• Unwitting blue-chip casualties of casino capitalism.
Unwitting blue-chip casualties of casino capitalism
The Weekend Australian,
by Adele Ferguson, pp 33-34, January 26-27, 2008
[Picture] MFS: Andrew Peacock, former federal Liberal Opposition leader, Opposition Treasury spokesman and ambassador to the US SOME of the architects of the global financial crisis will descend on the blackjack tables in Las Vegas next week for a conference on securitisation, having blown billkms of dollars on the financial table last week.
The American Securitisation Forum, which ironically will be held at the flashy Venetian resort in Las Vegas – the Disneyland version of Venice – will host more than 5000 financial high priests looking for a solution to the sub-prime and credit crisis. And they will no doubt work out a few escape hatches for some of their failed dreams.
Although billions of dollars have been wiped off the market in recent days, as these alchemists turned gold to dust, it is much more than bank balances in ruin. Reputations have been beaten to within an inch of their life.
Many of the country's best names jumped on the money train and punted their reputations on businesses that had complex structures, lacked transparency and made a mocker of continuous disclosure rules. They failed to have proper disclosure on the most important day of the year, being full-year results, let alone doing it continuously.
What is most surprising is that these are business and investment people who have earned themselves sterling reputations over many years. They are the "A" team.
A who’s who of Australian business has been caught up in the troubles of Allco, MFS and Centro – the question is: why? It is a struggle to remember the last time such a big number of high-profile business people got it so wrong.
Sir Rod Eddington, Bob Mansfield, David Clarke, Andrew Peacock, David Coe and Brian Healey are just a few of the higher-profile names that have been attracted to the teetering trifecta of MFS, Allco and Centro, all of which are drowning in a sea of debt, a lack of transparency and a rapidly vanishing share price.
These companies did not have the obvious problems of lacking expertise or skills. The thing is, so little of it seems to have been used.
The big question is: why? Was it that the financial structures were too complex and therefore beyond the experts who sat on the boards? Or was it that one person dominated the board and railroaded through mezzanine debt structures? Or were the boards simply misled?
Whatever the case, they have all done their money and are clinging on to battered reputations. Some directors have even suffered the public humiliation of
having margin calls placed on their shares, much to their apparent surprise. It has been suggested that at least one has his house up for sale. This has happened to some of the directors at MFS and Allco.
In the case of MFS, Paul Manka was forced to sell 4.9 million shares by a margin trader, while Michael Hiscock was forced to sell his shares and resigned a day later due to "purely personal reasons".
At Allco, four margin lenders triggered the sale of 5 per cent of its shares earlier in the week and are in frantic talks to prevent the fire sale of another 23 million by senior executives, possibly including David Coe.
Less than a year ago, Coe was lauded as a financial genius, set to turn his Allco Financial Group into another Macquarie Bank. Indeed, he played a key role in a bid for Qantas and, if had pulled it off, would have been one of the biggest shareholders in the national airline.
The list of battered reputations almost reads like a who's who of the very top of the finance industry. The carnage at Centro has destroyed the reputations of people who until a year ago were
held in the highest regard. On the Centro board, big names include Paul Cooper, who is also a director of Axa after building a successful career at investment bank Investec.
On the same board sits Sam Kavourakis, who had a solid reputation in property after spending eight years running National Mutual Funds Management.
Then there is former managing director of the David Jones department store chain, Peter Wilkinson, along with Jim Hall, who was a former senior executive at BHP Billiton and former executive director of finance at
And finally, Andrew Scott, who was until recently considered one of the best property wheelers and dealers in the country, after winning his spurs as the treasurer of Coles.
The recent crisis at Gold Coast diversified financial and property group MFS trashed the business reputation of Andrew Peacock, who joined in March 2007 as chairman.
He has also been Australia's ambassador to the US.
Before that he spent 29 years in the federal Parliament, including a spell as leader of the Opposition and shadow treasurer.
Another bigwig is Barry Cronin, a solicitor of the Supreme Court of Queensland and the High Court of Australia.
Did Peacock and Cronin realise, as The Australian revealed this week, that MFS was created out of a Gold Coast law firm embroiled in the nationwide solicitors mortgage broking scandal of the late 1990s?
MFS senior executives include Taso Corolis, the chief risk and compliance officer, who joined six months ago after spending 10 years at the financial regulator APRA; Graeme Fowler, the chief financial officer, who spent 15 years at BT Financial Group; and Bill Grounds, the chief executive of property and finance, who was a fomer senior executive at the highly successful Investa Group.
Turning to Allco, founder and executive chairman David Coe has been able to attract captains of industry, including former Telstra chairman and Optus chief executive Bob Mansfield; Sir Rod Eddington, who was chief executive of British Airways for five years and is now on the board of Rio Tinto and News Corporation and is Australian chairman of JP Morgan; and Barbara Ward, who is a
Unwitting blue chip casualties of casino capitalism From Page 33
former adviser to then treasurer Paul Keating, a former top executive at Peter Abeles' old TNT and who, until November, was on the Commonwealth Bank board, and now still sits on the boards of Lion Nathan and Multiplex Funds Management.
Another director is Gordon Fell, who is executive chairman of Rubicon America, a company that has fallen more than 50 per cent in the past year.
Coe's persuasiveness enabled him to lure David Clarke, who has 25 years in corporate Australia, including a senior executive at Westpac, head of BT Financial Group, and chief executive of MLC.
David Bryant, group executive of investments at Australian Unity, which has $6 billion in investments, said some of the more financially engineered companies were playing a game of pass the parcel.
"Few players knew exactly what was in the parcels – mortgages, commercial loans, and other types of debt, with added leverage each time they changed hands – but players assumed they could guess when the music would stop. They obviously couldn't," he said.
As former governor of the Reserve Bank Bernie Fraser, now chairman of Members Equity Bank said: "Memories are short. Remember Long Term Capital Management (LTCM), which was set up by one of the smartest men in town, came a gutser."
Myron Scholes won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1997 and a year later his company almost triggered a chain reaction collapse in financial markets around the world. One published estimate was that LTCM was involved in a staggering $US1 trillion worth of deals specialising in complex computer-guided gambling in the bond market.
‘Centro epitomises the sins of the LPT sector coming home to roost’ Justin Blaess, ING director Reflecting on what has happened in the markets in the past
few weeks, Fraser says he believes greed is one of the worst
features of the market. Another is that people don't learn.
"Look at today's news with the French Societe Generale being done over by a rogue trader of $8 billion. It happens all the time.
"These rogues will go and unfortunately a new crop of gullible greedy people will emerge. They will see big dollars in front of their eyes, they will be in like the proverbial hungry dog."
The reality is investors are now vomiting up any company that has even a hint of too much leverage, balance-sheet opaqueness and limited information.
Companies that investors are starting to lump into this category include Challenger Financial Group, which is headed by Mike Tilley, the former vice-chairman of JP Morgan. Directors include James Packer, Ashok Jacob and Leon Zwier, a partner at Arnold Bloch Leibler.
In the past few weeks Challenger has fallen 43 per cent to $3.34. A number of investors shun Challenger because they can't understand the financial accounts of the company. They say Challenger's explanations are little help.
In the case of Macquarie Bank and Babcock & Brown, which are the masters of financial engineering, Brett Le Mesurier, banking analyst at Wilson HTM, believes they have a handle on what is going on but choose not to give up all the information because they fear they would be rubbing their partners' nose in how much money they make. "When they announce their profits they rarely say how much money they make on a particular transaction," he says.
Le Mesurier believes the recent credit market crisis has accelerated a rethink of their models away from creating listed vehicles as a source of fees, to unlisted trusts.
Unlisted funds don't require a prospectus. The value of the fund
is not mark to market daily because they are private and the fee structure is more skewed towards a higher base fee and lower performance fee.
"In the listed trusts what was happening was a high proportion of cash flow was going out in fees, which wasn't a good look," Le Mesurier said.
There is little doubt companies that lack transparency are now on the nose. A glance at the performance of listed stocks over the past year reveals that more than 50 stocks fell more than 50 per cent in the past year, compared with little movement in the overall market.
This staggering shellacking is born out of fear of the unknown. Listed property trusts such as Centre, Tishman Speyer Office Fund, Macquarie DDR and Rubicon America, have all been battered.
Le Mesurier says the problem is that some of the financially engineered companies are secretive and keep investors in the dark about how all the prices of the financial puzzle fit together. "Even the best brains would have little hope of putting together the true situation. Why? There is often leverage on leverage," he says.
In the LPT space, the ones most savaged have four things in common: significant funds management exposure, high levels of gearing, large refinancing pending and lower-quality foreign assets.
The problems facing the sector are best summed up by Justin Blaess, director of ING's listed property and infrastructure: "Centro epitomises the sins of the LPT sector coming home to roost."
Blaess says aggressive expansion, questionable real estate assets, high gearing, opaque accounting such as adopting equity accounting instead of consolidating risks, and expanding headlong into property development are a few of the sins the LPTs have been committing in the past few years.
Other companies that have fallen more than 50 per cent in the past year include Prime Financial, Mariner Financial, Allco Finance Group, Allco Max Securities, Credit Corp, Flexi-group and absolute return investment manager Everest Babcock & Brown and Babcock & Brown Environmental.
Mariner Financial Group was founded by Bill Ireland in 2003, after he was moved on from Challenger Financial Group when the Packers merged their CPH Investment Corp with Challenger and following queries from the regulator over its accounting practices.
On the Mariner website it says: "At Mariner Financial we believe that all Australians deserve a more thoughtful approach to their investments and retirement needs. That's why we're designing financial solutions unlike any others in the market, tailored to meet investors' requirements depending on their stage in life."
The board of Mariner has four directors, including former Victorian treasurer Alan Stockdale, who is set to become the next Liberal Party president.
Ray King, the head of Sovereign Investment Research, a group that advises superannuation funds on how to diversify into alternative investments, says if you look at the events of the past few weeks, it is not dissimilar to what happened 20 years ago.
"We see the same pattern emerging. The entrepreneurs of the 1980s were punished hard and quickly for excessive debt and not making it clear to the market what they were up to. Today financial engineers are being punished even quicker for the same sins," he says.
"Bull markets bring out the worst in corporates. They tend to get caught up in the euphoria and some organisations push for pushing's sake to the edge and once you go beyond that you are in uncharted territory."
Four years ago, Warren Buffett, one of the world's shrewdest investors, cautioned that a credit bubble was coming and that credit derivatives were "weapons of financial mass destruction". At the time he was accused of being overly negative and prone to exaggeration.
Those who ignored him then deserve everything they get now. #
[RECAPITULATION: There is often leverage on leverage [...]
Myron Scholes won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1997 and a year later his company almost triggered a chain reaction collapse in financial markets around the world. [...]
Four years ago, Warren Buffett, one of the world's shrewdest investors, cautioned that a credit bubble was coming and that credit derivatives were "weapons of financial mass destruction". At the time he was accused of being overly negative and prone to exaggeration. Those who ignored him then deserve everything they get now.
[COMMENT: Could it be that many of these directors are on TOO MANY company boards to know what is going on, and in addition have no idea that "highly gearing" an enterprise is fancy talk for going head over heels into debt? Other euphemisms include "leverage," "credit derivatives," and "financial engineering."
And, have any of these directors read a critical history of international banking firms, or learnt how bank credit (the obverse of most "debt") comes into existence?
How many would know that Australia's overseas debt is more than $500 billion? Which of them would admit publicly that such a huge debt is NOT a sign of a prosperous economy, no matter what the Liberal-National PM John Howard and his ministers kept saying during their years in government, which ended on November 24, 2007.
The Centro shopping centre plan was to keep on borrowing money and buying more and more shopping centres, instead of quietly managing a few and only buying another when all or most of the purchase price has been saved up. Such old-fashioned ideas lead to less "market corrections," "panics," "recessions," and depressions – and misery for investors, professionals, and the workers.
Fraser says he believes greed is one of the worst features of the market. Another is that people don't learn.
[Jan 26-27, 2008]
• Loony left of the ALP is at it again.
Loony left of the ALP is at it again
The West Australian,
Letter to The Editor, p 23, Wednesday, February 6, 2008
One thing that cannot be denied is that the Kevin Rudd ALP Government has hit the ground running with all the fuzzy-feeling legislation that we have come to expect from Labor governments over the past years when they have been in office.
They have done away with the Pacific solution that processed (so-called) asylum seekers off shore. So within a very short time we can expect the people smugglers of Indonesia to once again open up business as usual and we will see hundreds of boat loads of queue-jumping so-called refugees landing on our northern shores, with all the accompanying terrorist security risks.
They, with their proposed apology to the so-called stolen generation, will open up myriad taxpayer-funded financial claims to drain the blood from the Australian taxpayers.
And with the wisdom and logic that can be found only in the loony left of the ALP, they are now going to give pharmacists the right to assess the medical conditions of workers so that they can issue medical certificates for another generation of play-acting malingerers to put an even greater strain on our already struggling welfare system. You don't need to be Einstein to work out how that will be abused.
But aren't these feelgood moves just so typical of the immaturity that we have seen so often before? Such as when the Whitlam government came to office and decided, in its immature wisdom, that it would give every worker a 10 per cent pay increase "to spend up the economy", which of course led to inflation rates going through the roof with interest rates on mortgages above 18 per cent.
[Picture] Kevin Rudd But never fear, this is the party for the battlers and it is planning similar methods to inject even more inflationary money into the property market with the prospect of up to 300,000 families losing the homes they have sacrificed everything for.
#. ). %!^^#$, Coolbellup.
[LOOK FORWARD: The above letter was strongly attacked in the letters section of Feb 11. ENDS.]
[Feb 6, 08]
• Unfair increase [to interest rates hits poor, fuels inflation.]
The West Australian,
Various Letters to The Editor, p 23, Wednesday, February 6, 2008
Governments' reliance on interest rate increases to curb inflation is very unfair and directed at those who can least afford the extra expense.
The reason interest rates are increased is to absorb some of the extra money that is in the system and thus eliminate some inflationary pressures. This can be done in several ways and increasing interest rates means this money is absorbed in paying higher mortgage repayments. The fault with this strategy is that in general it disproportionally affects the group of mortgagees (40 per cent) who have the least disposable income. Thus it absorbs funds that are being spent on needs.
The logical knock-on effect of this is the demand for higher wages and thus more inflation. A better and fairer solution is to limit any reduction in income tax or increase taxes.
This would spread the pain around and is more likely to affect discretionary spending rather than needs spending. The pain is less and spread more evenly and thus fairer.
I do declare that I pay income tax and have a very small mortgage. I feel that the fairness test should apply and I would expect this from a Labor Government.
Ben Hodsdon, Nedlands.
A better way
Surely there must be a fairer way to slow down the economy than by taking money from those who can least afford it and giving it to those who least need it.
I refer, of course, to the Reserve Bank's insistence on raising interest rates whenever it feels the need to cool things down.
When so many families are working longer hours yet still struggling to make ends meet, why can't we find a better way?
Despite my limited grasp of macro-economics, I can still see that the lower your income (and the fewer shares in banks you have) the harder you are hit by these increases.
Let's find a new solution that doesn't rob the poor to pay the rich.
[Feb 6, 08] • [Years of neglect continue hothouse classrooms.]
[Years of neglect continue hothouse classrooms.]
The West Australian,
Letter to The Editor, p 23, Wednesday, February 6, 2008
When I did my first teaching job at Safety Bay High School, the first day of the year, 1984, was a really hot day. One student vomited in the class as soon as he entered the room and others suffered from the heat as well as me. It was a nightmare of a day and all that first week for everyone in the school.
Now, 24 years later, children are going to school in the hottest summer for 16 years and there is still no air-conditioning in most State schools. Everyone will also be leaving school in the heat of the day thanks to daylight saving.
How can we expect kids to work in such heat when politicians and all those in their multi-storey air-conditioned office blocks have the comfort denied our children?
So much for the big boom in WA. Our children have to suffer such terrible conditions in their schools because they don't have a vote and are last on the list of improved working conditions in their workplace.
No wonder teachers are leaving to work in an air-conditioned workplace with better working conditions than the education department offers its workers.
It's time all the unions got together and demanded
air-conditioning in all State schools. No one else will speak up for students. Politicians don't care – they are too busy supporting their corporate mates who all work in air-conditioned buildings.
Mary Jenkins, Spearwood. Today's text May the Lord answer all of your prayers! -- PSALM 20:5.
(The Bible for Today). From the Bible Society.
Letters to the Editor, WA Newspapers, GPO Box N1027 Perth WA 6843. Fax 08 9482 3830. E-mail to: letters@wa news.com.au
[Feb 6, 08]
• Former comrade attacks Burchett.
[New Hungarian book exposes him as Communist.]
Former comrade attacks Burchett
The Weekend Australian,
by Sian Powell, p 2, Saturday and Sunday, March 22-23, 2008
THE controversial Australian foreign correspondent Wilfred Burchett has been denounced as a communist propagandist by his one-time comrade, award-winning Hungarian journalist Tibor Meray.
Meray, once a communist himself, lived and worked with Burchett for 14 months from 1951 covering the Korean War and the armistice talks.
In a new book titled On Burchett, Meray declares that he can forgive Burchett, who died in 1983, for his early devotion to communism, but not for his later refusal to admit that his support was wrong-headed.
Awarded the French Legion d'Honneur and a number of Hungarian literary and journalism prizes, Meray writes that Burchett openly told him he was a communist but said it had to remain a secret to protect his credibility as an independent journalist
"Having an intimate knowledge of the rules and practices of the communist parties, I find it natural that Burchett denied his party membership to outsiders once he had a party directive ordering him to do so," Meray writes.
Besides Burchett's admission that he was a communist, Meray writes of a series of incidents, which he uses as evidence to assert that Burchett was in the pay of communist governments.
Burchett was permitted to remain in Korea when Meray and other journalists were forced to leave by the Chinese, he writes. Perhaps more tellingly, Meray writes that Burchett failed to report on the rift between China and the Soviet Union in 1959.
Burchett wrote in one of his many books that he was at Peking (now Beijing) airport when Nikita Khrushchev arrived for the 10th anniversary of the Chinese People's Republic. Khrushchev was effectively snubbed by Mao Ze-dong, and the Soviet leader's later speech was not translated into Chinese.
Burchett wrote in his book that he had been told by insiders that China was affronted because it had inside knowledge that the Soviet Union intended to scrap a promise to help China develop a nuclear capacity.
Burchett "knew that in front of his very eyes there unfolded the first visual signal that something had gone wrong in Chinese-Soviet relations", Meray writes, adding that Burchett was not only on hand to see it happening, he had inside information on why it had happened.
"This could have been the greatest scoop of Burchett's whole journalistic career. He could have been the first one to tell the world that ... an historic rift, bound to widen and deepen, had started between the two largest communist powers of the world. But he sent no report on what he had seen and heard."
Long reviled as a traitor by conservative Australia, Burchett was denied a new passport by the Australian government for 17 years. Meray writes that this was a tactical mistake on the part of the government, one that transformed Burchett into a "quasi-martyr".
[COMMENT: He had previously been exposed as a Red agent by Allied prisoners of war. Tibor Meray is to be praised for overcoming the allure of Communism, and for exposing Burchett. Will all the Leftwingers and fellow-travellers, who abused the Australian government of the time, now write their apologies? And will the Professors and Doctors who "rubbished" the reformists who said Burchett was a Communist, now retract their attacks?
[Mar 22-23, 2008]
• Political correctness hides truth.
[ELECTORAL FRAUD probable; A.L.P branch-stacking]
No questions on D’Orazio’s ethnic branch-stacking...the records speak for themselves
Political correctness hides truth
The West Australian,
www.thewest. com.au ,
By PAUL MURRAY, p 21, Saturday, April 19, 2008
Agostino. Agostino. Airula. Allen. Allen. Ashby. Atieh. Atieh. Audino. Audino. Audino. Bagnato. Ben. Boladeros. Boladian. Bonasera. Bova. Bridgeford. Brkich. Buckovska. Callaghan. Casilli. Casilli. Casilli. Casilli.
This isn't an extract from the phone book of a small Italian village where a few foreigners have gone to live. It's the start of the membership list of the Labor Party's Carramar branch when John D'Orazio was at the height of his local influence back in 2003.
And that's only halfway down the Cs.
Cicchini. Cilli. Cilli. Cilli. Cock. Collova. Colombo. Contrusceri. Contrusceri. Cremasco. Cremasco. Cremasco. Curciarello. Darui. De Carolis. Deangelo. Di Falco. Di Virgilio. Di Virgilio. Di Virsito.
Evans. Faranda. Faraone. Faraone. Fazio. Fazio. Fazio. Filardi. Filardi. Firrioto. Firrioto. Fogliani. Foriglio. Forsun. Fox. Fracaro. Frisina. Frisina. Frisina. Frisina. Futile. Giagiurdano. Gizzarelli. Gizzarelli. Glass. Glass. Goh. Grassi. Grassi. And so on ...
Mr D'Orazio, now ensconced back in the Labor Party after a spell as an Independent, is the one that Education Minister Mark McGowan calls "the worst ethnic branch stacker in the history of the Labor Party in WA".
Mr McGowan got in the poo for that with the inevitable charges of racism and calls from the multicultural thought police for him
to be stripped of his ministry. Even former Liberal leader Paul Omodei – who comes from an Italian heritage – got stuck into him.
Which is dumb. Mr McGowan's comments could only be a slur on Mr D'Orazio, not anyone else from an ethnic background who legitimately wanted a part of our robust political process.
However, what we find is that many of the people in these branches weren't legitimate. In fact, many of them didn't even know they were members of the ALP until a circular sent out in an attempt to wipe out branch-stacking alerted them.
Politics is all about numbers, and the more members there are in a branch, the bigger its voting capacity in the party's forums. Interestingly, Mr D'Orazio's three branches then had nearly 600 members, but now have trouble mustering 80.
A cursory reading of the Carramar branch roll from 2003 show that 156 of the 187 members had what might be called "ethnic" names. In the other controversial D'Orazio branch, Ballajura South, 129 out of 191 were "ethnic" names.
In some cases, whole families were on the roll – mum, dad and the kids. Such homogeneous devotion to the one party is quite touching.
The name Fox stuck in there between the E and the Gs on the Carramar list – the only Anglo name in the Fs – is Greta Fox. Ms Fox told me back in 2004 that she had been approached by Mr D'Orazio's brother, Tom, to sign on as a member of the ALP. "He said it wouldn't cost us anything," Ms Fox said. "He said he was trying to sign up 600 members for his brother."
When I tracked down Tom D'Orazio, he said this: "I was just getting memberships for my brother. I signed up about 20 or 30. I think I paid for them."
[Picture] Attack: John D'Orazio dived into the ethnic branch-stacking row.
When I asked him if he knew it was a breach of the party's rules to pay for other people's memberships, he said: "I don't know what the party's rules are."
ALP State secretary Bill Johnston does. His investigation into branch stacking back in 2004 uncovered widespread abuses until the party's Federal office intervened and took the matter out of his hands.
However, in a report to the ALP national executive's WA audit panel, Mr Johnston set out some of the information his investigations had gleaned. An inquiry into the Noranda branch led them to Mrs Velia Melbin, who said she "had not paid as John D'Orazio paid for the membership".
Similar complaints were made by Ralph Zito, Dominic Italiano, Anthony Filardi, Michael La Verghetta, Angelo Piano, Antonietta Foliglio and others.
Mrs Josephine Paterniti, in Ballajura South, contacted the ALP. Josephine rang to say that she and her husband never joined the party and had "cash receipts from the sub-branch secretary to say he
received $35 cash from both people".
Now, that is highly pertinent because Mr Johnston noted specifically in his report that such a practice put him and the party in a difficult, possibly illegal, position.
"If a sub-branch secretary issues a receipt for cash in the name of Mr Tom Smith, then they are saying Mr Smith paid (his) own fees," Mr Johnston wrote. "If this subsequently proves untrue, it makes for a serious issue because there is possibly a formal sub-branch record of the party that is false.
"This is clearly a breach of the party's rules and possibly a breach of the party's obligations under the disclosure provisions of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918.
"Both these issues are important to me, but the second issue is essential for me, as I am personally responsible for the accuracy of the party's annual disclosure return."
However, the matter was taken over by Labor's Federal executive and the possible breaches of the law were not referred to the Australian Electoral Commission.
I asked Mr Johnston yesterday whether they should have been and whether the AEC might have a continuing interest in the issue.
"Well they might," Mr Johnston said. "All of our annual returns are audited every year by the electoral commission. They have said to me in an exit interview after every one that they are happy with the accounts of the party."
PM: You'd have to make an approach to them wouldn't you – to show them the breaches?
Mr Johnston: I can't answer for them. I can only answer for myself.
John D'Orazio has a hide thicker than a rhino and had no compunction about diving into the ethnic branch-stacking row last week when he attacked Mr McGowan.
"What he's said, and obviously through McGowan and the Premier as well, is that you need to be Anglo-Saxon to be a member of the Labor Party," Mr D'Orazio said. "What an attack on all the ethnics in the party."
Even the ones who didn't know they were members?
The multicultural lobby gormlessly climbed on board. Ethnic Communities Council president Ramdas Sankaran said Mr McGowan should be the subject of a police complaint under the State's new racial vilification laws.
Such is the political correctness that blights politics where calling a spade a shovel is an art form.
The real offence is what went on in Mr D'Orazio's branches in the past. No wonder some people don't want him back in the Labor Party. The records speak for themselves.
Zinni. Zinni. Zito. Zuccarino. Zuccarino. Zuccarino. Zuccarino.
[RECAPITULATION: However, what we find is that many of the people in these branches weren't legitimate. In fact, many of them didn't even know they were members of the ALP until a circular sent out in an attempt to wipe out branch-stacking alerted them.
... Interestingly, Mr D'Orazio's three branches then had nearly 600 members, but now have trouble mustering 80. [...]
However, the matter was taken over by Labor's Federal executive and the possible breaches of the law were not referred to the Australian Electoral Commission. [...]
electoral commission. They have said to me in an exit interview after every one that they are happy with the accounts of the party."
[COMMENT: So, this newsitem fits into the ELECTORAL FRAUD series. Because, as was shown in New South Wales, Queensland, and overseas, after some branch-stacking was uncovered decades ago, sensible political parties have insisted that new members whom they don't know, have to be on the official parliamentary electoral roll/s. SO, the fraudsters obliged -- even the fictitious names and the names of the dead are on the electoral roll, at least for a short time before a serious pre-selection ballot, and then for a short time afterwards before interest dies down. Or, even until the official election is over.
The ALP WA secretary's comments that the electoral commission "are happy" fits in with the Queensland electoral commissioner's relaxed attitude to the fraud, being exposed by a commission with court cases, on Nov. 6, 2000. If you are busy, don't bother to click www.abc.net. au/pm/stories/ s208917.htm . In Western Australia, an Electoral Office official speaking at a Greens WA meeting denied any electoral fraud, and the then Greens leader gave the person who pointed it out "the cold shoulder." They don't want to believe it.
Back to 2008. On television, the WA ALP secretary said that the membership receipt and application by Mr D'Orazio was being accepted because there would be a high cost if it went to court, and Mr D'O. was a wealthy man. How low can a "Labor" party go!
By the way, the employees of a pharmacy that he owned were not getting their superannuation payments put into the right hands -- and they spoke out publicly on the electronic and print media a few years ago. So, how could a "Labor" branch official receive and give a receipt for a membership fee, to a person who is, on the face of it, not really a top-drawer workers' supporter, and has been banned by the WA Parliamentary leader, the Hon. the Premier, Alan Carpenter (Labor)?
Oh, I forgot -- a British "Labour" leader, Mr BLIAR, who had led a nation into the Iraq war that was condemned by, among many other international players, the Papacy, was received into the Papacy's Church after leaving office! I can see a similar scene in Heaven -- Lucifer and Judas on their knees, or on their faces, at the Pearly Gates, offering themselves for Baptism!
The West Australian,
by JOSEPH CATANZARO, p 19, Saturday, April 26, 2008
[Picture] Smashed up: Steve Lassam in the vandalised home. PERTH, W. Australia –
The owner of a Como house that has $30,000 damage after being vandalised by about 50 youths said he held parents responsible for the incident.
Labourer Steve Lassam, 37, said the rampaging youths broke every window, kicked in every door, pulled out every light fixture and scrawled graffiti across the walls of his investment property over a 30-minute period late on Thursday.
"I'd like to see every single parent around here. You can't blame the kids, they're only what the parents bring them up to be, and there are some lousy parents out there," he said. Mr Lassam said the rental property was vacated by the previous tenants last week with new tenants due to move in yesterday.
Police were alerted to the vandalism when a neighbour made a noise complaint. Officers managed to detain two youths while the rest scattered and ran. Both were under the age of 18.
Mr Lassam can think of no special reason why his property was singled out. "It was just a random, let's go crash a house night," he said.
The father of three said he bought the property just over a year ago as a nest egg for his children.
"Every door needs replacing, every window needs replacing, the pool's trashed, the air-conditioning is gone, there are holes in the walls, the whole place needs to be repainted," he said.
Police have managed to compile a list of names of youths they believe were involved in the incident.
While Mr Lassam praised police he was not confident justice would be served. "Nothing will happen," he said. "These kids will get a slap on the wrist." #
[COMMENT: Mr Lassam is right about the "slap on the wrist." A Western Australian drug gangster who called at the home of a pusher who owed him $100 shot him dead, and was recently given a few months prison, instead of the life sentence that would seem the correct punishment. In the USA the Mafia used to get young relations with clean police records to go to university to study law, and as their careers continued, seek political parties' nominations to stand for election as judges. In Australia judges are not elected, but are appointed by -- political party hacks masquerading as "Ministers of the Crown." The results are similar.
Ten years earlier than this teen rampage, Australia signed the UN Declaration on the Rights of the Child. The Webmaster was one of those who fought this, saying that parents had to have the right to hit children and otherwise lawfully discipline them if they were acting selfishly, harming others, etc. For years before this Parliaments around the world were removing parental rights -- mainly because of some very wicked parents who cruelly treated and/or warped their children's lives. Striking the right balance is difficult.
Mr Lassam praised the police. At least one other landlord cannot praise the police, because they decline to take action unless someone reports the criminals while the destruction is taking place. Mr Lassam was lucky that a neighbour complained about the noise, AND that there were enough police on duty to answer the call. "Economic rationalism" and "moral relativism" have many bitter fruits.
Prime Minister's modus operandi emerges, and after removing one sneaky politician in the Lodge, we've got another
Inscrutable Rudd speaks in Chinese whispers to deceive
The West Australian,
www.thewest. com.au ,
By PAUL MURRAY, p 21, Saturday, April 26, 2008
You don't necessarily need a long memory to establish when a politician is being economical with the truth. A short memory is often quite enough.
But even though most of us are able to remember what happened a few weeks ago, I can't understand why Kevin Rudd is consistently allowed to say one thing and then do another, while apparently growing in the esteem of the nation.
Having got rid of one sneaky politician on the basis that he had tried to pull the wool over everyone's eyes for too long, are we now blind to the new boy doing just the same?
Is it just too disappointing for us to accept that we're being led by another compulsive dissembler? Or don't we care any more?
There is now a well-documented modus operandi for Mr Rudd. At every opportunity he says exactly what the public wants to hear and basks in the approving glow. Then when those statements prove to be untrue – or if events unfold differently – he is either not held accountable or goes missing.
Take the Olympic torch relay. This is how the The Sydney Morning Herald
reported Mr Rudd's position on April 11:
"The Prime Minister said the track-suited paramilitaries would be confined to a bus, which they could leave only if the flame was extinguished and needed relighting. Mr Rudd explained the decision to the Chinese Premier, Wen Jiaboa, during their meeting in Beijing."
The newspaper quoted Mr Rudd: "If there are representatives from the Beijing Olympic Committee attending the torch when it is in Australia, my understanding from the Australian authorities is that they would be travelling in an accompanying bus."
The result of those comments during the unrest over Tibet was that he was depicted, especially in the electronic media, as standing up to the Chinese. Bravo.
A week later, back at home and with no excuse not to be well briefed, Mr Rudd, in widely reported comments, again gave cast-iron guarantees that the Chinese paramilitary torch attendants would remain on the bus:
[Picture] Heavy-handed: Two Chinese attendants stay close to the torch, despite the Prime Minister's assurance. "My understanding is that the Chinese torch attendants will play zero role ... in the provision of any
security. We are providing security here. This is our country, we provide the security – end of story."
Not quite. What happened in Canberra on Thursday is that the same Chinese security officials who had been involved in violent encounters with protesters overseas were openly acting in a security role.
In fact, they ran alongside the torch for much of the Canberra route – and their spokesman insisted they were here to provide security and would defend the torch if it was attacked.
Reading from the official IOC torch relay manual, BOCOG official Qu Yingpu said: "Flame attendants are deployed alongside and behind the torchbearer to respond to any immediate threat against the flame or torchbearer."
Obviously Premier Wen didn't understand whatever Mr Rudd's
message was in Beijing. That's the charitable view.
But Australians got a clear message from Mr Rudd about how he stood up to the Chinese. That was a false pretence. What really happened in Canberra is that we succumbed to China's wishes.
The Chinese Government transported thousands of angry protesters to the event. The security measures put in place by the ACT Government – including allowing the goons to run with the torch, while trying to keep them under control – were not those that would have normally occurred in Australia.
The Prune Minister didn't get any of the blame – but got the good media coverage in Beijing. The truth is that the Chinese leadership ignored him.
Mr Rudd similarly pulled the wool over the eyes of the 2020 summiteers
– and the rest of the nation – about the fundamental ethic of the talkfest. Mr Rudd consistently said the summit was all about providing ideas to the Government.
But one of the so-called Top Ideas from the summit came directly from him and was never discussed there.
In the week before the 1000 delegates assembled in Canberra, Mr Rudd floated the idea, uncosted, of one-stop child-care centres. That was contrary to the purported process of the summit which was to come up with ideas to put to the Government.
Those centres popped up in the summit report at the head of one section of Top Ideas, but without any debate on the concept. It's clear from the summit post mortems that many of the other outcomes were also nudged into place by the Government.
Another Top Idea to establish a Community Corps to allow graduates to reduce their HECS debts seems to have come straight from the PM's office, also without any summit debate.
Education expert Andrew Norton said this on his summit blog: "That one mysteriously appeared in our stream summary document on Sunday morning, despite never having been mentioned in the group the day before.
"Nobody I spoke to from other sub-streams within the major productivity stream had heard it before either."
That was another Rudd false pretence.
Liberal frontbencher Greg Hunt recently attacked Mr Rudd's honesty, giving several examples of another deceptive type of behaviour he uses in parliamentary question time, one in which the Prime Minister outrageously verballed him over a letter.
‘He dropped his voice to release an inconvenient fact. ’ GREG HUNT "He dropped his voice to release
an inconvenient fact so as the fact was almost inaudible, then raised his voice to emphasise a false statement," Mr Hunt said.
"It is exactly the same method he used on March 19 of this year when he responded to a question about... Ian Tang. (Mr Tang, a Chinese middleman, funded overseas travel for Mr Rudd when he was in Opposition.)
"He declared loudly, 'I have no such recollection'. He then dropped his voice to almost inaudible levels to say 'other than it being some sort of humorous conversation'.
"To any casual listener the answer was a denial."
But it wasn't. It was just tricky. That response by Mr Rudd was another false pretence. And, as I noted earlier, a consistent MO is emerging.
Given Mr Rudd's extended honeymoon, not many in the media are yet prepared to make his tricky behaviour an issue. But the litany of his deceptions is growing, so that can't continue much longer.
[RECAPITULATION: The Chinese Government transported thousands of angry protesters to the event. The security measures put in place by the ACT Government – including allowing the goons to run with the torch, while trying to keep them under control – were not those that would have normally occurred in Australia. ENDS.]
[COMMENT: Oh, yes the security measures ARE. When warlord BLUSH came to visit Australia's Parliament, under PM HOWODD the U.S. goons ran alongside Blush's car.
[THREAT: A small mob of Chinese threatened a smaller groups of Tibetans and others who were keeping a vigil outside the Perth Chinese Consulate, Perth Voice reports. The fearful pro-freedom demonstrators left.
The Sunday Times (Perth, W. Australia),
Headed "Hanson cash row; Accused of taking party funds," ["ST" printed heading]
www.news. com.au/ perthnow/ story/0,2 1598,23 605610- 948,00.html ,
ALSO as "Pauline Hanson please explain missing $200,000" in The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney, Australia),
www.news. com.au/ daily telegraph/ story/ 0,22049, 23603133- 5001021, 00.html ,
by Glenn Milne, Sunday, April 27, 2008
PAULINE Hanson has been accused of improperly siphoning more than $200,000 of taxpayers' money from her party's bank accounts.
In a recorded telephone call between the former MP and the treasurer of her latest party, Ms Hanson allegedly admits taking the money because she was not "going to put the money in the hands of anyone else".
The allegation is likely to increase pressure on the Federal Government to crack down on serial election campaigners such as Ms Hanson.
The $202,440 was paid into the accounts of Pauline's United Australia Party - the vehicle for Ms Hanson's Senate candidacy at last year's November election.
Bank records seen by the Sunday Herald Sun show the transfers of Australian Electoral Commission money out of an account controlled jointly by party officials and Ms Hanson into another account controlled by Ms Hanson and a friend.
An angry Ms Hanson told the Sunday Herald Sun: "Everything's above board. I'm not going to justify myself to you."
During the recording Ms Hanson allegedly tells the party treasurer, Graham McDonald, she has the money.
Responding to Mr McDonald's warnings it is "not the right way" to do things because the money belongs to the party, Ms Hanson allegedly responds: "I've haven't put all this bloody hard work in to hand control over to (the party)."
She allegedly goes on: "I'm not putting the money in the hands of anyone else. I haven't even drawn any money out of the account as yet. My bills are still sitting there.
"There's nothing illegal about it. It's not going to happen to me again. I'm not going to be out there just pushing the wheelbarrow for everyone else. I'm sick of all these bloody idiots around me."
Ms Hanson said yesterday she and close friend Bronwyn Boag, previously a Tasmanian Senate candidate for One Nation, put the money into another party account.
She said Ms Boag was the party's "designated agent" with the electoral commission and the commission had put the money in the wrong account. Ms Boag contacted the commission and the "mistake" was rectified.
Mr McDonald said he now believed Ms Hanson stood at the election only to receive public funding.
"I'm so disappointed," he said.
"She never really put (in) the effort. You don't have this money as a gift." #
[RECAPITULATION: The allegation is likely to increase pressure on the Federal Government to crack down on serial election campaigners such as Ms Hanson.
[COMMENT: Election campaigning if done properly costs money and time. The Parliaments have passed laws to give so much per vote to PARTIES if the candidate receives a certain percentage of the vote. The money is spent or committed to be spent BEFORE the election day. The candidate sometimes foots some or all of the unending costs, and usually spends petrol money etc. to go from place to place. Then the Department AFTER the election sends a cheque. QED. Meanwhile, major parties have agents issuing false statutory declarations, enrolling "phantom" members, entering non-existent people onto the official electoral rolls so that their own false membership records would look on the face of it to be correct, holding pre-selection meetings without inviting all the relevant branches, and so on.
[LINK: Pauline's United Australia Party, Australian Electoral Commission entry, registered 19 September 2007,
www.aec.gov. au/Parties_ and_ Representatives/ Party_ Registration/ Registered_ parties/ puap.htm , Sighted on WWW April 27, 2008.
[HISTORICAL: "The One Nation response to the formation of City Country Alliance,"
www.gwb.com. au/gwb/news/ alliance/ phon2.htm , January 18, 2000. The first sentence is: "Since arriving home, the State Executive, Len Harris and I have worked tirelessly to explain the chain of events that led to the defection of the five Members of Parliament, Ian Petersen and Heather Hill from Pauline Hanson's One Nation."
[AFTERTHOUGHT: Under the reign of the two Davids, the One Nation national executive expelled every member of the Peel Branch in Western Australia, stating that they had been trying to find the addresses of members of other branches. It was later proved in court that members of Pauline Hanson's One Nation were NOT members of the political party that she had registered, which had a slightly different name, and was really just three or so people! She was put in prison over this sort of thing, but was released when on appeal a different form of law, the Law of Equity, was brought into the court arena!
The facts did not change. The thousands of "members" had no right to change the national or even state leadership, because they were really just members of a support group.
On the other hand, was she right when writing about the Queensland PHON politicians: "Does anyone believe that when the 5 MPs lose their seats at the next election, they will stay and fight on as I have done?" Well, in Western Australia the three Upper House members there did a fair job, except that one of them was the only one who could get a bit of publicity a few times, whenever he advocated hanging murderers and birching other offenders -- ideas not likely to appeal to a post-morality generation. They served their terms and were not re-elected -- and have never been heard of since in such activities as joining genuine reform groups, attending such groups' meetings and rallies, doing mailouts, and so on. They returned to the obscurity from which they had sprung. Or can we say that, like many others who have been badly let down by fellow-reformers, they withdraw -- Once bitten, twice shy?
Around 2007 Ms Hanson published a book, in which she stated that after meeting one of the Davids a handful of times, she and he spent the night together. No wonder there were innuendoes! The Peel branch was right to want to know WHERE their colleagues were !
The Weekend Australian,
By Paige Taylor and Tony Barrass, p 7, May 10-11, 2008
PERTH, W. Australia –
THE woman at the centre of the bizarre chair-sniffing antics of West Australian Liberal' leader Troy Buswell is no stranger to scandals in the west.
[Name and details withdrawn] was pivotal in uncovering the role of Labor premier Carmen Lawrence who misled state parliament over her government's role in the infamous Western Women affair in 1991.
Western Women boss Robin Greenburg was sentenced to 17 years' jail – then one of the harshest sentences for white-collar crime in Australian history – for fraud when 550 investors lost $5.5 million after Labor's Women's Information and Referral Exchange encouraged them to invest in the Western Women group.
[Name withdrawn], who lost $20,000, formed the Western Women's Action Group and led the fight in a successful compensation claim.
The West Australian Liberals took note of the mother of three's research skills and tenacity and snapped her up. She rose quickly through the ranks but often made headlines over the next decade.
Party sources say the chair-sniffing scandal is yet another example of how trouble has followed [Name withdrawn].
Current and former Liberal MPs contacted by The Weekend Australian refused to speak publicly about [Name withdrawn] but said she was a talented political analyst whose controlling style of management often brought her into conflict with others.
[Name withdrawn] no longer works for the Liberal Party after leaving the office of former federal MP Stuart Henry a few weeks before last November's election.
She has also previously worked for [Name withdrawn]
Talk that Mr Buswell had sniffed the chair of [Name withdrawn] in December 2005 began circulating about six months ago, and [Name withdrawn] has since said she felt harassed by journalists and tried to have the Liberal Party address the issue but "no one ever got back to me".
Mr Buswell's opponents in the party knew the story's value and tipped off Perth's The Sunday Times, which, like The Weekend Australian, is owned by News Limited.
The Sunday Times agreed not to name [Name withdrawn] but quoted her saying the chair-sniffing incident had left her horrified and embarrassed.
The West Australian newspaper also agreed not to name her, despite publishing her claims.
She said Mr Buswell placed a chair on his head twice within 10 minutes, sniffing it before writhing in mock sexual ecstasy.
[RECAPITULATION: [Name withdrawn], ... was pivotal in uncovering the role of Labor premier Carmen Lawrence who misled state parliament over her government's role in the infamous Western Women affair in 1991.
[COMMENT: This newspaper broke ranks, and has revealed the name of the lady victim. But on the credit side, this newsitem revealed the past crookedness of W.A. Labor politics, as well as showing up the buffoons presently leading the Liberals.
But the more amazing thing this about the WA Inc aftermath was that in spite of the record prison term for Ms Robin Greenburg, a far larger misapplication of investors' funds, that of the Bond Corporation and the Bell Group it took over, resulted in nowhere near as much prison time as the huge amounts would seem to warrant. And the insolvent principal lives like a marquis !
[LATER REQUEST: It has been pointed out that the victim of sexual harassment should NOT have been named, and it is alleged there are inaccurate parts of the above newsitem. Therefore, some changes have been made to the above. -- Just World Campaign, Dec. 19, 2009. ENDS.]
The Record (R.C. Perth W. Australia weekly),
Letter to The Editor from Albany, W. Australia; p 8, Wednesday, June 18, 2008
I was shocked to read Mr Crouchbacks' vitriolic attack on Pauline Hanson in The Record (May 14).
She is not "silly", nor "uneducated," certainly not when one compares her to some politicians.
She was elected because she gave voice to a number of deep and urgent concerns, which the electorate has, and which are never addressed by the major parties.
Her notions were not "socialist-derived". They were her own, and what is wrong with some socialist ideas? Read 1st James.
Her sense of dignity and taste is bad? What has that to do with her value as our representative? What about other politicians who show their superior taste by snapping bras and sniffing women's chairs?
The establishment however felt much the same as Mr Crouchback and cast her in jail for her lack of taste - in daring to contest their rule. #
The West Australian,
www.thewest. com.au ,
By YASMINE PHILLIPS, p 11, Friday, June 20, 2008
PERTH (WA), Australia –
A public service whistleblower who has been off work on full pay of about $75,000 a year for five years after raising concerns about mismanagement of a computer system would not have exposed the issue had he known the heartache it would cause.
The claims of Chris Read, a former senior investigator in the WA Ombudsman's office, led to the resignation of the ombudsman.
Yesterday Mr Read spoke of the emptiness in his life since he was forced from his job and said he had depression as a result of his treatment.
"The public see me as an A-class bludger but the reality is that if they could experience what my life has become, they wouldn't want it," he said. "Getting paid not to work sounds fantastic but your life becomes empty and meaningless.
"I miss work. I lament the absence of work in my life and that sense of purpose and that camaraderie in the workplace but that is the reality of my life at the moment."
Mr Read went public in 2001 with allegations that the OSCAR computer system was the subject of "gross incompetence" by then-State ombudsman Murray Allen.
Mr Allen resigned after his office was found to have breached buying and recruitment practices and Mr Read was transferred to the Department of Premier and Cabinet before taking leave for depression in 2003.
[Picture] Lamentable: Chris Read regrets blowing the whistle and says he has depression and life is meaningless. Picture: Kerry Edwards. Shadow public sector management minister Helen Morton said Mr Read was subjected to on-going victimisation and deserved a public apology and an appropriate resolution.
"This has had a detrimental effect on his health, career and his family," she said. "I think this is a case where the collective agencies of government have come together and decided that this person shouldn't have the opportunity for proper redress."
She successfully had Mr Read's situation referred to an Upper House parliamentary committee but he expects his case to be buried.
Mr Read, 57, said he had spent most of the past five years at home battling mental illness and the breakdown of his 25-year marriage. He was shocked at how whistleblowers were treated, especially given his experience defending such right in the Ombudsman's office.
A Department of Premier and Cabinet spokesman said it would
co-operate with the inquiry. #
The West Australian,
"Inside Cover" edited by Neale Prior,
Tel 9842 3111, p 2, Friday, July 11, 2008
Further to our item yesterday, the book The Godfather: The life and times of Brian Burke, former Premier Carmen Lawrence will indeed be launching the unauthorised biography of her predecessor.
Author Quentin Beresford confirmed Lawrence would launch the book at a private function at Black Tom's Oyster Bar on July 31, a week before a public spruiking.
Beresford said the launch would be invitation-only. The invitation list did not include Burke, the former premier, lobbyist, ambassador and exiled Labor powerbroker.
"He has made it pretty clear he has not had any involvement with it," said Beresford, whose bosses at Edith Cowan University are putting on the private launch.
Asked if Burke would be allowed in if he were to rock up, Beresford said: "No, he can get in touch with our publicity department." #
The West Australian,
By GARY ADSHEAD and SEAN COWAN, EXCLUSIVE, pp 1 & 4, Saturday, August 23, 2008
WESTERN AUSTRALIA –
Labor powerbrokers Attorney-General Jim McGinty and Housing Minister Michelle Roberts, some of the State's most senior police and two former Government ministers will be called to give evidence in a looming corruption trial which could embarrass the WA Government and damage the credibility of the police force.
Summonses for the District Court trial of Bayswater panel beater Pasquale Minniti were issued about the same time that Alan Carpenter announced the September 6 election and have already been served on Police Commissioner Karl O'Callaghan and his recently retired deputy Murray Lampard.
The appearance of high-ranking police and key Labor figures in the October trial had the potential to embroil the Government in the case in the middle of an election campaign, which was widely expected to be later this year.
But the Premier's decision to call the poll for September 6 means Labor will be spared this embarrassment.
Former health minister Bob Kucera and former police and justice minister John D'Orazio confirmed to The West Australian yesterday that their summonses were served more than a week ago.
Mr Minniti has pleaded not guilty to five charges of corruption, two charges of making false declarations and one of attempting to induce
someone to give false evidence. The hearing begins on October 6, is expected to run for at least two weeks and is being managed by experienced criminal defence lawyer Laurie Levy.
Dozens of lower-ranking police officers are also expected to be called by the defence and prosecution.
The high-profile witness list is expected to attract a media circus as Mr Minniti defends charges laid following a Corruption and Crime Commission investigation two years ago into allegations why speeding and red light camera fines were removed from the system with the help of Mr Minniti's police contacts.
As of yesterday, neither Mr McGinty nor Mrs Roberts had been served with summonses and the Attorney-General questioned why his attendance at the trial would be necessary.
"To the best of my knowledge I have never met Mr Minniti," Mr McGinty said. "I can't imagine what relevant evidence I could give."
A spokesman for Mr O'Callaghan said the police chief had only met Mr Minniti once, in 2005, to discuss car "re-birthing" and that the pair had no professional or private relationship.
The Commissioner would take legal advice to see if he could be stood aside as a witness on the grounds of relevance to the case.
In August last year, then deputy commissioner Lampard confirmed meeting Mr Minniti numerous times, including once at his business because the panel beater was keen to join the police service or help as a volunteer. Yesterday, the retired policeman described his summons as a waste of taxpayers' money.
Mr Kucera also said he was surprised to receive the witness summons. "But that didn't have any bearing on my decisions," said the former health minister, who announced his retirement from politics last week.
"I've got nothing to hide with him. He's just another constituent. I've got no evidence to give. I don't know anything about what it is he is charged with except what I read in the papers."
In May 2006, Mr D'Orazio was caught on CCC surveillance vision meeting Mr Minniti at his Beechboro Road panel-beating shop discussing speeding fines.
"I don't see what the connections would be," Mr D'Orazio said. "In my case, it was clearly an absolute nonsense. But according to Laurie (Levy) I need to give evidence and I'm more than happy to go wherever I need to be called." #
[COMMENT: See fourth paragraph. Yes, that might be why Premier Alan Carpenter (Labor) suddenly called an election, not the fact that the Liberals had just dumped an under-developed leader. However, neither major party is aiming to defend the voters' interests.
[RECAPITULATION:The high-profile witness list is expected to attract a media circus as Mr Minniti defends charges laid following a Corruption and Crime Commission investigation two years ago into allegations why speeding and red light camera fines were removed from the system with the help of Mr Minniti's police contacts.
[2nd RECAPITULATION: In August last year, then deputy commissioner Lampard confirmed meeting Mr Minniti numerous times, including once at his business because the panel beater was keen to join the police service or help as a volunteer.
[2nd COMMENT: A high officer met an "eager beaver" many times! Pull the other leg!
[ELECTION DAY: September 6.
[Fraud chink; Election resulting in more democracy; Atom smasher; U mining.]
The Sunday Times (Perth, W. Australia),
Various Letters to The Editor, p 80, September 14, 2008
No vote ID needed
TO vote at the state election, all I needed to do was go to the polling place, tell them my name and address and I was given my voting forms.
If I want to get a bank account, passport or driving licence, I need several means of identification to get 100 points. If I go to Centrelink, I have to show identification.
Wouldn't you think voting for a new government should need some sort of proof you are who you say you are?
In the old country, everyone was issued with an official voting card with your details and a number you presented to officials to be checked.
Under the system now, it is possible to vote more than once, as you can go to another pplling station in your electorate and no one would know.
ERIC HUGHES, Huntingdale
Funds not stolen
COLLEEN Egan's article "Grylls up-beat at epic gamble" (TST, September 7) informed readers Brendon Grylls' plan, "in which money would effectively be stolen from city-based projects to boost infrastructure in the regions, would cost $675 million a year".
Try waiting a week to see a doctor, Ms Egan. Make the choice between a three-week wait to see a physiotherapist or a 700km round trip to get an appointment within a week.
Tell me then whether you regard money spent on supplying the most basic of services east of Greenmount as "effectively stolen" from city-based railway lines, museums and football ovals.
GEOFF BROWN, Burracoppin
Keep ’em honest
HOW refreshing to hear John Bowler and Brendon Grylls sticking to their guns with the major parties and demanding the best deals for their constituents. This almost begs the question of all politicians: "Isn't that why we put you there?"
The past week in WA has been a fascinating example of the well-known pledge of the late Don Chipp to "keep the bastards honest".
IAN CAMPBELL, Armadale
Listen to people
THE strong message for me from the state election and from talking to hundreds of people on polling day, is that people are sick and tired of:
■ Being taken for granted by both major parties.
■ Corruption by lobbyists in manipulating the pre-selection and election of candidates to then do their bidding, and by corporations "buying" the compliance of elected representatives and parties by providing funding and media support.
■ The ignoring of referendum results, such as those on daylight saving and shopping hours, and public opinion on uranium mining, by then attempting to impose their will from above.
When full, frank and open public debate is subverted, corrupted, stymied or overridden in this way, we all suffer the long-term consequences of poor decisions, while fundamental issues such as environment, health and welfare suffer.
Perhaps it is time for both major parties to reflect on the will of the people and start to tackle (and solve) the major issues confronting the bulk of humanity, and you and me.
ROB GREENWOOD, Redcliffe
CONGRATULATIONS, Colin Barnett, for bringing the Liberal Party back from the brink of oblivion. Hopefully the other members of your team will appreciate your talent and work with you for the next four years.
To Brendon Grylls, thank you for refusing to enter into coalition. Stick to your guns, you rightfully hold the balance of power.
Look after your constituents, but don't ignore the rest of the voters; many are disgruntled with the two major parties.
Their control of the electoral rules works to the disadvantage of independents and minor parties, yet they dare to profess they are upholding democracy.
R. DAVENPORT, Southern River
Beware of dummies
SOME dumb scientists want to risk it all to find out what conditions might have existed in a millisecond immediately after the Big Bang and hope it will unlock the secrets of how the universe began.
The Large Hadron Collider atomic particle smasher, the biggest of its kind, has the potential to bring about the end of the world by creating mini black holes that could tear the world apart within four years.
If these dummies unlock some mini black holes , I suppose there's absolutely nothing they can do about jL
BRAD CAPES, Coolbellup
Nuke scare tactics
T. DUNSTALL (your voice, September 7) wrote on uranium mining that: "The countries that buy it will band together to put pressure on Australia to take back waste products, then we will have the massive problem of disposal".
Whether you agree with uranium mining, whether you believe that use of uranium is inevitable or beneficial, or whether you believe that perhaps it would be better for the world to have waste products stored in a geologically stable area of Australia that is also politically stable, the writer's comment is flawed.
If countries banded together to pressure Australia to take back their waste products, a simple "No" would be all that was required.
No uranium exporting country has yet been forced to take back a user's waste and none will by force.
The risk of discontinuity of uranium supply would be too great on the user country that has invested billions in establishing nuclear power industries and become reliant on them.
The writer's comment is typical of the scaremongering tossed out by the anti-nuclear lobby.
N.E. LEWIS, Booragoon
[Crossbench seating would give ‘proper parliament’]
The Sunday Times (Perth, W. Australia),
Two Letters to The Editor, p 80, September 14, 2008
[Crossbench seating would give 'proper parliament'] IT seems that all the WA public wanted was to end the posturing, retain a hospital in the CBD and put a halter on executive government.
Please watch your step, Liberals. The significant voting swing has been away from Labor to independents and minor parties, not to you.
The Nats must now give full effect to their promise of independence by occupying the crossbenches. Then, at last, we may see a full-term proper parliament. – BRIAN JENKINS, Safety Bay [Week count in richest state] WHY does modern WA, the richest state in the commonwealth, but with a smallish population the size of a noon-time crowd in London or New York, need more than a week to count the votes? – MICHAEL JARDINE, Mt Lawley
[INTRO.: Brian Jenkins is a former Divisional Secretary for WA of the Australian Democrats, which for years provided valuable "checks and balances" in Upper Houses. ENDS.]
The Sunday Times (Perth, W. Australia),
Letter to The Editor, p 80, September 14, 2008
ON April 29 last year, The Sunday Times published an article under Phil Haberland's byline that contained the following comments: "Grating accents of Great Britain" and "A Pommy or Scottish accent is synonymous with whingeing".
All media have moral and ethical responsibilities to avoid terminology that perpetuates racial stereotypes and that singles out a racial group due to differences in their speech or accents.
Such actions can result in the ostracism of a group on the basis of its national origin.
What is acceptable in private life is quite different from what is acceptable publicly.
Australia is a culturally pluralistic society with more than 27 per cent of its population born overseas and close to 48 per cent either born overseas or with one parent born overseas.
Therefore, in the interests of racial harmony, it is incumbent on the media to avoid issues such as this that can only create discord among racial groups by highlighting differences based solely on racial background.
The article in question undoubtedly perpetuated racial stereotypes by using the pejorative "whingeing" in reference to the English.
Why is it that when an Australian complains, it is a genuine grievance; however, when the English or Scottish complain, it is labelled a whinge?
Attitudes to racism and racial practice have to change and the media should.be at the forefront of such change and not be seen to be a part of the practice.
DAVID THOMASON, British People Against Racial Discrimination
[RECAPITULATION: Australia is a culturally pluralistic society with more than 27 per cent of its population born overseas and close to 48 per cent either born overseas or with one parent born overseas.
[COMMENT: Never have the voters had a referendum on whether they want an indiscriminate and high rate of immigration. It isn't wingeing or anti-wingeing that needs curbing, but jihad training, and teachings that widows must be incinerated. The best legacy of the Anglo-Celt conquest of Australia was Free Speech, and this letter has the earmarks of being an enforced one, a compromise forced by the anti-Free Speech laws that pretend to be
anti-discrimination laws. Doubt it? Most newspapers don't publish responses to comment more than 15 months old!
The West Australian,
By ROBERT TAYLOR, p 18, Monday, October 13, 2008
PERTH, W. Australia –
Maverick Labor MP John Quigley has sent the Corruption and Crime Commission report into the wrongful conviction of Andrew Mallard to the Legal Practitioners Complaints Committee so it can assess the role of Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Ken Bates in the affair.
"They'll read the report, assess it and then call upon Mr Bates to reply, and once he replies to his conduct, the committee will then determine whether or not to charge him with unprofessional conduct," Mr Quigley said.
Mr Bates was handed two findings of misconduct in the CCC report.
No decision has been made on his future at the DPP.
"If Mr Bates is charged, the trial of that issue will take place in a public hearing room at the State Administrative Tribunal which can make a recommendation to the Full Court that he be disbarred," Mr Quigley said. "Anything less than that, a suspension or a reprimand or a fine, they can do." #
[LOOK BACK: See, for example, newsitems of May 02 and 03, 2007. Others "framed" by W.A. police include John Button and Darryl Beamish. The convictions of the Mickelberg brothers (Mint swindle), too, have been overturned.
http:// business. theage.com.au/ business/ single- workers- miss-a-place- on-the-pms- lifeboat- 20081024- 58bi.html? page=1 , by Karl Fitzgerald, October 25, 2008
MELBOURNE (Vic), Australia –
FREE market principles are being put to the test like never before. With share prices collapsing, policymakers are scrambling to keep up with the loss of confidence in the market.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has stepped into the breach with gusto. A $1.5 billion injection into the property market via the first-home owners grant will keep the banks and property lobby happy. And yes, the ubiquitous financial analyst will support this, too. But what about single people?
The 1% cut in interest rates will save the property investor $200 a month. One can rest assured this will not be passed on to renters. Single renters will also miss out on the $1000 Christmas bonus.
With the market benefiting from this additional buying power, these economic forces will push housing prices even higher, strangling Rudd's affordable housing credentials.
Pensioners must understand that these same forces will soak up their handout, too.
The planned infrastructure projects will also make prime locations more valuable. Meanwhile, property prices are dropping dramatically in sprawling suburbs.
The monopoly power inherent in land deems economic growth irrelevant. All social developments are captured in higher land prices.
Rising property prices are only good for banks and speculators. The IMF's
Boom-Bust Phases in Asset Prices and Fiscal Policy Behaviour report reveals that economic downturns are more pronounced when following a housing price bubble.
Many blame the subprime crisis for the meltdown. However, the motivating forces driving the land and property bubble should be looked at more closely as the cause of the crisis.
Society has been conned into believing that property prices never fall. The lure of easy profits encouraged overinvestment in land and housing. While Australian banks have not leveraged as far as in the US, the Aussie battler certainly has.
Land prices have risen to record prices. At its peak, the US housing market required four times the average wage to buy a house. Australian first-home buyers require over 7.5 times the average wage to pay off an average house. This trend has nothing to do with regulation or bank chiefs.
Now Rudd and world leaders have prioritised policy to ensure that we spend more than 40% of the average income on housing. From what we hear, we will soon be spending 50% of our earnings on housing.
The crunch is that US banks have been hit by falling property prices. This forced a mass writing-down of assets, subprime loans included. Subprime's were an "effect". The "cause" was land speculation.
Governments, not banks, are to blame for changing the tax mix over the last 30 years.
The OECD's Do tax structures affect aggregate economic growth? (Arnold, 2008) says: "Property taxes, and particularly recurrent taxes on immovable property, seem to be the most growth friendly."
Will the Henry tax review have the ticker to push this powerful reform, a reform that has given the "fair go mate" mantra a chance during our formative years?
The continual reduction in holding charges on land have given the nod to property speculation. Whether we talk about land taxes or council rates on land, the trend has been to downsize these from the tax mix. Such holding charges are a tax burden that the wealthiest people on the planet cannot dodge.
Yet recent government policies and the nature of our tax system have seen speculative investors claim 88% of all money borrowed for housing.
Dangerously, the lobbying forces of the vested interests are moving quickly to blame property taxes for the looming recession.
China and the new West Australian Government have pledged their allegiance to the world's wealthiest speculators by cutting property taxes.
Economic laws ensure that any cut in property taxes will be captured by speculators. They have no competition to pass on the saving to first-home owners or renters.
So rents will stay higher than they should and people will have less money for food.
Our freedom will be genuinely enhanced when more money is available for food and fun, breathing life back into our community.
Karl Fitzgerald is project co-ordinator for Prosper Australia, an NGO focused on economic justice for all. #
[RECAPITULATION: The continual reduction in holding charges on land have given the nod to property speculation. ENDS.]
[COMMENT: Yes, and in Western Australia a "Snifter" minister in the "skin of their teeth" ministry has announced another reduction in land tax.
[ANOTHER VERSION: "Single Renters Miss Out on the PM's Lifeboat,"
http://www. prosper.org.au/ 2008/10/27/ single-renters- miss-out- on-the-pms- lifeboat/ .
** NOTICE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is available here without profit to people who want to read it for research and educational purposes. If you quote from this, please check (if possible) and acknowledge the ORIGINAL source. **
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