Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Union thug  attacks photographer at royal commission

Former union official Bruce Wilson, the ex-partner of former prime minister Julia Gillard, has attacked a photographer outside a royal commission hearing in Sydney.

Sam Mooy, a photographer with News Corp Australia, was working outside the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption in Sydney on Monday afternoon when he became involved in an altercation with Mr Wilson.

“He sped up when he saw us taking the photos and then he just turned around and lashed out at Sam,” Dan Himbrechts, the AAP photographer who photographed the moment, told News Corp.

“It was totally unprovoked; he was just trying to avoid having his photo taken.”

Mr Mooy told News Corp that he would not take the event any further with police.

“All’s fair in news gathering. I knew where I stood ethically and legally and he just took exception to the fact I was trying to take his photo on a public road,” he said.

“Yes I was manhandled but I’ve had a lot worse in the course of doing my job. He [Mr Wilson] landed the first few but I kept shooting.”

Mr Wilson is a former official with the Australian Workers Union.

The royal commission is investigating alleged slush fund activity, in particular one set up by members of the AWU more than 20 years ago.

The commission is expected to hear politically explosive evidence due to the involvement of Ms Gillard in doing legal work to establish the slush fund, and her personal relationship as the lover of  the man alleged to be its mastermind, Mr Wilson.


A coverup at Westpac

Were senior staff bribed?

Westpac CEO Gail Kelly and Chairman Lindsay Maxsted are up to the neck in concealing fraud by staff at Westpac. I have the documents to prove it including internal bank emails and an email sent to me on Mrs Kelly’s behalf which is in effect an admission.  Both Gail Kelly and Lindsay Maxsted should be in jail for concealing a serious indictable offence.

The Westpac fraud is very similar in a lot of regards to the story this week on massive bank fraud by employees at the Commonwealth Bank which was on the  ABC’s Four Corners program this week called Banking Bad.

The Commonwealth Bank fraud has resulted in 1200 financial planning customers being compensated $50 Million for the fraud so far. In the Four Corners program a whistle-blower told the senate inquiry “I suspect a broader review is just going to uncover there are a lot more, like, you know, tens of thousands of clients who are probably entitled to compensation, and it’s never been looked at.” If you have superannuation which we all do it is a must watch or read the transcript.  The Commonwealth Bank has used some very grubby tactics to conceal the fraud and harass people who complain as can be seen in a letter to Michael Fraser . The letter is from CBA executive John Geurts, is mostly broad and generalised, has very little specific detail and can be accurately described as nothing more than rambling dribble from a fool trying to intimidate.


Westpac made numerous multimillion dollar loans to Mario Girardo and were defrauded by him. At the time of Westpac making the loans Mario Girardo had no real assets, had three previous convictions for bank fraud and other frauds, was banned by ASIC from being a company director until 2007 and awaiting trail for kidnap and extortion which he was jailed for in 2011. Yet the Westpac kept on lending him money.  The bank did eventually have him declared bankrupt as he was not paying his loan repayments but has refused to make a complaint to the police for fraud even though internal emails show they know that fraud has taken place.

In 2007 towards the end of Mario Girardo’s fraud spree Westpac put pressure on Patrick Hayes to do a joint deal with Mr Girardo to by a property. Mr Hayes did not know the background of Mr Girardo but the bank should have and highly likely did. The deal went bad as you would expect as Mr Girardo had no money and the bank instituted proceedings against both men. Mr Girardo was declared bankrupt and Mr Hayes is currently fighting in court as a self-represented litigant.

The documents and emails that I have relate to a 2006 fraudulent loan for $6.8 million from Westpac to Mr Mario Girardo which has nothing to do with Patrick Hayes. I wrote to Gail Kelly with the smoking gun evidence (Westpac’s own documents) and she had one of her staff respond and refused to take action. It is quite simple, if management have evidence of fraud against their company they have an obligation to report it to the police.


Men too scared to teach for fear of being falsely accused of child-sex offences

GROWING numbers of men are shunning teaching careers for fear of being falsely accused of child-sex offences.

More than 50 South Australian schools had no male teachers last year and experts say this rate will worsen in the wake of the high-profile Debelle royal commission into the handling of school sex-abuse cases.

Australian Education Union state president David Smith said members were reporting more reluctance from young men about joining the profession.

“The recent publicity following the Debelle inquiry has led to a negative atmosphere,” he said.  “Quite frankly, there are concerns about (men’s) safety regarding vexatious accusations.

“We believe it’s very important that all teachers and other employees in schools have a safe workplace.”

Education Department figures show about 10 per cent of its schools — 56 across the state, mostly rural primary schools — did not have a male teacher last year, while Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show the number of male teachers in South Australian public schools has also declined, from almost 35 per cent in 1999 to under 29 per cent, and in raw numbers by 842 men.

Catholic and independent schools had higher numbers of male teachers in the same period, but more women had also been hired, causing the male/female ratio of men to women to drop.

Principals, psychologists and the teachers union say young men are becoming scared of entering the profession and that more must be done to attract men into the system.

SA Primary Principals Association state president Pam Kent said the number of men entering primary teaching was declining, and most who did worked in high schools.

“Part of the reason is that male teachers are increasingly at risk by being alone with students and people are very conscious about this and they are more vulnerable to the possibility of unfair or vexatious allegations,” she said.

She said male teachers were an important asset in schools, especially as role models for children where a male role model may not be present at home.

Clinical psychologist Dr Darryl Cross said society was becoming more legalistic, causing fear and discouraging young men who may consider teaching as a potential career.

But, he said the benefits of male teachers included that they show boys how to behave, while they offer an opportunity for girls to learn how to communicate with men.

“It’s absolutely fundamental for children’s development that they have those role models bearing in mind that lots of children in schools nowadays come from single parent families,” he said.

ABS figures show the number of men in public schools has declined by 842 since 1999, when there were 4635 who made up 34.66 per cent of teaching staff in SA public schools.

Last year, there were 3793 male teachers, or 28.91 per cent of the total 13,120 teachers.

SA Secondary Principals Association president Jan Paterson said a further decline in the number of males could be expected, given many were in the older age bracket of 55-65.

“There will be a considerable number of retirements over the next few years,” she said.

The state’s universities continue to report that more women than men are studying education courses.

At Flinders University there are 679 men and 1556 women studying teaching, while at the University of Adelaide there are 402 male teaching students who make up 41 per cent of the total.

At UniSA, which runs a mentoring program specifically for male students in early primary teaching degrees, there are 709 men and 2584 women studying teaching so far this year.

A spokeswoman for the Education and Child Development Department said the department was “committed to employing the best teachers, regardless of gender”.

“South Australia’s percentage of male teachers (29 per cent) is higher than the national average of 26 per cent,” she said.

“Also, of the (56) schools in the list (without a male teacher), the average number of students is approximately 52, and 72 per cent of these schools have less than 60 students.

“Between 2008 and 2012 there has been a 24.6 per cent increase in the number of males under the age of 25 enrolling in tertiary teaching courses in South Australia.”

Graeme Hunt, the lone male teacher at Goodwood Primary School, says this is the first year he has worked with an otherwise all-female staff in his 30-year career.  “Last year, there were about three or four of us around, but because of retirements and other things, now it’s just me,” he said.

He said he makes sure he is available as a role model to all students in the school.  “Some of the kids don’t have a significant male in their homes,” he said.

He said his career choice was one of the best decisions he had ever made, and encouraged other young men to consider entering the profession.  “It really is a very rewarding job, even when it’s frustrating,” he said.


Holden records $554 million loss

Holden has blamed its decision to stop building cars in Australia for a $553.8 million after tax loss in 2013.  It is the biggest loss for the General Motors-owned brand and comes despite $86.2 million in government assistance.

But its chief financial officer says the company can be profitable with an after local production stops in 2017, despite the grim results.

Holden recorded a one-off charge of $500.1 million against property, plant and equipment that will be affected by the decision to stop building cars in Australia.

The manufacturer also recorded a $122.3 million charge for employee redundancy and settlement costs that took a chunk out of its bottom line.

The significant loss did not come as a surprise to Holden, which said in December 2013 that it expected heavy losses on the back of asset write-downs.

Jeff Rolfs, chief financial officer for the embattled brand, says strong sales were hamstrung by its December 11 decision to cease manufacturing.

“Clearly there are significant costs associated with our decision to cease domestic manufacturing of vehicles in Australia by the end of 2017,” he said.  “These costs drove the financial loss for Holden in 2013.”

The car maker’s consolidated revenue was up slightly from $4.02 billion in 2012 to $4.05 billion in 2013.

It made profits of $112 million and $90 million in 2010 and 2011 before posting a $152.8 million loss in 2012.

Holden’s 2012 financial statement said it received an average of $150 million per year in Government assistance, with funding reduced to $86.2 million in 2013.

The manufacturer announced on December 11, 2013 that it would stop building cars, 65 years after introducing its first local model. 

Holden’s total sales fell by 2.3 per cent to 112,059 vehicles in 2013 and sales of locally manufactured models dropped by 17.1 per cent.

Rolfs defended the company’s decision to end local manufacturing, which was bracketed by similar announcements by Ford and Toyota.

“We are mindful of the impact on our employees and our financial results, but it was the right decision,” he said. “Manufacturing vehicles in Australia is, unfortunately, unsustainable.”

But the company claims it can get back into the black with imported cars such as the Captiva SUV, Barina hatch and Colorado ute. 

“We are profitable on our imported portfolio and Holden is focused on taking the right decisions to grow sales and revenue in the immediate term and manage our other costs very closely,” Rolfe said.

“Addressing our high fixed cost base is certainly a key to returning Holden to sustainable profitability into the future.”


No comments: