Saturday 29th of August 2015

Recent Comments

by Gus Leonisky on Sat, 2015-08-29 10:40

budging the budgies...

Neat trick. Obviously the boffins at New Matilda hope that someone will not buy "this" space, but will buy another square of advertising above or below it... Good luck. 

by Gus Leonisky on Sat, 2015-08-29 07:52

The union representing Australian Border Force (ABF) officers will raise its members' concerns about the handling of Friday's controversial cancelled operation in Melbourne with the Immigration Department and Federal Government.

Labor and the Greens are also demanding answers from Immigration Minister Peter Dutton over the operation.

The officers were meant to take to the streets of the CBD last night as part of Operation Fortitude — a joint operation with Victoria Police — to help crack down on visa fraud.

But Victoria Police called it off after hundreds of protesters stopped traffic in Melbourne's CBD, concerned about a possible attack on civil liberties.

ABF commissioner Roman Quaedvlieg said a media statement suggesting officers would be checking the visas of people whose paths they crossed was misconstrued.

The Community and Public Sector Union's Nadine Flood said its members felt they had been put in an unsafe position by the mishandling of the situation.

Another cock up by the Turdy government... with some nasty nazi creep...

by Gus Leonisky on Fri, 2015-08-28 16:31

Operation Fortitude seems to have been named using the wrong f-word. Many would work, but let’s go with Operation Farce.

Not since Tony Abbott gave Prince Philip a knighthood has the nation appeared so immediately united in calling out a truly stupid and offensive notion.

It began with a morning press release, announcing proudly that our new “border force” – a revamped and armed version of the frontline activities of immigration and the customs service that began operations in July – would be part of a big “crime crackdown” in Melbourne on the weekend.

“ABF officers will be positioned at various locations around the CBD speaking with any individual we cross paths with,” said the border’s force regional commander in Victoria and Tasmania, Don Smith.

“You need to be aware of the conditions of your visa; if you commit visa fraud you should know it’s only a matter of time before you’re caught out.”

Immediately apparent to pretty much everyone except Smith, or whoever writes his press releases, was that this would require border force to “profile” who they questioned, or else uselessly question an awful lot of people out having fun on a Saturday night, that it would mean they were asking for documentation without any real reason to think the person had committed an offence and that – given all the pre-warning – anyone who really had a problem with their visa would probably be elsewhere.

read more:


A major policing operation planned for Melbourne's CBD this weekend has been cancelled after a backlash over plans to include Australian Border Force (ABF) officials in the crackdown.

Key points:

  • Operation Fortitude cancelled after public backlash
  • Border Force had planned to check visas in Melbourne's CBD
  • Vic Government criticises Border Force
  • MP compares Tony Abbott to Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin

Victoria Police issued a press release saying Operation Fortitude had been cancelled this afternoon.

Earlier, the ABF had said it would be checking people's visas on the streets of the city centre as part of the operation, which also involved Victoria Police and other agencies.

The original announcement quoted ABF regional commander for Victoria and Tasmania Don Smith as saying officers would be positioned at various locations around the city and would speak "with any individual we cross paths with".

by Gus Leonisky on Fri, 2015-08-28 15:38


"Tampon tax" to stay: Despite a colourful and sustained media campaign that drew international notice, a 100,000 strong petition, and a commitment from Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey, GST reform on tampons has been rejected by NSW and WA. Michelle Pini reports.

A MUCH reported anti "tampon tax" campaign, which managed to highlight the ridiculous inequity of a tax on essential hygiene items, and capture worldwide attention, has failed to impress the NSW and WA State treasurers.

When Sydney University student Subeta Vimalarajah started a petition to stop the GST being applied to feminine sanitary products, she highlighted a little-known fiscal reality that affects 10 million Australians every month. She also exposed the underlying patriarchal systems that allow the inequity to continue, pointing to institutionalised discrimination.,8099


See toon at top...


by Gus Leonisky on Fri, 2015-08-28 09:48


In a speech in the Lower Ninth Ward, Obama said the city “had long been plagued by structural inequalities that left too many people, especially poor people, especially people of color, without good jobs or affordable healthcare or decent housing.”

“What started out as a natural disaster became a manmade one – a failure of government to look out for its own citizens,” Obama said, before touting government efforts to rebuild the city and region.

An estimated 80% of New Orleans, much of which lies below sea level, was flooded in the storm and from levee breaches that followed. Health officials counted at least 971 dead in Louisiana from the storm, and a similar number died in other coastal states.

Resentment in the region has lingered over a dithering initial response to the disaster by the federal emergency management agency (Fema), by perceived disparity in relief efforts that have led some areas to recover more quickly than others, and by difficulty for some residents in accessing relief funds.

Obama highlighted tens of billions of federal dollars that have been funneled to the region to restore coastal areas, rebuild hospitals, homes and schools, and improve emergency response infrastructure.

More needs to be done, Obama said.


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by Gus Leonisky on Fri, 2015-08-28 08:11

It was a view reinforced by the four white media spokespeople on ABC’s The Drum last night, who all apparently still believe Abbott truly has the best interests of blackfellas at heart, despite everything he has ever done pointing in the opposite direction. 

Tudge’s social media promotion of CDP is just one part of this campaign. 

The Community Development Programme (CDP), may sound deceptively similar to the Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP), an Aboriginal devised and controlled employment scheme from the 70s, but it is far from it. 

In reality CDP is the re-badged incarnation of the Remote Jobs and Communities Programme (RJCP), which replaced CDEP in remote areas after the Howard government began dismantling the successful Aboriginal devised ‘work for the dole’ programme, with Labor finishing it off. 

Toughening the requirements of RJCP was the first recommendation adopted by the Abbott government from mining magnate Andrew Forrest’s Creating Parity review. 

The $1.5 billion work-for-the-dole programme has been operating in 60 remote communities since July 2013. Earlier this year, Indigenous affairs minister Nigel Scullion announced he would be making the provisions of the programme even stricter – rather than working 16 hours a week for Newstart wages, RJCP participants would instead by required to work 25 hours for five days a week, over 52 weeks in order to receive those payments, or risk having them cut off.

It lead to immediate criticism across the country that the Abbott government was condemning Aboriginal workers to the days before equal wages, with remote area participants receiving under award wages of less than $10 an hour.

In fact, the peak body for Australian workers – the ACTU – have been one of the most vocal opponents of the programme. 

Instead of looking at alternatives - more community-controlled solutions to Aboriginal employment, even re-visiting CDEP and nutting out some of the problems - Scullion has instead simply renamed the programme, changing it to the CDP

- See more at:

by Gus Leonisky on Fri, 2015-08-28 08:06


Counsel assisting now in spotlight

Labor says the counsel assisting the trade union royal commission, Jeremy Stoljar QC,is now embroiled in the controversy surrounding Dyson Heydon. Courtesy ABC News 24.

Dyson Heydon has deferred to Monday his decision on whether to resign from the royal commission into trade unions, following claims from the ACTU he may have misled the public on why he withdrew from a Liberal Party fundraiser.

Commissioner Heydon was scheduled to announce whether he would disqualify himself from the commission on Friday morning, following allegations from unions that he had created an apprehension of bias in accepting an invitation to speak at a Liberal Party event, but on Thursday afternoon that decision was delayed till Monday. This was the second time the decision had been delayed this week, with Mr Heydon originally due to make a ruling on his position on Tuesday.  

The ACTU said that Mr Heydon's explanation on August 13 that he had withdrawn from the Garfield Barwick address before media reports emerged "might be misleading".


ACTU National Secretary Dave Oliver wrote to the Commission on Thursday, asking it to urgently disclose further emails about what prompted Mr Heydon to withdraw from the event on the day Fairfax Media reported his involvement.  

The call from the ACTU chief follows a report in The Australian on Thursday that counsel assisting the commission, Jeremy Stoljar, SC, may have alerted Mr Heydon to Liberal Party links to the event, named after former High Court chief justice and Liberal MP, Sir Garfield Barwick.

The report said that Chris Winslow, the publications manager from the NSW Bar Association, had called Mr Stoljar because he became concerned Mr Heydon's involvement in the event might soon appear in the media. Mr Winslow reportedly asked Mr Stoljar whether Mr Heydon knew the event was connected to the Liberal Party. Mr Stoljar is said to have replied: "I'll raise that with him."


The Counsel Assisting has to consider resigning as well...

by Gus Leonisky on Fri, 2015-08-28 07:51

Union whistleblower Kathy Jackson admits "we all make mistakes" in life - including a "charity shag" she had with Health Services Union barrister Mark Irving, SC, more than 20 years ago.

Speaking outside the royal commission into trade union corruption on Friday, Ms Jackson said: "Forget the former lover stuff. Everybody makes mistakes and has a charity shag along the way.

"I just could not believe he had the audacity to sit there and want to cross-examine me."

Read more: 
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by Gus Leonisky on Thu, 2015-08-27 21:01


WASHINGTON — AFTER a year of intense diplomatic negotiations, the Turkish government is now permitting the United States to use Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base, which will allow American aircraft to fly missions in Syria and Iraq with greater operational effectiveness and economic efficiency.

The price of this agreement, however, may well be too high in the long run, both for the success of America’s anti-Islamic State campaign and for the stability of Turkey.

That’s because the Turkish government’s recent change of heart and its sudden willingness to allow American access to the Incirlik base was driven by domestic political considerations, rather than a fundamental rethinking of its Syria strategy.

Shortly after granting access to the base, Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, launched a wave of airstrikes on Kurdish targets, reigniting a conflict that had been on the road to resolution. To make matters worse, Turkey has struck hard at Syrian Kurds who have, until now, been America’s most reliable ally in fighting the Islamic State, often called ISIS, in northern Syria.

Read more:


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