Friday, February 17, 2017
Mediscare push back
In an absolutely disgraceful episode during the last Federal election, Labour party operatives sent messages to large numbers of people which contained outright lies about the coalition planning to cut back Medicare. It probably influenced the vote. The coalition now is trying to criminalize such lies
Labor has berated a push to criminalise falsely representing government entities such as Medicare as "the longest dummy spit in Australian political history".
The Turnbull government is poised to introduce harsh penalties, including jail time, for anyone caught falsely representing a government body - a tactic Labor harnessed in last year's "Mediscare" election campaign.
"Malcolm Turnbull needs to stop fighting the last election. He needs to stop worrying about this sort of campaigning and get on with government the country," Labor frontbencher Mark Dreyfus said on Thursday.
It is understood Attorney-General George Brandis is working on two pieces of legislation - one dealing with ways to authorise non-printed electoral communication such as text messages, and one tackling the false representation of a government body.
Existing laws around impersonating a commonwealth officer carry a penalty of up to five years in jail.
In December, a parliamentary committee found electoral laws should be changed to ensure parties were made responsible for their political statements, the authorisation rules applied to all forms of communication, and those who authorised electoral materials were identifiable and traceable.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull described Labor's "Mediscare" as an "extraordinary act of dishonesty" but the federal police declined to take any action after investigating the campaign.
Donald Trump PRAISED Malcolm Turnbull as a 'brawler' after explosive first telephone call with the Australian PM
Donald Trump praised Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull as a 'brawler', according to one of the U.S. President's staffers.
Mr Trump made the comment after the two leaders' infamous first telephone conversation earlier this month, in which the US president reportedly berated Mr Turnbull for pushing a Obama-era refugee deal that would 'kill' him politically.
The February 2 phone call was supposed to last for an hour, but was reportedly cut short to just 25 minutes.
The recent comments were made by Mr Trump to a staffer, and suggested the president was impressed with Mr Turnbull's conduct during the call.
'There is a brawler there,' Mr Trump reportedly told the senior staff member. 'Not what I expected of him. He is no shrinking poppy (sic).' The president reportedly added he has 'no issues with the Aussies.'
Mr Trump's comments were reported by the Australian.
The president's phone conversation with the Australian prime minister should have been a formality - but turned into another headache for the new White House administration, after it was reported that the call was contentious and drastically cut short.
During the call, Mr Trump reportedly lashed out at Mr Turnbull over a deal the prime minister struck with former president Barack Obama, which involved the US accepting a group of refugees currently detained under squalid conditions on the islands of Manus and Nauru.
According to a report in the Washington Post, Mr Trump said it was 'the worst deal ever' and would get him 'killed' politically, and added Australia was trying to send the US the 'next Boston bombers.'
Mr Turnbull has disputed this version of events, saying the phone call was 'forthright' and 'very frank.'
The US and Australia have historically strong relations, described by the US State Department as 'a robust relationship underpinned by shared democratic values, common interests, and cultural affinities.'
The two nations have fought side by side in every major military conflict since World War I, the State Department fact sheet points out.
Government to end funding for SA Islamic school
The federal government has axed funding for a controversial Islamic school in South Australia.
Education Minister Simon Birmingham announced today that his department will no longer fund the Islamic College of South Australia in Adelaide from April 13.
Senator Birmingham said the school had failed to comply with financial reporting requirements, including the submission of quarterly reports.
"It is disappointing that after the number of chances this school has been given and the constructive work the Department has been doing with the authority since November 2015 the school has still failed to meet the reasonable standards and expectations placed on them," Senator Birmingham said.
He said the government had not taken the decision lightly but was left with no choice but to withdraw funding.
"The school authority is not meeting the strict conditions placed on them in April 2016, which included obligations around improvements to governance and financial management and regular reporting on progress in making the required changes."
The Commonwealth Government provided $4 million to the school during last year.
Opposition’s 50 per cent renewable energy aim suddenly gets complicated by the political heat
Labor’s renewable energy policy used to be so simple it could be reduced to street-march chants.
“What do we want?” “Fifty per cent renewable energy.” “When do we want it?” “2030.”
But now it has been complicated by the intensification of the political debate over energy security, and Labor has had to lose the simplicity of a “target” with the addition of terms such as “aspirations” and “goals”.
It no longer sounds like a guaranteed destination.
“What do we want?” “An aspirational approach to renewable energy goals.” “When do we want it?” “Some time in the future we hope but first we have to see where we are in 2020.”
Try chanting that. In fact, try defending and defining it in a political debate.
“What we have is, there are two Labor policies: there’s the renewable energy target and there’s the goal of getting to 50 per cent renewable energy,” shadow treasurer Chris Bowen told Sky News yesterday.
“Now 50 per cent renewable energy is underpinned by a range of policy measures.”
Tested on definitions Mr Bowen said: “Well, there’s the renewable energy target and then we have the 50 per cent aspiration which is separate to our renewable energy target.”
Today opposition environment spokesman Mark Butler had a crack at explaining the policy but also seemed to add qualification to qualification.
The aim, from what he told Radio National, seems to be to promote the shift to renewables with the wish and the hope the momentum will produce the goal in 15 years. The hope is that a combination of early backing and the retirement of fossil fuel generators will see Australia coasting to 50 per cent renewable energy use.
Well, that’s the aspiration. There is not dedicated plan to fix a target for 2030.
First task is to reach 23.5 per cent renewables by 2020, as proposed by the Paris Agreement Australian signed last year. By then, the task will have been done, said Mr Butler.
“By the 2020s though, this technology on all the modelling will be able to stand on its own two feet, compete in the market without subsidy from government or without subsidy effectively from consumers through a government legislated scheme, providing that there is a proper policy framework that gives investors a long term price investment signal that is compliant with our carbon pollution reduction efforts,” he said.
That momentum combined with emission reduction targets, Mr Butler said, “will require, in my very clear view, about half of our electricity by 2030 will be zero emissions”.
The political debate, which has been condemned by industry and the ACTU, also had hidden the fact there isn’t much difference between Labor and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
Mr Turnbull said Monday: “Renewables have a very big place in Australia’s energy mix and it will get bigger. The cost of renewables is coming down.”
The key difference is the Government has yet to offer a “target” as the Prime Minister knows that would require some form of emissions trading, and Coalition colleagues wouldn’t allow that.
More trouble for Gold Coast police
ONE of the police officers accused of snooping at the personal file of a former bikini model has previously been convicted of the bashing of an elderly homeless man in Brisbane.
Former model-turned justice crusader Renee Eaves last month launched a lawsuit with the District Court of Queensland, amid allegations her personal QPRIME file was accessed 1400 times.
Police officers are only allowed to access the files during the course of work and some have faced disciplinary action or even criminal charges for unauthorised access.
In the lawsuit, Ms Eaves names five individual officers, including Constable Benjamin Arndt, who was convicted over the 2006 bashing of Brisbane homeless man Bruce Rowe.
Constable Arndt, who had originally been cleared of any wrongdoing by an internal affairs investigation, was eventually fined $1000 over the assault and lost a subsequent appeal.
Ms Eaves, whose own criminal history contains little more than the odd traffic offence, says she has been forced to move house amid fears hundreds of Queensland police officers had accessed her personal information, including her home address.
She is seeking $400,000 in damages.
Ballarat police officers charged with assault over kicking of drunken colleague
This appears to be the tip of the iceberg at Ballarat. There have been other accusations of police thuggery there
Two police officers have been charged with assault and stood down from operational duties after a damning IBAC report into an alleged excessive use of force at Ballarat police station.
A drunk off-duty colleague was allegedly stripped, kicked and stomped-on in custody, an Independent Broad-based Anti-Corruption Commission report revealed last year.
An IBAC hearing into police conduct in Ballarat has been shown CCTV footage of the abuse of a female police officer arrested for drunkenness.
Footage shows her drinking from the toilet, allegedly after the officers refused to give her water.
When it released its report in November last year IBAC recommended police consider whether assault charges should be laid in relation to the incident.
A female leading senior constable has been charged with one count of assault and a male senior constable with two counts of assault, Victoria Police said in a statement released on Thursday.
Both officers are from the Western region.
The charges relate to an alleged assault that occurred at Ballarat police station in January 2015. The members have been transferred to non-operational duties, Victoria Police's statement said.
In November, IBAC released a report into allegations of excessive use of force by several people at Ballarat police station.
A serving police officer, Yvonne Berry, was arrested before allegedly being stood on and kicked inside the station's cells.
"IBAC's Operation Ross exposed the concerning casual disregard and at times alarming mistreatment of a vulnerable woman in Ballarat police custody that was captured on CCTV," IBAC Commissioner Stephen O'Bryan QC said when the report was released.
"Importantly, Operation Ross also revealed broader systemic issues and missed opportunities by Victoria Police to address similar patterns of conduct at the station."
Both police officers will appear in Ballarat Magistrates Court on March 6.
Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.). For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup of pro-environment but anti-Greenie news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH . Email me here