carmel Tebbutt, Verity Firth and Linda Burney. From supporting efforts to keep MacDonald in politics in 2006 through to openly supporting mining related bills that MacDonald successfully pushed through the NSW Parliament in 2005, something stinky has undoubtedly been going in certain circles of the New South Wales branch of the Australian Labor Party since well before the alleged events and activities that prompted ICAC’s inquiry into Ian MacDonald and Eddie Obeid occured. Needless to say, for the health of the Australian Labor Party and Australian democracy in general, this period of NSW politics needs analysing in detail.

Take for example the following exchange that took place in the NSW Legislative Council during the passage of the Brigalow and Nandewar Community Conservation Area Bill of 2005, just a few weeks before Bob Carr resigned from the Premiership of New South Wales:

The Hon. IAN MACDONALD (ALP): The Opposition has tried to score political points with regard to the comments made by Craig Emerson, the Australian Labor Party member for the Federal Queensland seat of Rankin, who has made several ill-informed comments about the Government’s decision. Dr Emerson claims to have intimate knowledge of the region because he lived in Baradine as a young man, having left there 35 years ago. Clearly, he knows little of what has been happening in the intervening period; otherwise he would not make his illogical intervention in this debate. For the record, the official position of the Federal Opposition was stated on 5 May by the shadow Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Anthony Albanese. He made it clear that Craig Emerson’s comments were not only irrelevant but stupid.

The Hon. Duncan Gay (Nationals): What would Albanese know about it?

The Hon. IAN MACDONALD (ALP): Anthony Albanese is a very good member of Parliament. He congratulated the Premier “on his comprehensive plan to protect 348,000 hectares of woodland stretching from Dubbo to the Queensland border”. Mr Albanese said also that the Government “has shown that with vision and conviction, long term environmental goals can be achieved without jeopardising the job security of timber communities”. I would believe Anthony Albanese any day over Dr Emerson, this interloper from Queensland.

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Further Pecuniary Interest Problems Shroud Kevin Rudd’s Office

By Kate Doak.
By Kate Doak.
Jessica Tse (Nee Rudd). Josephine Tse, The Hon. Kevin Rudd MP. (Left to Right) Photo courtesy of @Jess_Rudd (photo posted to Twitter)

Last week I published a story that questioned the accuracy of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s Pecuniary Interest statements.  This story focused predominantly on the Canberra (35 Mueller St, Yarralumla) and Noosa (“Ocean Blue”) properties that The Rudds own, not to mention the way that they were officially referenced by Mr Rudd, in accordance with Standing Resolutions on the Registration of Members Interests.  These resolutions also govern the reporting of registrible interests of spouses and dependent children of politicians as well.

Now since their purchase in 2010 and 2011 respectively, The Rudds have used these properties for both residential and investment purposes throughout the course of the 43rd Parliament. While “Ocean Blue” was disclosed as being an investment property by Mr Rudd in accordance with Section 3 of the Members Interests Register, the Yarralumla property wasn’t upon its switch to being a rental property (for approximately an 18 month period) and is listed solely in his name.  Furthermore, the substantial rental income from both of these properties wasn’t disclosed as required under Section 10 of the register, while Therese Rein and Mr Rudd are listed as the Borrower and Guarantor respectivly for a loan with an undisclosed financial institution.  This entry appeared to be on top of the loans that had previously been disclosed within the statement, prior to the conclusion of the 42nd Parliament.

Rudd Pecuniary Interests - Yarralumla Purchase and Loans - 25-10-10 Page 7 of 71
Rudd Pecuniary Interests – Yarralumla Purchase and Loans – 25-10-10 Page 7 of 71

Before I published my previous article, I sent a media request to Prime Minister Rudd’s media team requesting confirmation that his Pecuniary Interests statement was both current and correct.  Soon after the article was published, I received the following brief statement via email from a spokesperson within the Prime Minister’s Office:

The Prime Minister’s statement of registrable interests is up to date and available online. When required the Prime Minister’s statement is updated in the usual way.

Now given that pages 7 and 12 of Mr Rudd’s Pecuniary Interests still looked potentially troublesome, I decided to put this statement to the test by acutely analysing one of the properties involved.

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A peruse through Prime Minister Gillard’s financial interests……

By Kate Doak.
By Kate Doak.

One of the more peculiar things that I’ve noticed about the current parliament is that nobody’s done a really thorough analysis of Prime Minister Julia Gillard‘s Pecuniary Interests (aka “Members’ Interests”) over the course of the past three years.  While there’s been the occasional reference to her house in the Electorate of Lalor and Mr Tim Mathieson buying a small amount of land as a weekender, there’s been little to no examination of whether or not she’s been regularly receiving gifts throughout her administration and if she’s been properly reporting them on time.  The same goes for shares, trusts and other sources of funds that she may have access to as a result of her relationship with Mathieson, not to mention the death of her father in 2012.

Take for example the limited number of pecuniary interest statements that Prime Minister Gillard has supplied to the Registrar of Members’ Interests over the course of the past 18 months.

House Committee Pmi Declarations Gillardj – 43rd Parliament by thedeadlynewt

Note – This Pecuniary Interest Statement was obtained from an official APH Public Register, which is accessible to the public via the APH website.

Now whenever a Head of Government is overseas for high level talks, they are normally provided with gifts of one sort or another from either the government, association or individual that they are being hosted by, not to mention receiving preferential treatment amongst various service providers and their facilities. As of early April the Prime Minister had clocked up an impressive tally of 23 nations that she’s visited during her term in office, with various nations receiving multiple visits throughout that time.  This was at it’s peak in 2012, with Prime Minister Gillard making an astounding 10 foreign visits, which in one year nearly allowed her to eclipse her predecessor “Kevin747” Rudd’s tally of 14 overseas visits, which were predomiantly conducted during the initial throes of the Global Financial Crisis.

If you looked at the Prime Minister’s pecuniary interests however you would find this hard to believe though, as most of the 4 submissions that she made to the register throughout this time were in relation to her partner, Mr Mathieson. Since early February 2012, Prime Minister Gillard has received 9 gifts from both foreign and domestic sources, while Mr Mathieson has received over 14 instances of accommodation, flight upgrades, complementary memberships, hospitality, football and concert tickets throughout the period in question.

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Playing politics with same sex and gender diverse people’s lives…

By Kate Doak.
By Kate Doak.

Over the past six months, I’ve been getting pretty disillusioned with the entire “Marriage Equality” debate and a lot of the federal politicians that have been supporting it. Like a Bull with a sore head, some of them have been consistently pursuing something that they know won’t happen in the current parliament, regardless of how much they kick, scream and dance for the cameras each morning infront of Parliament House about it.  While I’m strongly pro marriage equality, the dog and pony show that’s stopped so many other crucial Same Sex and Gender Diverse rights from being realised throughout the 43rd Australian Parliament needs to stop, because the recklessness behind it is doing more harm for the wider LGBTI community than good.

Sourced from @sarahintheSen8's twitter account.
Sourced from @SarahintheSen8’s twitter account.

Now unlike some of the blindly loyal, flag-waving “marriage or bust” activists that can be found in places like Oxford Street during Mardi Gras, I know what it feels like living in the “Real World” where Same Sex and Gender Diverse youth often have to struggle for healthcare, employment, education and in sadly a lot of cases, a safe place to sleep at night. I’ve had to deal with workplace harassment about my gender identity and sexuality, while I’ve also had to decide what days I’m going to go without food, as I haven’t had the money to cover the basic essentials of both life and job hunting at the same time.  Given that I’ve got a University degree, have a rather extensive level of experience in my profession and have been applying for any job I can get, it hasn’t been through a lack of trying that I’ve been unable to get a job.

Now I’m probably going to get dragged over hot coals again by Sarah Hanson-Young’s office for this, but it’s predominantly been the Greens and a few of their more vocal activist supporters who have been making me as cranky as they come over this issue.  That’s because whenever it’s politically advantageous for them to advocate for something (i.e. lots of potential political donors) they’ll advocate for it, however whenever there isn’t (such as with gender diverse people), they won’t.  Between their grandstanding over bringing in yet another Marriage Equality bill (that is doomed to fail in its current form) through to outright insulting ads like the one below, I’m sick and tired of having my right as a human being to survive, being used as a political football by people who appear to be lip-service allies at this time.

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The Turnbulls and an investment in the NBN…..

By Kate Doak.
By Kate Doak.

If there’s one thing that never ceases to amaze me, it’s that both state and federal politicians don’t think that people check their pecuniary interests, policy statements and voting records, then contrast them against the business interests that said politicians and their families hold.

Take The Honourable Shadow Minister for Communications Malcolm Turnbull and his wife Lucy, for example.

Photo courtesy of ABC News and ABC 7.30 - 9/4/13
Photo courtesy of ABC News and ABC 7.30 – 9/4/13

As shown within Mr Turnbull’s latest register of interests, Mrs Turnbull has owned a diverse portfolio of shares in companies such as Siemens (SIEGn.DE) and currently Hochtief AG (HOTG.DE), both of which hold significant interests in the rollout of the National Broadband Network.  Utilising only their German stockmarket codes, most people wouldn’t be able to identify those two particular entries on Page 8 in Mr Turnbull’s submission, unless they knew what they were looking for.

NOTE  – “Member’s Interests” for Malcolm Turnbull – 2/6/2013 – Download Here

As a lot of IT commentators within Australia are aware, Siemens owns a half share of Nokia Siemens Networks, which is one of the NBN’s primary suppliers of optical transmission equipment. While their initial contract was only $10 million back in 2010, this project is expected to be worth over $400 million over the next 10 years. Coincidentally, Siemens also owns Silcar Communications in equal joint partnership with Theiss Australia, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Leighton Holdings, which in turn is majority owned by Hochtief AG. Given that Silcar has been selected as a primary constructor of the NBN for New South Wales, the A.C.T. and Queensland with an expected return of over $1.1 billion between June 2011 and June 2015, the rollout of the NBN would offer a major source of work to the associated consortiums throughout this period.

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Why I owe our Parliamentarians (including Tony Abbott) an apology….

By Kate Doak.
By Kate Doak.

As many of you would know, during the last election I wrote an article about The Honourable Tony Abbott MP and some audio that I found of him from his tenure at the University of Sydney during the late 1970’s.

Tony Abbott photographed in 1977 (Left) and 1985 (Right). Photo courtesy of The Sydney Morning Herald

Within that article, I asked Mr Abbott and all of his colleagues in parliament to describe how they’ve changed as individuals, for better and worse, since their youth.  From Mr Abbott and his UNE audio, Prime Minister Gillard climbing her Barricades through to Senator Brown on the banks of the Franklin River, it was a question worth asking, as it highlighted the challenges, experiences and emotions that have made the politicians of our time into the people that they are.  While it was a good and honest question, on reflection it was probably a little cheekier than I’d intended at the time towards all of the politicians involved.

Here’s a defining grab from that particular article.

Election 2010 – An Abbott Interview… from 1979

By Kate Doak.
5th August 2010

Tony Abbott has always been a magnet for controversy, so you can imagine my surprise when an interview from his studies in 1979 at the University of Sydney was found within TUNE! FM’s archives early last week. Given that I’m a sucker for history (even though I hate politics), I fired up the old Reel-to-Reel Tape machine and settled down for some aural pleasure. As an amateur Historian, what I heard didn’t disappoint.

Radio UNE – “Campus-Wide” Interview with Tony Abbott from 1979 – Click here to listen

With a level of charm that only old Tape and Vinyl can deliver, I was whisked away to a time where Tony Abbott was way less recognizable than what he is now. Starting the interview off with the trials and tribulations of student politics and a healthy smattering of inter-university rivalry, Tony proceeds to take a firm swipe against both  Trade and Student Unions alike while recognizing their differences. Changing tact, he then switches topics to education, injects a streak of Christianity and sexism into the discussion and gets slightly put off when ambushed on the topic of Feminists, Gays, Migrants and Aboriginals forming their own supportive communities.

While I never received a definitive response to my question in regards to Same-Sex and Gender Diverse perspectives (from any of the politicians within Federal Parliament), I never lost hope that I’d finally receive an answer to something that had been provoking my driving sense of professional curiosity since before the last election.  To borrow a quote from Peter Allen though, “time is a traveller” and nothing can ever beat it as a teacher.

Now since that article was published online in 2010, I’ve met Prime Minister Gillard and her Ministers at the NBN Launch in Armidale, interviewed Chief Opposition Whips, received a first-hand perspective on modern history, had coffee with various Ministers, MP’s and Senators, been surprised by one of the most beautiful, inspiring and touching functions that a person could ever hope to be invited to, while bearing witness to one of the most accurate and extraordinary acts of honesty, kindness and acceptance that I’ve ever had the privilege of being privy to.  While it might’ve taken a while, I’ve most certainly learned the answer to my question, though in the most unexpected and joyful of ways.

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Happy Grandpa Vegemite — Is this the “New Kevin”?

Jessica Tse (Nee Rudd). Josephine Tse, The Hon. Kevin Rudd MP. (Left to Right) Photo courtesy of @Jess_Rudd

It is said that a photo can say a thousand words, so is this a sign of what’s to come for the 26th Prime Minister of Australia?

With all of the talk about whether Kevin Rudd is going to challenge Julia Gillard for the Prime Minister-ship again or not, there’s been very little analysis about how Kevin’s personal life has changed since he became a Backbencher again last year.

While Kevin can occasionally be an enfante terrible within politics, it has always been beyond doubt that he is very much a family-orientated man. A doting Dad to Jessica, Nicholas and Marcus, being around family in both his proudest and darkest moments has always had an overwhelming influence on the way that Kevin has reacted in both public and private situations.

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