Sunday, February 01, 2015

A conservative loss in the Queensland State election

A good government will be replaced by a very vague one.   Even ALP governments do at times govern quite conservatively in Qld so we can only hope that some solidity lies behind the very vague undertakings of the Qld. ALP.

The loss is clearly due to Mr Newman not communicating well.  He needed to constantly drum in the huge debt that the previous ALP government had left behind for Queenslanders.  Every time he announced some cutback he should have constantly stressed why.  He did not and now Queensland will pay the price.

The ALP have no program for the budget and have ruled out asset sales so there will have to be even more borrowing.  We will get to the point where more of the state revenue is spent on interest payments than in providing services to Queenslanders.  Fortunately, interest rates on borrowings are very low at the moment but that may not last as the international economy revives

Prince Philip is a great bloke who deserves this knighthood

Prince Phillip was first recognised by ex-Prime Minister Bob Hawke and was not ridiculed.  Our journalists need to do some research so that people are presented with facts

It was with joy that monarchists young and old around the country woke to the news that Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, was named a Knight of the Order of Australia in the Australia Day Honours.

This singular honour is much more than a fancy golden trinket; it is a uniquely Australian way of recognising pre-eminent service to the nation and humanity, and it is only right that Prince Philip, a person who has devoted his life to the service of the Commonwealth and the people of Australia, be honoured in this way.

The Prince has visited these shores 23 times ... criss-crossing the nation and meeting people from all walks of life, his last visit being in 2011 at the age of 90. 

Some republicans and social media obsessives, upset and bewildered at the dwindling support for a republic in Australia, have criticised the fact that a non-resident has been recognised with an Order of Australia. This is absurd. Many incredible people, including Nelson Mandela and Mother Theresa, have been recognised for their outstanding contributions to humanity with an Order of Australia, even though they don't call Australia home.

Was it not Bob Hawke, a republican prime minister, who recommended that Prince Philip receive what was then Australia's highest honour? It is rare indeed for anyone to show the level of commitment to service of Prince Philip, and the award announced on Australia Day was entirely appropriate, recognising the service of a great bloke to a great nation.

Duty and service have been the hallmarks of the life of Prince Philip, whose vitality and enthusiasm throughout his long life have helped immeasurably to contribute to the success of the hundreds of charities which have him as their patron in Australia. His passionate commitment to humanitarian endeavours and conservation has won him respect and admiration worldwide.

Prince Philip made his first visit to Australia in the 1940s during World War II while serving in the Royal Navy, and he has made it a regular port of call ever since.

The Prince has visited these shores 23 times (seven of them flying solo), criss-crossing the nation and meeting people from all walks of life, his last visit being in 2011 at the age of 90. He has been central to pivotal events in the life of our nation, including the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, the 1962 Perth Commonwealth Games, the opening of the Sydney Opera House in 1973, and the bicentenary in 1988, just to name a few.

Never one to shirk the responsibility of service to the community, Prince Philip founded the Duke of Edinburgh's Award scheme in 1956 which has helped tens of thousands of young Australians reach their potential and encouraged them to serve their community.

As the husband of the Queen of Australia, Prince Philip has been a constant source of strength and support, and together they have served the people of Australia with dignity, compassion and good humour for more than 62 years. This is one of the reasons why support for a republic remains at record lows (particularly among the young) and why the royal family's popularity is undiminished.


Strange days indeed for a ridiculed prime minister

TONY Abbott will deliver a make-or-break address at the National Press Club on Monday. It will be the last chance he has to begin any recovery from his self-inflicted wounds before the Liberal Party room meeting on February 9 and the beginning of the parliamentary year

Despite the many sound initiatives and reforms his government has achieved — from stopping the boats to pointing the nation toward economic recovery — he has proved to be a greater danger to his own prime ministership than Bill Shorten, or Clive Palmer, or any other figure from the Labor Party or ranks of the whacky cross-benchers. His decision to bestow a knighthood on Prince Philip, a trivial matter really, has been seen by many as an indication that a character trait that was once dismissed as a somewhat odd but acceptable quirkiness actually reflects an unacceptable dissonance with community sentiment.

Abbott should have been thinking of modern Australia on Australia Day — something he obviously did with the appointment of anti-domestic violence campaigner Rosie Batty as Australian of the Year — not about a distinguished but ageing member of the Royal family.

After the ridicule his ­ill-advised reinstatement of knights and dames attracted last March, the disbelief and hostility that greeted the announcement of the Duke’s honour was always going to be magnified.

It was seen as provocative at best, offensive at worst, and lacked any strategic insight. There was no conceivable political gain for Abbott or the Liberal Party.

Nervous Liberal backbenchers are doing the numbers but they cannot decide whether Julie Bishop or Malcolm Turnbull or Scott Morrison hold the key to their future, or even whether the very act of political assassination would in fact be an act of political suicide.

A hardcore of Abbott supporters, including Christopher Pyne and Scott Morrison, believe the situation is not yet irrecoverable. Others are not so certain but hope that the party room meeting will see a resolution and that, over the next nine days, Abbott can radically demonstrate change.

Some of those speaking out are opportunists, some are permanently angry people, none so far has indicated firm support for a chosen successor yet, and the real proxies for possible replacement candidates have not revealed themselves.

Not that the party’s problems can all be sheeted home to Abbott. Treasurer Joe Hockey has also failed to cut through with the critical message that the nation’s economy could not survive another period of Labor government and that unless there is bipartisan support for urgent reform now the economic future of our children and grandchildren is absolutely imperilled.

One thing does appear certain and that is the PM’s chief of staff Peta Credlin is unlikely to be moved (though she could opt to take another position), no matter what Rupert Murdoch, my employer, may wish. Abbott is not of a mind to be seen to be beginning to kowtow to the tweeted comments of any media proprietor, no matter how much he may personally like or respect that person.

Faced with a feral Labor Party, fickle cross-benchers and jumpy colleagues, his challenge is to lay down a clear, coherent agenda that is acceptable to the public — and he must sell it.

He knows he must present strong arguments to his party before advancing any policy and that he must have third party endorsements ready before ideas are rolled out to the public.

He has to convince voters that the blame for ongoing disheartening political stagnation lies with the recalcitrant Labor Party and the intractable senate.

He has to convince his colleagues that he fully understands the gravity of the situation, that he knows that it extends beyond those whose intellect struggles to reach the 140-letter count of the Twittersphere.

He can’t ask his party for forgiveness again if he makes a capricious Captain’s Choice without seeking permission or fails to communicate a policy reversal.

When he speaks to the nation on Monday, he has to admit to the problems and outline his solutions.

He should demonstrate his determination to ensure national security is a main priority, that the Lindt cafe siege and the Paris slaughters have given him even greater resolution to fight Islamism here.

His remarks on the economic outlook, taking into account the falling oil and commodity prices, should be to the ordinary taxpayers and those who rely on those taxpayers for their social security assistance.

He will know within the week of delivering the address whether or not time has run out.


Prime Minister Tony Abbott to dump Paid Parental Leave Scheme

TONY Abbott’s $20 billion Paid Parental Leave Scheme is expected to be put on ice next week until the budget is back in surplus to help pay for a family package that will focus on boosting childcare.

The move by the PM to effectively jettison one of his signature policies — which has little support among colleagues — comes as several senior Cabinet ministers conceded next week was now regarded as "make or break” for Mr Abbott’s leadership.

With nervous ministers now privately warning the discontent among backbenchers was potentially uncontrollable, a major shift on paid parental leave is regarded as a critical circuit breaker.

"It is that bad,” one minister said. "Next week has to be very good for him, or no one can guarantee what will happen.”

Mr Abbott yesterday insisted he would "absolutely" lead the Coalition to the next election, as he sought to reassert his political authority.

Visiting businesses in Colac, in the marginal Victorian seat of Corangamite, Mr Abbott sought to turn the debate back to the economy, after days of destabilising complaints from colleagues sparked by his decision to award a knighthood to Prince Philip.

He also firmly backed his beleaguered chief of staff Peta Credlin.

"I absolutely accept that there was a bit of dismay over a call I made earlier this week. I understand, but look, others might be distracted by this — I’m not," he said.

"I’m sure if I went into the pub to talk about it, they’d say it was a stuff-up. I’d take that on the chin and then we’d discuss other subjects"

While no serious number-crunching is under way and Mr Abbott’s position is in no immediate danger, a predicted bloodbath in today’s Queensland election for Campbell Newman’s LNP will be partly blamed on him.

Mr Abbott said he was "thrilled" to have strong colleagues like Mr Turnbull and Ms Bishop, who polls have shown are more popular than the PM.

"It’s a very strong team and one of the reasons why so many members of the team are able to perform so well is because they have got a very good captain," he said. "It takes a good captain to help all the players of a team to excel.’


Did a crooked cop skate?

Ex-Gold Coast police chief Paul Wilson left service with unresolved findings of misconduct against him.  The Gold Coast cops are notoriously corrupt

The former chief of police on the Gold Coast left the Queensland Police Service (QPS) last year with unresolved findings of misconduct against him for inappropriately disclosing confidential police information.

The ABC can reveal Assistant Commissioner Paul Wilson was facing a Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC) recommendation for disciplinary action when he left the service in January 2014, with a formal send-off and a Commissioner's Award for Meritorious Service.

The ABC understands he also received a significant severance payout.

Court documents show that three weeks before his departure, the CMC found Mr Wilson had inappropriately disclosed police information, leading to the identification of a Crime Stoppers informant.

The documents, which emerged in civil litigation in the District Court in Brisbane, include a letter from the CMC describing an investigation into allegations Mr Wilson had abused his position as a senior officer to gain an advantage in a bitter family dispute over his mother's estate.

They show other senior QPS officers became involved in an investigation of Mr Wilson's brother Robert after anonymous complaints to Crime Stoppers that Robert Wilson planned to murder his mother to get his hands on her money, and had previously murdered his father.

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Nothing was found to substantiate the allegations against Robert Wilson and he subsequently complained to the CMC about his brother's conduct.

The CMC's acting director of integrity services, Darren Brookes, wrote to Robert Wilson on December 24, 2013 telling him the anti-corruption body had found there was insufficient evidence to warrant the recommendation of any criminal charges against Paul Wilson.

"However, the investigation did find that AC Wilson had inappropriately disclosed information and QPS documents ... resulting in the Crime Stoppers informant being named and identified," Mr Brookes wrote.

According to the letter, the CMC investigation had also found that, based on the available material, Paul Wilson was in breach of procedural guidelines for professional conduct relating to conflicts of interest and rules regarding "improper use of QPS information".

"Therefore, we have recommended to the Queensland Police Service that consideration be given to taking disciplinary action against AC Wilson for misconduct under the Police Service (Discipline) Regulations 1990," the CMC official wrote.

"Accordingly, the CMC has referred the matter to the QPS for that purpose."

The QPS confirmed it received the referral, telling the ABC it was handled by Commissioner Ian Stewart.

By the time the CMC letter was sent, the QPS had already announced Mr Wilson's departure from the service, making this public on December 19.

A QPS spokesman told the ABC it had first learned of the CMC investigation in October 2013.

Asked if the CMC misconduct finding or investigation had had any bearing on the timing or nature of Mr Wilson's departure, the spokesman said: "Any response impinges on the privacy of Mr Wilson."

The QPS declined to reveal details of any severance payment to Mr Wilson.

Wilson siblings in long-running dispute over mother's estate

The CMC letter is attached to an affidavit filed by Robert Wilson in a long-running dispute with his brother Paul and sister Joan Clifford over the estate of their mother, Kathleen Wilson, who died in April 2014.

The documents include police memos and Crime Stoppers logs that originated in an earlier case relating to the mother's competency in the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT).

Paul Wilson had filed in QCAT logs of six Crime Stoppers calls in which a confidential informant had claimed Robert Wilson planned to murder his mother in order to defraud her estate.

The memos show Deputy Commissioner Ross Barnett had briefed the then head of the QPS Organised Crime Group, Detective Superintendent John Sheppard, about the allegations against Robert Wilson in January 2012.

Detective Superintendent Sheppard wrote in a May, 2012 memo to Assistant Commissioner Mike Condon - head of State Crime Operations Command - that he had uncovered the identity of the Crime Stoppers informant and interviewed him.

He found the informant "was not aware of any specific act or incident that could be interpreted as (Robert Wilson) threatening or committing violence towards his mother".

"He offered no direct evidence of any offence that may have been committed," the detective wrote.

Detective Superintendent Sheppard wrote that he had then briefed Paul Wilson.

"He was appreciative of what had been done to that point. He also accepted the difficulties that the criminal investigation into his brother's actions was facing," he wrote.

Detective Superintendent Sheppard told Assistant Commissioner Condon that he had discussed the matter with the head of the fraud squad, Detective Superintendent Brian Hay, and recommended the file be passed to him.

The Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) told the ABC its predecessor, the CMC, had written to the QPS on January 8, 2014 "to report on the outcome of the investigation and to recommend the consideration of disciplinary action against Assistant Commissioner Wilson and the provision of managerial guidance to two other officers".

A spokesman for the CCC said it would be inappropriate to name the other officers.

"Disciplinary action is the responsibility of the QPS," the spokesman said, adding that the timing of Mr Wilson's departure from the QPS was "a matter for Mr Wilson and the QPS".

Robert Wilson fails in bid to block eviction order

Robert Wilson was his mother's carer prior to her death and had been living in her house in the Brisbane suburb of Tarragindi for the past three years.

Last week, he failed in the District Court to block an eviction order in favour of Paul Wilson and Ms Clifford and left the house on Thursday.

As the eviction deadline passed, the ABC witnessed Paul Wilson - accompanied by a crew of removalists - greet police officers who were checking the building had been vacated.

Paul Wilson chairs the Brisbane Central committee of Crime Stoppers and was a director of Crime Stoppers between 2005 and 2007. He is also a director of the Police Credit Union.

He began his career in the QPS in 1974, working as a senior detective in the Whitsundays and as the divisional commander in Fortitude Valley in Brisbane before taking the reins on the Gold Coast, where he was responsible for 1,400 sworn officers.

His last posting was to the Police Academy, from where he was given a send-off at which Commissioner Stewart presented him with a Commissioner's Award for Meritorious Service.

The QPS said such medals were at the discretion of the Commissioner.

Mr Wilson's website, describes him as "one of the truly great leaders ... a hypnotic storyteller and enthralling voice on modern leadership".

Mr Wilson did not respond to emails and calls from the ABC.


1 comment:

Paul said...

Why did the LNP not bring up the fact that Labor has historically been the party of privatization? QANTAS, Comm bank, Telstra, Victoria State Bank, Vic. power supply, water distribution...

Its like they didn't want to win.